Drumlanrig: Dry humour from former rocker Wishart

NEVER mind six months to the referendum, the most important political anniversary to be celebrated last week was ten years since the formation of the House of Commons rock band MP4.

Willie Rennie. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The “dad-rock” outfit “stars” Kevin Brennan (Labour) on guitar and vocals, Tory Sir Greg Knight on drums, the former Labour MP Ian Cawsey on bass and vocals, and the SNP’s Pete Wishart on keyboards.

The band have played numerous gigs, although Wishart is the only member to have tasted chart success. Formerly a musician with the Gaelic rockers Runrig, Wishart is no stranger to the rock’n’roll lifestyle. In an interview to mark MP4’s ten years on the road, Wishart was asked if he had ever trashed a hotel room. “I may have rearranged the odd towel,” answered the keyboard virtuoso.

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ALEX Salmond made a point of paraphrasing the Bible last week when he criticised the Budget in response to a question from the Tory Alex Johnstone.

“Some appreciation of the plank of wood in his Chancellor’s eye would perhaps help Alex Johnstone before he looks for specks of sawdust in the Scottish Government’s eye,” said Salmond.

To Salmond’s disappointment, Willie Rennie (right) was not in the chamber. Salmond’s version of the New Testament teaching advising Christ’s followers not to rush to harsh judgment (Matthew 7:3) was an attempt to goad the Lib Dem leader.

The previous week, Rennie suggested that the First Minister was a bit too eager to dip into the Good Book to make political points. “The First Minister likes to quote the Bible He usually casts himself as Moses,” Rennie had said – referring to Salmond’s 2012 promise to implore David Cameron to “Let my people go (Exodus 9:1)”.

Remarking that oil forecasts were down, Rennie continued: “Should it not be the Book of Daniel that he quotes on this occasion? He has been measured and he has been found wanting (Daniel 5:27).”

An irritable Salmond disputed Rennie’s suggestion, claiming: “I quote from many sources: no doubt I have quoted from the Bible, but I do not think that I have ever been a great biblical quoter (McHansard 3:13).”

Not so, say the Lib Dems, who have trawled the parliamentary archives since 2007 to compile the Gospel according to Apostle Alex.

The First Minister’s favourite passage would appear to be: “There is joy in the presence of angels of God over one sinner that repenteth (Luke 15:10)”. According to the parliamentary record, Salmond has preached versions of that to the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems on eight occasions.

While Jesus’s warning to Peter “thou shalt deny me thrice (Mark 14:30)” before the cock crows is another of the First Minister’s favourites. Salmond has heard crowing cocks when talking about Rennie, Iain Gray and David Cameron.

But Drumlanrig would not like to be overly critical. For, as Salmond is fond of quoting: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7).”