Tuesday 2 December 2003

Dead Ringers

I was fascinated to read this story in the Daily Record:
A FAKE village has been built for the Queen's visit to Nigeria this week.

She will even meet BBC actors posing as locals in a market.

And real residents of the poor farming area will be kept hidden from her during the walkabout.

Well, well. I am pleased to announce that Freedom and Whisky has obtained a world exclusive. Someone has sent me copies of the plans for the forthcoming royal opening of Scotland's new parliament building.

To avoid any untoward embarrassment for Her Majesty, a group of performers has been hired to play the part of MSPs at the state opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Diminutive Edinburgh-born comedian Ronnie Corbett has graciously agreed to perform the role of First Minister, Jack McConnell.

Another son of Edinburgh, Rory Bremner, will take the place of Liberal Democrat leader and Minister for Enterprise, Jim Wallace. Bremner said: "If Jim can pretend to know about enterprise then surely I can pretend to be a politician."

Turning down the pleadings of the lady members of the Scottish Socialist Party that he perform as Tommy Sheridan, Sir Sean Connery, another Edinburgh local, has unsurprisingly agreed to fill the role of leader of the SNP. (John Swinney has recently been heard demanding that his fellow nationalists refer to him as "Sir Sean Swinney".)

In an unexpected development, the BBC's James Naughtie is to perform as David McLetchie, Conservative leader. Perhaps Jim is finally getting a wee bit fed up with New Labour.

For reasons that I have been unable to fathom, Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark has been suddenly removed from this project. She had been expected to play the part of independent MSP Margo McDonald.

I have also discovered that changes have been made for the post-opening celebrations. These will now take the form of an extended pub-crawl of most of the Old Town's drinking establishments. The Duke of Edinburgh is reported to have said: "Bloody good news. Those clowns couldn't organise a piss-up even though they occupy the site of a former brewery."