Drumlanrig: Relief as top civil servant logs out

Nigel Don

Nigel Don

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SO farewell Sir Peter Housden, whose departure as Scotland’s most senior civil servant was announced last week.

With Sir Peter goes his excruciating blog that was circulated to his underlings via the civil service intranet system.

When he steps down as Permanent Secretary, civil servants will be spared dreary homilies, entries about his cats, his struggles with his golf swing and the trivial travails of washing his patio.

In homage to this grey-suited Adrian Mole, Drumlanrig remembers one of his most perceptive posts, which referred to an exercise session in St James’s Park on a visit to London.

“I was struck not only by the squirrel that ran up my leg as I was stretching, but also the scale of the Olympics infrastructure,” Sir Peter wrote. He will be sorely missed. So will the squirrel.

Murphy paid high price for wanting to be anonymous

JIM Murphy was on good form when asked to speak at a Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association lunch last week.

To ingratiate himself with the hacks, Murphy told some stories against himself. Having suffered the indignity of Diane Abbott calling him “John” Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader revealed that Labour MP for Leicester East Keith Vaz had referred to him as “Phil” for ages.

His best story, however, concerned a family camping trip to France. Murphy was putting up his tent with his wife and kids when a fellow camper approached him.

“You look just like that Jim Murphy, you also sound like him,” the camper said. Wishing to preserve his anonymity, Murphy pretended to be someone else.

“It’s not me,” Murphy said. “Good,” replied the camper. “I wouldn’t want to spend ten days pitched next to that prick.”

MSP may not set heather alight, but her home…?

MSPs united to pay tribute to the emergency services last week in a debate commending their contribution to Scottish life.

The contribution by the SNP MSP Christine Grahame included her first-hand account of when she had to call on the fire service.

Flames licking from her roof led to a call to the local brigade. “The firefighters knew me,” she recalled. “I am afraid they were laughing as they came in saying, ‘Ah hen, you’ve set fire to your lum’.”

A hole was drilled in her wall as they tackled the flames and her immaculate house, with its freshly polished floors, was soaked as water was pumped in to douse the fire.

Her children were of little help. Their contribution was to dance outside and shout at their mother: “Are you coming out to get your picture taken with the fire engine?”

Forty winks can reach 80 as ‘Moga’ Don takes floor

NICOLA Sturgeon has disclosed that she is making a “conscious effort” to live a normal life now that she has become First Minister.

In an interview with Holyrood magazine, she said she was determined to keep going shopping, even if it meant having to pose for more selfies.

Meanwhile, her predecessor, Alex Salmond, is having to adjust to a normal life on the back benches. Already he has mastered the art of looking as if he is about to nod off when his SNP colleague, Nigel Don (above), is making one of his soporific speeches on some arcane subject. Last week Nigel was talking about administrative law casebooks and the fiduciary duty of councillors when the TV cameras caught Salmond looking a little dozy behind him – par for the course when “Moga” Don is chuntering on.

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