Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Dougie's Jam and Dolly's Secret

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Dougie's Jam and Dolly's Secret

Article excerpt

* Maggie Thatcher's salivating disciples, eagerly awaiting their heroine's Downing Street resurrection, may soon be frothing and foaming instead. Richard Stone's oil painting of the Rusty Lady will not be hung, as was widely anticipated, on No 10's grand staircase. Once unveiled she will, I hear, be confined to an attic - or, more specifically, a corner room up the stairs and left down the corridor. Once installed in the Thatcher Study, as the room in which she long toiled is known, Maggie will languish unseen except by escorted visitors.

Lefties convinced that Thatcher comes from another planet will be intrigued to discover that the study already houses a few specks of moon rock, a gift to the nation from Richard Nixon.

* Jim Murphy, a teetotal veggie, doesn't let a grudge drop. The Secretary of State for Tartan Affairs refuses to speak to Pete Wishart because the Scots Nat criticised his constituency office expenses - eight years ago. The long silence has included Big Jim refusing to reply to a cheery "Good morning" in the lift from the one-time member of the band Runrig. Now Wishart has a cunning plan to secure acknowledgement of his existence. It's called Scottish Questions, although Big Jim's replies are likely to be brief and followed by a muffled curse.

* Tony Blair's tendency to pop up, Zelig-like whenever Labour ministers venture abroad is irritating old cabinet colleagures. Gordon Brown at least enjoyed the satisfaction of turfing his predecessor out of the best bed in the Washington embassy, unlike poor Dougie Alexander, forced to take a back seat on a visit to Gaza. …

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