Monday, 9 April 2018

Guest Post: A Westminster Diary by Pete Wishywashy


Can you guess which one I am?

Back at my Westminster office after a hectic weekend in the constituency. It's always a pleasure to meet my 'Ain folk' especially since I'm something of a celebrity in Perth, as well as elsewhere. Did I mention I was once a pop star in rock super group Runrig? Yes, not many people realise I'm the only MP who ever appeared on Top of the Pops. And people say politics is boring!

But it's back to business. First there's my correspondence. Of course I have a staff who read incoming mail and draft and send all my responses, but signing all those fan letters does take its toll on the old wrist. Just as well I'm not playing keyboards any more, at least not for a living. That's the downside of celebrity, that and being recognised and asked for autographs, but when you've been part of a rock legend band like Runrig you have to learn to live with it.

My mail is all sent out on House of Commons headed paper, and I like to personalise mine with:

From the office of Pete Wishywashy 
ex-Runrig rock superstar 
SNP MP for somewhere in Perth
Chairman of Scottish Affairs Select Committee

    I think people appreciate the personal touch.


The business in the House of Commons gets going again. There may be debates in the chamber, or meetings of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, a group of MPs, of whom I am chairman, who investigate lots of things important to Scotland. Like when will Runrig re-form and go on tour again (Just kidding! I couldn't cope with all those days on the road. It takes a terrible toll on your family life although it's great to play live and meet the fans).

I do love a good debate in the house of House of Commons, and with all my experience as a former rock star I have a natural advantage presenting my best side to the many cameras that film proceedings. Despite our party differences we all have a good laugh, and I make it a priority to entertain as well as put forward the party line, whatever it is. After all, I am an entertainer by profession. I do think it's important to bring your unique talents and skills to politics. Which is why I'm so proud to be a member of Commons' own multi party pop group, Sad Old Hasbeens. Politics is a tough old job so we have to let off steam somehow.


It's All Hands on Deck for Prime Minister's Questions. This is a weekly event when the PM takes questions from other MPs. It does generate a lot of media interest so attendance is mandatory, but other than sitting there grunting and guffawing there isn't a lot for me to do, so I often bring along my earphones and listen to some old Runrig tunes to alleviate the boredom. If you watch me closely you might just catch my foot tapping or my head nodding.

Once a month there's Scottish Office Questions where the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, takes questions from MPs. That's slightly less boring as I often get to ask a question.  The SNP make up the largest contingent of Scottish seats at Westminster which is why most of their questions are ignored and laughed at anyway, so the whole thing is just a waste of time.


My good friend the Speaker, Mr John Bercow,  has scheduled a debate today on the Internet and Fake News. I love social media and actively participate on Twitter, but the Indy Movement does seem to have attracted an unsavoury element lately, an issue I touched on in my articles in the Record, the Courier, the Press and Journal and (hopefully) the Telegraph. As I said on my blog, we have to learn to discuss and listen to others' opinions and not just react angrily to what others say. For Heaven's Sake, we all want the same thing, don't we?

For example, I recently attracted the ire of the Cybernats by suggesting there is no point in having another independence referendum until it's a dead cert to win which could be next year or (more likely) never.  I was accused of all sorts of nasty things, in language I've never encountered even when we toured with Bob Geldof. Someone even had the nerve to call me a 'poster boy for Scotland in Union'!  Needless to say I blocked all these naysayers. As Bob Dylan once said to me in an intimate backstage moment, "You can't please all the people all the time, and those arseholes aren't worth the bother." 


Dressed for a night on the town. What's not
to love about London?
Of course I want Scotland to be independent, but the last thing we need is to lose another referendum and, more importantly, my seat. Those who accuse me of being a 'poster boy' for Scotland in Union overlook the fact that I'm a poster boy for Runrig first and foremost. Did I mention I was once in Runrig?

So it's back to the constituency for the weekend, or if I'm lucky enough to have booked a show I can have a weekend in good old London Town. I love London. It's so full of great things to do and see, just the ticket for a hardworking MP and rock legend like me.

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