Drumlanrig: Trooping his true colours perhaps?

JIM Murphy, the shadow defence secretary and Labour “big beast”, is not exactly the toast of his pro-Union colleagues, it seems.

Responding to Phillip Hammond’s statement on military bases last week, Private James declared that the decision to cut back on the number of troops coming back to Scotland from Germany was “a body blow to Scotland and won’t be forgotten”. What was Murphy doing writing Angus Robertson’s press releases, went the cry? We can only speculate what Murphy’s big chum, Better Together head honcho Blair McDougall, made of it. More definitive are the grumbles coming from within range of Team Lamont. A turf war? In Scottish Labour? Surely not.

Stato Carlaw uses his grey matter

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Jackson Carlaw, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, wins stato of the week award. Concluding a debate at Holyrood last week on new plans to deal with social care, Carlaw illustrated Scotland’s ageing population by noting how, in 1999, there were just eight MSPs over the age of 60, compared to the 46 who will have reached that landmark by the end of the current parliament. Surely this greying of our MSPs is to be roundly welcomed.

Blair ponders pensions and the generation gap

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On a visit to Edinburgh for a pensions conference, Tony Blair gave an insight into home life now that he’s out of Downing Street.

Much of his time, it would appear, is spent helping his youngest son Leo with his homework, which is done on an iPad.

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A far cry from his days at Fettes where Blair probably used a slide-rule in mathematics and as a boarder had no help from mummy and daddy when it was time for prep.

Suspicious packages prompt confessions

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Talk of the Blair family reminded Drumlanrig of an interview once conducted with the former prime minister’s father-in-law Tony Booth, the roguish actor who made his name as Alf Garnett’s son-in-law in Till Death Us Do Part and in the 1970s Confessions sex-comedies. At the time, Booth was living in Ireland and was talking about going to Dublin Airport to send Christmas presents to his grandchildren.

When asked by security officials to whom the packages were being sent, he replied: “They’re for my grandchildren. They then asked me where they lived and I said they lived in London, off Whitehall.

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“When they pressed me, I replied No 10 Downing Street. They gave me a strip search. I couldn’t believe it.”