Fast track Jack

SCOTTISH Secretary Alister Jack gave a lengthy interview to Holyrood magazine this week in which he revealed how he ended up in the cabinet. The Tories couldn’t find anyone else to stand in Dumfries & Galloway in 2017. His wife said he should and so he sort of went along with it. “It was just a Sunday night phone call asking if I knew a candidate, and by the Tuesday night I was adopted.” He could be in the Lords soon. Ain’t democracy grand? 

Memory lane

THE interview also noted Mr Jack’s prodigious memory. (Unsuspected but true.) Though he may have a blind spot for his hero Boris Johnson. “I found when I walked the streets with him in Scotland, people were incredibly supportive,” he recalled. However Mr Johnson notoriously didn’t dare walk the streets on his few visits here as PM. Apart from a brief photo-op in a fish market, he hid behind the barbed wire of high security sites like Faslane. Still, not being shot by the guards must count as a success in Mr Jack’s book.

Wheels of fate

UNSPUN sends its very best wishes to BBC Scotland Political Editor Glenn Campbell, who has been laid up in hospital after a cycling accident left him with ten broken ribs. No, that’s not a misprint, ten. His BBC colleagues at Holyrood are caring souls, so they put their heads together to come up with a gift. They got him a pair of stabilisers for his bike.

Slater or less

THE Scottish Tories were chuffed when SNP maverick Fergus Ewing backed their motion to sack Green minister Lorna Slater over the DRS debacle on Tuesday. But their greatest joy came when Ms Slater was defended by fellow Green Mark Ruskell. “This Parliament needs more Lorna Slaters and so does the Government,” he gushed. “So get used to her. She is just getting started.” A promise the Tories can’t wait to put on their leaflets.

Ferris Crueller

HOLYROOD magazine also had a Q&A with Anum Qaisar, the SNP MP for Airdrie & Shotts. Although usually irrepressible, it turns out she has a secret weakness. “I am terrified of Ferris wheels,” she confides. “I think it is because it is just so slow. Rollercoasters are really fast and over and done within seconds. A Ferris wheel takes forever." Surely the perfect training for independence?

A dame of two hats 

TALKING of phobias, Jackie Baillie’s gong in the King’s birthday honours has been a mixed blessing for the 'Dumbarton Rock' of the Union. True, she can  now swank about Holyrood as the parliament's first Dame, but she must also get a hat, a fashion accessory she loathes. When she first met the Queen she  didn't realise one was required (she says) and tried to do without. However Scots Labour peer Willie Haughey was aghast and made sure she was duly bunneted up. Now a second trip to the milliner looms. ‘I’m going to have to ask Willie for advice,” she sighs.  Given his sway in the party, she should be used to it.

Happy clappy

FMQs briefly turned into a public information announcement as Humza Yousaf was asked about the post-lockdown rise in gonorrhoea and other nether ailments. “There are simple and painless tests for gonorrhoea,” he explained, adding the Scottish Government would reach out to all age groups. “We will ensure we take a broad brush approach.” Ow. Doesn’t sound very painless to us.