Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Addicted to Love.

So, we have had weekend revelations about the sexual pecadillos and proclivities of Scottish Conservative bankroller and multi-millionaire Lord Irvine Laidlaw (pictured on right with former First Minister Jack McConnell MSP.)

"CONSERVATIVE peer and Tory fund-raiser Lord Irvine Laidlaw has confessed to being a secret sex addict and has announced plans to donate £1m to an addiction charity. The tycoon, Scotland's fourth-richest man, made his admission last night following a News of the World investigation. He says he has checked himself into a six-week residential sex addict programme and has made the donation to help "fellow sufferers." The 64-year-old Baron of Rothiemay, who is married and worth about £730m, has given around £6m to the Conservative party."

At least he had the honesty to admit it and does it really matter anyway? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone ....?


Courtesy of Drumlanrig again, "NEWSNIGHTMARE ... Could the gloss be coming off the SNP's hitherto well-polished spin operation? Nationalist MSP Christina McKelvie's performance last week on Newsnight Scotland was so hopeless that it has now spawned its very own internet petition to the BBC. McKelvie, left, blundered through her crib-sheet on the subject and raised presenter Gordon Brewer's famous eyebrows with her poor show. A naughty group of Scottish Labour activists are now petitioning for the show to go on the BBC's iPlayer in perpetuity."

Mr Smith missed it. She obviously didn't get the media training then.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

It's Criminal.

So, "ONE of the country's leading criminologists is urging academics to boycott Scottish Government research, claiming it is too often "spun" to justify flawed policies. Reece Walters has accused civil servants in Scotland of manipulating research to meet the political objectives of the governing party, and blocking the publication of "undesirable" findings."

Never. Government selectively using research to "justify flawed policies." It would never happen in Scotland ... could it? And Mr Smith suspects it happens as much now as it ever did with any previous Scottish Government administration.

Coincidentally, Mr Smith noticed job adverts in the weekend press from the Scottish Government for ... you guessed it "Researchers."

Monday, 28 April 2008

Tie-d Vote.

Drumlanrig says, "Des Browne's right-hand man, John McTernan, was stopped from entering the gallery above the House of Commons when he pitched up without a tie. One of the penguin-suited attendants looked despairingly at the veteran adviser, saying: "You should know the form by now." The quaintly old-fashioned rules in the Palace of Westminster say that men must wear a jacket and tie – until the heat of summer when a notice goes up allowing men to remove jackets, but not ties. A spare tie, which by a minor miracle happened to match his polo shirt (yes, a polo shirt), was conjured up and the now suitably dressed McTernan was allowed in to witness the joys of Scottish Questions."

He really should know better. Mr Smith reads speculation in PR Week that Mr McT is looking for another job outside of government because of the poor performance of Mr Brown's Labour Government. Preferably a job that doesn't involve having to wear a tie we guess.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

For Foulkes' Sake ... Again.

So, "A SENIOR Labour peer has been criticised after he claimed nearly £45,000 in overnight expenses to stay in a property he inherited from his late mother. George Foulkes, who is also an MSP, billed the public to stay in a London flat registered as his company's address."

The taxpayer paying one of its elected representatives to stay in a property which .... they already own and which they were using for other commercial activities. Deal or no deal?

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Ronald Killer.

So, "CITY MP Nigel Griffiths was today accused of wanting to kill off fast-food mascot Ronald McDonald. The former Consumer Minister is promoting a Private Member's Bill to ban television ads for junk food before 9pm in a bid to tackle the problem of childhood obesity."

Mr Smith doesn's agree with what Mr Griffiths is trying to do, but Ronald is quite annoying. He could be forgiven for trying to kill him off.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Crisis? ... What Crisis?

From the Scotsman.

Vest-ed Interests.

From the Herald Diary, "A Scottish Government minister was left red-faced yesterday after telling MSPs she used to go to school in a see-through vest. The gaffe prompted hilarity, with Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson jokingly calling for "appropriate" language. Linda Fabiani was fielding a question on switching clocks more closely to match the rest of Europe during summer. Ms Fabiani claimed she used to wear a "transparent" vest on dark mornings as a child. Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop, sitting at her side, whispered: "It's translucent." (Could she mean fluorescent?) Ms Fabiani laughed and quickly called for the remark to be "struck from the record". But Mr Fergusson added: "I think it's more likely to be highlighted." The minister clarified: "It was one of those shiny ones that shone in the dark."

