For some rather strange reason a great line from the sketch writer Frank Johnson sprang to mind while reflecting on the level of unpopularity the Crown Estate and its commissioners currently 'enjoy' in Scotland.
The celebrated wordsmith was writing about Michael Foot. More precisely about when the then leader of the Labour Party made his appearance at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in 1981. Foot was in a short dark coat, in contrast to the long black overcoats worn by other senior politicians in attendance.
The Queen Mother is said to have complimented him on the garment, telling him that it was "a smart, sensible coat for a day like this".
But the sartorial contrast was so marked that one Labour MP said he was disgusted to see that the leader of Her Majesty's opposition looked more like an Irish navvy in a donkey jacket, than a party leader.
The donkey jacket went global. The Tory press saw to that, and Mr Johnson rather ruefully observed - if memory serves - "A man who manages to get a bad press for laying a wreath at a war memorial is a man whom the Gods have inexplicably but irrevocably turned against!"
Not that the Crown Estate Commissioners would have any truck turning up improperly dressed in Whitehall - or any other part of polite London, huge chunks of which they own or rather manage for the Crown as part of their fabled £8 billion portfolio of assets.
It's just that no matter what they try, they can't do much right in Scotland these days.
Despite recent attempts, they have found it impossible to throw off the description of being "the worst kind of unelected, upper-class club".
To most north of the border, that is every bit as bad as wearing a donkey jacket at an inappropriate time and place.
Indeed it sounds as though the Crown Estate Commissioners (CEC) may well be in for another doing from Westminster's Scottish Affairs Select Committee, judging by a comment from its chairman, Glasgow Labour MP Ian Davidson.
Last year the committee published the report of its investigation into the Crown Estate. It concluded that the control over the revenue from the seabed and shore around the coast of Scotland should be taken away from the Crown and be devolved to Holyrood and onwards to local communities.
The MPs on the committee said their inquiry found that the CEC was guilty of an "accountability and transparency vacuum" and did not communicate properly with local communities.
At worst it behaved like "an absentee landlord or tax collector" and did not re-invest in the communities from which it derived income.
Mr Davidson was in Orkney at the recent Our Islands, Our Future conference organised by the three islands councils as part of their campaign to win more powers. He told the 150 delegates in Kirkwall that his committee was due to have an annual review of the Crown Estate.
He continued: "From what I am hearing the Crown Estate hasn't really changed at all. We want to hear if that's the case. If it is then we will produce another report saying that the assurances had not been kept to and further action is required."
Shortly afterwards, former Orkney and Shetland Lib Dem MP, Orkney MSP and Deputy First Minister of Scotland (Lord) Jim Wallace spoke at the conference. He has of course also been a long-time resident of Orkney. But he wasn't there as a local, but as Advocate General for Scotland, and representative of the coalition government in London.
As part of his address, he had a couple of announcements to make on behalf of the Crown Estate, although he doesn't have direct responsibility for the body - that's down to the Treasury and his LibDem colleague, Danny Alexander.
There was to be a £380,000 investment by the Crown Estate to develop marine tourism on North Uist through a Local Management Agreement (LMA).
Such agreements give not-for-profit organisations access to areas of the foreshore and seabed, with specialised support from the Crown Estate's staff, to develop proposals for projects that will deliver direct benefits to the local community.
The first LMA was with North Uist group Comann na Mara. As a result of the £380,000 for its pontoons project at Lochmaddy, plans for permanent and visitor berthing and safe landing for cruise ship vessels can now proceed.
Jim Wallace also announced a new LMA with the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust which would allow it to develop plans for Ardminish Bay, for a walkway and pontoons, and an agreement for a revised mooring area with room for expansion.
Gigha is getting a grant of £271,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, which is funded by Crown Estate profits.
It was a measure introduced by Danny Alexander in the Treasury and widely seen as an attempt to weaken SNP calls for devolution of the Crown Estate in Scotland, which was in the party's Holyrood election s manifesto in 2011.
As very welcome as the announcements were to both North Uist and Gigha, they didn't exactly set the heather alight in Kirkwall. There were too many there with too many experiences of dealing with the Crown Estate over many years.
Western Isles Council's leader Angus Campbell summed it up thus: "The UK Government could do far more on the Crown Estate rather than throwing a little bit of money at individual schemes. There is a principle involved about controlling the seabed. They can do that, and they should get on with it."
The Crown Estate will be wearing a donkey jacket in Scotland for a while yet.
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