The smack of firm government Scotland’s high-profile 'children’s commissioner,' Bruce Adamson, fully endorses, surprise surprise, the Scottish government's decision to ban parental smacking. He regards such a practice as 'untenable in international human rights law.' Mr Adamson has had less – indeed nothing – to say about the unfortunate tendency of so many of the little darlings to inflict injury on their teachers at the estimated rate of 74 assaults per school day. Presumably this is also 'untenable in international human rights law,' yet few prosecutions result: teachers prefer to quit the profession without undue fuss. The P&J reports that scores of dangerous weapons are still being seized in Aberdeen schools two years after the killing of Bailey Gwynne – from pupils whose protection under international human rights law is now assured.
Storm of the week Brian – the sort of chap who'd give up his seat on the bus. As might have been predicted – indeed was, in this very column – Brian didn't do a great deal of damage beyond pouring buckets of cold water on the pitch at Stranraer, forcing the postponement of the big match with Raith Rovers. Otherwise Brian was just another excuse for the weather industry, increasingly driven by commercial imperatives, to keep the population in a state of fear and alarm. Britain is now being invited to 'brace itself' for a succession of 'bombs' which are apparently rolling off the production line at what the meteorological terrorists are calling a 'weather factory' in the Atlantic. Suitably braced, the nation awaits the re-appearance of yet more wildly gesticulating BBC reporters braving the elements in their regulation green wellies.
Word of the week 'Overtopping'. We asked our sexual indiscretions, weather events and fishing news correspondent, Kirk Oswald, to investigate what it could mean. He reported back that it is the action of a wave when it goes over a sea wall, releasing another spasm of mass hysteria.
Alternative word of the week 'Over the topping.' The automatic response of the media to the merest hint of a wind speed in excess of 20mph.
Weather nanny of the week One Richard Leonard, 'head of road user safety' at Highways England, who revealed to astonished motorists that in high winds, there is a particular risk to lorries.
Award-winning columns of the week The many self-revelatory pieces on how their authors were touched up at a showbiz party in 1978, why they thought it was okay at the time, why it's no longer okay, and why they're signing up to Me Too.
Namin' 'n' shamin' It's highly selective. Daily Telegraph columnist Elizabeth Day wrote that 'a well-known TV personality' once told her across a table 'precisely what he would like to do with my nipples' and then lunged at her in a lift. Who was this sex beast? In the words of the late great John Junor: I don't know, but I think we should be told.
Scheduling of the week In the midst of the current outpouring of indignation about misogyny and violence against women in the acting and media professions, our public service broadcaster still thought it appropriate to launch, just after the watershed, a drama series in the opening minutes of which the camera lingered over a middle-aged woman being stripped naked before being crushed to death.
Tips of the week In 1922, Albert Einstein was in the middle of a lecture tour of Japan. A courier arrived at his hotel, the Imperial in Tokyo, bearing an urgent message. Either the messenger refused a gratuity or Einstein only had the out of date pound coins on his person. Whatever the explanation, he proffered the courier two scribbled pieces of advice for the conduct of life, adding that they might be valuable one day. ('Albert really fancied his barra,' intervenes Islay McLeod. But sure enough, the notes have just raised $1.8m at auction.) The first – 'Where there’s a will there's a way' – was not even original. The second read: 'A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.' Not bad, that one – but how does it compare with current wisdom? Top of the charts at the moment is this homily from Bob Kelso: 'Life is scary. Get used to it. There are no magical fixes. It's all up to you. So get up off your keister, get out of here, and go start doin' the work. Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.'
Office discussion of the week (1) The question, 'Who the hell's Bob Kelso?,' provoked the usual lively debate. In the end, it was Mary Culter (media, arts and gender issues) who came up with the most plausible answer: there is a character called Bob Kelso in the TV series 'Scrubs' – not the disgusting English prison of the same name, but what you wear in the operating theatre if you're called Bob Kelso. (2) What is a keister? From the same savvy source we learned that it is pronounced keester and is a term signifying the human bottom, up from which you must get if you want to do the work. Go figure (as they say stateside).