The Gambler.

"ALEX Salmond was yesterday dubbed a "Mississippi gambler" over his role in Donald Trump's bid to build a £1billion golf resort. Labour MSP Andy Kerr claimed the First Minister undermined the planning system by meeting Trump's representatives then phoning the government's chief planner to fix a secret get-together."

In Mr Smith's experience the greater the hyperbole and more striking the imagery ... the weaker the case. Think you lost that argument Andy.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Topping The Bill.

So, "Details of a lecture by former US President Bill Clinton in Aberdeen in June have been revealed after weeks of local speculation. Mr Clinton is thought likely to speak on issues including the road to the White House, the war in Iraq, the credit crunch and the energy industry. Tickets for the event at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) are expected to cost about £95 each."

From now on Mr Smith will always view £95 as representing a "Lewinski."

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Election Stress.

Mr Smith thinks that all that campaigning for elections in London, is starting to get to the voters.

"MP GEORGE Galloway was bowled over by a rubber ball hurled at him while campaigning. Record columnist Galloway was left "dazed and shocked" after being struck on the temple by a squeezable stress ball flung from a London office. Police were called and a man was arrested at a research company. Galloway, 53 - Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow - was addressing passers-by with a megaphone from an open-topped bus."

It must be the first attempted political assassination ... by stress ball.

Off Course.

Mr Smith sees that Lord Foulkes MSP has been busy in the House of Lords. From the Lords Hansard of 21st April in a question about Parliament Square, "Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) ... My Lords, will my noble friend ensure that any changes make it easier for Members of this House who have offices in the buildings on the other side of the road to get here for Divisions? All the changes that have taken place recently, both to traffic control and, above all, to security, have created an obstacle course for Members to get here in time to vote."

It is even harder if you have to try juggling being a Member of the Scottish Parliament a few hundred miles away in Edinburgh with getting to votes in the House of Lords.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Podding Along.

So the Scottish Parliament's iconic "think pods" (which have knocked out at least one MSP literally - former MSP David Davidson) are starting to spring leaks, only four years after the £430 million Holyrood Parliament building was opened.

"THE "think pods" that have come to symbolise the architecture of the Scottish Parliament building are leaking and in need of repairs, less than four years after the building was opened."

Says it all really. Even icons spring a leak some of the time.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Twenty's Plenty.

So, "ALEX Salmond yesterday set the SNP the ambitious target of winning more than a third of Scotland's seats at the next general election, saying he wanted to make Westminster to "dance to a Scottish jig". The First Minister believes the SNP could hold the balance of power at Westminster after the next election and he told his party to aim high and take 20 seats from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Mr Salmond used a rousing speech to the SNP's spring conference in Edinburgh to stress his belief that the SNP could wield real influence in Westminster for the first time since 1979."

It appears that the SNP have given up on using Westminster to secure a vote on Scottish independence given that they have gotten the Scottish Parliament all sown up and instead seem to believe that they can hold the "balance of power" after the next UK General Election.

Mr Smith thinks that is a tad optimistic given that most of those who voted SNP in the last Scottish Parliament elections have indicated they won't do the same in a UK General Election and the fact that Westminster elections are conducted using 'first past the post' which will make it far more difficult for the SNP to win significant numbers of Westminster seats. Time will tell.

Finger Lickin' McGood.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Nae Luck.

What are the odds of a British Prime Minister organising a visit to the United States at the same time as the first visit by new Pope Benedict, especially given that one in four Americans view themselves as "Catholics"?

Well ask hapless PM Gordon Brown? Very high. A racing certainty almost.

British military forces are still in Iraq even allowing for Mr Brown's prior commitments to withdraw most of them. And they are still paying the price for being there. If Brown can't organise a trip to the US competently ... it makes you afraid of what he is doing in Iraq. Bring back Tony.

Sign of the Times.

So, the Scottish Parliament is to spend £20,000 of taxpayers cash on putting up a sign on the Scottish Parliament building to ... er ... let people know what it is.

"SCOTTISH Parliament bosses are to spend more than £20,000 on a giant new sign outside the building to tell people what it is. They decided on the move after a review of visitor services recommended signage at the public entrance should be improved. The sign, measuring 5.9 metres by 1.1 metres and made of granite, is due to be installed within the next couple of weeks."

