Drumlanrig: Angus Robertson’s secret past

Larry Hagman as JR Ewing. Picture: BBC

Larry Hagman as JR Ewing. Picture: BBC

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SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson has had a good week, after landing the role as his party’s campaign director for next year’s general election.

But the Moray MP, who is also his party’s defence spokesman, revealed hidden depths this week, when he said he had once nearly been called up for international rugby duty.

But it wasn’t Scotland who were after Robertson’s rugby skills. The Scottish nationalist was actually called up for training by the Austrian national side, during his time working as a journalist for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.

JR Ewing crack knocks Stetson off oil minister

The North Sea oil crisis last week saw the SNP’s energy minister Fergus Ewing having to answer questions on its plummeting price.

Ewing’s performance in the Holyrood chamber prompted Labour’s Neil Findlay to reflect on Fergus’s namesake JR Ewing, the ruthless oil tycoon played by Larry Hagman (left) in the US soap Dallas.

Criticising the SNP’s oil price estimates, Findlay remarked that the SNP politician “may be a Ewing”, but is “certainly no JR”.

Ewing, who comes from his own political dynasty, seemed rather hurt by the remark as he expressed his admiration for TV’s late lamented baddie JR.

“I always had a soft spot for JR,” Ewing remarked ruefully.

Will Nicola’s cup runneth over (she’s out of practice)?

The fact that SNP backbenchers have been tasked with providing glasses of water for their colleagues on the front bench of the Holyrood chamber has provided some amusement for their rivals.

One particularly loyal “waterboy” has been Fiona MacLeod MSP. So her promotion to Nicola Sturgeon’s ministerial team begged the question of who would take over her duties. When asked about the issue by the Tory Jackson Carlaw, Sturgeon announced a major policy change. “Since my appointment as First Minister, I have tried very hard to do things differently, and today I have taken the decision – and I hope that my ministerial colleagues will bear with me on this – that I am going to start getting my own water,” Sturgeon said, before adding that she hoped her ministers would follow her example.

It’s Hogmanay, Jim, but not as we know it

Jim Murphy’s unScottish lifestyle (he’s a vegetarian, teetotaller) has been the cause of much comment. Yesterday, he explained that he actually aspired to be a vegan (someone who doesn’t eat anything with animal products). His love of milk chocolate, however, was thwarting his ambition.

On his relationship with the booze, Murphy explained that he had not taken a drink since he made a New Year’s resolution to give up in the 1980s.

It was a “lifestyle choice” rather than because he was overdoing it, he explained.

“It’s not unnatural not to want to get pissed,” Murphy said – a sentiment that might struggle to find favour when the clocks strike 12 on Hogmanay.

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