Drumlanrig: Danny, Champion of the Glens

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Picture: PA

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Picture: PA

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DANNY Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, is gearing up for the May elections, as the latest issue of his newsletter Talk of The Glens dropping through the letterboxes of his constituents proves. And a right riveting read it is, too.

Judging by the tributes to his activities as an MP – “Danny helped with a visa for our pregnant daughter-in-law”...“Danny was very helpful when I wanted to upgrade our local post office” – he is clearly a man to be reckoned with. There’s even a focus on Danny’s dad, Di, whose family home on Colonsay had no mains electricity and relied on old diesel generators. Shades of Dad’s Army’s Private Frazer on the “wild and lonely island of Barra”. Also in the newsletter is a mouth-watering recipe for “Danny’s Sausage and Butternut Squash Stew” – presumably washed down by a glass or three of “Ginger Rodent”, the Cairngorm Brewery beer named after Danny following Harriet Harman’s unkind description of him at a Labour Party Scottish conference. «

Sturgeon’s new look

ACCORDING to those who claim to know about such things, Nicola Sturgeon’s move to Bute House has been accompanied by a revamp of her image. Throughout her political career the new First Minister has been immaculately turned out. Now, however, there is a certain je ne sais quoi about her look that has even had grizzled columnists in Scotland commenting on the time and effort put into her appearance. Her makeover has not gone unnoticed by the metropolitan media either. On a recent trip to London, a journalist noticed her “plum jacket, saucy shoes and hefty make-up”.

Her reaction was to remark that “David Cameron wears as much make-up as I do”.

Honesty is best policy for Balls

ED BALLS will face dealing with some of the most difficult financial decisions of any politician if Labour wins May’s election and he is installed as Chancellor.

But the party’s big hitter found himself flummoxed in Edinburgh during some intense questioning from a particularly persistent, earnest and erudite member of the Scottish Parliamentary press pack, who was going through the various scenarios a minority Labour government faced. The bamboozling permutations posed by the questioner were so complex that Balls (right) sought solace in the politician’s last resort – an honest answer. “I’m not sure if I’m clever enough to answer that,” he said.

Jolly good sports in the running for election ruck

THE sporting success of Scottish politicians is wide-ranging and impressive. From the Tory Liz Smith’s international caps for cricket to the Green Alison Johnstone (an athletics coach and formerly a highly competitive runner), the Scottish political scene has a number of athletic types.

Coming up hard on the bend is Brian Whittle (right), the former international sprinter and European Championship gold medallist, who is standing in Central Ayrshire for the Conservatives. With former Olympic sprinter Ming Campbell retiring from the Commons in May, it is perhaps too late for them to form a Westminster veterans’ relay team.

The Conservatives have another candidate with the potential to challenge the rugby prowess of the SNP’s Angus Robertson. Legend has it that Robertson was once nearly called up for training with the Austrian rugby side.

Alexander Burnett, the Tory candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, actually represented Azerbaijan in the Dubai Rugby Sevens in 2000.

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