Most Scots, Mr Smith thinks, will know exactly what the Scottish Parliament building is, for no reason other than it cost them the best part of £450 million. Can you imagine the Palace of Westminster needing a big sign to tell people what it is? The fact they need a sign speaks volumes about the architectural integrity of its design. Some of it looks like a block of flats in the housing "scheme" out of 1980's film Gregory's Girl, which is probably what is confusing the visitors to it, not the lack of a sign.

Parliament Says No.

From Atticus, "Charity begins at the parliamentary fees office, according to some MSPs' expenses claims. Alex Fergusson, Holyrood's £95,000-a-year Presiding Officer, appeared to be all heart when he placed an advert in his local paper congratulating the Dumfried and Galloway Befriending Project, a charity for disadvantaged children, on its 10th anniversary. When he tried to reclaim the £132.78 costs from taxpayers, parliament officials refused to pay. Him Mateher, the £80,000-a-year enterprise minister, tried to claim £28.91 for Christmas cards he had sent. He, too, was told where to get off."

Very enterprising Mr Mather. Mr Fergusson really should just know better.

Atticus also highlights that Matthew Marr, the former spin doctor to Scottish Labour Leader Wendy Alexander who was forced to resign after calling First Minister Alex Salmond MSP a "c**t" has decied on a change of career and has started training to become a teacher. He really didn't have anywhere left to go in public affairs.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Wendy City.

So, "WENDY Alexander's recent conversion to pure socialism may have come as a surprise to many voters. Now it is revealed that she cut her political teeth in the loony-left world of student politics, banning sweets because they were “racist” and setting up a sexual harassment hotline that received no calls. Making a name for herself as a student activist in the early 1980s, Alexander denounced all products made by Rowntree Mackintosh, the confectioner, as symbols of apartheid. She managed to get Fruit Pastilles, Smarties, KitKats and Toffos banned from Glasgow University shops “to show support for those fighting for democracy in South Africa”.

Fruit Pastles and apartheid? It's all coming out of Wendy's closet now. Mr Smith quite likes Fruit Pastilles, but you can't get them on this side of The Pond.


According to Drumlanrig, "SMOOTH TALK AIN'T CHEAP ... These are the courses where they teach you how to look condescendingly at Gordon Brewer on Newsnight. For the record, the ministers who needed to be told were Bruce Crawford, Linda Fabiani, Jim Mather, Stewart Stevenson, Fiona Hyslop, Adam Ingram, Maureen Watt and Kenny MacAskill and Solicitor General Frank Mulholland. The latter charged £1,227 solely for "presentational training". Aren't lawyers supposed to be able to do that kind of thing without the need for our help?"

Mr Smith doesn't think the courses have worked for Kenny MacAskill and when was the last time anyone interviewed Maureen Watt, let alone Adam Ingram? They should ask for a refund.

Another Bad Cop.

"A POLICE officer involved in youth work has been charged with public indecency. Acting Sergeant Adrian Merron, 44, is also accused of obtaining classified information from the police computer and could stand trial at the High Court. The indecency claims involve incidents in Edinburgh streets." He could be a bad cop.

And at the same time ... the cops are asking for a 15% pay increase ... "SCOTTISH police officers are to demand a 15% pay rise at their federation's annual conference next week." Well Mr Smith guesses it would mean they wouldn't have to turn to illegality to supplement their meagre police salaries and to pay for their illegal drugs.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


"ALL of Scotland's police forces are to introduce mandatory drugs tests in an attempt to stamp out substance abuse ... Reports put the number as high as 1000 officers, 6% of the total force, using drugs on a regular basis with at least one officer being charged with dealing. However, the umbrella body for Scotland's eight forces was unable to confirm the figures."

One thousand cops that abuse drugs. That's over one in twenty. One thousand bad cops. Way too many.

Out of Time.

And he still gets to keep his force pension ... well he did pay into it.

"A SEX PEST policeman has been allowed to pocket a full pension despite being convicted of indecently assaulting three women. Creepy Constable Andrew Burt was found guilty in September last year of groping two women and slapping another on the bottom at a bowling club. His victims included a mother and daughter. He would have lost his pension if he had been sacked. But his bosses took so long to investigate his conduct that he was able to retire and collect a fat payout."

Incompetence by the Police in sacking a criminal colleague. It could never happen.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Swinney's Savings Account.

Mr Smith has some difficulty understanding this one.

"JOHN SWINNEY, the finance secretary, has declared he has found £600 million of savings in the Scottish budget this year, £66 million more than his target. But about two-thirds of the savings have yet to be identified by councils, health boards, universities, colleges and other public bodies which face an across-the-board 2 per cent cut."

