Thursday, 30 October 2008

Homesick Blues.

"SNP candidate Peter Grant was branded "half-hearted" for saying he would quit as an MP after just five years. The Nats' candidate for Glenrothes said he would be "homesick" after five years at Westminster, if he is elected. He also believes Scotland will be independent by then and have no MPs at Westminster."

It will be interesting to see if Mr Grant is right, and more to the point whether the voters of Glenrothex will give him the chance to be homesick.

King Of Freebies?

And Mr Smith is reminded of more of the previous form of the new Secretary of State for Scotland Mr Jim Murphy MP.

"Anti-obesity campaigners, including a government adviser, have criticised the MPs, MSPs and members of the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies who accepted £15,000 of hospitality from the fast-food giant to attend the event in Cardiff. They were put up in the £250-a-night Marriott hotel, where they were treated to a lavish dinner and a free bar in the company of former footballers, including Kenny Dalglish and Sir Geoff Hurst. The politicians were also given complimentary tickets to the Community Shield match between Manchester United and Arsenal, all courtesy of McDonald’s. The day before, they took part in an inter-parliamentary competition in which they wore T-shirts emblazoned with the company’s golden arches logo. Preparations are under way for a similar event at this year’s Community Shield. The parliamentary teams included Frank McAveety, the sports minister, Robin Harper, the Green MSP, and Jim Murphy, the Scots MP and a vegetarian, dubbed “the King of freebies” at Westminster. Murphy was one of 24 members of the all-party football team who accepted a £25,000 trip to Euro 2004 in Portugal as guests of McDonald’s earlier this month. The hospitality package included return flights, accommodation at a four-star hotel, free meals and drinks and tickets to England’s opening match against France."

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Un-Sportsmanlike Behaviour.

Surely our elected representatives should be setting a much higher standard?

"A TEAM of MSPs was branded "an absolute disgrace" after a football match in which they were involved was called off when tempers boiled over. The match at Lesser Hampden in Glasgow on Sunday was stopped after about 55 minutes when the game threatened to descend into a mass brawl following a number of contentious challenges between the politicians and their opponents, a team of sports journalists."

And one of them was Chic Young. Well ... that might mske their actions understandable, even if not excuseable.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


"IT might not have quite the same cachet as a personally-signed Christmas card from Scarlett Johanssen or George Clooney. But many people are pleased to receive festive greetings from their MSP – a special card from Holyrood, if not Hollywood. However, Scottish Parliament bosses have now decided to scrap the exclusive Christmas cards which MSPs can buy to send to their friends and contacts after a drop in sales. "

Mr Smith always used to look forward to receiving his MSP Christmas card, but if nothing else it will stop Murdo Fraser MSP this year coming out with his perennial complaint about the Scottish Parliament authorities taking the religious aspects out of the design for the cards.

Bah humbug to one an all.

Scotland For Obama.

Good to see that Scotland is playing such a prominent part in the Obama 08 campaign.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Blog Off.

When is a blog not a blog? When access to it is by "invitation" only .

Mr Smith sees that Scottish Labour Party hackette, PATSY, and putative candidate for the Glenrothes by-election Kezia Dugdale has turned her blog into a "friends only" website using the new facilities offered by eblogger.

Each to their own Kezia, but whatever happened to the battle of ideas? Mr Smith sees the white flag fluttering ...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Losing Poll Position.

"SUPPORT for the Scottish National party has plummeted following criticism of Alex Salmond’s handling of the international financial crisis. A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals the SNP has lost its lead over Labour at Westminster as voters back Gordon Brown to lead Scotland out of the downturn. The results suggest the nationalists now face an uphill battle to win the Glenrothes seat from Labour in next month’s by-election."

The shape of things to come perhaps? But more fundamentally perhaps Scottish voters see the merits of being part of a bigger country during the tough times around the corner?

Separated At Birth?

Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott MSP ... and an eagle.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Honesty Pays ...

