Strife of Brian

ONE overlooked footnote to Nigel Farage’s milkshaking was the Brexit candidate who was with him at the time. Step forward ex-Tory MSP Brian Monteith, who heads the Brexit party list for North East of England, and will almost certainly be an MEP. Holyrood old hands remember Brian as a fearless bon viveur who never left a glass or plate stay full for long. “If the bloke had thrown the milkshake at him, he’d have drunk it,” said one. “After adding vodka and lighting a cigar, of course.”

Green paper

SCOTLAND’S political parties took to the streets on Wednesday for a last push before the Euro elections. As the Scottish Greens battled against Edinburgh gusts and chased fluttering leaflets down the Royal Mile, Holyrood co-leader Alison Johnstone batted away requests from photographers to pose with a poster stuck to her body by the wind. “Willie Rennie would do it,” complained one snapper. “Willie Rennie would do anything,” she observed.

Class act

THAT anorak essential, the BBC Parliament channel, broadcast a lecture on devolution by Lord McConnell this week, showcasing Jack’s nice line in anecdotes. Like the one about his last public duty as FM visiting a new school in East Renfrewshire. When he saw an errant boy sitting outside the head’s office, the former teacher in him took over. Trying to find out why the young lad was in trouble, he told him gruffly: “Do you realise I’m in charge of all the prisons in Scotland?” The boy perked up. “Oh, did you meet my big brother?”

Naan of your cheek

JACK had another example of Scottish politicians being brought back to earth by the public. In 2007, the then FM went for a curry in Lanarkshire with Labour bigshot John Reid. “We both had a liking after curry for plain ice cream,” Jack explained. However the elderly waitress arrived bearing ice cream covered in sprinkles. Lord Reid protested he only wanted “plain vanilla”. The waitress glowered. “Just f***ing eat it,” she told the ferocious Home Secretary.

Freudian nib

RUM goings-on at Holyrood’s connectivity committee as Tory convener Sir Edward Mountain became obsessed with waving his pen to tell speakers to shut up. “If they continue to speak after I’ve waved a few times, my pen starts to wag and then it launches across the room,” he told two baffled witnesses over a videolink. He then excitedly told a Glasgow councillor in the room: “I waggle my pen. The fear is always, if I get too vigorous with it, it flies in your direction.” The ice cold side-eye this elicited from his deputy, Nat Gail Ross, was priceless.

Dick pic

HOLYROOD’S party leaders recently took part in “DuoDay”, a worthy initiative linking people with disabilities to employers. Tory Ruth Davidson and LibDem Willie Rennie both agreed to take someone on for a day – but Unspun understands Scottish Labour’s Richard Leonard passed it off to his predecessor Kezia Dugdale. Mind you, it didn’t stop him soaking up the related publicity. He later posed happily for pictures with the other leaders who had actually made an effort. Perhaps he’s shamelessly cynical enough to be a politician after all?

Labour strains

MR LEONARD’S party stressed the importance of campaigning right until the polls closed in the European election. “Right now is the final push”, wrote deputy leader Lesley Laird in an email to activists. “I’ll see you on the doorstep.” Admirable sentiments. However our mole reports some senior Labour figures quit the doorstep early to catch crooner Michael Bublé at the SSE Hydro on Thursday night. Let’s hope Lesley doesn’t find out.