MI5 want to read everyones emails. What a dull episode of Spooks thatll be.


In a bid to tackle crime and terrorism, the state will soon be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK.  Well, I say ‘able’; I suppose I should say ‘allowed’.  I’m not convinced that Francis Maude could watch a clip of a kitten falling off a piano without significant IT support.

Now, I will always back Super Dave to the hilt on pretty much anything, regardless of what I really think. But, crikey, as a keen user of the New Media I’m pretty bally ticked that some MI5 spook is going to read all the utterly inappropriate texts I send to my researcher at half 2 in the morning.

The interception of personal communication is horrid. I should know. In my second year at Gordonstoun I sent a letter to Wet-Bed Walkinshaw containing my objective views on his physique – in particular the beautiful architecture of his perfectly formed calf muscles as he ran cross-country in the pouring rain, the moisture falling from the sky merging with the salty perspiration dripping from his adolescent brow. That note found its way into the hands of the 6th formers and from then on I was known as Pansy Metcalfe. And that hurt.

There’s been talk about the erosion of civil liberties, 1984 and Big Brother. Quite frankly, I have no idea what this has to do with George Galloway pretending to be a cat, but as a society we need to ask ourselves some tough questions. Tough questions like “Will deleting my Internet browser history still stop people seeing which gentleman’s websites I have been on?”

VIEW FROM THE MIDDEN Rural affairs with MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter, JOCK ALEXANDER

Weel, michty, fit a wik it’s been!  Nae sooner hid we seen the back of that unseasonal heatwave then we wis plunged intae Arctic conditions; heavy snowfall, sub zero temperatures and jam roly-poly with ice cream in the middle for pudding.

Nae doot readers fae the mair metropolitan settlements such as Tarland and Edzell prefer it fan it’s 21 degrees. They enjoy wearing sandals wi’ their biler-suits, and listnin’ tae Mungo Jerry whilst cruising aroon in a convertible Massie Ferguson, but it’s nae fine here in Meikle Wartle. A wik o’ fine weather jist gets the midden a’ heated up, and there’s nithin pits ye alff yer breakfast like the smell o’ warm sharn waftin through yer windae.

Happily though, wir freakishly balmy March didnae last, and we’ve noo hid ten feet o snaw blaw in an’ entirely cover the village, and michty it’s niver looked better.  It looks jist exactly like the Christmas card ye get fae the EU in the envelope wi’ yer Single Farm Payment.

This is nithin, of course.  WInter o’ 74, the village hid 50 fit o’ snaw overnight. Noo that wiz a bit on the frosty side. I can mind Feel Moira marchin oot intae the drifts tae find a lost Cheviot wearing nithin but a look of grim determination. She’d come straight oot of her monthly bath, ye see. Took her siven hoors, but back she came, in triumph, wi’ that calf on her shooders, safe and sound, jist in time for tea. Some delicious veal escalopes, if I mind right.  Fit a woman!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – the Minister of Holburn North North East, THE REVEREND EDMOND EVEREND reflects on Easter.

Easter is my favourite time of the year, but I fear, the one where my own vision departs most dramatically from that of the general populous.  Where I perceive a profound tale of human experience: sacrifice, death, hopelessness, rebirth and joy – who needs “The Twilight Saga” when you have the Gospel of John!? – others see an opportunity to eat their own bodyweight in confectionary.

Looking for new ways to drive home the Easter message, I sought to pep up my sermon with what I understand is known as a “visual aid”.  And so, as I addressed my congregation on the topic of the crucifixion, as Christ’s fateful journey reached its denouement, I produced a hammer which I had secreted about my cassock, and nailed my hand to the pulpit.

I had hoped that this dramatic gesture would emphasise the real and visceral nature of Christ’s suffering.  I must confess, however, that the results were not all that I had wished for.  Betty McPhee, who had been bringing in the offering, found the spectacle more visceral than she could handle, and fainted onto a pile of hymnaries.  I instinctively leapt to her aid, forgetting that I was still nailed to the pulpit and ripping the nail through an artery, causing a great gout of blood to arc out, spattering wall, ceiling and parishioner alike.

But, from out of the darkness, new life emerges.  We had long wondered if the time had come to redecorate the sanctuary; the enforced closure of the church, on public health grounds, will give the project fresh impetus.  The four pints of blood which I received upon my admission to A&E constituted a gift more consonant with the true Easter message than the gaudiest chocolate egg.  And, as the nurse providing my bed-bath reached down and washed my feet, I was reminded of the service that Christ, in his humility, had provided to his disciples on Maunday Thursday.

Truly, He moves in mysterious ways.