Drumlanrig: The Lady wasn’t for joining this debate

Moore's biography of Thatcher went on sale this week. Picture: PA
Moore's biography of Thatcher went on sale this week. Picture: PA
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WHAT would the late Baroness Thatcher have made of the current debate on independence or more powers for Scotland? Not an awful lot, if her authorised biographer Charles Moore is right.

In the first volume of his door-stopping life and times of the former PM, he writes: “Although she was an instinctive Unionist, it did not engage her passionate interest. As with Northern Ireland... she always hoped that the subject of devolution would go away.” No wonder Scotland didn’t like her: if there’s something worse than being disliked, it’s being ignored.

All things relative when you’re well connected

Stewart Stevenson, the self-styled SNP man-for-all-seasons and general know-it-all, has been boasting about how well connected he is. Over the years, parliamentary correspondents have listened to his expert pronouncements on computing, the lecturing abilities of war heroes, his own precocious reading habits and even the impressive extent of his teenage acne. Last week he claimed to be related to people in high places when pontificating on the possibility of an elected House of Lords. When asked what title he would take if elevated to such an institution, the SNP MSP said there was already a Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, the much-criticised former chair of HBOS. There was another Lord Stevenson, he mused, who was a “distant relative”.

Cricketing anniversary triggers friendly return

Cricketing connections between Scotland and Japan were last week brought to the parliament’s attention by Alex Johnstone, the Tory MSP. It seems the founder of Japanese cricket was Scot James Pender Mollison, who formed the first club in 1868. The 150th anniversary of that match is being celebrated with a Scottish tour by the Japanese cricket team. Appropriately, the current head of the Japan Cricket Association is Naoki Alex Miyaji (above), a Japanese Scot whose mum is from Dundee and whose granny lived in Montrose. Today’s fixtures will differ from the 1863 match between the Yokohama Merchants and the Royal Navy in that players no longer feel the need to take to the field armed with revolvers.

Tickled by what might be lost in translation

An interesting contribution to the cricket story came from SNP MSP Nigel Donn, who suggested the language barrier might create difficulties for the touring side. He suggested the phrase “tickling a chinaman to fine leg” might struggle slightly in the translation. A “chinaman” is a delivery bowled by a left-arm slow bowler with a leg-break wrist spin action that moves from the off side into a right-handed batsman.