PUPILS at a Catholic public school were given time off their studies this week to celebrate Mrs Thatcher's tenth anniversary as Prime Minister with a bonfire, barbeque, beer and patriotic songs.
Fr Mark Jabale, acting head at Belmont Abbey School near Hereford, said Thursday's events were "a mild celebration." It was being held, he said, because the Labour Party manifesto of a decade ago had called for the abolition of public schools, and the advent of Tory supremacy had staved off such misfortune.
Fr Jabale denied that tne Benedictine-run school was eulogising Mrs Thatcher personally. "The only thing we are celebrating is the fact that, had the Labour party been elected, we probably wouldn't have existed now," he said.
He did not believe the bonfire night presented too partisan a view of British politics. "You can be sure both views are put to the pupils here," he said.
When the Conservative party was swept into power in 1979, Belmont's boys were given a day's holiday, Fr Jabale recalled.