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Her master's voice

And so to an election "tail". As Labour sought to hold on to the marginal Aberdeen South constituency - incumbent Anne Begg, still an Educational Institute of Scotland member (parliamentary section) - the party's campaigning heavyweights flew in.

David Blunkett, Education Secretary, south of the border, trotted along to the community wing at Loirston primary, led by Lucy, his faithful four-legged companion.

What better picture for he local press than some pupils with a friendly beast, Lucy that is - if only they could circumvent election rules which prohibit pupils being used for political purposes.

It was down to Lucy to charge through the community wing towards the school, brushing aside formalities. A smiling Blunkett merely asked: "Would the children like to see the dog?" To which there is no other answer, really. Lucy and minder were duly snapped.

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