John Gibson: It’s always a scramble for IDS

Our Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith had been rabbiting on . . . “shocked when I realised it was possible for families to claim over £100,000 a year for help with housing costs, in addition to other benefits,” he said.

And he was unaware he’d reminded me of our meeting, IDS and self over breakfast at Edinburgh businessman Malcolm Scott’s plush Edinburgh residence over a scrambled eggs and smoked salmon breakfast.

All but reduced me to tears, telling me: “I felt I was coming home because I was born in a house at the end of the runway. My father, based at RAF Turnhouse, was commanding officer of the Auxiliary Air Force squadrons up here from 1953-55.

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‘‘I was born in 1954 and shortly after that they knocked the house down in the airport’s expansion.’’ He didn’t appear to be particularly interested in my oft-chronicled exploits at Turnhouse. Previous prose filched from the Gibcress file.

Jowl play, Alex

You’ll have to do something about that chin, Alex. Latest photo of him in the papers suggest that Alex Salmond’s chin has doubled. Too much gracious living? I know how it feels, First Minister. I’ve oft been called a chinless wonder. Whatever you do, keep that noble chin up.

Afterwords . .

. . . surely she was kidding. Mary Contini, author and co-owner of Valvona & Crolla, is telling me she has something cooking for the Edinburgh Bookfest in August with her latest book, titled 52 Things To Do With a Sausage. What she added as a sub-title is unprintable. Naughty the word for the contrary Mary.