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There is much the English could do to foster our togetherness
Fights are not won by building up your opponent
Those MPs who want to dispense with the oath should be encouraged
THE one-eyed monster squats sulking in the corner of the room – ultra-tech, hi-def, digital, cinemascopic, stereophonic, with 300 channels. Why is it so sullen? Because it has nothing worth showing me. Saturday night used to be The Big Night on TV, but I am reading a book with the Proms on the radio in the background. The next thing that warrants the effort of switching on the all-singing, all-dancing telly is the Olympics at 2am, by which time the Speyside sleeping draught will have kicked in.
STRANGE how those TV chefs' programmes and columns lovingly describing recipes and restaurants do not provoke the obvious effect, tastebuds remain untingled, not a drop of salivation, no dash to see what gourmet delicacies lurk in the fridge. Yet one report had me positively drooling – Rod Stewart's song of praise to stovies at Dundee United.
JUST when Gordon Brown thought things could not get any worse, they have – at the double. The embarrassing downfall of his protégé Wendy Alexander will be seen as another personal blow for the Prime Minister.
THE Henley voters certainly know how to send a message to Downing Street in democratic fashion. The real humiliation is not that Labour came fifth or lost their deposit – but that they trailed in behind the BNP, which just should not happen.
LORENZ Hart, who knew a thing or two about being miserable, wrote a lyric that strikes a chord today: "Very glad to be unhappy…" Seventy years later, it could be the theme song for our times – as Scots MP Tom Harris has sadly found out.
HERE'S a challenge to the Prime Minister: Come on, Gordon, hit me! Use that big clunking fist and thump me where it hurts – in my wallet. If you are the man I think you are, you should be causing a little more pain to me and everybody else who is comfortably off. And you should really be socking it to the super-rich who became obscenely wealthy under your regime as Chancellor.
'THRAWN is a grand old Scottish word that applies particularly to my fellow Fifers. The Scottish National Dictionary defines it as "perverse, obstinate, intractable, cross, in a dour sullen mood". Remind you of anyone?
A new political get-out has been born: synchronised blinking
EVERYONE remembers Gordon Gekko's rant in the film Wall Street: "Greed – for lack of a better word – is good…" But most forget how it goes on as a perverse paean of praise for selfishness and avarice: "Greed is right. Greed works. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind."
LIKE some undead Hammer Horror monster, the myth of Maggie returns to haunt us. The devoted disciples of the Thatcher cult want her back in power – in spirit if not in person.
WHAT is the difference between Ben Elton and Tony Blair? Answer: Elton should be able to use religion – all religion, including Muslim – in his comedy routines; but Blair should steer clear of the queasy combination of religion and politics.
ONCE upon a time, in the dim and distant days of my youth, one of the most effective forms of discipline was a 'scud on the lug' or a well-polished constabulary boot up the bum from the bobby on the beat.
DESPITE the Hollywood-style hoo-ha, the millions of dollars spent on image-building and the scandalous mudslinging, there is an underlying message from the US presidential hustings: "It isn't just about personalities, stupid."
FROM all our yesterdays we learn about today and how to change tomorrow. So it is a fundamental failure of our much-vaunted education system that so many young Scots are officially ignorant of our nation's history.
THIS chiel canna be dinged: Burns consistently declared himself British