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In the dark

Is the force of Hurricane Katrina about to send a chill through Scottish classrooms? They certainly think so in Highland, where councillors have been warned that education department budgets could suffer badly because of soaring oil prices following disruption to supplies from the Gulf of Mexico.

Alas, an attempted energy-saving measure by Inverness councillors lasted just two minutes. It was suggested that they could start by saving money on the needless use of electricity in council properties.

But when committee chairman Roddy Balfour said that, as a start, the chandeliers in the debating chamber in the Inverness Town House could be switched off, some energetic responses ensued.

When two of the three chandeliers were switched off, it forced one of the journalists in the press gallery to move seat to see what he was writing.

After two minutes, one councillor protested. "I can't read my reports. I know some people want to keep councillors in the dark, but I demand that the lights be switched back on," Chrissie Cumming said. And lo, there was light.

We seem to recall these are the same councillors who ordered schools to switch off unnecessary lights and implement commonsense energy-saving measures.

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