How is it possible for Mr Swinney to declare £600 million worth of savings when two thirds of the savings haven't yet been identified ....? When is a saving not a saving? When it is "unrealised" which is exactly what his £600 million figure is at the moment. What is the point in giving public bodies budgets and then arbitrarily top slicing their budgets to generate "savings"? Welcome to the world of Scottish Government finance. It makes no sense to Mr Smith.

On the Beat.

So, "SCOTLAND had only 148 police officers on the beat at any one time until recently, despite its biggest city suffering from the highest murder rates in Europe per head of the population, new research reveals."

Pretty worrying from a public safety perspective, but as Mr Smith has said previously it may in part be due to the fact that so many cops seem to find themselves up in court on charges against them.

The latest case in point, "A former policeman has admitted giving confidential information to a drug dealer in Dundee. William Hosie also admitted neglect of duty by failing to pass details to other officers and attempting to pervert the course of justice." He's another bad cop.

Glasgow's Miles Better.

Mr Smith finds its hard to believe this. It must be a case of "lies, damned lies and statistics."

"GLASGOW could learn lessons from New York about how to tackle crime, according to a report by an independent think tank. The Reform Scotland report said there was now more violent crime per head of population in Glasgow than in New York."

Glasgow as bad as New York in the crime stakes. Never.

Law and Disorder.

"POLICE have been called in to investigate allegations that a Scottish Conservative Party worker stole £150,000 from party funds. Senior party officials called in the police after the money, thought to have come mainly from subscriptions, disappeared from their Edinburgh offices over the last year."

And Mr Smith thought the Tories were the party of law and order. How could you possibly not notice £150,000 going missing for a year? They must have too much cash.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Poll Position.

"INDEPENDENCE has taken a dramatic lead in a new opinion poll on Scotland's constitutional future. An exclusive TNS System Three poll has found that 41% of Scots want the SNP government to negotiate an independence settlement, compared to 40% who are opposed to breaking up the UK."

Mr Smith still thinks that even if there was referendum the Scottish people wouldn't back independence for Scotland. But Westminster Scottish MPs must be starting to give the possibility some thought. Where does a Westminster MP go if he can't go to Westminster any more? Holyrood?

But who will take the chequered flag?

Cop That.

So, "A FORMER traffic policeman has been banned from driving after being caught speeding at 118mph while over the drink-drive limit."

Is there no end to the illegality of our cops and former cops? And the current cops were even happy to admit that they didn't charge him with more serious offences because as a trained ex-traffic cop he couldn't possible have been driving "carelessly" or "dangerously" ... couldn't he now?

Monday, 14 April 2008

Independence Day.

You couldn't write this one ... from the Herald Diary, "News of a cross-party alliance in Glasgow. Labour's chief whip on the city council, Aileen Colleran is to marry top SNP parly candidate Chris Stephens. The happy couple can agree on only one union: their own. However, they have come to a few political understandings, Ms Colleran told the Diary. "I am keeping my name for political purposes," she said. "There is no way I am slipping down the ballot paper alphabetically. Oh, and we promised not to stand against each other in an election." So when is the big day? Ironically, July 4. "Yes," the one-time librarian admitted, "it's Independence Day."

Even some Councillors will do anything for a bit of cheap publicity, but fixing the date for your wedding to get a small bit in the Diary? Sad. Good to see the "new politics" even extends to nuptials.

Two Fat Ladies.

"MARK LAZAROWICZ, the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, was due to call out the numbers at his local Mecca Bingo hall this afternoon. Mr Lazarowicz was expected at the Mecca club in Leith at 1.30pm to meet customers and staff over concerns about the "double taxation" regime affecting British bingo."

Some MPs will do anything for a bit of publicity. Step forward Mr Lazarowicz ... with a jumbo bar of cholcolate.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

OK, Flower?

"MEMBERS of Scotland's biggest council have spent £24,000 of taxpayers' cash on trips to foreign flower shows. Glasgow councillors enjoyed jaunts to Paris, Barcelona and even Tokyo to admire new varieties of roses."

Mr Smith is sure that the council tax payers of Glasgow will find these junkets a productive use of their cash.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

In the Soup.

