Drumlanrig: Sturgeon’s shame over Dollgate

Political scandal of the last week was undoubtedly the revelation that the young Nicola Sturgeon cut the hair off her sister’s Sindy doll.

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014 Robyn Stapleton. Picture: Alan Peebles
BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014 Robyn Stapleton. Picture: Alan Peebles

The First Minister’s sister Gillian Owens told journalists of the vile deed.

“She used to tease me quite a bit, and she used to cut the hair off my Barbie dolls, but apart from that she was a lovely sister,” said Owens.

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In these fevered political times, the allegations of such a serious childhood crime have led to various interpretations of her act. For some it is an illustration of her ruthlessness, for others it is an unmerited smear on a beloved First Minister’s character. To her credit, Sturgeon has taken her sister’s recollections in good spirit. “For the record: I think my sister is misremembering. I’m sure it was a Sindy doll,” Sturgeon tweeted yesterday.

“I’m not proud of it,” she added. “I’ve changed. My nieces’ dolls have never come to harm.”

Salmond’s artistic licence with songstress

Another Scottish songstress can be added to the list of Alex Salmond’s favourite singers. When he was a castaway on Desert Island Discs, the former first minister took Ae Fond Kiss, sung by the Hebridean nightingale Anne Lorne Gillies, as well as Coisich a Ruin, sung by Karen Matheson of Capercaillie. The latest artist to catch Salmond’s ear is Robyn Stapleton (left), the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year. Last week Salmond took in one of her concerts – an event to which he brought along a few copies of his book The Dream Shall Never Die to sign.

Foulkes’ wisdom in avoiding postal vote outrage

IT’s a long-established rule that those not entitled to vote in general elections are convicted prisoners, people detained in a psychiatric hospital as a consequence of criminal activity and peers of the realm.

Labour’s Lord George Foulkes (right) therefore found himself in a tricky position last week, when he was accidentally sent a postal vote.

Peers are allowed to vote in local and European elections but, crucially, they are forbidden from voting in UK general elections.

To avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings, the peer and former Lothians MSP was quick to send back the postal vote to the electoral registration office, informing officials that he was not entitled to vote under UK law.

One can easily imagine the SNP outrage had the noble Lord mistakenly cast his vote – indeed one could see the legality of the entire election being questioned by Foulkes’ opponents. «

Labour’s blanked canvass

The challenges facing Labour candidates in the face of a buoyant SNP can be illustrated by one politician’s recent experience while out canvassing.

Knocking on doors, the well-known public figure asked a constituent if she was going to support Labour.

“No, I’m going to vote for Nicola Sturgeon,” was the reply. The Labour candidate gently explained – not unreasonably – that as a sitting MSP Ms Sturgeon was not actually standing for Westminster in next month’s general election.

The voter listened to the candidate making his point, before slamming the door in his face with the words: “Typical Labour negativity.”