The Fringe Festival starts today in Edinburgh.

I will be keen to see a one-man play at the Pleasance by Kevin Toolis,The Confessions of Gordon Brown, a tale of ambition, back-stabbing and betrayal, and with a name that always makes me sing the Stranglers song ‘Golden Brown’ (that bit at the end is just me, it’s not in the play).

It’s about what happens when you dare to dream and it turns into a complete nightmare, not just a partial nightmare but a complete one.

The writer called in Brown supporters Ed Balls, Douglas Alexander and Damian McBride to get the inside track on the former PM’s real personality. Apparently the research worked, it’s receiving rave reviews, and making those who’ve seen it reassess their opinion of Gordon Brown.

It ties in with my theory that Brown was never really given a chance. That he was almost too bright and found it difficult to connect. Like most highly intelligent people he couldn’t, in the words of Ringo, act naturally.

This made him look and sound clumsy, inept and incompetent. The playwright wanted the public to see the Shakespearean tragedy, a troubled genius, a man of immense intelligence who should’ve been a great PM but was just incapable of transferring this into his public image. He very quickly became an easy target.

It’s timely, as the play is also about why we chose our leaders. According to Toolis, it’s down to hair, height, virility- a late child doesn’t do any harm - as does a full set of nice teeth. So a bald, gumsy shot ar** has no chance.

Brown was also a decent, moralistic man, in a time when people clearly preferred the two slime balls, Cameron and Clegg, who have all the decency and moral rectitude of a virulent bug.

Ironically, the only real, human and naturally warm side the public saw of Brown was as he left Downing Street, as a loving, doting father. (Admittedly he wasn’t too good at a few things, especially working radio mics.)

Maybe it’s time for Holyrood the Musical! Now let’s see… (types furiously). Act 1 Scene 1: a desolate, dramatically lit political chamber…a smallish, stocky man, 5ft 8in wipes his thinning hair, tucks into an Indian curry…


Scottish crossword experts and coffee-making baristas - sorry, civil servants - have been looking to Norway, Denmark and Sweden to see how they might handle their counter intelligence after independence. The results will be part of the much talked about and hyped white paper.

A white paper that Alex Salmond promises will resonate through the ages. Nothing like a bit of modest hyperbole. The plan is to look at techniques used by the Nordic intelligence services. I’m all for a Nordic style security approach to counter terrorism.

Imagine Holyrood and the media who follow it being as sexy and cool as Borgen? River City could be like The Killing. Taggart more like Wallander or Arne Dahl. Though I need to draw the line at Sarah Lund’s Faroe Isle jumpers. I was plonked into one the first time around and they’re too jaggy.


Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is scaremongering over Scotland’s borders. He claims they would be a complete nightmare, not a partial nightmare but a complete nightmare, under an independent Scotland. Yes I can imagine all those Mexican bandits and drug dealers trying to cross through the fields full of dung heaps? Behave yourself man.

Lib Dems shouldn’t have a part in anything. They are like a pacemaker in a middle distance race who keeps looking over their shoulder and instead of stopping and doing what they are asked to do, keep going and in Nick Clegg’s case, accidentally win and find themselves in power. They can’t be trusted.

Most used to belong to other parties and switch allegiance when they take the huff. They now have a modicum of power but the punters have seen them for what they really are. They are like a party donor, only they’ve provided an organ to give life to the Tories. No one respects them and with any luck they will wither and die on the vine at the next election. And anyway…Who wants to sneak into Scotland? Just take the bus.

There’s a whiff of nostalgia in TV advertising just now. Have you seen the big basketball player and the Pastilles fruit gum ad- someone brilliantly came up with the idea of using free old film stock to sell a product. It’s got everyone, including yours truly, talking -  so it works.

I’d bring back the Mash potatoes ad with the aliens. Imagine they were around? What would they do with a white paper?

‘Yes these government civil servants, ha ha ha…they make a white paper…and it’s a blue print…for a green future. Arggghhh…’  

So, 48 hours pass with a stalemate in my war against cliché then bang, just like a bus (ouch) two come along at once in the same sentence.

I spotted a cliché-laden sentence containing a black hole and a ticking time bomb. On the receiving end of the cliché attack was nervous sweating Hen Broon- aka the keeper of the nation’s sporran- John Swinney.

This week it’s a pension time bomb and a financial black hole. No problem Big John tells them, we have it all covered with Scotland’s wealth.

As he's out the back sweating and nervously counting our supply of ginger bottles…