Willie Rennie, dare and Prince Charles in the same sentence. What could possibly go wrong?

You can’t really imagine it, Dave, Jez, Angus Robertson, Tim and all the Westminster leaders all lined up waiting to meet some VIP and suddenly one says to the others  “I bet you £100 you won’t say (something slightly unexpected) to said VIP. For a start, if Jez or Angus actually did it, the Daily Mail and the Sun would be screaming outrage and horror for at least a decade. There would probably be a constitutional crisis.

It’s not quite like that in Scotland. There’s a lot more genuine banter between the party leaders. Last year, they all made out on Twitter that they were going to watch Andy Murray play in some major match rather than bother with First Minsters’ Questions.  They also organised a shoe shopping trip for charity.  But last night it took a slightly different turn.

MSPs had just attended the “Kirking of the Parliament” with Prince Charles and were waiting to meet him in the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The party leaders were lined up first. Labour’s Kezia Dugdale dared Willie to ask the Heir to the Throne what he’d bought “yer maw” for her birthday.

Now, Willie has form for saying slightly unusual things to famous people. He has this habit of just treating them like everyone else. He suggested to the Dalai Lama that he watch Rikki Fulton’s comedy programme Scotch and Wry, which is one of the funniest things Scotland has ever produced. Anyway, Willie even sent him a DVD.

So, he was game for Kez’s challenge as the Courier reports:

Ms Dugdale dared the North East Fife MSP to ask him what he gave the Queen as a 90th birthday gift, with the prince looking taken aback by the question when he was introduced to the Lib Dem leader by outgoing presiding officer Tricia Marwick.

Although Charles did not reveal what his gift was, he reportedly said it was “something she wanted”, before being ushered away.

And Gorgie City Farm, where Willie had so much fun with some porcine friends and they had so much fun while he wasn’t looking is now a cool £350 better off thanks to him. There’s Kezia’s £100:

And there’s £250 from the naming of the plastic pigs, given to Willie by a BBC journalist, that he was holding at his count last week. They are called Kama and Sutra for some reason and will be going to live in Glasgow with the competition winner:

She told the newspaper: “I don’t think anyone will forget those pigs. I won’t, as I’ll be keeping them on my mantelpiece.”
At last week’s Holyrood election, Mr Rennie won the Fife North East seat, beating SNP candidate Roderick Campbell by 3,465 votes.
Ahead of taking to the stage at the count in Glenrothes, the politician was handed the two pigs by BBC reporter Ken Macdonald.
Mr Rennie later thanked the journalist for the gift which ended up raising money for the city farm which is under threat of closure.

All this larking about comes pretty naturally to Willie. What you see is what you get with him. He fights political battles and takes things very seriously, but he also has a fairly irrepressible sense of fun. The teenagers who regularly visit my house all love his exploits. The big question now, of course, is what he will dare Kezia to do in return. VIPs visiting Holyrood should prepare themselves.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • All a bit silly and a little bad mannered. Perhaps it helps people understand why the SNP and Tories are now the leading players in Scotland.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th May '16 - 12:00am

    It’s definitely childish, but also very funny and is a great example of the irreverence that is so common in Scotland – not a bad thing.

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