Always Worth Saying’s Question Time Review

Question Time 18th May 2023

The Panel:

Malcolm Offord (Conservative)
Jackie Baillie (Labour)
Mairi McAllan (SNP)
Alex Salmond (Alba Party)
Nina Myskow (Journalist)

Venue: Fort William

Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond was born in Linlithgow on New Year’s Eve 1954. After attending Linlithgow Academy and gaining an HND from Edinburgh College of Commerce, he enrolled at St Andrew’s University, where he graduated with a Medieval History and Economics degree. From 1987 to 2010 and again from 2015 to 2017 Mr Salmond served in the House of Commons. From 2007 to 2014 he served in the Edinburgh parliament as First Minister of Scotland.

Subsequently, Alex was involved in a court case concerning allegations surrounding his conduct in office and sexual harassment complaints against him. In March 2020, a jury found Salmond not guilty on 12 charges related to the allegations against him. Having resigned from the SNP in the face of the allegations, he joined and became leader of the Alba Party in 2021.

Between November 2017 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the spring of 2022, Alex hosted The Alex Salmond Show on Vladimir Putin’s ‘Kremlin propaganda channel’ Russia Today. The show was produced by Slainte Media, a company owned by Mr Salmond and his former SNP colleague Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. In the usual media bubble tax dodge, Mr Salmond’s broadcasting fees are paid to the company rather than to himself. Documents available from Companies House show that by November 2021 (the most recent date covered by published accounts), Slainte has accumulated £373,538 on behalf of Mr Salmond and Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

The lush Ms Tasmina is no stranger to handling funds. The former SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire was found guilty of professional misconduct and fined £3,000 by the Scottish Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal in 2019 over the mishandling of a trust fund when a solicitor at Hamilton Burns.

Surprisingly, Honest Tasmina was before the tribunal again two years later. Found guilty of another six breaches of the Law Society’s rules relating to financial affairs, Puffins will be relieved to hear that Ms Tasmina isn’t dishonest but, in the society’s ruling, merely ‘reckless by omission’ while the designated cashroom partner at the same (by now bankrupted) Glasgow law firm.

Puffins will also be relieved to hear that Alex and Tasmina stayed aboard the EU gravy train even after leaving parliament. Four months after losing their seats in the June 2017 general election, the business partners were spotted by a Dail Mail photographer during a late-night Strasburg working session. Before you ask, barefoot Mrs Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s shoes are in her handbag, not lost forever beneath a Gallic back alley’s nightclub wheelie bin.

Question one. Are the opposition parties overly optimistic about the demise of the SNP? For those who haven’t been paying attention, La Bruce read out a long list of resignations and arrests.

Squeaky Mairi McAllan (SNP) noted La Bruce’s comments to be a list of events awaiting conclusion. She managed to avoid the cringy ‘live case’ line, preferring a bottom line of polls being polls and elections being elections with the next one being many months away.

Jackie Baillie (Labour) said she felt sorry for SNP people, while showing about as much sincerity as Holly and Phil might pretend to the person sitting next to them on the Good Morning sofa of hate. Trust has been betrayed. Extraordinary events. A mess. She meant the SNP, not Phil – we assume.

New SNP leader Humza Yusef has been handed a tough job. A culture of secrecy exists while the nationalists fight like ferrets in a sack. Labour was working hard for every vote and would take nothing for granted.

‘Yes, they are,’ responded Alec Salmond (Alba), support for the SNP is deeply embedded. They have done much good for Scotland (until they got rid of Alex, he was bursting to add). Two points. What the SNP do in Scotland and what Labour and the Tories do in London are two separate political realities. Secondly, support for independence isn’t declining. The issue isn’t the SNP as a party, it is about the desire for independence.

Lord Offord (Conservative) talked of the SNP’s previous electoral successes and announced their supporters disappointed. The SNP has been in power for 15 years during which time they haven’t delivered independence or prosperity. The devolution deal from London was very generous. Throughout, he referred to Scotland as ‘we’ despite having lived in New York and London for many decades.

Malcolm Offord (not his real name, Malcolm Ian Offord, Baron Offord of Garvel) is a Scottish businessman and Conservative Party politician. Malcolm attended Greenock Academy and later graduated in law from The University of Edinburgh. A merchant banker (behave) at Lazards, his Lordship moved into private equity with 3i and subsequently founded and became chair of his own private equity company, Badenoch and Co. After donating £147,500 to the Conservative Party, in October 2021 his Lordship was ennobled to the House of Lords and appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Scotland Office.

Beneath a pencil-straight mop of care home hair, Nina Myskow (journalist), expressed her disappointment. She threw some Scottish words into her opening comments. Or rather the sort of noises that media bubble luvvies in London think the good people of Fort William might speak. The audience gazed at her blankly. Nina is a Sturgeon fan. She envied Krankie over Boris during the pandemic.

