VETERAN politician Tam Dalyell tells in his recently published autobiography, The Importance of Being Awkward, that within days of being elected as MP for West Lothian, he mentioned to a local newspaper editor that some Linlithgow residents had complained to him about dog mess in the streets.

The newspaper printed a short story about it, and as soon as the newspaper hit the streets Tam was phoned by the local councillor at eight in the morning. He recalls: “‘Tam,’ he said, ‘Westminster, your business. Dog shit, mine.’ Whereupon the telephone was slammed down. That was the first and only occasion I had a brush with West Lothian Council.”

Slim pickings

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A READER in America tells us she accidentally locked herself out of her car, but was rescued by a police patrol officer who sprung the door open with a Slim Jim – a long piece of thin metal.

Impressed by his skills, she told him that they should make versions small enough to fit in your handbag.

“They do, ma’am,” he replied. “We call them keys.”

Time travel

WE mentioned Scots telling tall tales to the English, and Kirsty Buchanan confesses that she was watching a Rangers/Celtic game on the telly in Newmarket which wasn’t kicking off at the usual time of three in the afternoon. “Why the strange kick-off time?” asked one of the chaps present. Kirsty said it was because of the time difference, and the chap merely nodded a thank you to her.

Tiger in his tank

AMERICAN President Barack Obama played a round of golf last week with former president Bill Clinton at Andrews Air Force Base. As one American sage commented: “You know what you’d get if you crossed Obama and Clinton? Tiger Woods.”

Note of disapproval

OUR tales of the late, awkward Tory MP Nicky Fairbairn reminds author Meg Henderson that when she wrote a newspaper article he disagreed with he sent her a vituperative letter denouncing what she had said.

As it was signed rather shakily, she assumed he had fired it off after the odd tincture or three, so she wrote back saying someone was impersonating him and writing sentiments she was sure he did not agree with.

He replied, stating: “Dear Meg, thank you for being kind enough to alert me to this disgraceful matter. I only wish we could find the person responsible, but alas he/she has gone to ground.”

Second coming

LATEST from the world of football. “I love it,” said the Rangers fan yesterday, “when our main rivals get beat.”

He added: “So who do Motherwell play next?”

Unhappy returns

ANOTHER commented: “The mood of the Celtic fans who travelled to Hearts wasn’t helped by the announcement at Haymarket station on the way back to Glasgow. As they were getting on the train they heard: ‘Please mind the gap.’”