Justice, which I chair, sits on a Tuesday morning and that coincided with April Fool’s Day, so I thought I would go for it and before the session started had great fun misleading the rest into thinking they would be obliged to return for an emergency sitting the next day at 9am.
As they sat down they were directed to additional papers for the meeting and something called an LCM. This, to give it its Sunday name, is a Legislative Consent Motion and emanates from Westminster. The justice committee has an aversion to them on account of the truncated timetable for their consideration.
Well, they pretty well all piled in, vociferous in their resentment and outright refusal to be dragooned into another meeting at such short notice. Deceit, of course, was not difficult for me. I am, after all, a politician, but the clerks, who were in on the ploy, had to be trained for their roles.
I let them argy-bargy till there was only two minutes before commencement of business – then let the cat out of the bag. I admit that until the last gasp I didn’t know how they would take it, but they roared with laughter and only then did they spot the clues dotted about the paperwork.
It was, for example, an “April” Amendment Order. We were to be the “lead” team to consider measures to reduce “barking” in dogs.
Speaking of cats
You may know that I have two cats – Newt (Newton) and Bossie (Boswell) – who came into my life when I entered parly.
Both are now 15 and beginning to show their age. (I say nothing about myself!). Bossie is a bit stiff in the old joints and does a measured journey from footstool to sofa to back of sofa, where she drapes herself come an evening. Newt eats for Scotland, but is a thin wee thing and has been checked over for the usual trouble (thyroid etc.) and got the all-clear.
And so I am facing, at some point in the near future and for the umpteenth time, dealing with ageing pets.
I chair the cross-party group on animal welfare and we are holding a week of displays in May to celebrate what animals, domesticated and otherwise, bring to our lives. We shall have at a guide dog, therapy dog, assistance dog and hearing dog for the deaf.
I was offered a horse, but hmmm...
PARLIAMENT Easter Recess
This runs until April 21, so the next Gala Tesco surgery will be May 17.
But fear not, I am doing street surgeries during part of the recess. My Bruv Tony (unpaid driver) and me will be coming to a street near you – I have ads running mentioning times and places.
I will be travelling in a blue Volkswagen caravanette and there will be stickies with my name on the side.