Drumlanrig: Dennis Skinner | Neil Findlay

Dennis Skinner. Picture: Getty
Dennis Skinner. Picture: Getty
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THE cross-party Better Together campaign has had its fair share of pelters over its donations from wealthy Tory backers.

In fact, some of the more Old Labour figures at Holyrood are even a little reluctant to get involved in the campaign because of its Tory links and prefer instead to devote their energies to the party’s own No campaign.

However, Better Together has received unexpected backing from one of the most traditionalist members. Veteran left-wing MP Dennis Skinner – known as the Beast of Bolsover – used part of a speech to the recent annual Durham Miners’ Gala to voice his support for Better Together. Skinner, a former miner, told the event “in good times and bad we are stronger together” as he appeared to using language straight from the Better Together script in making the case for the Union.

Findlay’s Mersey mission

LABOUR frontbencher Neil Findlay was an unexpected reinforcement for his party’s effort to take on Alex Salmond during the First Minister’s recent visit to Liverpool. Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar took the party’s battle bus to Merseyside on the same day Salmond delivered what will be his last keynote speech in England before the referendum.

But as Sarwar’s campaign team was parked outside Liverpool’s St George’s Hall, Scottish Labour health spokesman Findlay made an unscheduled appearance. The Lothian MSP’s reason for being in Merseyside was actually to take in the 2014 Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool golf course, but Findlay, being a true Labour man obviously felt the need to take time out to do his bit for the party.

Scottish credentials

BELEAGUERED Scots Tories will have been quick to seize on the appointment to the UK Cabinet of Elizabeth Truss – who was educated in Paisley. With Aberdonian Michael Gove now moved from his post as education secretary to that of chief whip, Tory high-flyer Truss, it was suggested, could be a new standard bearer for Tories with Scottish roots. But it’s possible her connections have been somewhat overplayed. Truss only actually attended primary school in Paisley and spent most of her formative years in Leeds, where she attended a comprehensive school and where her family was based.

Political Pimms

A BERRIES and Pimms stall is a summer attraction mostly associated with the Test Match at Lords or the Wimbledon tennis finals. But this year, in an effort to pull in summer visitors to Holyrood’s Festival of Politics, parliament bosses have decided on something a little different. Those visiting the Parliament between 15 and 17 August will be able to pick from events fronted by figures such as former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish and eminent political writers such as Bill Jamieson. But anyone needing lighter refreshment can escape to the Pimms stall in Holyrood’s garden lobby.