This week I kick the Buckie, sing Ging Gang Goolie and lis­ten to a Tory chump talk junkbuck­etry

Sunday Herald - - PROFILE -

SO were you watch­ing the Tory Party con­fer­ence? Did you see the oh-myGod-did-that-re­ally-hap­pen bit in all its ex­cru­ci­at­ing, toe-curl­ing, jaw­drop­ping glory? Could you ac­tu­ally be­lieve your eyes and ears? Me nei­ther. I mean, what was Bear Grylls think­ing go­ing up on stage dressed as a Boy Scout?

Well, it turns out he did have a rea­son: he is Chief Scout, a post he has held since 2009. But given that length of ten­ure he should be very well-ac­quainted with the small print in the hand­book, and in par­tic­u­lar with Rule 14.1, which states: “Mem­bers of the Move­ment in uni­form, or in­di­vid­u­als when act­ing as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Move­ment, must not take part in any party po­lit­i­cal meet­ings or ac­tiv­i­ties that en­dorse any par­tic­u­lar po­lit­i­cal party or can­di­date.” There you go. Plain as day.

Labour deputy leader Tom Wat­son, who it’s hard to be­lieve has ever done much in the way of bob-a-job­bing, was quick to point this out. “The Scouts’ rule­book says mem­bers shouldn’t take part in po­lit­i­cal events while in uni­form,” he noted. “Bear Grylls seems to have bro­ken those rules. But since Theresa May finds her­self in the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness per­haps she wanted him close at hand.” Boom, boom.

Grylls said: “I am not here as Bear Grylls. I am here to cham­pion young peo­ple des­per­ate for a voice. If I was Prime Min­is­ter, and I could make a rel­a­tively small in­vest­ment in scouting, that £50 mil­lion would be the best money I’d ever spent. Truth.”

He has been seen on tele­vi­sion drink­ing his own p***. With this ap­pear­ance, you had to won­der if he was tak­ing the p*** too. Truth.

Monk busi­ness

THERE is a tide of Buck­fast Tonic Wine wash­ing over our sweetie shops and con­ve­nience stores, and a war go­ing on in an ef­fort to stop it. Well, not quite. But sort of. First up, we had Buck­fast Easter eggs, an un­holy con­fec­tion we brought you news of ear­lier this year. In case you’ve for­got­ten, these items were be­ing sold on­line by an off-li­cence based in North­ern Ire­land – or they were un­til the com­pany which bot­tles and dis­trib­utes Buck­fast, J Chan­dler & Com­pany, took ac­tion and called in the Trad­ing Stan­dards of­fi­cers. They de­stroyed the stock us­ing spe­cial blow­torches or a spe­cial crusher or what­ever other spe­cial de­vice is best suited to the safe dis­posal of Buck­fast Easter eggs. “It’s David ver­sus Go­liath,” com­plained Derek Bren­nan, the brains be­hind the Easter egg scheme, em­ploy­ing a Bib­li­cal metaphor which won’t have gone un­ap­pre­ci­ated by the peo­ple who ul­ti­mately “own” Scot­land’s other favourite tip­ple and who sent in the blow­torch/crusher-wield­ing of­fi­cials – the Bene­dic­tine monks of Buck­fast Abbey in Devon. Now we have Round Two of the bat­tle and it comes in the shape of Buck­fast Flavoured Creams, which are be­ing sold by esteemed sweetie mak­ers Ross’s of Ed­in­burgh. A spokesman for the com­pany told the Ed­in­burgh Evening News that it was all part of a plan to bring Ross’s into the 21st cen­tury “by in­tro­duc­ing flavours that the younger gen­er­a­tion would re­late to and recog­nise like Buck­fast or banof­fee pie”.

I’ll leave it to you to de­cide what that says about the culi­nary habits of Scot­land’s mil­len­ni­als, though the com­pany stresses that there is no al­co­hol in the sweet­ies.

