Read my lips

IT felt like being lost in a deserted airport on the moon, but this week’s SNP conference at the new Event Complex in Aberdeen still had its moments. It started, as is traditional, with veteran pedant Gerry Fisher refusing to stop talking. In exasperation, party bosses cut off his microphone and top official Ian McCann tried to make him leave the stage. However the venue’s hi-tech audio transcription service meant Gerry’s unamplified words kept appearing on the big screen, including his “Are you following the Fatwah?” snarl at Mr McCann.

Light relief

TALKING of microphones, Unspun fondly remembers the last Tory conference in Aberdeen, when Ruth Davidson accidentally broadcast her speech rehearsal. Nicola Sturgeon came perilously close to a similar gaffe as she practiced her big address on Tuesday morning. Alas, those hoping for soaring rhetoric or scandal are out of luck. “There's a big effing light shining in my eyes, and it's blinding me," the FM was heard complaining.


CONFERENCES are notoriously boozy affairs, and the SNP's was no exception. Despite lashings of free hooch inside, much of it courtesy of Heathrow Airport, thirsty delegates also managed to drain the soulless hotel bar near the venue, sinking 200 pints of Camden Pale Ale, causing supplies to run dry on Monday, then 360 pints of Innis and Gunn. Cheers!

Kiss off

LIQUOR and laughs were also flowing at Monday’s media reception, where Nicola Sturgeon gave a speech. “I started the morning at some ungodly hour speaking to Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain,” she said, describing that day’s blizzard of TV interviews. “He actually said nice things about me, which I think is the kiss of death.” A judicious pause. “Which, let’s face it, is the only kind of kiss you would want from Piers Morgan.” Boom boom.

Sturgical strike

THE Scottish Tories copped it next. “We have a Scottish Tory leadership election to look forward to, and there seems to be a candidate for absolutely everyone,” Ms Sturgeon smiled. “Michelle Ballantyne for those who feel the grim reaper has gone a bit soft and Jamie Greene for those who want to see a new leader with some intellectual heft.” Miaowwww.

Just kidding

MONDAY was also the day of the Queen’s Speech. “The Government announced 26 new Bills,” said the FM, “which allegedly is the same number of bills Boris Johnson has to pay each month in child support. Allegedly. I think I better stop now.” Our lawyers think so too.

Stirling effort

THERE was some politics now and again. MEP Alyn Smith was overheard discussing his campaign in Stirling, where he hopes to oust Tory Stephen Kerr at the general election. Lots of Tory councillors coming down from Perthshire to defend Mr Kerr, he informed MP Pete ‘21-vote majority’ Wishart gravely. Mr Wishart was ecstatic. That’s great, he replied, if they’re defending him in Stirling they’re not coming after me in Perth! Such camaraderie - and tact.

Tribal belt

AND the last word goes to former Holyrood Presiding Officer Sir George Reid, who told a fringe about a recent report he and other members of the parliament’s original steering group had done on its first 20 years. “We’re giving it a 7.4,” he said. “Not bad, but too much party tribalism.” At which a loud cheer went up from some in the crowd. Wrong audience, George.