Clipboard Queen

With Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh running as a candidate for Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party, former colleagues in the SNP have been reminiscing about her unique contribution to the indy cause. “Tasmina used to walk round SNP conference with a Yes clipboard full of blank paper so that she looked important and in charge of stuff,” one told Unspun. “She was a real joy to have on the Yes Scotland advisory board.”

Blarney Stone

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie grabbed headlines with his republican-flavoured Ciao! to Prince Philip at Holyrood on Monday, but there were other, er, memorable speakers that day. Like Caithness LibDem MP Jamie Stone, who couldn’t help telling the Commons that he, like the Duke, was a product of Gordonstoun. Indeed, his opening words were: “There is one other person in this place who attended that school, Gordonstoun, and that is me.” In case anyone missed it, he instantly carried on: “When I was at Gordonstoun…”

Order! Order!

GEEK treat of the week was a paper on IndyRef2 by Ciaran Martin, the lead UK civil servant on Indyref1 when a fabled “Section 30 Order” was used to give Holyrood referendum powers. Although since hailed as a gold standard, it was in fact “hastily improvised”, he revealed. “Section 30 was not designed for existential constitutional issues. It was designed to iron out mistakes… in more mundane matters, such as road transport.” Thus is history made.

Stone drone

MR Stone’s speech also referenced the apple trees “on the south lawn at Gordonstoun”, why “being guardian at Gordonstoun”, like the Duke, is better than being a mere head boy, and finally a moving anecdote about Jamie and the Family Stone getting lost in Holyroodhouse. “To my horror, despite the fact that we had gone to the same school, who should come round the corner but Prince Philip,” he recalled. Despite going to a concrete comp, Unspun can’t help feeling that all this shameless namedropping is, well, not very Gordonstoun.


Strange scenes at the Q&A after the Scottish Greens manifesto launch on Wednesday. Compere Ross Greer asked the media to get a move on as the sun was striking the podium at an angle that was “blinding” the speakers. On no! Too much solar power!

Saltire waving

Talking of renewables, the SNP manifesto also went big on them, vowing to “create a fund based on the success of the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund for innovation in tackling textile pollution and throw-away culture”. A generous definition of success, Unspun feels. The fund started in 2008 as the £10m Saltire Prize for marine energy. It proved impossible to win and two companies even went bust trying to tap wave power. The fund was then rebadged in 2019. Perhaps applicants should consult the SNP. No one can recycle bad news like the Nats.

Russian about

ALEX Salmond’s love of the Scots media oozed through Wednesday’s Q&A with the Foreign Press Association, as he huffed about some papers preferring “to report a lot of basic nonsense” instead of his triumphs. The great ethicist was also quizzed over his show on Kremlin TV, denying any editorial interference. He knew BBC journalists who “would give their eye teeth” to be similarly free. Though to really impress Putin, they’d probably have to kill for the job.