... Except it seems amongst Edinburgh's Councillors.

"TIGHT-FISTED councillors are still burdening taxpayers with the cost of their lunches after refusing to put money in an "honesty box" at the City Chambers. Figures revealed to the Evening News show that a shortfall of more than £900 has been run up in just the past five months."

They're dodgy.

Cop That.

"A CIVILIAN worker stole £120,000 from a police station - then buried it in his garden. But Robert Moffat, 43, was caught after embarking on a massive spending spree. He splashed out on a new bathroom, a motorbike, a car and a holiday. The cash had been seized as evidence in a drugs case then left in a hold-all at Hamilton police station. Moffat, 43, worked in the production room there. But it took months for cops to realise the huge stash of cash was missing."

At least the cops got him in the end, but if did take them months. Does that make them bad cops?

Trivial Pursuits.

Fresh from unanimously backing proposals for the creation of a register of Scottish tartans, it would appear that Members of the Scottish Parliament are now forming an orderly queue to pursue a range of other worthy and equally meaningless gesture political causes at Holyrood.

"THE world-famous Stornoway black pudding could be given European protection to stop imitations. An MSP is seeking a protected designation order for the marag dubh, as it is known in Gaelic. If successful, only butchers on the Isle of Lewis will be able to make it. The pudding, a favourite of celebrity chefs, is traditionally made in Stornoway. Each firm uses its own secret recipe. But butchers in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been selling their own versions as Stornoway black pudding. Labour's Highlands and Islands MSP Peter Peacock is hoping to get the support of the Scottish parliament for an approach to Europe's Agricultural and Rural Development Directorate."

World-famous? Come on give us a break.

"NATIONALIST MSP Christine Grahame is leading a campaign to repatriate the body of Mary, Queen of Scots, from Westminster Abbey."

Come on. Do MSPs really have nothing better to do with their time than this trivia?

Friday, 24 October 2008

The Youth Parly.

For those of you who missed them, more shenanigans from our largely self-appointed and largely irrelevant Members of Scotland's Youth Parliament (MSYPs).

"The Edinburgh chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament has reportedly been suspended after an alcohol-fuelled party. The story emerged just days after the SYP beat government plans to stop serving alcohol to under-21s in off licences. It is understood that SYP chairman Kieran Collins, 24, a law student, (not pictured) was suspended along with a colleague for causing a disturbance in a hotel last month, after a two-day conference in Hamilton."

What again exactly is the point of the Scottish Youth Parliament? The official version of what happened in Hamilton is on the SYP website.

But interestingly in the organisations's set of accounts for 2006-7, they state "The total incoming resources for the period were £658,145 (2006: £265,224) and the total outgoing resources were £323,048 (2006: £242,026) resulting in a net operating surplus of £335,097 (2006: surplus £23,198)." This is one Parly that seems to be very big business for all those involved.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Illiberal Democrat.

And another dodgy Councillor to boot.

"CITY education leader Marilyne MacLaren has been rebuked by the council's chief executive for "exceeding her authority" by banning a parent from a public forum. The move comes as the parent involved rejected an apology from the education leader."

Not so Liberal. Whatever happened to free speech?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Allegedly ... A Bad Cop.

"AN ISLAND'S only policeman has been charged with two sex attacks and a string of gun offences. Special constable Patrick MacKinnon, 47, was arrested by colleagues on Canna."

And innocent until proven guilty. Bad cop?

Cop That Again.

No fewer than three stories on one day which give a remarkable insight into the priorities and operational practices of the small bad percentage of Scotland's police. Although, given the number of cops involved, Mr Smith is beginning to wonder just how bad things actually are amongst Scotland's boys and girls and blue.

Number One: "Six police officers have been removed from their duties as part of an investigation by their force, it emerged last night. Five uniformed officers and one detective officer from Lothian and Borders Police have been ordered not to come into work."

