Drumlanrig: Spin doctor leaves | Jackson Carlaw

Party’s over for departing Labour spin doctorPAUL ‘Sincky’ Sinclair, spin doctor to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, below, is leaving Holyrood for pastures new.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Pals of Sinclair say his departure is unconnected with persistent rumours – firmly denied – that Lamont’s leadership may be reaching the end of its shelf life. They insist his exit is long-planned, and is down to a desire for a new challenge after the referendum. Not having to deal with the nest of vipers that is the Labour party might also have been an attraction, Drumlanrig imagines.

Tory deputy reveals family referendum sleight of hand

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WARNINGS that friends and families would be rent asunder by the referendum proved true in the household of the Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw. In the debate held to rake over the coals of the vote, Carlaw revealed that his was one of Scotland’s divided families. Despite his position in the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, one of his offspring voted Yes. “One of my sons was persuaded by the arguments of the party sitting opposite me,” Carlaw said – a comment that brought a cheer of “Yes” from the SNP benches.

Carlaw and his son both had postal votes. According to Carlaw, his son then mixed up the ballots. So when Carlaw posed for publicity shots of him posting his ballot, it may have been that the envelope contained a Yes vote.

Room for a laugh in SNP Labour meeting mix-up

THERE was an air of confusion when parliament reconvened last week for the first time since the No vote. So much so that those SNP die-hards Maureen Watt and Linda Fabiani found themselves in the wrong room at the wrong time.

A misunderstanding saw them attempt to get into a Labour Group Meeting. The two ladies excused themselves after their accidental gatecrash amid much laughter.

With Fabiani having just been appointed part of the SNP’s negotiating team for Lord Smith’s “more powers” commission, perhaps the more optimistic might see this as a sign that the SNP and Labour are prepared to do business to secure a stronger devolved settlement. The more cynical suspect that will not be the case.

Salmond not to be putt off from Ryder Cup spectating

GOLF fan Alex Salmond spent much of last week at Gleneagles watching the Ryder Cup. But back at Holyrood, the outgoing First Minister was taken to task by Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who accused him of presiding over a “zombie” government so consumed by the referendum that it had no plans for new legislation.

Au contraire, Salmond said. In the pipeline was a land reform bill (not new) and plans to end automatic early release (not new). Faced with a tigerish Davidson, his mind couldn’t help wandering to the bacon rolls and greens of Gleneagles. He added with a wistful note that the government was involved in delivering a certain Ryder Cup and appeared to take the view that the sooner he could get back to the golf course to carry out urgent government business the better.