Drumlanrig: Jack Vettriano's card marked by Alex Salmond

WAS Alex Salmond's National Galleries launch of his Jack Vettriano Christmas card an attempt to persuade that august institution to have an exhibition of the artist's work?

Drumlanrig put that question to the bte noire of the art establishment, who has yet to have that honour bestowed on him.

"The people of Scotland care for my work so if you put it all together, maybe what you're saying has a ring of truth to it," Vettriano, above, said.

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On Salmond himself, Vettriano gushed: "I think we're very blessed to have him as our First Minister."

Such is the strength of this mutual admiration society, one can only assume that: not only can we look forward to Vettriano paintings hanging in the National Galleries...but perhaps also a Vettriano portrait of his new best pal - the First Minister.


AMID his bungled handling of the winter storm, it was quite impressive that Stewart Stevenson still managed to find time to slag off Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, the ebullient Labour peer with strong links to Ayrshire.

The noble lord was questioning the newly resigned Transport Minister about the weather he had encountered on a recent visit to Ayr.

Stevenson replied, saying: "Visiting Ayr is a pleasure for him. As it is for us...to have him there".


NEW Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, below, gives his first big interview to Tribune this week to discuss how he hopes to stir public fury over public sector cuts in time for the big TUC rally in London next March. "We need to channel that anger in a way that manifests itself in the most effective way. So I think this is a rolling campaign, raising the consciousness, making certain that the demonstration on 26 March is a huge success," says the latter day revolutionary. No parties in London for Prince Charles that day, then.


HOW we will miss the intellectual musings of Professor Christopher Harvie, the eccentric SNP MSP, who leaves parliament next year.

In one of his more succinct Holyrood contributions, the historian was holding forth on the Franco-English nuclear alliance and the German-Scandinavian low-carbon Europe.

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"If the 2008 bust was a replay of the South Sea bubble of the 1720s," Harvie said. "We now face the sort of revolution that faced James Watt and the steam engine—a large and feeble contraption—in the 1760s."

"Large and feeble?" What would Watt say to that? Look out for Harvie having a go at TV, the telephone, penicillin and Dolly the Sheep.