12 JANUARY 1991, Page 19

Scots class

Sir: Allan Massie's intellectual rankings of Scottish public schools attended by Tory notables (Diary, 8 December) — Glenal- mond (Massie himself) a notch above Loretto (Lamont) and a few notches above Merchiston (Macgregor) — could offend a somewhat wider constituency than those of us who share the alma mater of the Leader of the House of Commons.

There is a difference between the schools, but intellectual attainment is not the point. Merchiston is the leading pres- byterian public school in Scotland. Glen- almond and Loretto, like Fettes, are epis- copalian establishments, Scottish by loca- tion, but hardly by conviction. No self- respecting Merchistonian, i.e. Scotsman, bearing the common name of Lamont (as in Hammond) would call himself La Mont.

I do not deny there are shortcomings in the presbyterian middle classes who send their sons to schools like Merchiston. More than averagely emotionally repressed, perhaps they are less likely to produce a Massie than less pawky institutions. Nonetheless they have had to put up with the Piskies" air of social superiority for too long. I suspect that Allan Massie's judgment is similarly based on class rather than intellect.

Neil McIntosh

40 Kiver Road, London N19