Confused logic of the week Political correspondent Kitty Brewster reports that the Scottish government wishes to woo women back into the workplace by doubling the amount of money available for 'free' childcare. At the same time, she points out, it is flirting with the idea of a universal basic income for all citizens – which sounds like a reason for women not to return to the workplace. Discuss. (Or not, if you really can't be bothered thinking about it, but prefer to hang about for the first instalment of your universal basic income.)
Scottish currency of the week Further to last week's suggestions of the Eck, the Nic and the Sturg, Roger Sandilands proposes the Squid.
Mystery Scottish wind farm of the week The one the BBC reported had been opened 'off the coast of Scotland.'
Mystery Scottish place of the week See our competition below. (Clue: It isn't Troon.)
Rangers manager of the week
Homeless first minister of the week The Metro – the thing you pick up on the bus before binning it 90 seconds later – noted disapprovingly that someone it described as 'the SNP leader' was staying in a hotel at the taxpayers' expense while her usual residence (Bute House) had the workmen in. For this purpose she is not 'the SNP leader' but the first minister of Scotland. Where do cost-conscious hacks expect her to stay? An Airbnb? Picture the owner's feedback: 'Yeah, basically fine, though she left a few hairs in the sink.'
Home and Away The deceptively sunny Australians have introduced some of the world’s harshest measures against asylum seekers. One new rule requires them to obtain permission before buying a pet. The minister for immigration, a charm vacuum called Peter Dutton, is now better known as the minister for hamsters.
The Quick and the Dead A whole month has gone by since Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers in Las Vegas, leaving 58 dead and 546 injured. The media at once predicted that the atrocity would 'spark’ – one of their favourite words – a debate about gun control. It did. Congress is debating it. But the precedents are not encouraging. In 2007, a student killed 32 people in Virginia. The state's response was to drop its purchase limit of one handgun a month. Similarly, in 2009, 13 people were killed and 30 wounded when a US army officer went on a shooting rampage in Texas. The state's response was to allow licensed gun holders to carry handguns openly in public places.
Plea in mitigation of the week After reading the BBC's report of the sentencing hearing in the case of Ian Gordon (the Troon man who smothered his wife), our legal correspondent, Sheriff Muir, gave one of his characteristic guffaws. 'It must be a misprint,' he assured the assembled editorial conference (the name we give to the 11am rabble). 'It is inconceivable,' he added, 'that any dean of the faculty would resort to the language of the Glasgow Corporation bus.' The entire team had a closer look at the offending sentence, in which Gordon Jackson QC was alleged to have told the High Court: 'I have never came across a case quite like this one,' and agreed that it was another example of declining standards at Pacific Quay. Imagine Sheriff Muir's dismay when, the following morning, at least two newspapers reprinted the quote in the same grammatically dubious terms.
A reader's guide to shanarri After naming Shanarri Twain, the album-topping Canadian songstress, as shanarri of the week, we were contacted by Quintin Jardine, who wondered what was meant by this ironical reference. Evidently unknown to the distinguished novelist, Professor Walter Humes had just revealed to the world that shanarri is part of the lexicon of the Scottish government. The acronym stands for Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included – which is the first minister’s mantra for every child in Scotland, one that she is believed to recite hourly as she languishes in her lonely digs. Keep up, Jardine!
Shanarri of the week Shanarri and chips. £2 supplement for mushy peas, but no extra charge for mushy professional jargon.
Unsettling thought of the week Piers Morgan, the most irritating man in Britain next to Jeremy Vine (obviously) and Alan Titchmarsh (even more obviously), claims to be related to the well-known Scottish monarch Robert the Bruce. The truth of this alarming claim will only be confirmed if Morgan expires suddenly from a surfeit of eels, the suspected cause of death of wur patriot.
Double Take is edited by The Midgie with the assistance of staff writers Kitty Brewster (politics), Sheriff Muir (legal and constitutional affairs), Mary Culter (arts, media and gender issues) and Kirk Oswald (sexual indiscretions, weather events and fishing news). Upon the recommendation of Peter McAulay, we are delighted to welcome Maggie Knockater as our Banffshire correspondent. Maggie Knockater informs us that nothing of interest has occurred in Banffshire this week. Unlike Troon, where there is always something happening, none of it good.