Just say no to drug-dabbling Tories – Vladimir McTavish

Like the most uninspiring final of X-Factor ever, the Tory leadership race has been whittled down to just two contestants. I never thought this country would ever have a worse Prime Minister than Theresa May.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 7:00 am
Rory Stewarts behaviour on the campaign trail was eccentric  and bordered on outright lunacy. Picture: AFP/Getty

In terms of incompetence, and lack of charisma, she is a tough act to follow. However, looking at the remaining candidates, the next episode of “Nightmare On Downing Street” may be even more horrific.

The choice the voters have is clear. It’s either the pathological liar or the complete nonentity. By “voters”, I mean members of the Conservative Party. Therefore, the number of people in Scotland having a say in the election of our next Prime Minister would struggle to fill the top deck of a number 23 bus. China is a beacon of democracy by comparison.

Let’s look at who’s left. Last year, on a trip abroad, Jeremy Hunt famously got his wife’s nationality wrong. He claimed in a speech that she was Japanese. She is Chinese. Worse still, he was making the speech in China.

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Vladimir McTavish

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Boris Johnson is as big a risk to Union as Nicola Sturgeon – Ian Murray

Boris Johnson, meanwhile, admitted to sniffing something, but was not sure what it was. Indeed, he said “it may have been icing sugar”. How can anyone claim to be competent to lead the country if they are unable to tell the difference between class-A drugs and bakers’ confectionery?

Who would have thought that the competition to elect the next leader of the Conservative Party would accidentally have turned into the most effective anti-drugs campaign staged by any government in recent memory?

We had Michael Gove admitting that he had taken cocaine on a number of occasions 20-odd years ago. At the very time, he was writing the following in The Times: “... the energy with which so many journalists campaign for legalisation is driven not by logic but emotion. Guilt in particular. There is no greater sin in journalistic eyes than hypocrisy. It justifies a score of tabloid stings, a hundred broken careers. How dare the minister endorse family values while himself straying? And how can I live with my occasional spliff unless I use my column to campaign for legalising drugs?”

Put aside the man’s obvious hypocrisy for a minute. The revelation he took cocaine conjures up some deeply disturbing images. One of the worst aspects of that particular drug, aside from its potential health risks, is that it turns the sweetest of people into absolute monsters. I have seen otherwise self-effacing wallflowers turn into loud-mouthed egocentric bores after a very small amount of the stuff,

I find Michael Gove to be a particularly loathsome individual at the best of times. I dread to think how insufferable he became after snorting a couple of lines of Colombian marching powder.

Finally, we had Rory Stewart, claiming to have smoked opium when he was in Afghanistan. The opium revelation pretty much explains everything else about Rory Stewart, in particular his eccentricity which at times bordered on outright lunacy,

To be honest, I’m not sure that the guy is actually real. He does not look entirely like a normal human being. His mouth has far too many teeth for a start. None of suits seem to fit properly. He puts me in a mind of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

Anyway, the point I am making is this. For decades now, successive governments have been running campaigns trying to get the youth of the country not to take drugs. Every one of these has been a failure. However, if there were any better evidence that drugs aren’t cool, it’s the fact these guys took them. They should maybe all feature in the next public service broadcast. “Don’t do cocaine, kids. Do you really want up to end up like Michael Gove?”

However, if Boris wins, I reckon just about everyone, Tories included, will soon be reaching for the strongest drugs available.

Support your local comedian

The 2019 Edinburgh Fringe programme has hit the streets and I suspect many of us are all still trying to plough through its contents. Faster readers will probably be around ten per cent of their way through the comedy section. With any luck, they may have reached the shows where the performer’s name begins with D.

It’s a bit like wading through the old telephone directory, looking for someone whose name you forgot but whose address you can remember. There is far too much choice. Come August, that choice becomes even more difficult as giant life-size posters are strung up all the way up The Mound, advertising the next big star in stand-up. Inevitably some white middle-class bloke in his twenties with a big haircut, even bigger glasses and skinny jeans. He doubtless has a ground-breaking routine about the difference between cats and dogs. Much like last year’s next big star in stand-up who hilariously pointed out that men and women are different.

If you live in Edinburgh, you don’t have to wait until August to see live comedy. The city’s year-round stand-up scene is more vibrant now than it has ever been. We have four permanent clubs and two of these, The Stand and The Monkey Barrel, are now open seven nights a week.

Furthermore, a number of Edinburgh acts walked away with gongs at this year’s Scottish Comedy Awards. So take a punt on one of the many talented local acts at this year’s Fringe.

Look out for Jay Lafferty, Liam Withnail, Gareth Waugh, Jojo Sutherland and Gareth Mutch. And I’m doing a show too. 60 Minutes To Save The World at The Stand’s New Town Theatre.

Scotland’s World Cup journey is over but hope is eternal

Had it not been for a number of highly dubious penalty decisions, the Scotland team would still be in France, playing in the later stages of the Women’s World Cup. Instead, we had the familiar agonising Scottish exit from a tournament where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory right at the bitter end.

Let’s put aside the excruciating disappointment of how the team were so cruelly robbed of a place in the last 16 by an outrageous VAR decision that Argentina’s 94-minute penalty be retaken because our keeper had moved marginally off her line.

Instead, let’s celebrate the achievements of Shelley Kerr and her squad. They captured the imagination of the Scottish public in a way that the women’s game has never done before. Players like Erin Cuthbert, Caroline Weir and Kim Little went from having a niche following to becoming household names, rightly praised as the world-class players they are.

And let’s not forget the most important fact. They did something the Scotland men’s team have not done in over 20 years. They qualified for the World Cup.

OK, it may have ended in failure, but if “glorious failure” exists then this was truly such a thing. They captured the hearts of a nation, and hopefully their deeds will inspire a new generation of Scottish girls to take up sport. And, hopefully, they also will inspire their male counterparts to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.