And from the Herald Diary again, "Former Scots Tory leader David McLetchie has always been a firm supporter of the Union. Imagine, then, his horror, when at a dinner to celebrate Scotland Week in Ottawa, he was reassured that the man who masterminded Canada's Conservatives to their recent victory was firmly for Scottish independence. "His face was nearly in his soup," fellow diner Alex Neil MSP told The Diary."

You wouldn't want to eat a lot of meals in the company of Alex Neil MSP. Ruins the digestion.

Mr Salmon.

From the Herald Diary, "Politics is hard work. Honest: a councillor in Aberdeen said so. Mind you, some of those jobs at the Town House come with perks. Take the Deputy Lord Provostship, a post currently held by a teenage university drop-out. The lad, Diary learns, also ranks as Master of Mortifications, which gives him the right to take the first salmon out of the Dee every season. The young councillor's name? John West."

Friday, 11 April 2008

Blues and twos.

"A POLICE marksman has been axed from the firearms squad for using a blue flashing light on his own car to get to work. Constable Scott Morrison, 40 - who has protected the Queen and Tony Blair - now faces further disciplinary action. He was shown the door after his inspector boss spotted the light on his dashboard as he arrived for work at Strathclyde Police's training centre at Jackton, near East Kilbride."

Not another bad cop?

Annie's Bar.

"THE bar in the House of Commons where Winston Churchill is reputed to have enjoyed a dram or two before engaging in parliamentary debate is to be turned into a deli serving sandwiches and smoothies."

Smoothies? Is nothing sacred? Is this progress?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Off the McLeish.

So former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish shows no signs of letting up in his one man campaign at causing the Scottish Labour Party leadership as much embarrassment as possible, this time by endorsing SNP plans for a referendum on Scottish independence, despite it being opposed by Labour in Scotland.

"FORMER Labour First Minister Henry McLeish has said Scotland's future should eventually be resolved with a referendum on independence. But the ex-MP and MSP said that a snap poll – as proposed by Scotland's richest man Sir Tom Hunter – would be a mistake, insisting that there first needed to be a major UK-wide debate about the future of the Union. His comments come as a new poll this weekend reveals 65% of voters in Scotland believe there should be a referendum vote within the next two years."

Two thirds of Scots support a referendum, so what is the problem with having one?


From Drumlanrig, "Pat McFadden, the Paisley-born Post Offices minister, has an unusual middle name – Bosco. He omits to mention the name in Dod's, the main parliamentary directory, but it does appear in Wikipedia. However, the website link to Bosco leads to a piece about an Irish TV cartoon character, popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The website describes Bosco as "a small red-haired puppet with bright red cheeks and indeterminate gender". The puppet lives in a box and only leaves it to go to on trips to the zoo or a local factory. But, just to clear up any confusion, Drumlanrig can reveal that although McFadden shares the puppet's ginger colouring, his Catholic parents named him after Saint John Bosco – an Italian priest."

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Grapes of Wrath?

"SCOTTISH Secretary Des Browne today launches an astonishing personal attack on Alex Salmond, accusing him of living in a "parallel universe" and of abusing his position to create rifts with Westminster rather than governing the country. "

Des Browne's comments smack of nothing more than very sour grapes. Isn't what Alex Salmond is up to exactly what politics as we currently know it in this country is all about?

On Expenses.

Courtesy of Drumlanrig again, "One of the biggest problems in the row over MPs' expenses is the lack of written rules. But one Scottish MP told Drumlanrig he had discovered that one thing for which members cannot claim is funeral wreaths. And another, Norman Baker, was furious to discover that a couple of his requests had been refused. "It's absurd that you can be reimbursed for buying a goldfish bowl, while my claims for a bicycle and a computer – things that help me with my work – were turned down," the MP harrumphed."

Tartan Day.

"THE three rivals in the US presidential race have thrown their weight behind national Tartan Day in America. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Republican John McCain, have all endorsed the annual celebration of Scottish-American links."

Good for them, but is it just Mr Smith or have the Tartan Day celebrations been downgraded ... marching down Sixth Avenue rather than Fifth Avenue, the traditional route for "national marches," and on a Saturday rather than a Sunday.

Every nationality gets to walk down Fifth Avenue, but not the Scots this year. Why?

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Envelope.

"THE controversial Barnett Formula – which allocates spending increases to the various parts of the UK – was drawn up "almost on the back of an envelope", it emerged last night. Lord Joel Barnett, the former Labour minister who devised the Barnett Formula in the 1970s, used an interview with Holyrood magazine to repeat his call for the formula to be reviewed. Lord Barnett said: "I have nothing against Scots but they have to examine how much money they get and why."The real danger in not doing anything is that people in England will begin to be so angry about it that they will do what Alex Salmond wants them to do and press for a break-up of the UK."

