You couldn't make it up
"School chemistry ban for teen tartan terrorist". There I was all ready to sink my teeth into this great headline from the Scottish tabloid the Daily Record, only to discover that they made it up.
The story is that the "tartan terrorist" 16-year-old Jamie Hoggan, who has been placed in Polmont young offenders' unit for firebombing council offices in Alloa last August, was being denied chemistry and physics lessons while being sent his homework by his school, the Alloa Academy. Young Jamie apparently wants to "drive the English out of Scotland" (I know, but this is a 16-year-old lad who has presumably watched Braveheart thinking it was history). According to the Daily Record, a "source" said that "science was out of the question while he was in Polmont because of what went before." The notion that one can't make bombs without GCSE chemistry, and that one becomes an expert bomb-maker with it, was so silly that this seemed to demand some comment. (And what was the problem with physics? That he'd nuke the council instead?)
But it was all fabrication. A tired-sounding head at the Academy told me the story was "complete rubbish", before referring me to a nice woman at Corporate Affairs who said she only held back from writing to the Record to, er, set the record straight, by the understandable fear that the newspaper would then run the headline "School chemistry lessons for teen tartan terrorist". A victory for common sense, then, and a big boo to silly tabloids. And Jamie apparently hopes to become a forensic scientist – good luck to him!