When Nicola Sturgeon dished out yellow cards like some kind of political referee, she should have practised on her Education Secretary John Swinney.
The First Minister’s warning to Scottish football for the flouting of the Covid-19 rules by players from Aberdeen and Celtic was stern enough for the naughty boys to recognise she means business.
But when the collective future of 75,000 pupils was left in the hands of an unsympathetic computer whose algorithms were in a grouchy mood that day, to regrade their exam marks downwards, Mr Swinney was handed the dunce’s cap and told to sit in a corner.
It emerged that he knew of the potential for academic carnage five days before the results were officially released. Yet it took him until two days ago to admit that those marks would have to be upgraded.
His A for dithering and hesitation was downgraded to a C for his Holyrood statement that “the Scottish Government got it wrong”.
No, Mr Swinney, you got it wrong.
A bid by a toothless Scottish Labour to force him into ministerial retirement today will fail, of course, but it will at least show that they are beginning to stir from their hibernation with a hope that once the dust settles he’ll bow out.
And who knows? Labour could even try to build a head of steam in order to prevent Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf’s Hate Crime Bill from taking root.
You know the one; where a comment on someone’s hair – “did you come on a motorbike?” – can land you in the dock.
I’m with the 20 or more individuals and organisations from the world of arts, journalism, literature and human rights advocacy who say the bill will serve to stifle freedom of speech.
Yousaf insists it won’t, but being easily offended has become a new sport for some people and their determination to “see you in court” for what you have written or said, no matter how mild, cannot be understated.
So, just in case; may I apologise in advance to anyone I will upset in this column in the future.
Indelicate tale of a budding pub team
THE story of the “indelicate eight” Dons players who broke the Covid-19 rules to enjoy dinner and drinks in the midst of the outbreak will forever be in their AberDNA.
There were apologies aplenty; from manager Derek McInnes, Jonny Hayes, pictured right, and a collaborative statement from the offending players, although none that I detected from chairman Dave Cormack in his video from the US of A.
He preferred the “have you never made a mistake?” line.Ill-advised?
Fans invited to aid the club by buying season tickets and contributing up to £18 a month of their income to AberDNA funds – apparently they’ve already forked out a million quid – might feel miffed.
The players’ decision to mix with the hoi polloi hours after their defeat by Rangers was not the brightest of ideas.
However, there is one positive from all of this: Soul Bar, their choice of watering hole, now has the guts of a very good pub team.
A waste of time at hazlehead facility
Oh the joys of disposing of garden waste at the Hazlehead recycling facility in Aberdeen.
My forty-minute wait the other day in a queue of almost 50 vehicles did, however, allow me to see the potential for a little bit of road rage, or worse.
Because if you are skipping the recycling centre and driving to the park, you’re met with oncoming traffic and, as we all know, two cars heading in different directions on one lane doesn’t work.