Drumlanrig: Holyrood press corps weathers Neil’s wit

Alex Neil. Picture: Robert Perry
Alex Neil. Picture: Robert Perry
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A group of parliamentary journalists went for a swift lunchtime pint (a rare event – it was somebody’s birthday) in the Holyrood Bar last week.

In wandered the ebullient Health Secretary Alex Neil. “It’s a lovely day, you lot should be outside. Look at the wonderful weather that the Scottish Government has arranged for you,” Neil said.

Noticing a few raised eyebrows, Neil quickly added: “Mind you – when it rains, weather becomes a reserved (to Westminster) matter.”

Dey scores a bogey for Ryder Cup history

As a Carnoustie man, the SNP MSP Graeme Dey is a keen golfer. That was reflected in a thoughtful speech he made during a debate welcoming the return of the Ryder Cup to Scotland next year. His eloquent contribution waxed lyrical about the traditional sporting values and competitiveness fostered by the match between the elite players of Europe and America.

According to McHansard, Dey claimed the Ryder Cup was returning to Scotland for the first time since 1967. As a former newspaper sports editor, he should know better. The Ryder Cup was played at Muirfield in 1973.

Chic’s putt and tell has MSPs racing for bunker

The SNP’s Chic Brodie was another to get a bit misty eyed about the Royal and Ancient game, likening his relationship with golf to a steamy romance.

“This is probably not the right time or place to admit to an affair,” he told his MSP colleagues. “But I do so now. It is a long-term yet unrequited love affair. No matter how much I shared my emotions, shed many tears and had the occasional smile – no matter how often I cared for and adored the instruments of that love, I confess that love is still unfulfilled. My love affair of course is with the sport of kings and people ... golf.”

“Pheeeeeew,” one could almost hear the other MSPs saying.

Cup raised for David McLetchie

A feature of the Ryder Cup debate were the kind words said about the late David McLetchie, the former Tory leader and a fine single-figure golfer who was particularly strong off the tee. The thoughts of many were summed up by the passionate Chic Brodie, who described McLetchie as a “great companion on the golf course and a very good companion at the 19th hole”.

There have been many glasses raised to that sentiment in clubhouses up and down the country.