After the fox

MOST folk in Scotland would probably describe themselves as being against blood sports such as hunting. Yet these very same people would no doubt boast that they support democracy, the most fiendish blood sport of all. As Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard is discovering.

Attempts are currently being made to run to ground the poor chap, with members of his own party demanding he stand down.

The Diary is entirely neutral in political matters, though being soft-hearted, we tend to side with the underdog. (Or underfox, when it’s hunting season.)

So we’ve decided to come to the aid of Mr Leonard by explaining how he can be a winner and keep his job, in seven easy steps. (With examples from our archives included.)

Dodgy doggy

Step 1: Baffle your opponents with arcane use of language. For example, a reader once told us of a dear old lady who said her daughter had two dogs: “One a Corgi, the other a Datsun.”

Spell check

Step 2: Attention to detail. A letter once arrived at a Glasgow school addressed to a Mrs Youing. The staff quickly worked out it was intended for their Mrs Ewing. The letter was from a former pupil. Mrs Ewing wondered why he chose to write to her since she had never actually had the pleasure of teaching the young man. The letter cleared up this point: “I am writing to you because your name is the only one I can spell.”

Floored by beauty

Step 3: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. When the bar Cuba Norte was opening in the Merchant City, the shopfitter sent in had to pull up a nasty acrylic carpet. Underneath he found a beautiful marble floor. Or as he was heard to put it: “That’s disgusting. It’s like putting a Halloween mask on Claudia Schiffer.”

I spy

Step 4: Be a keen student of human nature. A chap in a West End bar was observed draining his pint then telling his friend: “The wife thinks I’m too nosey.” The friend asked: “When did she say that?”

“Oh no,” the chap explained. “She never actually told me. I read it in her diary.”

Gossip girl

Step 5: Machiavellian machinations are most helpful, and should be encouraged. The Diary once watched two women have what seemed like a very serious conversation in a Glasgow coffee shop until one stopped talking, presumably to draw breath, then told her pal: “I hate to spread gossip, but what else can you do with it?”

Ad break

Step 6: Promote your cause with a slick advertising campaign. There was once a poster in the Braehead Shopping Centre which urged people to buy shopping vouchers. It was plastered on to a pillar in the gents’ toilet where it proclaimed: “Splash out on a friend.”

Game over

Step 7: If none of the above work, accept defeat with dignity. A chap once arrived home from his work to be quickly told by his harassed wife: “We’re invited to my sister’s for dinner. You’ve got half-an-hour to change and argue about it.”