Is it just Mr Smith or is seeking to use the existence of the Barnett Formula which was introduced as a tool to reinforce cohesion across the UK by trying to allocate public spending on a "fairer basis", to now raise concerns about an English backlash against it ... sort of contradictory? The Barnett Foruma cannot be all things to all people ... whatever its merits or demerits.

My enemy's enemy is not always my friend.

Computer Says "No."

Mr Smith reads that "SCOTTISH Parliament bosses have been inundated with complaints from MSPs about Holyrood's IT system just months after they boasted of saving millions on a new contract. Some politicians have been finding it almost impossible to log into the parliament's computer system when working from home or their constituency offices."

The Scottish Parliament having performance problems with a multi-million contract which it has negotiated. Naw. It would never happen.

Young Love.

Mr Smith sees that MSP couple Claire and Richard Baker have been given a new nickname by the Wholly Rude section of Holyrood magazine ... "Clichard Baker ... everywhere holding hands and smooching and being generally sickening."

Good to see that at least some of our elected representatives have managed to strike a good work/life balance ... albeit by life-ing during the time they should be work-ing.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Rat Fans.

So, "AS the epicentre of skullduggery at Holyrood, the MSPs' restaurant and bar is certainly no stranger to the odd pest or two. But now the once-exclusive bar has fallen foul of council hygiene inspectors after they found evidence of mice. Scottish Parliament officials have been ordered to rectify the situation by employing pest control teams."

Really ironic. That the restaurant used by law makers, also shows they are themselves law breakers. The one consolation is that hardly anybody uses it.

Bad Cops.

Even more of them ....

"TWO policemen were yesterday found guilty of lying to frame a law student and his friend. Community officers Neil Jones, 35, and Andrew MacRobert, 28, claimed William Reid and Callum McCaig were shouting and swearing in the street after a night out and charged them with breach of the peace."

They are bad cops. Sadly not the only ones.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Admit One.

So, "THE cost of taking a guided tour of the Scottish Parliament went up again. Adult visitors to the £414 million Holyrood building must now pay £6 a time for the tour, compared to a previous charge of £5. The concessionary price for under-16s, over-60s, students, unemployed and disabled people, went up from £3 to £3.60, and a family ticket from £15.20 to £18."

Mr Smith advises anyone who wants to visit the Scottish Parliament to contact their MSP, or indeed one of the nine MSPs that represent them, and ask them if they would be prepared to show a constituent around Holyrood - you will save a fortune. They might even buy you a cup of coffee and a biscuit.

Fool's Gold.

From the 1st April 2008 Lords Hansard, "Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: My Lords, on the subject of fool’s gold, can the Minister tell us how much less the deficit would be had the then Chancellor not sold our gold reserves at the bottom of the market? Can he also explain how this country, uniquely, has allowed borrowing to increase during the good times while our competitor nations have used the good times to reduce borrowing and are therefore better placed to deal with the current economic turbulence?"

Any tenuous connection will do with 1st April, but a serious question nonetheless.

The Bodyguards.

From the Herald Diary, "We hear that Defence Minister, and Celtic fan Des Browne escaped briefly from the Scottish Labour Party conference at Aviemore at the weekend with the mission to discover somewhere showing the Old Firm match. Accompanied by MSP Andy Kerr (Rangers) and Glasgow City Council leader Stephen Purcell (Celtic) and seven, yes seven, protection officers, he was taken to the bar of a golf club a few miles away where the game was indeed being shown. Strangely, as the protection officers with their earpieces and official demeanour spread out around the room, two of the chaps already in the bar looked at each other and rapidly exited the room, never to be seen again."

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Bottling it ...

"SCOTTISH ministers have been condemned by environmental campaigners for spending almost £200,000 a year on bottled water while insisting that Scottish Water should remain in public ownership. Figures obtained by The Sunday Times have revealed that ministers, staff and guests consumed more than 460,000 litres of bottled water last year despite assurances that Scottish tap water is among the best in the world."

The recent announcement by the Scottish Government that it was to stop using bottled water is of course totally unrelated to the fact that the Sunday Times was pursuing this information using Freedom of Information requests. The publication of the story has already had an effect.

Will Glasgow City Council follow their lead?