Number Two: "Scotland's biggest police force has been strongly criticised for taking five years to deal with a complaint against one of its officers. In a report to be published today, Jim Martin, Police Complaints Commissioner in Scotland, says the complainer was treated badly by the force and questions whether this was through "maladministration, incompetence or a desire to avoid thorough investigation of his complaint".

Number Three: "A Scottish police force failed to investigate a claim that some of its officers were influenced by the Freemasons, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland rules today. The finding by Jim Martin relates to a long-running case involving two members of the public and Northern Constabulary."

Mr Blue Peter.

Mr Smith reads courtesy of Drumlanrig that one of Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray's claims to fame is that he is the holder of a Blue Peter badge. Allegedly, the only MSP to do so.

Is there no limit to Iain's talents?

But what did he get it for?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Finger Lincoln Good.

Mr Smith has a genuine interest in all things American, especially when they relate to Scotland. He was therefore interested to read of the latest academic study which attributes the motivation of US President Abraham Lincoln to Scottish poet Robert Burns.

"HE IS Scotland's national bard, whose timeless verse is venerated around the globe. But now it has been claimed that the stirring words of Robert Burns exerted such influence that they played a key role in helping Abraham Lincoln win the American civil war and abolish slavery.New research has revealed that the egalitarian political views and rousing oratory of the iconic US president stemmed from his lifelong love of the ploughman poet.A leading American academic has claimed that Lincoln could recite Burns' work by heart and yearned to visit his Ayrshire birthplace – and that the Scot's passion for social justice fuelled the US leader's crusade to emancipate African-Americans."

All very interesting, but Mr Smith thinks if it hadn't been for the imminent American Presidential election this story would never have seen the light of day.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Shrink Wrapped.

Mr Smith asks what is the significance, if any, of the fact that in the latest edition of Holyrood magazine which is published to coincide with the SNP's Perth Conference that on the page opposite the Conference welcome by SNP Leader Alex Salmond MSP is an advert by the British Psychological Society entitled, "Psychology can help you ... make better decisions."

Subliminal advertising or what? Are you thinking what he is thinking?

Murphy's Law.

Given Mr Murphy's recent appointment as Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Smith is reminded of a story detailing an incidence of the breaking of parliamentary rules by Mr Murphy in the run up to the 2005 General Election. Perhaps an insight into Mr Murphy's direct approach to Scottish politics as befits a former "Special Prokects" officer for the Scottish Labour Party.

"Jim Murphy, the Labour MP for Eastwood, used public funds to promote Labour’s record in government to the Islamic community in East Renfrewshire, amid fears of an anti-Labour backlash over the war in Iraq. Murphy, who is responsible for ensuring high personal standards among other MPs, admitted breaking the rules after a rival SNP candidate reported the matter to House of Commons authorities. Following an inquiry, he was forced to refund the cost of the Commons stationery and first-class post-paid envelopes that he had used."

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Self Defence?

"A POLICEMAN has admitted to a court that he argued with bouncers, tried to punch one of them and spat in the street after being refused entry to a nightclub. PC Graeme Key, 36, said he swore at steward Elliot McLaren and spat before leaving Glasgow's Bamboo nightclub. He also said he lashed out at John Hodgson as he was being restrained, claiming it was in self-defence. The officer told the court that his life had been "put on hold" for the last two years after he was suspended from the force after the incident."

Was he a bad cop?

Auditing ... The World.

This is the kind of bare faced cheek and double standards which Mr Smith must admire even whilst highlighting it.

"THE WATCHDOG in charge of safeguarding public money has been accused of having its own junket culture after staff enjoyed dozens of lavish foreign trips. Audit Scotland employees have travelled to Majorca, Paris and the Swiss Alps to pick up tips on financial probity."

Plain Stupid.

It looks like the environ-MENTAL demonstrators are at it again. This time staging a noisy early morning protest targeting First Minister Alex Salmond, albeit that he wasn't around at the time.

