BY-ELECTIONS are like buses. You wait ages for a political heavyweight to come along and then two come along at once. Thus, we had the spectacle of political hacks jogging between two buildings on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Dunfermline to scribble down the thoughts of Alex Salmond and Ed Balls. We may not be destined to get a debate between the Prime Minister and First Minister, but if megaphones had been issued we could just about have got one yesterday between Alex Salmond and the Shadow Chancellor.
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MIND you, the new slimmer-line Alex Salmond, when he is not modelling fetching pink berets and matching specs, could probably have managed a modest jog himself yesterday. We now hear the origins of his 5:2 diet, the so-called "bikini special" based on five days of moderate eating and two days of very low intake.
We are reliably informed that this arose from a conversation between the First Minister and Sir Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England and at that time using this particular disciplined diet technique. We have to wonder, if they were close enough to be discussing calorie intake, what other vital statistical information were they exchanging?
The spinner's return
THE softly spoken, urbane and deeply canny John McTernan - ex-spin doctor to Tony Blair and of late media advisor to Australia's former premier Julia Gillard - is back in Britain and visible around the conference circuit.
A man who witnessed much Labour in-fighting here with the TBGBs and Down Under with the Gillard-Rudd divisions, McTernan is sanguine about Ed Miliband's chances of getting the keys to No 10 despite the McPoison revelations.
He might even be helping out the Better Together campaign with some sage advice and is predicting a No vote in next year's referendum. Are the two inextricably linked, one has to ask?
HOLYROOD, as Unspun aficionados will recall, has had a rodent problem in the media building. A mouse was once filmed on a mouse mat on the desk of a Press and Journal hack. Now we hear the issue has spread up the hill to St Andrew's House, where calls to the press office have been met my unexpected shrieking because of the appearance of grey rodents, as opposed to the appearance of any particular ginger rodent.
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