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Polling in the isles

And so it's yet another round of school closures in Shetland - the third attempt at "rationalisation" in five years (page four). The cliches have been well-honed in that time - "ripping the heart out of the community,"

"bite the bullet," "the council will not play by the rules," etc, etc.

The interim head of schools will be no stranger to these arguments, for Neil Galbraith came across them all when he was director of education in the Western Isles.

But even he must have been taken aback when he heard Councillor John Nicolson comment that the Highland clearances "were carried out under the banner of land use rationalisation".

Whatever the pros and cons, you cannot accuse council leaders of lacking courage. Publishing such a controversial report less than a year before the next election was the worst tactical mistake he could think of, Councillor Leonard Groat observed. Quite.

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