Drumlanrig: No operatic career waiting for Salmond

Richard Lyle, the SNP MSP, filed expenses claim for a trip to the chipper
Richard Lyle, the SNP MSP, filed expenses claim for a trip to the chipper
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Scotland’s best known former boy soprano has been at it again. Nowadays Alex Salmond’s voice lacks the sparkle of its pre-adolescent four-octave range, which saw him deliver impressive performances from Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl.

Nevertheless the outgoing First Minister is not the shy and retiring type when it comes to a sing-song. Last week saw him lead a rendition of the folk song Wild Mountain Tyme with the Unlikely Lads Choir in Kilmarnock. Some time ago, Salmond reminisced about the trauma of his beautiful voice breaking. “Instead of getting the tenor my coach was expecting, I got a kind of faltering baritone with a five-note range,” Salmond said. The truth of that statement is borne out by internet footage of the First Minister’s most recent performance.

Hungry MSPs catch sniff of a £1.80 chip supper

The most eye-catching MSPs’ expenses claim revealed in the annual audit of how Holyrood politicians spend their allowances was the £1.80 for a trip to the chipper filed by Richard Lyle (below), the SNP MSP.

The claim has caused much consternation amongst his colleagues in the Scottish Parliament. It wasn’t so much that they were scandalised that one of their own had claimed for a such a miserly amount from the taxpayer. They were more interested in where on earth they could get a chip supper for just £1.80.

What are Tories sprinkling on their porridge?

As the parties prepare to enter talks on the issue of more powers for Holyrood under the auspices of Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Conservatives have lined up Professor Adam Tomkins and the Tory doyenne Annabel Goldie as their chief negotiators.

One Tory strategist was so enamoured with the package of powers put forward by his party that he told a journalist: “The Nats are hard baked. Labour are undercooked. We got the Goldilocks plan – devolution just right.”

The journalist was very impressed by this fairy tale allusion, wondering whether it would be fair to refer to Tomkins and Goldie as the “Brothers Grimm.”

The strategist replied that he thought “Hansel and Gretel” would be more appropriate.

Judge registers no interest whatsoever in society

Moves are afoot at Holyrood to look at establishing a Register of Interests for the Scottish Judiciary – an innovation that does not appear to have met with much enthusiasm from the Bench. Could it be judges are put off by the thought of having to declare whether they are members of the New Club Wine Committee, once a redoubt for the Edinburgh establishment?

The idea of the judiciary declaring interests was debated at Holyrood last week – a session that led to the SNP MSP Joan McAlpine relate an anecdote about out-of-touch judges. According to McAlpine, Paul Gascoigne once took legal action against an author who had written a biography of him. It had to be explained to the judge that Gascoigne was a famous footballer. “Rugby or Association?” was the judge’s reply.