Surprising champion talks up SNP MPs
THE new intake of SNP MPs received high praise from an unexpected quarter last week. While others were griping at their hand-clapping – a breach of parliamentary protocol – one member of the British establishment took a different view.
“The Scottish Nationalists have told us how to behave today,” said none other than that caricature of Tory toffdom Jacob Rees-Mogg.
“They have come here more smartly dressed than the Conservatives. They have sat through the debate in greater numbers than those of my own party...Their good manners and respect for the House of Commons is something that those on the government benches will look forward to taking very seriously over the next five years, because those of us who are Unionists recognise that their right to be here is just as great as those of us from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.”
The SNP, no doubt, will be keen to return the compliment.
Salmond’s so forgetful
REMEMBER when Alex Salmond was accused of lying over an independent Scotland’s EU status in 2012? When asked by the BBC’s Andrew Neil if he had sought legal advice on the issue, Salmond replied: “We have, yes, in terms of the debate...” Later it emerged the advice did not exist and the Scottish Government had spent £20,000 of taxpayers’ money going to court to keep the non-existence a secret. Salmond was quizzed again when he appeared on Neil’s This Week programme. Neil reminded Salmond that he had asked him if he had official legal advice.
“I said in terms of the documents,” misremembered Salmond, revealing that he has difficulty telling his debate from his documents.
Weighing up a question of balance
THERE were a few sniffy Twitter comments that two of the BBC Question Time panel last week had gone to Glenalmond, the fee-paying school in Perthshire. Lord Falconer, the former Labour Cabinet minister, was at Glenalmond. So was fellow panellist, journalist Alex Massie. “Falconer went to same private school in Scotland as Alex Massie. Glenalmond. Small world. Thats (sic) elites for you,” tweeted the left-wing commentator Gerry Hassan. Others felt Glenalmond was a trifle under-represented. If only Lesley Riddoch, Ruth Davidson and the SNPs’ John Nicolson had been replaced by the Duke of Argyll, David Sole and Robbie Coltrane (right), there would have been a full house of O.Gs.
Political plot falls prey to schoolboy error
ALISTAIR Carmichael is feeling the heat from the botched leaking of the civil service memo concerning Nicola Sturgeon’s conversation with the French Ambassador.
Also under the cosh is Carmichael’s former special adviser Euan Roddin, who was identified by the leak inquiry as the individual who passed the document to the press. Apparently, Roddin’s old pals at his alma mater George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh are dismayed their fellow FP made the schoolboy error of using his own mobile phone to discuss the leak with the journalist who published the document.
They feel that a more-accomplished practitioner of the dark arts would have used an untraceable telephone to carry out the dirty work.
According to other Heriot’s alumni, Roddin’s mistake was not one that would have been made by another Herioter – the actor Ian Richardson (right), who as the character Francis Urquhart in the TV series House of Cards was the personification of Machiavellian political plotting.