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Milked dry

We detect hints of subversion in Glasgow chief executive's department. The agenda papers sent out for last week's education committee included an item which referred to a "budgetory" (sic) performance, apparently intended as a description of what happens when you are on the financial rack.

This seemed to set the scene for a number of other linguistic diversions. John Young, leader of the council's small but dedicated band of Tories, was baffled by "graphic communication". Sensing it could be a course in which youngsters are encouraged to express themselves particularly vigorously, Young seemed disappointed to be told by Ken Corsar, director of education, that it was simply the modern equivalent of technical drawing.

Another report on surplus properties had its own bon mot which described a building as being "in a very poor state of disrepair". Does this mean, Jotter was asked, that the premises are in pretty reasonable condition?

Back to Young. He is a media person's delight, being of an independent and outspoken cast of mind. Certainly there are few Tories who would dare mention school milk in polite company and he needed no reminding of the "Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher" chant of the 1970s since a Labour councillor duly obliged.

The discussion was prompted by the EU's withdrawal of the milk subsidy for secondary kids this year, yet another spanner gumming up Glasgow's "budgetory" works. But Young is not one to be thrown off course by an embarrassing political memory and succeeded in extracting from the committee's resident catering expert the concession that milk was probably of more value to primary than to secondary pupils.

Perhaps orange juice might be an acceptable substitute, Young ventured. But he was reminded that these are indeed "budgetory" times. "There is no EU subsidy for orange juice," Bob Gray, education vice-chairman, told him.

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