Touring Scotland last week, the Chancellor managed to catch a few private meetings with the editors and leading media players. Eyebrows were raised, we hear, over the fact that the man who runs the UK economy was not asked once about how best to prevent the Western world from falling into the economic abyss, instead finding himself assailed with question after question about devo-max and second questions. It was Tony Blair who once colourfully described the Scottish press as “unreconstructed w***ers”. Sadly Osborne hurried home for London on Thursday night without airing his own views.
Home from home for family friend There was general head-scratching in certain quarters of parliament on Wednesday when, as Alex Salmond’s reshuffle was unveiled, the SNP MSP for Cunninghame South Margaret Burgess was announced as Scotland’s new housing and welfare minister. Who? went the cry. Elected last year in the SNP’s landslide victory, inquiries in Ayrshire revealed that Burgess, above, is an experienced local politician who has run the local Citizens Advice Bureau for many years. She also happens to be an old family friend of both Nicola Sturgeon and her mum Joan, the newly elected Provost of North Ayrshire Council. At least Sturgeon can’t be accused of ignoring her pals.
A place where practice makes perfect
Joe Fitzpatrick, below, another new member of the Government, was given a withering welcome by Labour’s Ken Macintosh in the chamber. Said Macintosh: “It gives the Opposition parties a good reason to welcome Joe Fitzpatrick to the new post. Without wishing to be too cruel, if the public face of the business manager’s job is to bob up and down in Parliament reading a pre-prepared and predictable script without being unduly troubled by independent thought, he is not only the perfect candidate, but has also trained assiduously for the past five years.” Ouch.
All bar none
A bit of a kerfuffle over the new bar in the parliament last week when it became known that the press would not be allowed in until after 4pm unless invited over the threshold by an MSP. Cue much outrage from the media tower. But talk of a boycott was short-lived. Thirst overcame principle and so the bar is now known as “Backsliders”.