Didn't they know the SNP's Conference was on?

"AIRPORT protesters tried to give Alex Salmond a wakeup call - and found out they were the dozy ones. The group turned up on Salmond's doorstep in Edinburgh in freezing cold at 4am and played ear-splitting noise on their stereo at 110 decibels, the same level as a jumbo jet taking off. But they later found out that the First Minister - who has the final say on plans to expand Edinburgh and Glasgow airports - was not in Bute House, his official residence."

Saturday, 18 October 2008


Remarkable insight into the world that our Government Ministers inhabit.

"POWER brings many perks, but a stuffed toy rat, curried mackerel and a papier mâché model of Alex Salmond were perhaps not what ministers would have put at the top of their wishlists. The gifts were among a treasure trove received by SNP ministers since the party came to power in May 2007.Mr Salmond, the First Minister, received signed football shirts, tea from India, cufflinks, a scarf, a collection of CDs, food and fish hampers from the House of Beauly and chocolates, all of which he gladly accepted."

Maybe they should just decline the gifts when they are proffered? Or even better make it clear they don't expect any gifts in the first place?

Golden Goodbye.

Mr Smith doesn't normally comment on matters beyond Scotland or the US, but even he is struck by the contradictions in the £1 million pay off for former EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson. Just as bankers are having to abandon their golden goodbyes and parachutes, it would appear that EU Commissioners are filling the gap.

"Peter Mandelson, the new Business Secretary, is in line for a £1m pay-off and pension package from Brussels after serving just four years as Britain's European Commissioner, The Observer can reveal. Mandelson is eligible for a 'golden goodbye' in addition to an annual salary of £104,386 as a cabinet minister in the House of Lords, under the EU's generous rules."

"Generous" is one way of putting it.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Hedgehogging The Limelight.

A serious point, but it reinforces the fact that some of our elected representatives will do just about anything to get in on some free publicity.

There are a lot of strange people attending SNP Conferences these days. And Mr Smith isn't just talking about the SNP's MSPs.

"BEMUSED SHOPPERS in Perth took an unusual piece of political lobbying in their stride yesterday when a six-foot hedgehog took to the streets. The hedgehog joined MSP Christine Grahame along with Advocates For Animals supporters to mark the start of the SNP’s four-day annual conference."


An example of the compensation society we all now inhabit, and another example of a former bad cop.

"A FORMER policewoman who claimed £1.5million damages for being hit by a pineapple was awarded just £3000 yesterday. A judge branded constable Tracey Ormsby, 37, a liar who consistently misled medical experts."

Thursday, 16 October 2008

No More Taxis For McLetchie.

Is it just Mr Smith or is this one change which seems to have been made without a lot of public scrutiny.

"SCOTTISH Parliament bosses have relaxed the rules on MSPs' taxi claims despite a history of rows and scandals. Under a new allowances scheme, Holyrood politicians will be able to claim back fares of up to £20 without providing justification. And tough sanctions to deal with MSPs who run up excessive bills have been scrapped."

This is a move which will spare many of our MSPs a lot of embarassment.

Union City Blues.

Interesting political developments following the £30 billion buyout of two "Scottish" banks by the UK Treasury and taxpayer.

Mr Smith isn't an economist, unlike Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MSP who used to work for RBS, one of the banks bailed out, but even he can see that the UK government covering a country ten times the size of one covered by a possible independent Scottish government would have an easier time coming up with £30 billion. Mr Salmond seems to be suggesting otherwise, but Mr Smith thinks that the current economic crisis has severely dented the SNP's plans for independence.

The last two week's have demonstrated more clearly than anything else the benefits of being part of the Union, whatever the downsides.

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday an independent Scotland could not have bailed out its struggling banks. He said the financial strength of the United Kingdom made a £37bn capital injection possible for banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS."

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Doggone It.

