LIKE the vast majority of Scots I worry about the future of the Conservative Party. “Please, God,” I pray every night. “Don’t let it have a future.”

Well, it’s beginning to look like our prayers might be answered: but only in Scotland. I refer not to the forthcoming European elections, in which the Conservatives will be annihilated UK-wide. No one cares about the European elections. Even ardent Europhiles have never paid much attention to what goes on in the European Union.

We elect people under some peculiar system – that bizarrely saw Scotland sending a Ukip MEP to Belgium, or wherever it is – and then we never hear of them again.

No, I’m referring to the news this week that support among Tory MPs to have Boris Johnson replace Theresa May as party leader has grown exponentially and he’s pretty much a shoo-in. Apparently, they’re approaching his office at the rate of five a day to show fealty.

One of the reasons for this is easy to understand and one is difficult. The easy one is that, once momentum like this takes hold, these power-hungry boobies will be looking for preferment. The difficult one is that they seem to see a new Boris, a more sensible and presentable Boris, made so by his latest lumber, Carrie Symonds, aged 30.

At the time of going to press, I am far too busy to properly research what she does but a quick look on yon Google suggests it is something to do with elephants. Perhaps this is what attracted her to Boris. However, it turns out that, privately, she refers to him as “Bozzie Bear”, after television’s Fozzie, an alleged Muppet.

Not only that but she has made him less elephantine, putting him on a diet through which he has lost several tons and, for a while, looked lost in his capacious suits, which have now been replaced by svelte new ones.

He’s also stopped drinking, which will have his hero Churchill spinning in his grave, but worst of all is what she has done to his hair. There’s no other way to describe it than with the horrible insult “normal”.

Where before his barnet was tousled in a manner that made Worzel Gummidge look tidy, today it is shorter and unremarkable, making him look likewise. Indeed, the whole slim, teetotal, coiffured mien has aged him about 25 years. Already, he looks more careworn than of old, possibly as a result of also affecting greater gravitas. All in all, there is less gaiety about the man and, let’s face it, if we must have a Boris, then better that it is a buffoon. For that way he will never attain power.

While he might be able to win over Tory MPs, winning over the electorate might be an entirely different matter. Deep down, the farce remains strong in this reborn Jedi, and various undignified incidents from the past will be wheeled out by his opponents to remind the electorate of his fundamental nincompoopery.

However, England loves a toff, and there’s no saying if his new dullness might make him seem fit for office. Scotland, by contrast, hates a toff, and the prospect of Boris actually becoming Prime Minister will see us independent by November at the latest.

The prospect is making even the Scottish Conservatives think about rebranding themselves as, er, Scottish, which could make them more electable, in the doubtful eventuality of anyone falling for it.

This week, The Independent revealed that Boris had moved into spacious rooms – big enough to house a campaign team – above the Portcullis House atrium. The office was offered to him by former minister Mike Penning, who said: “He could well be the next Prime Minister, so it needs to be a credible office at the heart of Westminster – not in a box in some annexe …”

No, the box, keep him in the box! Meanwhile, parents in Scotland so inclined can scare the children with these words: “could well be the next Prime Minister”.

That will certainly make things interesting for Scotland, England, Europe and the world: the first gone, the second hallucinating, the third tittering and the fourth bewildered.


THERE’S nowt as peculiar as folk. This is currently being demonstrated in yonder Russia, where 70 per cent of the citizenry have expressed approval of Stalin. Only 19 per cent thought him a bit dodgy.

Folk lay flowers on his grave, municipalities are putting up statues to him again, and President Vlad Putin has talked about the “excessive demonisation” of good old Uncle Joe. A contrarian could argue that killing 15 million people was a tad excessive, but it’s all relative, I suppose.

Still, it really makes you wonder about memory and the burying of bad history. You have to consider too that the aforementioned 70 per cent have the vote (of sorts).

Surely, there must be a case for suppressing democracy in Russia, rounding up these people and working them to death in internment camps? I’m getting a message on my headphones from my columnar handler saying there’s a fundamental flaw in my argument.

Never mind. I guess what the Russians like is stability, order and a strong leader.

Luckily in Britain, we tend to go in more for barely controlled chaos with bumblers at the helm. Long may it continue – and it will if Boris gets in.


A NEW explanation has been found for Brexit: the decline in communal beer-drinking down the pub.

An anthropologist at the University of North Carolina, Americashire, says beer kept ancient civilisations stable and is still a vital ingredient in social cohesion today.

Communal boozing, he says, fostered compromise and debate among leaders. I can’t pretend that’s been my experience. Folk get more entrenched in their opinions with every pint and tell everybody else to shut up before before the evening ends in the traditional Scottish manner with fists swinging and the sound of sirens getting closer.

Beer does bring folk together, right enough, but it tends to be people of like minds in the first place. It’s hard to imagine Brexiteers and Remainers, both of whom should be avoided by decent ratepayers, sitting down to have an amicable pint.

When communal quaffing declines, says the academic, “large political entities begin to fragment. Brexit is an example of this in the European Union today”.

Brexit is certainly driving many people to drink, though mainly in the privacy of their own homes, where at least you don’t have to listen to other people’s opinions and can chunter away unchallenged in righteous fermentation.


DEATH news, and the latest research about the controversial phenomenon suggests we know when we’re dead and are aware of what’s going on around us: doctors lighting up a fag, family members cheering, bin bag requested and so forth.

According to a top boffin in yonder United States, advances in medical technology have made more resuscitations possible, and folk are able to report what happened when they were deid.

Some described the usual stuff about a warm, welcoming light. Some raised the disturbing prospect of being greeted by deceased relatives. Some reported feeling scared. While others just hung about watching the doctors and nurses.

I recall reading of episodes at the guillotine in revolutionary France where eyes on a newly detached bonce would carry on looking aboot and the mooth would say conversationally: “I could fair murder a pint.”

Typically, the boffin under advisement is too feart to claim his findings mean there’s an afterlife but has come up with some outlandish bilge about the brain scanning itself as a survival technique.

I’m convinced there’s mair life, though, and accordingly am going to wear clean pants all time, instead of just Saturdays. Actually, serious question: will we need pants in heaven?

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