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Knives out;Jotter

Fair is foul and foul is fair when it comes to tales of the two Elizabeths, the jewels in the crown of Edinburgh. Elizabeth Maginnis, convener of the education committee, and Liz Reid, her director, were both dressed in sombre attire for their defence of the capital's education budget before the "star chamber" of the city council.

An exasperated Keith Geddes, council leader and vice-president of the Scottish local authorities, exploded: "You'd think we were at a production of Macbeth, except that there's only two of you."

The deadly duo were out and about last week explaining the impact of the cuts and visited a community centre where a group of teachers had gathered. Things were going well until the meeting was interrupted by a racket from the kitchen. It was too much for the director who rushed off to silence the perpetrators. Bad luck, really, that chat was the only means of communication for the visually impaired group.

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