It was thanks to sustained pressure from the school children that Barra got mobile phones; and they even went to the House of Commons to campaign for the retention of the air service to Barra.
They know their community and are not scared to make their views known. Model children for the future in other words.
Or not, as the case may be if you are a Quango.
Sources in the Education Department have told me that when Scottish National Heritage heard that the school children of Barra were going to demonstrate yesterday against SNH and the possible designation of the Sound of Barra as a Marine Special Area of Conservation, then SNH jumped into action.
Phone calls, faxes and assorted threats later, the Education Department instructed the two Barra schools not to allow their children to show their views on the possible designation, as it wasn't the media image that SNH wanted to give.
SNH are, of course, happy to go into schools and give their perspective, but any contrary view meets with this heavy handed approach. It looks like democracy only works one way in their mind.
Does the Minister know what is being done by the organisation is is nominally responsible for?
The actual meeting in the Craigard was full to overflow, but SNH refused to discuss the issues, clkaiming that they were there to have only an informal chat, mingle and make small talk. Which required about 75% of the attendees to leave the room so that SNH, assorted hangers-on, and the vast coterie of officials, could have cheese and wine and make meaningless noises.
All at vast public expense.
SNH is held in such huge contempt by large sections of the public that it claims to represent that the need for it's very existence is questioned by most of those directly affected. This reflects very, very, badly on the entire process and consequently upon the Government itself, who seem unable - or perhaps unwilling - to take any action to bring the organisation under control.
This cavalier behaviour cannot be allowed to continue, but we've been saying this for a decade, and it is only getting worse, not better.
If they can't debate with the children who will be directly affected by the decisions they want to bring in, then why should they be trusted that what they are doing is the right thing?