Rocket man

A NEW entry in Holyrood’s lobbying register suggests trade minister Ivan McKee is a bit of a space cadet. It shows he recently sat down in parliament with the Asteroid Mining Corporation Ltd, which hopes to “mine asteroids in space, to free us from the Malthusian Trap that is Earth”. Handy. The firm also wanted to discuss “support” to ensure “development of the sector can be secured in Scotland”. Translation: is there a gravy train in space? We don’t doubt asteroid mining will happen. But not anytime soon. Perhaps not even until Indyref2.

Rugger chugger

SO farewell then, Tavish Scott. The LibDem MSP announced he was quitting Holyrood this week to be head of external affairs at Scottish Rugby. But does he have the thirst for the job? One former aide recalls a LibDem Christmas party when Tavish instigated the downing of Jagerbombs in the wee small hours in an Edinburgh nightclub. The next day, in the clammy grip of a hangover, he opened his office Secret Santa present only to discover, perhaps inevitably, that it was a bottle of Jagermeister. “I thought he was going to vomit,” says our unimpressed mole.

Black gold

THERE was also the LibDem conference before Indyref1 when Tavish and his staff hit Dundee’s boozers. With Yesser conspiracists insisting there were secret fossil fuel riches in his constituency, he held aloft a Black Sambuca and solemnly intoned, ‘This is Shetland’s oil’. But our favourite is when he brought a troupe of fellow islanders in full Viking regalia to a Royal event at Holyrood. After pillaging the guests’ buffet they literally drank every beer in the bar. Mmm. Maybe he has the proper thirst for rugby after all.

Salty of the earth

COULD it also be farewell to veteran Nat Richard Lyle? Nicknamed Salty Dick at Holyrood after once claiming a poke of chips on his expenses, SNP sources say the Uddingston & Bellshill MSP is mulling retiral at the 2021 election, triggering a selection battle in his seat. Naturally, his old cronies on North Lanarkshire Council would love a lucrative flit to Edinburgh. Alas, the SNP is looking at an all-women shortlist, infuriating some of Salty’s ambitious acolytes.


TALKING of Dicks, Richard Leonard gave an interview to Novara Media this week in which he explained his political philosophy. It was, he mused, “a synthesis of Scottish radicalism from Keir Hardy and those pioneers of the 1920s right the way through to post-industrial Utopians like Andre Gorz who are neo-Marxist in some ways”. You can almost hear the votes evaporating word by word. Another choice Scottish Labour moment arrived in Unspun’s email on Wednesday - a party press release declaring in large type that the SNP Health Secretary may be “incompetant”. Well, someone certainly is.

Class A Act

AMID the drug revelations of the Tory leadership race, polling supremo Professor Sir John Curtice offered some sage advice to would-be PMs this week. Addressing a Law Society of Scotland event to mark 20 years of devolution, he was asked if pollsters now have too much power in politics. “The quick answer is that polls should be taken but not inhaled,” he opined.

Legal rap

ALSO present was Scotland’s top law officer, the normally bone-dry Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC. He told attendees Holyrood had passed more than 290 bills in the last two decades, and scrutinised more than 5,500 Scottish statutory instruments. “My son suggested that I might do a rap with the short title of The 290 Bills,” he threatened. “It would be an interesting exercise.” He could be known as QC Wolffe J, conference chair David Lee joked. Please God, no!