"The running mate of US Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been found guilty of an abuse of power, according to a state legislature probe. Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin was accused of sacking a senior state official over a family feud. But the McCain-Palin campaign team said that the report showed Mrs Palin acted within "proper and lawful authority".

Mr Smith thinks there is 'something of the night' about Governor Palin. And more worrying is the fact she could end up just a heart beat away from being President of the most powerful country in the world. Her actions don't sit well with her folksy image.


"THE SNP'S flagship plan for an independence referendum went through more than two dozen separate versions and is still a work-in-progress, ministers have admitted. Although only four pages long, the referendum chapter that appeared last August as part of Alex Salmond's National Conversation was repeatedly rewritten, going through 26 different drafts before being signed off with civil servants."

And who said gaining independence would be easy?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


It seems strange to Mr Smith that in the relatively new Scottish Parliament building that more money has to be spent to provide additional heating.

"THE controversial £414 million Scottish Parliament building was at the centre of a new row today after officials said they are to install extra heating in a committee room just four years after it opened. Complaints about the cold have prompted the parliament to call in workmen to rip up the floor of Committee Room 2 and fit additional under-floor radiators.But today one senior MSP said: "If anyone is feeling it chilly they can wear their jacket."


It's not the first time that SNP MSP Christopher Harvie has come out with a some rather strange comments.

"A NATIONALIST MSP branded popular children's programme Blue Peter "evil" and praised Adolf Hitler for being "imaginative". Professor Christopher Harvie, a list MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and well-known academic historian, made his comments during a debate on Scottish broadcasting yesterday in Holyrood."

But his outbursts are becoming even weirder and his behaviour even more erratic. What's he on?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Stone Me.

"ALMOST £1million of taxpayers' cash has been squandered on this secret mountain of unused granite for the Scottish Parliament. It was bought to cobble a historic road in front of Holyrood - but the project was scrapped and the stone has now been given away for FREE. The 400 giant crates of granite are now gathering dust in a field owned by a Tory baron's family."

The scandalous waste of public money around the construction of the £431 million Scottish Parliament building goes on.

V For Victory.

The former deputy prime minister John Prescott has been caught giving a two-fingered salute to SNP activists. SNP members had gathered at Glasgow's Central station to wave off the victor of the Glasgow East by-election, John Mason, as he set off to start his job. Scottish Labour said Mr Prescott had been showing his anger at the SNP breaking their "key election promises".

And the band played 'Believe it if you like' .... but it's all good fun.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Fag Packet.

"Tory MSPs were accused by a Scottish Government minister yesterday of drawing up a plan for temporary jails on the back of a “fag packet”. Communities Minister Fergus Ewing rejected a call to commandeer old hospitals or military bases to ease the strain on Scotland’s overstretched prisons."

Mr Smith is tempted to say that the SNP Government should know a lot about ideas dreampt up on the back of a fag packet. Witness their plans, rejected by the Scottish Parliament, for banning under twenty one year olds from being able to buy alcohol from off sales premises.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Bob A Job.

Mr Smith was intrigued to read of the return of political bob a job week with posh bloke Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott MSP packing customers' bags at an Edinburgh supermarket.

It is out of character for our elected representatives to make themselves so useful.

"SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott was visiting Asda at the Jewel today to talk to shoppers about the rising cost of living. He was due to help customers pack their shopping while hearing how they're coping with recent price hikes."

Friday, 10 October 2008

Man Marking.

There are already signs that the new full-time footie playing Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy is "man marking" the SNP controlled Scottish Government and Alex Salmond MSP.

Mr Smith thinks it is the shape of things to come. It is just a pity that Labour didn't do this sooner. If they had perhaps they would still be in power at Holyrood.

"British Airways has given assurances that further Scottish operations will not be affected after it announced plans to close a base in Glasgow. The company plans to shut down a cabin crew base, putting 130 jobs at risk. First Minister Alex Salmond met BA's chief executive Willie Walsh on Tuesday night and urged him to reconsider the move. Mr Salmond said it was unfair to axe "loyal, hard-working" staff while an efficiency drive was under way ... Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has written to Mr Walsh offering to enter into "constructive discussions."

