I HAVE a spring in my step as I walk into my booth at St Andrew’s House. My statement about supporting indigenous farmers in Peru after being snapped smoking a cannabis joint on the Clyde has resonated throughout the building.

“Hey Rupert,” shouts Rebeccah at Health. “I’m having a party this weekend. We’ve imported some rather lively artisan tobacco products from our friends in the Turkish consulate. Perhaps you’d like to come along and help strengthen our cultural ties in the Bosphorus.”

Next it’s Paula from education. “Roopy-doop, sweetheart. My friend has a start-up business in the Canongate, specialising in wild poppies and mushrooms from Central and South Asia. She wants to invite you to do the opening.”

It’s all beginning to get rather tiresome.


I RECEIVE an email from Stewart McDonald, our Defence spokesperson at Westminster. I quite like Stewart. He’s not averse to the odd cocktail of an evening though, and recently gave me a decent recommendation for designer spectacles at a place in Leith called Madden & Beaton.

“Rupert, we need to formulate a Scottish defence White Paper in the event of us being independent. The shifting sands of global geopolitics means that terror could be knocking on our front door at any moment. We need to establish a threat index to make it look as if we know about these things. All the important countries have one. Don’t you get a wee buzz when the US President says they’re going to DEFCON1 in all those Gerard Butler films? Or when Boris Johnson says the threat to the UK has been raised to severe?

“Perhaps we could base the Scottish one on some of our favourite locutions depicting extreme prejudice such as: mollicate; banjo; malkie; laldy and scud.

“Thus if we detected any nefarious activity on the Scottish Border by the BNP we could issue a bulletin saying that Nicola Sturgeon has raised the threat level to laldy. Then we’d know we’d really arrived as a nation.

“I also want to establish a Scottish Secret Service even before we go independent and draw up a list of undesirables such as the Green Brigade; JK Rowling; Gary Smith of the GMB Union and Professor Neil Oliver.”


The National: B25_39456_RC2
James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in
an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove

I ATTEND the latest James Bond movie as the starting-off point of my research into establishing a Scottish Secret Service. It’s got me thinking. Scotland could have an organic secret service that specialises in non-violence and a gentle touch. During my time at Whitehall I was struck by how often the Joint Chiefs were told to contrive threatening situations in the usual trouble-spots to signify British military power and summon the spirit of Agincourt. Especially when the Government was going through a sticky patch on the domestic front.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Scottish Secret Service gained a reputation for minimising threat levels? We could actually talk to our enemies and put them up at Gleneagles for a few rounds of golf. Then we could take them through to Glasgow for a couple of nights on the batter and some impromptu house-parties in Castlemilk and Shettleston.

And instead of getting rid of the nukes at Faslane we could de-commission them and get Colin and Justin to do a television series where we get teams of young offenders to turn them into desirable living spaces. It would tell the world that Scotland is not a threat to anyone and that the best way to reduce aggression and belligerence would be simply to chill out for a couple of weeks amidst our hills and glens.

We could actually become the world’s go-to destination for international conciliation, a sort of geo-political ACAS service. And offer a discreet and bespoke counselling package by a team of highly-trained but touch-sensitive psychologists to heal old wounds and examine the source of all the hurt feelings.


I’VE been up all night working on my proposal and send it south by special diplomatic courier with instructions to speak to no one until the package has been given directly to Stewart. He replies before the day is out. “Absolutely love this. It could herald a new chapter in our relationship with the world. I intend to present it at a special meeting with Nato next week. I think the idea of Scotland as the world’s agony aunt and peacemaker will go down well with them and gain us international attention and lots of inward investment. Let’s call it Operation Ploughshare.


THERE’S been a sinister turn of events and I think we may have an MI5 spy in our midst. Stewart has suddenly gone missing and can’t be reached. There are sketchy eye-witness reports of him being bundled into a silver SUV with blacked out windows by some rough-looking chaps wearing sunglasses … at nine o’clock at night.