DESPITE his lifelong battle against the tyranny of “London rule”, it is a well-known fact that Alex Salmond doesn’t half enjoy the high-level gossip and glamour that is offered by the UK capital.
His jolly last week saw him giving a speech to foreign journalists on a Scottish constitution. Quite why this needed to be addressed to them and not an audience at home is puzzling. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that he then headed for a highly sought-after dinner with members of the Thirty Club, an influential private London dining club made up of advertising and media gurus who like to invite public figures to hold secretive no-holds-barred tête-à-têtes, usually over dinner and drinks at Claridge’s. Recent invitees included Prince William and Princess Kate.
Everything that is said within the four walls of the club’s private room stays there – naturally. It begs the question: what is it that Salmond feels able to share with London’s elite that is off-limits to the poor voters back in Scotland?
Hoping two wrongs might make him right?
You can’t accuse George, now Lord, Robertson of not persevering with a point. Many moons ago, when shadow Scottish secretary early in the Blair era, it was Robertson who declared that the advent of a devolved Scottish Parliament would ensure that Scottish nationalism was left “stone dead”.
With Alex Salmond now in his sixth year as First Minister and a referendum on independence next year, events have rather challenged that view. But Lord Robertson is unbowed. In a debate in the House of Lords last week on the referendum, the former Nato secretary general piped up: “Those people who suggested that devolution would kill nationalism or the SNP stone dead have yet to be proved wrong.” It is only a matter of time, you see.
No-one rises to the MP for West Berlin’s bait
Labour MP Ian Davidson is unlikely ever to win a shrinking violet competition. During the Westminster debate on the referendum last week, the staunch Unionist elaborated on his defence of the Union. If his Pollok constituency in Glasgow voted No in the referendum while the rest of Scotland voted Yes, he argued it should be allowed to become a West Berlin within the UK.
“Home rule for Govan,” he declared, “should be encouraged.” Later, Davidson made a fuss about leaving the chamber, having been put out by the fact that no SNP MP had listened to him. With a straight face, deputy speaker Nigel Evans said: “Each of us will have to come to terms in our own way with your absence”.