David Cameron and Annabel Goldie

On the stump with David Cameron and Annabel Goldie, from The Herald.

IT’S the same every time she decides to decorate. “Hello, Dave, ” she’ll coo down the telephone line to me in London HQ. “It’s your Auntie Annabel here. I need a helping hand, and I know I can always rely on my tall, dashing nephew.” I’d sooner chat to a doubleglazing cold caller, yet how else can I possibly reply? Family values, after all, lie at the heart of all I stand for.

It’s not that I dislike the dear girl, you see. I just feel I’ve outgrown her. I mean, fingers crossed, I’ll be in Tony’s seat in a few years. I’m only too willing to help the Scottish regiment but a photocall alongside Auntie in a paint shop car park in Perth? What would Lord Saatchi say? Don’t get me wrong. At least she didn’t do her usual, fiddling with my hair, or rubbing my cheek with a hankie. But the whole idea’s akin to asking Robbie Williams to go back on the road with Oasis, or having Eminem reform with Take That (ask intern to check this, please – Dave).

Auntie’s certainly a woman of considerable probity but she’s terribly old-fashioned. There’s me, last year’s second best-dressed man (according to GQ) in a smashing new navy two-piece and lilac tie. Auntie? Swathed in an opal green skirt and jacket number. Nothing on Theresa May’s kitten heels. Her campaign isn’t any more modern. “Vote Lib, Get Lab”, that’s her new slogan. Her people phoned the chap at Bannermans Paint Shop to have him make up a 2.5-litre tin of “Labour Red” gloss, so she could paint over the LibDems’ yellow.

Ironic she should pose with a paintbrush. People say Auntie’s lot could be doing with a makeover themselves. In the end, I bit my tongue and helped her. That’s the kind of guy I am. We toured a YMCA in Perth, talking to the young people. I told them I’d been misrepresented over the whole “hug a hoodie” kerfuffle. We filmed it all for my website and I told the young people they were free to log on and comment. “As long as you don’t swear, ” I jested, “you can even call me a jerk.” I’m sure they got the joke.

Yes, it’s good touring Scotland. I even managed to pop by RAF Leuchars. Pop’s family, I always tell myself, are from Aberdeenshire, and I want to keep on good terms with the tartan branch. Auntie’s lot elect their own leader, write their own manifesto and make their own policies. “Together, ” I said, “we can inspire people, not threaten them like Labour do, or offer a dangerous divorce like the Nationalists.”

Scotland’s an integral part of a strong Union. And spiffing for hols. Especially during grouse season. It was a fun day, alright, and I told Auntie that. I only hope yesterday is the last time I have to help her out with painting and decorating during her little campaign. Like I told her, the Scots Tories should never attempt DIY – they only end up botching the job and having to call in the professionals to clear up the mess.



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© Martyn McLaughlin 2007 – 2021 unless stated otherwise

Portrait by John Devlin

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