Ken do attitude

THERESA May refusing to be interviewed by The National reminds us of when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declined to be interviewed by the late and much missed Kenny Macintyre, the redoubtable BBC Scotland journalist, while on a visit to Inverness. Kenny knew the building she was touring, sneaked in early, hid in a broom cupboard, and emerged as she came past, microphone in hand. Thatcher merely greeted him with an "Ah Kenny" and promptly answered all his questions.

Taxing time

OTHER Prime Ministerial stories in the Diary over the years included former Celtic star Frank McAvennie, and proud ladies man, telling us that when he met Margaret Thatcher in the dressing room before the 1988 Scottish Cup final, in order to wind up captain Roy Aitken, Frank raised her gloved hand, kissed it and said: "I'd just like to thank you very much."

As she looked puzzled, he added: "As a high earner, for cutting the top rate of income tax." When she moved on, and Aitken glowered at him, Frank told him: "Blondes and me - a wonderful combination.”

Smoke screen

THEN there was a previous generation charmer, Rangers' Willie Henderson, who told us about the day he met then Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Said Willie: "I asked him about the pipe he always had in his hand. He said he carried it in case any journalist asked an awkward question. He would then take a minute to fill it with tobacco which gave him time to think of a good answer."

Strong words

BEFORE he became Prime Minister, David Cameron on a visit to Scotland, said he had written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, as is the convention when you visit another constituency, to ask if he had any objections to him touring Gordon Brown's Kirkcaldy constituency and talking to the voters. The PM, said Cameron, had merely replied with a curt "No, you can't." "Mind you," added Cameron, "it was the strangest spelling of can't that I'd seen.”


YEARS later, when David Cameron resigned after the Brexit referendum result, Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson commented on social media: "Sorry to see David Cameron standing down. He transformed the party and country." SNP MSP Humza Yousaf couldn't stop himself from replying: "'Transformed' the country is my favourite euphemism of the year so far.”

Swanning about

WE also mentioned the English newspaper which asked its readers to submit questions to be answered by David Cameron while he was Conservative leader. The one we liked, slyly alluding to his privileged upbringing, was: "What does swan taste like?" And no, he didn't answer that one.

Jaggy response

FURTHER back in time, former Clyde shipyard worker Bob Starrett's book The Way I See It told of the UCS work-in leaders from the Clyde meeting then Prime Minister Ted Heath at 10 Downing Street in their bid to save the yards. Mr Heath, trying to explain the competing problems he had to deal with, asked them: "Do you know the worries I have?" William "Bugsy" McGuiness retorted: "Worries? You think you've got worries? I support Partick Thistle."

Roaring trade

A READER once told us that he took his missus to the cinema in Stirling to see the Swedish-based crime thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but at the ticket office he could not remember the film's full title, and instead asked for two tickets for "the film with the dragon in it".

The assistant behind the desk then handed over tickets to The Iron Lady - the biopic of Margaret Thatcher.

When the Thatcher film came out, a trade unionist asked us very cleverly if it would be rated as "unsuitable for miners".

Money talks

AND finally the gag we told after Tony Blair went into the lucrative speaking circuit after leaving office was about Tony going into his bank and asking if the amount he could withdraw from the bank's ATMs could be increased. "Let's see," said the cashier, "Do you earn more than £25,000?" "It depends," replied Tony. "Some days I do, some days I don’t."