She agreed with Billy Connolly. No, not that you should park your bike in the protruding bum of your recently murdered wife, but that the desire to be a politician should exclude you from being one. The audience understood that line and applauded.

Nina Myskow (not her real name, Janina Myskow) is a journalist and television personality known for her work as a columnist for The Sun and the News of the World. She was also a contributor on TV shows such as Grumpy Old Women and New Faces. Myskow was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, and also attended the University of St Andrews where she studied English Literature but did not graduate.

Previously she was a pupil at Pietermaritzburg’s private Wykeham Collegiate School (272,690 Rand per annum) and is a fluent Afrikaans speaker. Nina’s father worked in forestry in Saffa and taught sciences. If Puffins are wondering what the capital of Natal looked like then and now, they can make the comparison for themselves here and here.

I wonder what happened in the meantime to wreck the place?

The daughter of a Polish officer father and a Scottish school teacher (Elizabeth, who died in New Zealand aged 93), Nina began her career as a writer for Jackie magazine, where she eventually became the first female editor. In addition to her work in journalism, Myskow has also worked as an actress and television presenter, winning the Pointless Celebrities trophy.

Mairi told a lie. She said the people of Scotland had voted in majority for an assembly committed to independence. No, they hadn’t. At the last Scottish election, parties in favour of a second referendum received a minority of the votes.

But what’s the strategy to deliver independence, insisted La Bruce? Mairi repeated her lie.

Mairi McAllan is the Scottish Parliament’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition. She was previously the Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform and is currently the SNP MSP for Clydesdale.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 12-year-old Mairi has never had a proper job beyond a pupilage following her graduation in law from the University of Glasgow, a year as a solicitor and, ominously, as an ‘information officer’ with the Scottish Nationalist Party. *Taps nose*. In her Linkedin profile, Ms McAllan informs us her perception management duties included ‘Accompanying the First Minster, Nicola Sturgeon on her campaign tour of Scotland’. No doubt in Krankie’s in-laws’ notorious Sonder Zug propaganda warfare camper van, impounded since Nicola’s downfall to a secret location by the Auchtermuchty constabulary.

Brexit. Yay. Alex Salmond blamed Brexit.

He gave advice to Humsa Yusef. Clear the decks. Dump the recent nutty policies and go back to the good old days of, erm, Alex Salmond.

An audience member reminded us those mental policies were adopted by the SNP in order to form a majority coalition with the Greens.

The debate got bogged down on future and previous Scottish referendums which, respectively, won’t take place and independence lost.

His Lordship tried to say that more Scots voted for Brexit than voted for independence but got all mixed up.

Jackie Baillie goes door to door every weekend. She sees people asking for change. Change to put in the electricity meter or buy a cup of tea? The NHS is rubbish, there is a cost of living crisis. The big issue is, who will replace the Conservatives? Not the SNP, only Labour can replace them.

Jacqueline Marie Baillie has been the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party since 2020 and has served as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Dumbarton constituency since 1999. The current Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Finance, Constitution and Economy was born in Hong Kong in 1964. Privately educated Comrade Jacqueline (£20,190 a year St Annes School, Windemere) is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde. A local government wallah, she was elected to the Scottish parliament in 1999 subsequent to a career in resource centre management and community economic development management at East Dunbartonshire Council.

The second question was about mass, uncontrolled, unlimited immigration, without mentioning, mass, uncontrolled or unlimited. Or even immigration. The new code word is ‘fruit pickers’.

La Bruce drew a conflict between recent comments of the prime minister and the home secretary.

His Lordship referenced government policy which is a route for seasonal workers to pick fruit. With net immigration at 700,000+ per year, it’s difficult to agree that nearly three-quarters of a million extra people are required every year just to pick fruit. He said there is a labour shortage, despite unemployment currently being 1.33 million – and rising. Nobody mentioned overtime or encouraging part-time workers to full-time.

Nina Myskow used another Scottish word, ‘tattie picking’. She obsessed about fruit pickers. What happened to all the architects and brain surgeons?

Labour’s Jackie Ballie wanted the numbers to be even higher, so they can vote to take us back into the EU, she forgot to add.

A lady in the audience mentioned our own unemployed. Twenty percent of our workforce are economically inactive, observed his Lordship. Did he have any good ideas about improving the situation? No, he didn’t. Don’t forget, it is a Conservative government that is presiding over record-breaking immigration.

Alex Salmond said the Tories want to fight the next election on immigration. He blamed Brexit again. Yawn. He said Brexit cost every family £2,000. Really? Proof? Evidence? Salmond was allowed to make these unsubstantiated claims unchallenged.

Mairi blamed Brexit as well. ‘The single worst economic act of self-harm’. Twice as worse as the pandemic. Not to mention the cultural impact, whatever that’s supposed to mean. The Brexit derangement syndrome was high, resulting in your humble reviewer unanimously voting to leave Question Time and head for bed.

© Always Worth Saying 2023

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