The mystery of Scottish Labour’s secret SPAD unmasked


After a year deeper undercover than Kim Trilby (shouldn’t that be Philby? Ed.) Citizen Cuddis reveals the secret identity of the “Special Adviser” whose unseen hand all but guaranteed that Scottish Labour ‘s election campaign sank like a 14-pound bowling ball in a bottomless septic tank. 

“We had to have a secret Spad. We’d tried everything else,” said Slab supremo, Kezia Dugdale, when the story broke and the moggy was out of the gunny sack.

“We either needed a new electorate—’cos let’s face it, the last bunch of ingrates did sod all for the Labour Party—or a new political guru. I flirted with the idea of accepting personal responsibility for Slab’s demise, but in the end I thought: stuff that for a game o’ sodgers—one tug at that thread and you risk unraveling the entire wift and waft of the party gansey.”

Wisnae me...
Wisnae me…

So, who is this Spad? The latter-day Moses destined to lead the Scottish electorate out of the wilderness and back into the arms of God’s Chosen Party? He is the direct descendant of the great-great-great grand-nephew twice removed, of the Brahan Seer’s next door neighbour’s Zumba partner. He is Donal the Dreich: The 17th century Ecclefechan born clairvoyant, drystane dyker and bampot, aka the poor man’s Nostradamus.

Some claim that Donal’s magnum opus, The Chronicles of Dreich, chillingly predicts a swathe of contemporary events: From Jim Murphy’s infamous ‘1000 nurses’ pledge to the invention of the deep fat frier and that thing you hang bananas on to stop them turning black. Granted, he wasn’t infallible, mistakes were made—he predicted for example that a day would come when high street opticians like Peep Through Express would include scratch-proof lenses as standard. He also foresaw that a household cleaner capable of killing all known germs, would be launched by 1968.

Donal’s ‘haverings’, as they were officially called—lapped up by the politically gullible down the centuries—now find a new devotee in Kezia Dugdale who designated him special advisor to the Scottish Branch office of the Labour Party, and based her 2016 manifesto on his work.

Wasn’t reality a better starting point for the besieged Scottish Labour Party? Not according to Kezia. ‘Reality?’ said Kezia, ‘Slab’s been there, tried on that T-shirt, didn’t like it. As part of my plan to revive the fortunes of an autonomous Scottish Labour Party I made a space at our conference for a healthy, democratic debate. The overwhelming will of the party was to put our faith in Donal’s cocktail of hogwash, superstition and mumbo-jumbo. Well, nobody had a better idea.’

Aw naw, Ah'm supposed tqe be in a story about Nicla!
Aw naw, Ah’m supposed tqe be in a story about Nicla!

Historians of all hues agree, that in fact, Donal the Dreich did for Sephology what the hurdy-gurdy did for big band music. The first folio of the chronicles was written in tatty bree on paper made by drying out boiled turnips before trampling them to mush barefoot into roughly A5 sized pages, but we understand that Slab intend to channel his predictions through the automatic writing of Jackie Baillie.

It remains a mystery which of Donal the Dreich’s predictions Slab relied on for their manifesto but we reproduce below four examples of the oeuvre which show uncannily the degree of precision involved.

A selection of The Haverings of Donal the Dreich

Havering 362:

In the year of the short corn, when the craws will hae to get doon on their knees to peck at it, Doug o’ the Dale shall rise without trace and blaze a trail across the political firmament like a ten bob rocket on a wet Guy Fawkes. She shall curse the party of the Salmon. She shall lead her party through a period of ever-diminishing public support until it spontaneously combusts after the 2017 town hall elections or possibly during an episode of River City.

Havering 503:

Syne a twa-heidit goose is born four days shy o’ rhubarb-thrasher’s eve, a lang streak o’ pish will lead his people, who shall be pitiful in number and outlook, out of the darkness and into thick fog. The lang streak, clarted wi’ pigshit, chin festooned wi’ a gypit smile, shall propose a penny on income tax, causing floo’ers to bloom fae Troon tae Bogfechal.  Thrice-fold shall his midden sprout forth Duck’s Foot Trefoil. And at the third-most sprouting, Caledonia shall once again hae the best education system in the world after slipping down the league tables due to the malign influence of SNP-bad. And faster than fastest shall be the ascent of the party of the Ming thereafter. 

Havering 986:

When pirn-taed C-list personalities perform sub-standard fandangos on Strictly Come Dancing, Ru-thee shall take the buffalo by the horns and shall cry ‘Singing I’m no a Tory, vote for me! vote for me!’  But the people shall twig that Ru-thee is a Conservative. And oft-times telt shall she be by the Sturge. So flegged shall she be that her erse will knit buttons.