Unspun: the political diary | HeraldScotland

THIS week’s splurge of data from the Electoral Commission revealed some fascinating nuggets about the Holyrood vote. Scottish Labour spent £13,000 on advice from Ruth Davidson’s former spindoctor, Eddie Barnes. Which must have been particularly galling for Anas Sarwar’s actual spindoctor, who got paid less. Holyrood PR legend Alan ‘Red’ Roden bagged a paltry £10,597 after giving “strategic advice”, communications support and other services in the campaign. Mr Roden also bought the rights to the betteropposition.scot domain for his masters. The website is currently “not secure”,  does nothing, and describes itself as “parked”. Not unlike Scottish Labour…

Shirley not?

EDUCATION Secretary Shirley Anne-Somerville had a torrid week after her plan to blow £300k chopping the bottoms off doors to help ventilate classrooms was widely ridiculed. Still, she had more luck on Tuesday as she updated MSPs on this year’s approach to exams. Her awful grammar when unscripted – “The rationale for all the decisions has been went through… the direct feedback that’s came from pupils… the SQA have went around this with due consideration” – was magically corrected in the Official Report. If only pupils sitting their tests had such help.

Grubby business

LIPSMACKING copy in this week’s Holyrood magazine, as MSPs shared their thoughts on food. Labour MSP and proud socialist Claire Baker raved about going to “one of my first Michelin starred restaurants”, while saying “hell” is an oiky fried egg with tomato ketchup. Her party colleague Rhoda Grant offered a top tip for Maltesers – put them in the fridge “so that the chocolate breaks off”. While Tory Rachael Hamilton said she hates sweetbreads. “My husband orders calves testicles at Au Petit Comptoir in Reims,” she shuddered. “He took one look at it and tried to convince me it was what I ordered.” He was lucky to keep what the calf lost.

Memory gloss

SOME top revisionism from Alba leader Alex Salmond this week as he called on the Scottish Government to freeze council tax. “In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, I led a Government that faced a similar [cost of living] challenge,” he declared. “When Scottish households were facing the prospect of being forced into poverty, my Government acted to protect their income.” Really? History inconveniently records that Mr Salmond only froze council tax as stop-gap so he could replace it with a local income tax. He then gave up in 2009 because his big idea was a complete dog. The SNP went on to keep the freeze for the best part of a decade because they, er, didn’t know what else to do, and so the tax is with us still. Such leadership!

Grave mistake

HOLYROOD mag also had a fascinating piece on the noirish muscial tastes of cadaverous Tory MSP Liam Kerr. His go-to karaoke tune may be Summer Nights from Grease, but his true loves are ageing goths The Sisters of Mercy. He even named their Bury Me Deep as an appropriate tune for his funeral, as it would be “depressing and presumably bring everyone down”. He’s vaguer on other key life events, however. Asked to name the first dance at his wedding, he replied: “I can’t remember. Fly Me To The Moon?” If Mrs Kerr reads that, his funeral anthem may be sooner than he thinks.

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