Any­way, the monks them­selves have now be­come in­volved, de­scrib­ing the sweet­ies as “highly ir­re­spon­si­ble in our view” and adding: “Prod­ucts which are ac­ces­si­ble to chil­dren should not be pro­duced us­ing the flavour­ing of any al­co­holic bev­er­ages.” Fair point? Maybe. But I await with in­ter­est (and an empty cone and a poised flake) the advent of Buckie’N’Tun­nocks Snow­ballflavoured ice cream.

Ta ta Twit­ter

HAVE we reached peak so­cial me­dia and if we have, who’s go­ing to tell Don­ald Trump he’s, like, to­tally un­fol­lowed? Let’s leave that chore to Sean Spicer or An­thony Scara­mucci. As for the other bit, ev­i­dence is mount­ing that it’s true and that more and more young peo­ple are giv­ing up on Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, What­sApp and the rest. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of state and in­de­pen­dent schools in Eng­land un­der­taken by the Head­mas­ters’ and Head­mistresses’ Con­fer­ence (HMC), a clear ma­jor­ity of young peo­ple say they have ex­pe­ri­enced on­line abuse, agree that it makes them feel less con­fi­dent about them­selves, do think they may be on the verge of an ad­dic­tion, and do feel their friends gave a false view of them­selves on so­cial me­dia. So ba­si­cally ev­ery­thing their par­ents have been telling them since P5.

The up­shot? Al­most two-thirds of those sur­veyed wouldn’t mind if so­cial me­dia had never been in­vented and 71 per cent ad­mit­ted to go­ing “dig­i­tal detox” in or­der to get away from it, at least for a while. For Chris King, HMC chair and head­mas­ter of Le­ices­ter Gram­mar School, the sur­vey re­sults are “the first in­di­ca­tions of a re­bel­lion against so­cial me­dia”.

Bring it on, I say. Let’s en­cour­age the rest of you kids to stop star­ing at your screens and in­stead do the things your par­ents used to – like play conkers, col­lect foot­ball stick­ers, learn to solve a Ru­bik’s Cube with­out look­ing at the in­ter­net and hang around tele­phone boxes drink­ing cider.

Eton tri­fles

ONE of the ben­e­fits of an Eton and/or Ox­ford ed­u­ca­tion – be­sides the fact that you’ll walk into RADA – is a wide vo­cab­u­lary con­tain­ing many or­nate and splen­dif­er­ous in­sults, and an over­ween­ing con­fi­dence in your abil­ity to de­ploy them when you get up in front of a mi­cro­phone at, say, the Con­ser­va­tive Party con­fer­ence.

There is a poster boy for this du­bi­ous skill and, though I’d hate to spend time in any room that had his face Blu-Tacked to its walls, we have to give credit where it’s due: he is Boris John­son, the man who once de­scribed Jeremy Cor­byn as a “mut­ton-headed old mug­wump” and an “Is­ling­to­nian her­bi­vore”.

John­son was at it again last week and once more he had JC in his sights, de­scrib­ing the Labour leader as hav­ing a “vole-trousered air” and be­ing a “su­per­an­nu­ated space cadet”. Now, the last bit I get and, to some ex­tent, agree with. But what on Earth does “vole-trousered” mean and even if we can work it out, in what way can you have a “vole-trousered air” about you?

Quentin Letts, Bo-Jo’s cheer­leader-in­chief in the Daily Mail, didn’t care a jot, trum­pet­ing about his man’s “zest for the English lan­guage” in a col­umn last week. He was even moved to have a go him­self, hail­ing the gal­vanic ef­fect John­son had on the Tory crowd – more gal­vanic than Bear Grylls any­way – and tak­ing a pot-shot at all those pre­vi­ous speak­ers who had in­dulged in what he called “glum­buck­etry”. Or per­haps that should be “lum­buck­etry”, to use the joke minted last week af­ter a let­ter fell off the Tory slo­gan dur­ing Theresa May’s speech.

Sweet maker Ross’s of Ed­in­burgh has cre­ated Buck­fast Flavoured Creams

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