Snippets from the past week in the political sphere

Here’s one smart Alex who doesn’t do clarity

The SNP referendum question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” has been praised for its clarity and simplicity.

But before you think of nominating the Nats for an award from the Plain English Campaign, consider the following jargon-filled claptrap from Alex Neil, the infrastructure secretary. On the digital revolution, he said: “As a first immediate step on the journey to world-class, we need to bridge the digital divide and deliver a step change across the whole of Scotland; ensuring Scotland’s digital backbone is fit for purpose and future proofed.”


Tam Dalyell bowled over by Alex Salmond’s mother

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Despite being an arch opponent of independence, Tam Dalyell was once surprisingly close to the Salmond family.

A long time ago, the teenage Tam was bowling in the nets at West Lothian Cricket Club against a ferocious batsman named Malcolm Ford, who was capped for Scotland. Ford smashed the ball back at Tam, who was unable to get out of the way and took an “absolute stinger” on his hand.

Fortunately help was on hand. It was Alex Salmond’s mum Mary, tea lady at the club, who bandaged Tam’s injuries.

Nationalist creep in blogosphere row

Cybernats have become notorious on the Scottish blogosphere for flying the online flag for independence in the most poisonous tones. Far be it from us to suggest that SNP MSPs are among the cybernat supporters or, God forbid, among their number.

But last week they were faced with quizzing the BBC’s head of news and current affairs John Boothman, about the challenges faced by the broadcasters covering a referendum in these times of austerity.

All they seemed interested in was the fact they couldn’t comment on BBC website blogs. “It is possible to comment on national blogs, but not on Brian Taylor’s blog on Scottish issues,” complained Central Scotland MSP Clare Adamson with the full support of her fellow Nat and committee convener Stewart Maxwell.

One is a much-hated dictatorial leader…

Out canvassing in Edinburgh’s upmarket Colinton area, the Tory MSP Gavin Brown was discussing the interview in which Jeremy Paxman likened Alex Salmond to Robert Mugabe – a comment that brought around 150 complaints to the BBC. Brown was slightly taken aback when his constituent said he wasn’t sure “how many of the complaints came from SNP supporters and how many came from Mugabe’s friends in Zimbabwe”.