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What we learned this week about politicians behaving badly, hotel prices and a farewell to Jackie Stuart

Politicians found themselves in trouble amid a series of scandals and not even a late-summer heatwave could ease their problems.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan found herself in hot water.
Pic: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Education secretary Gillian Keegan found herself in hot water. Pic: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

This week saw Gillian Keegan caught on camera swearing, Police Scotland confirming some minor crimes won’t be investigated, and the death of former Peterhead Prison officer Jackie Stuart at 93.

One of the first rules of doing an interview is to avoid swearing – or at least to keep your expletives in check until the microphone has been switched off.

Sadly, that message was forgotten by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, who was forced to apologise after being caught on camera saying she had done a “f****** good job” over the schools concrete crisis, while others had “sat on their a**e”.

The story went viral, Westminster fumed with righteous indignation and Ms Keegan later apologised for her “choice language” and said it was an “off-the-cuff remark”.

Law’s comment hit rock bottom

Meanwhile, Dundee SNP MP Chris Law incurred the wrath of the House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle when he described the Conservative and Labour parties as “two cheeks of the same a**e” during PMQs.

The remark prompted an intervention from Hoyle with a plea to consider the “pride of this Parliament” and Mr Law subsequently amended his remark to say “bottom”.

Network Rail admits guilt in disaster

A rail carriage is suspended in the air as its removed by crane from the site.
Cranes were used to remove carriages from the site of the Stonehaven rail crash. Image: Paul Glendell.

Network Rail was fined £6.7 million over failings that caused the Stonehaven rail tragedy.
Three people died and six others were injured in the August 2020 crash, which happened when the 6.54am train from Stonehaven struck a landslide on the track at Carmont.
At the High Court in Aberdeen the rail body admitted failing to conduct itself in a way that would prevent people from the risk of serious injury and death.

Some crimes won’t be investigated

Police Scotland confirmed that some minor crimes will no longer be investigated as part of a project being piloted in the north east of the country.

The organisation revealed that it wants to give officers more time to focus on responding to emergencies and keeping people safe from harm.

One example of where no further action may be taken was a garden theft where there was no CCTV or eye-witness evidence. So check your sheds, folks!

Inquiry launched into guilty surgeon

Disgraced ex-NHS Tayside surgeon Professor Sam Eljamel. Image: DC Thomson.

First Minister, Humza Yousaf, announced that a public inquiry will be held into the disgraced brain surgeon, Sam Eljamel, who harmed dozens of patients at NHS Tayside, leaving some with life-changing injuries.

He was head of neurosurgery at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee until December 2013, when he was suspended and is now believed to be working in Libya.

The move follows a long-running campaign, with almost 150 former patients of the surgeon calling for the inquiry.

Cup is being preserved for posterity

Shinty’s most prestigious prize – the Camanachd Cup – is being replaced with a replica version as part of efforts to conserve the cherished 127-year-old trophy.

As the game’s Holy Grail, it has endured decades of wear and tear from being filled with whisky and passed among players of winning teams and was accidently left outside in the square in Portree in 1990 before being taken into the care of the police.

The cup will henceforth be on display at Inverness Castle.

Farewell to gentle siege hero Jackie

Jackie Stuart at Peterhead Prison Museum.
Jackie Stuart, pictured at Peterhead Prison museum, has died at the age of 93.

Jackie Stuart, who was taken hostage during the infamous Peterhead Prison siege of 1987 before being rescued by the SAS, died at the age of 93.

The north-east man was hauled on to the rooftop of the Aberdeenshire prison by inmates, with a hooded prisoner swinging a weapon at his head.

Having worked with some of Scotland’s most notorious criminals, Mr Stuart was instrumental in setting up the popular Peterhead Prison Museum, which opened its doors in 2016, and he worked as a volunteer guide there into his 90s.

A farewell to Runrig singer

Elsewhere, there was sadness at the news of Runrig lead vocalist Bruce Guthro’s death from cancer at the age of 62.

The Canadian singer-songwriter joined the renowned Scottish rock band in 1998 and remained with the group until their emotional final performances 20 years later.

Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis said: “He was such a gifted singer and a powerful performer. It was one of the greatest privileges for me to sing with him onstage and backstage.”

Nothing fishy about this vision

Macduff Marine Aquarium is poised for a significant expansion

The first image of a major expansion of Macduff Marine Aquarium was released and showed that the popular facility could soon be significantly enhanced.

Aberdeenshire Council has secured £20million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up scheme for a series of coastal projects. The Cultural Tides: North Sea Connections initiative also includes the development of a cultural quarter in Peterhead centred on the vacant Arbuthnot House.

A new lobster hatchery is planned with hands-on events for learners for people to see the species grown from larvae until they are old enough to be released into the wild.

Hotel prices through the roof

Offshore Europe returned to Aberdeen for the first time since 2019 – and the event led to several hotels raising their prices by eye-watering margins.

The P&J discovered that the most expensive was the Holiday Inn Aberdeen West, which was charging customers a staggering £700 – 415% higher than usual.

And if you wanted to stay one night, too bad. The hotel was only allowing people to book for a minimum of three nights, resulting in a cost of £2,100.