UNIVERSITY Challenge has embarrassed many a callow student over the years, but it appears that some greybeards can expect an embarrassment next week.
In a special edition of the quiz programme, alumni of Stirling University were offered the chance to take on graduates at Oxford’s St Hugh’s College – to be broadcast on 27 December. Among Stirling’s eggheads were Cabinet minister Richard Lochhead and former editor of The Scotsman and this paper John McLellan. The result is not yet known, but Stirling’s skipper, the chief scientific adviser to the Scottish Government Muffy Calder, has already declared that “I don’t think it was my finest moment”. We wait with bated breath to see whether Stirling’s honour is maintained.
Don’t bother putting Thatcher Day in diary
THE cultural divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK has been shown up in a new proposal by Tory MPs at Westminster to designate the English August bank holiday Thatcher Day. The idea is contained in a bill laid out at Westminster which suggests the nation joins together for a day to mark its, ahem, appreciation of the late PM. Perhaps aware that adulation for Mrs T doesn’t quite extend across the country, the bill makes clear that it would only apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Just as well.
Another fine mess as sheriff scolds drinker
ON A state visit to the Scottish Parliament last week, the redoubtable Sheriff Norrie Stein scolded an upstart in the Holyrood bar who asked him if he would like “another drink”.
As a young man, the good sheriff had learned that to ask a drinking companion if he wanted “another drink” was the height of rudeness, because the phrase implied an alcoholic bout of epic proportions. The correct form, which the sheriff is something of an expert in, was to ask someone if they would like “a drink”, regardless of how much had been consumed. Duly reprimanded, the upstart corrected himself by asking the sheriff if he would like “a drink”. “Yes, please,” answered Stein, before the upstart ruined things with his follow-up remark. “What would you like – same again?”
Something fishy about debate? Just ask Stewart
THE SNP’s man for all seasons, Stewart Stevenson has revealed that he is a devotee of that most English author P G Wodehouse and of the intelligence-boosting properties of fish. Before speaking in a high-faluting debate on Fisheries Negotiations, Stevenson noted that Bertie Wooster insisted that Jeeves ate fish “when a particularly knotty problem had to be dealt with”. “So I naturally had fish for my dinner today in the canteen in preparation for the debate,” the politician added.