Anything that Eck can do, Jim will try and do better.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Family Friendly.

Mr Smith thinks there has been a very big gap in the disclosure rules for MSPs ever since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament as regards MSPs employing members of their own families with minimal public scrutiny. Well, it would appear that the Scottish Parliamentary authorities are now acting to close the loop hole, but it won't apply to MSPs having to declare employing family members of other MSPs.

Mr Smith is aware of some MSPs that have employed each others spouses in the past.

"MSPs have been given 30 days to register details of any relatives working for them. The deadline is part of new rules on MSPs’ expenses that came into force yesterday. Under a revamp of the allowances to which MSPs are entitled, members must tell the Scottish Parliament authorities of any relative they employ. The requirement covers husbands, wives, civil partners and cohabitees, as well as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, brother, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces. It will not apply to MSPs who employ relatives of other MSPs."

Perhaps that loop hole should be closed as well, given that it clearly could influence the deliberations of one MSP in relation to the actions of another if they happened to employ a family member?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Not Jackin' It In.

So it would appear that after a year of deliberation, procrastination and delay, all for the convenience of the Scottish Labour Party in avoiding a by-election, that Jack McConnell MSP won't now be heading off to be British Commissioner to Malawi until 2011. Just last year he was billed as being uniquely qualified to fill and one that our Jack was honoured to have, but obviously now not until 2011.

If there is one thing more likely to upset the voters than "fixing" a government job for a politician simply to avoid a by-election then Mr Smith would like to know what it is. The whole thing brings politics in Scotland and the UK into nothing short of disrepute. But can Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, wait another couple of years before it benefits from our Jack's unique skill set?

"JACK McConnell's planned departure from Holyrood has been put on hold by Gordon Brown, ensuring that Labour will avoid a bruising by-election struggle against the SNP. McConnell will not be sent to Malawi as the UK's High Commissioner until after the next Scottish elections in 2011, and is instead be made a personal envoy to Brown, working in the developing world. McConnell had been due to leave for Malawi next year, which would have triggered a by-election in his Motherwell and Wishaw seat. But now he will stay in the seat, while taking on the one-day-a-week job for Brown."

Everybody's Doing It ...

... Every body's writing a blog.

"NEW Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy today launched an official blog in a bid to promote a dialogue with the public. In his first posting, he promised he would use his new post to defend Scotland's interests at the highest levels and work with anyone who wanted to advance those interests, but warned he would also "vigorously oppose ideas and actions that will damage Scotland and her people".

Now that Jim's doing one ... Mr Smith is thinking of retiring his.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Even More Bad Cops?

There doesn't seem to be a shortage of them at the moment ... allegedly.

"A POLICEMAN appeared in court yesterday charged with drugs offences and perverting the course of justice.
PC Christopher McGinn, 28, appeared in private at Haddington Sheriff Court. In court with him was David Gare, 27, of Musselburgh, who was charged with drugs offences. Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that McGinn, of Prestonpans, was one of their officers and that he had been suspended from duty. Both men made no plea and were remanded in custody. They will appear again on Monday. The case comes just days after the Record revealed that the police officer son of one of Scotland's leading cops has been suspended after a drugs probe. Craig Flowers, whose dad Norrie is head of the Scottish Police Federation, was quizzed over a string of alleged offences which are believed to involve cocaine."

That's two more bad cops ... allegedly.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Dodgy Councillor?

Perhaps another one, it's looking a bit dodgy?

"A Highland councillor is understood to be at the centre of an investigation into allegations of fraud. John Holden, who represents Inverness South, is a member of the council's ruling Labour administration. Police officers and staff from the Department for Work and Pensions and Highland Council benefits team searched a house in Inverness on Monday. Northern Constabulary said a man has been questioned in relation to the investigation. No-one has been charged."

