P&J Column for 10.6.13

Does anyone else remember when ‘Lobby’ just meant the place you kept your meter-cupboard?

STRUAN METCALFE, MSP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions – An Apology

Here’s the thing. I am deeply sorry for what was posted, in my name, somewhat oddly on the Twitter-sphere this week about the latest “scandal” to engulf hard-working and much-maligned career politicians. I did not mean to make light of the cash for questions rumpus, let alone imply that it was nothing but a tornado in the Royal Doulton. Hence my unreserved apology for any contrary impression that might have been created by the following tweet:

“So, Patrick Mercer caught with his pants down by TV crew. Whoosh! Now that’s a sight that really would be a Panorama! LOL”.

Clearly – as was pointed out to me by Super Dave and his quite fearsome Whip, Sir George ‘eats his’ Young  (Yikes!) – the issue is one of grave national import and speaks to the integrity and honesty of our Westminster brethren. Not to mention their entrepreneurial ingenuity. And Dave told me specifically not to mention their entrepreneurial ingenuity.


I am so sorry for making light of what is, quite clearly, a very important issue. Some commentators say that Lobbying is the “next big scandal”.  Jessica – my latest,  terrifically long-legged researcher – tells me that Lobbying is, in fact, the act of attempting to influence decisions made by government officials or politicians, usually by organized groups or big business. “Fa wid hiv thunk?” as they say in Banff.

Can’t see what all the fuss is about. Surely it’s just a bit of harmless, if lucrative, fun? I have been lobbied myself. There I was, minding my own business in the members’ lounge when, completely out of the blue, old Buffy Caruthers came up and lobbied me! I’d never been so lobbied. He lobbied me like I’d never been lobbied before. Oosh!

Anyhoo, it turns out that Paddy “Power” Mercer wasn’t won over by the lobbyists, he was merely acting as a consultant and advising on how best to get the question of whether Fiji should be accepted back into the Commonwealth, debated. To my mind, a spot of well-remunerated consultancy is an elected official’s god given right. How else are we supposed to make a little bit of wonga on the side? Let’s face it, you’re not going to attract the best and the brightest into politics with MP or MSP salaries. It’s only the promise of a bit of knockabout fun to fund our Singapore Slings in Boodles (and, with a bit of luck, Singapore) that keeps chaps of my calibre interested in the whole shebang!

But, as I say, my apology is without reservation. Going forward, I will undoubtedly take far more care over what I tweet. Or, indeed, who has access to the Metcalf smartphone when one of Buffy’s hilariously ribald anecdotes has left me helpless with mirth. Although, I would have to accept that, as this is the 7th time I’ve used that excuse, that might make me the boy who cried ROFL!

TANYA SOUTAR, Local Lifestyle Guru

I dinna ken aboot youse, but I am FED UP with scientists and experts being a right bunch of killjoys with their so-called “advice”.  Dinna get me wrang, I appreciate their words of wisdom on important matters, like the latest lash-extending mascara technology, or the fact that there’s bacteria in yoghurt (Gads! Though cheers tae Tiffany fae Eastenders for the heads up on that een) but fan they’re bangin’ on aboot pregnancy I jist wint tae scream!

Last wik there wis a report aboot fit things ye should avoid fan ye’re up the duff and I dinna mind telling you, it’s really got my goat. It came fae the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. And I ken fit you’re thinking, fit wid they ken aboot it?

 Onywye, afore youse start gossiping, yes I am pregnant! I think so onywye.  Either that or I’ve got an affa dose of trapped wind.

This report wis sayin that ye shouldnae tak painkillers in case it harms yer bairn.  Honestly?  How are you supposed tae recover fae a night oot in the Holburn Bar withoot a blister pack of Panadol the next day?  I mean, I ken I shouldnae really be drinking, but vodka & orange is my principal source of vitamin ‘C’ and that’s meant tae be good for the baby, so MAK YER MINDS UP!

Even worse is them saying you shouldnae be clarting yoursel in moisturiser or fake tan.  Fit a joke!  Little Beyonce-Rhiannah (Aye, if it’s a girl. If it’s a boy I’m crying him efter his da, and I’ve narrowed it doon tae fower possibilities) is a’ready turning my bikini body intae something that looks like Alex Salmond daein sit-ups, and on top of that I’ve got tae ging aboot peely-wally and wrinkled? I da hink so.

But the absolute pits is the advice that ye shouldnae buy ony new sofas, because of the chemicals that’s in them.  That’s a total bummer, I dinna ken if you’ve seen, but DFS hiv a sale on jist noo. Foo lang’ll it be afore that happens again?