We were taking evidence in the Public Audit Committee yesterday and the convener was asking a question of Steve Cardownie, the Leader of the SNP group on Edinburgh Council. Although it's all on the official record, I won't go into detail of the substance of the meeting until it's all over and done with (which may be never at this rate)!
What I had to laugh at was the convener's reaction when Cllr Cardownie mentioned that Alex Salmond called him on his mobile phone. He said he was "astonished" that the First Minister of Scotland with all his officials had chosen to call the councillor himself!
I'm not sure what he was making of it but I'M certainly not astonished. I'm glad to know that our First Minister doesn't think himself so above mere mortals that he has to do a Yes Minister and get his officials to call Cllr Cardownie's officials to call Cllr Cardownie, when he can just phone him himself!
This obsession with status really irks me. Alex Salmond respects his position but he's perfectly capable of phoning someone and I don't think it demeans his position to do so. As the SNP councillor pointed out, when he was in the Labour Party he regularly got calls on his mobile from Frank McAveety the then Culture Minister.
There really is nothing sinister at all about senior politicians not expecting their "minions" to do their work for them. It's simply in keeping with Scotland's long tradition of eglitarianism and us all being Jock Tamson's Bairns. As it happens when Alex Salmond phoned Cllr Cardownie, he (CC) was having a pint in the pub which he didn't get to finish. I reckon he should point that out to the First Minister and whilst I realise the FM is unlikely to have time to be down the pub of an evening much these days, I'm pretty sure he won't think himself too important to buy him one back!
Politics Live - readers' edition - Friday 21 July
19 hours ago