Interestingly enough, in his current Register of Interests declaration, Councillor Holden lists "09/05/08: Recieved a gift of 2 bottles of Moet Chardon Champagne which was left at the back door by Skye Express with no note or details available of who sent them." Hmmmm.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Meal Deals.

Mr Smith thinks it would have been cheaper to head down to KFC.

"ALEX Salmond spent nearly £10,000 on formal dinners in the first half of this year, hiring some of his favourite caterers in the process, it emerged yesterday. A parliamentary reply showed that the First Minister held six dinners at Bute House, his official residence, between 1 January and 1 July.Centotre restaurant in Edinburgh, which Mr Salmond has been known to frequent in the past, catered once, at a cost of £1,603. ady Claire Macdonald did the catering for a dinner following the Royal Garden Party for £3,272, and Valvona and Crolla, the Italian specialists, charged £2,010 for a dinner for US congressional representatives."

It's good to see that in these times of economic austerity our elected representatives are up for setting a lead.

Finger lickin' good.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Eric the Speed King.

The Labour MP for Falkirk has not been setting a very good example to his constituents.

"... Eric Joyce, has been banned from driving for six months after speeding on the M9. Mr Joyce, 47, who is private secretary to the Business Secretary, John Hutton, pleaded guilty by letter this week at Falkirk District Court to driving at 81mph on the motorway near Bo'ness, West Lothian, on 4 April. A spokeswoman for the district court said yesterday he was fined £105, and had threepoints endorsed on his licence, which took him over the 12-point limit at which a ban."

Obviously not his first offence then.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Top Trumps.

Mr Smith always was a big fan of Top Trumps in his youth, but he is not sure how it translates to fun facts about our politicians.

"ALEX Salmond, Gordon Brown and David Cameron are just some of the names who will be waiting to see if they are truly top trumps in politics following the launch of a special set of the popular card game. The cards, titled Top Trumps Politicos, feature 30 of the country’s most influential politicians and have been released as a promotional item for this year’s conference season."

Puritan Dead Brilliant.

So the Scottish Government were defeated on their plans to ban under twenty year olds from being able to buy alcohol in off sales. Brilliant news for anyone who is tired of the march of the Puritans in Scotland.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Get A Life

Courtesy of Drumlanrig, "How do our highly-paid politicians spend their Saturday? Yesterday, Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray issued a press release calling Alex Salmond's team of economic wise men to meet in public. In it, he referred to how the meeting was being held in Dumfries – when in fact it was being held in Dumfries House, in Cumnock. Salmond's aides seized on the error, issuing their own counter press release, mocking Gray's "blunder", claiming he was just as "gaffe-prone" as Wendy Alexander. Meanwhile, in the real world, the global financial crisis thundered on."

Remarkable insight into the world inhabited by our politicians and their bag carriers. People are losing their jobs, the taxpayer is getting dug deeper and deeper into financial red holes and all our politicians can do is email press releases back and forward to each other. They really need to get a life.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Tufty Club.

And from Drumlanrig again, "A new conflict of interest scandal has hit Holyrood. Our tribunes decided to devote an hour or so the other evening to the plight of the red squirrel, which is fast being chased out of town by its larger grey cousin. Tory backbencher Alex Johnstone – whose recent diet suggests he doesn't eat much more than the occasional rodent – waded into battle on behalf of the little red things. However, before speaking, he declared: "I want to ensure that all members are aware of my childhood membership of the Tufty club. I do not say that entirely frivolously because it shows that, for many of us, the red squirrel is a cultural icon of which we should be proud."A cultural icon? What animal does Johnstone see on the Scottish Royal Standard?"

Stating The Obvious.

Straight from the school of stating the bleeding obvious.

"THE former first minister of Northern Ireland, Lord Trimble, has accused Alex Salmond of trying to inflame people of every part of the United Kingdom in order to destroy the Union."

Naw. Never.