Drumlanrig: No sadomasochism in the library

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan

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WITH some regret in his voice, the Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan told parliament last week of how his youthful reading habits were censored by his ferocious school librarian.

“I remember at school being terrified by the school librarian, who wanted a reason for every book we took out, so we never took out any books referring to sex, drugs or rock and roll,” Buchanan said.

Although Fifty Shades of Grey had yet to be published when Buchanan was a lad, Drumlanrig’s unhealthy obsession with the sadomasochistic classic meant this column’s immediate thought was that there would have been no way the teenager would have had the guts to take it out, had it been available. The more disturbing aspects of the book were again brought to mind when the SNP MSP Colin Beattie revealed that he did his early reading at the Meffan Institute library, Forfar – also home to a 16th century witch’s bridle, which was used to gag those unfortunate enough to be burnt at the stake. «

Pay to have pie with a piper

THE SNP’s Stuart McMillan is a keen supporter of that venerable Glasgow institution the College of Piping. An accomplished player himself, McMillan (left) gave a stirring rendering of Flowers Of The Forest at the Holyrood Remembrance service last year.

Now he is helping the college by auctioning lunch with him in the Holyrood members’ restaurant plus a tour of the parliament as part of a fundraising drive for Scotland’s oldest piping educational establishment.

The lunch will be auctioned at a concert on 28 March being organised to raise funds for a sponsored attempt to kayak through the Great Glen by the college’s intrepid shop manager Willie Park.

Economy of words backfires on Sturgeon

RATHER embarrassingly, Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to alter Holyrood’s official report (or “McHansard”, as it is sometimes referred to) after wrongly suggesting to parliament that her Westminster MPs voted against a Labour motion on the economy.

In a heated exchange with Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale (right), the First Minister declared that: “It is because the SNP does not propose cuts that we voted against Labour’s austerity motion.”

Sturgeon was then gently reminded that SNP MPs had, in fact, abstained on the vote. A correction has duly been submitted to McHansard, which suggests a more appropriate form of words.

Fergie and SNP bring off healthy result

WHAT’S this Drumlanrig hears? The gentle thud of hatchets being buried? Or the reassuring thump, thump of swords being beaten into ploughshares?

In what can only be described as a moving act of reconciliation, SNP special advisers are going around singing the praises of Sir Alex Ferguson – footballing knight and arch-critic of Scottish independence.

The reason is that Sir Alex has agreed to front another Scottish Government campaign against lung cancer. And what’s more, the former Manchester United and Aberdeen manager has agreed to do it for nothing.

So Sir Alex is to appear in another series of TV adverts urging Scots with a persistent cough to go to their doctor. Forgotten and, presumably forgiven, is the fact he once accused Alex Salmond of trying to “silence” the 800,000 Scots in other parts of the UK by denying them a vote in the referendum.

As one who lost his parents to the disease, Sir Alex seems to think the nation’s health is far more important than constitutional differences.

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