TWO Scottish traditions were in evidence during a Holyrood debate celebrating St Andrew’s Day last week. SNP MSP Christine Grahame spoke of St Andrew appearing before the Scots King Angus before his Scottish army defeated the Angles at Athelstaneford in East Lothian in 832 AD before adding:
“I should say I wasnae there.”
It wasn’t so much the Angles, but angling that interested Conservative MSP Sir Jamie McGrigor, who had a different take. As a keen angler Sir Jamie felt he had something in common with the fisherman disciple and encouraged his fellow parliamentarians to remember Scotland’s patron saint by enjoying some sport on the river.
Both politicians, however, had one thing in common – anger that no-one from the Labour Party bothered to take part in the debate.
Salmond swaps top slot for good karma on third floor
Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have been admiring their new offices in Holyrood complete with their First Minister and Deputy First Minister nameplates high up in the parliament’s ministerial tower.
For someone else, however, it has been a different story. After more than seven years as First Minister, Alex Salmond is having to get used to life on the backbenches at Holyrood. His office is on the less salubrious third floor of the MSPs’ block at the Scottish Parliament. The office was once the workplace of disgraced former SNP MSP Bill Walker, who quit parliament when convicted of violent offences against his ex-wives. More encouragingly from a karma perspective, the office was also once inhabited by Margo MacDonald, the late independence-supporting MSP who was beloved across the parliament.
Straight-shooting stance precedes political position
Kevin Stewart, the voluble SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, is a politician who likes to shoot from the hip when it comes to his robust contributions in parliament. In a past life Stewart (below) preferred a more-measured style of shooting whilst lying in the prone position as a member of the Air Training Corps (ATC).
During a Local Government Committee discussion on air rifle licensing, Stewart revealed that he became a qualified marksman while serving in the ATC.
During the session he was chairing, Air Cadet Stewart made sure he made it clear that his success on the rifle range occurred “well before he entered politics”.
St Andrew’s Day plea no salve for political divisions
THERE was hope that St Andrew’s Day might offer some relief from political divisions when the former Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan and the UK-supporting former Edinburgh Lord Provost Eric Milligan issued a joint plea for people to celebrate the day together no matter which way they voted. Any thoughts that reconciliatory behaviour like this would put the independence question to bed were dismissed when Drumlanrig phoned Canavan. When asked if his statement meant that political divisions should be set aside for the time being, Canavan’s response was telling. Having said he thought an independence referendum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his generation, the 72-year-old now thought it was entirely possible that Scotland would be independent before he meets his maker.