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Iain Maciver: Could a vegan prime minister take us back to our salad days?

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has discussed going vegan in the past (Photo: DW Images/Shutterstock)
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has discussed going vegan in the past (Photo: DW Images/Shutterstock)

It’s tough being a columnist, you know.

This one was all planned out. It was going to be about who our next prime minister would be.

You probably didn’t hear anything about this, but Boris Johnson won some vote or other on Monday night, so I have to start all over again. I’ll just delete what I had written because…

Wait, I’ll just hang onto it. Just for a few weeks. You never know what could happen.

P&J columnist Iain Maciver

If Tories lose by-elections coming up in a couple of weeks, it could be carnage. Pro-Boris MPs could have the flutters if they think they have a vote-loser in charge. The thought of being voted out of government and, oh heck, Sir Keir Starmer as prime minister may make even more of them jettison any dead wood they think is holding them back from victory.

Cabinet members are, of course, expected to be supremely loyal to their PM to the bitter end. However, if they see their careers and party’s chances going down the Swanee, you can forget all that nonsense.

We have seen it before and we will doubtless see it again. Obstacles will be put in the way of the PM. The delights of an early “do little” peerage will be whispered tantalisingly. Others will let it be known they may let their names go forward to save the party. Higher motives. Not a stab in the back at all.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently survived a vote of confidence
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently survived a vote of confidence (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Naked ambition will surface. Even Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, is touted as possible successor. This is someone who, last year, said he may become vegan. That’s not just avoiding meat but eggs and dairy, too, like Benedict Cumberbatch, Beyoncé and, er, Bill Clinton.

No confirmation since that Kwasi has actually given up steaks and bacon rolls. What a politician. Talk about what you are going to do but don’t actually do it.

Don’t most Tories see vegans as sandal-wearing, lentil-eating, middle class bores? Boris Johnson and wife Carrie were urged to go plant-based. However, it all got a bit sticky when Boris described veganism as a “crime against cheese lovers”.

Rod killed it at the Jubilee – but not in a good way

A recent crime against music lovers took place when Rod Stewart started mangling Sweet Caroline. Great song. For more than two years there was no touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you.

Not great for you though, Rod. You killed it. But not in a good way. Ear-bleedingly awful.

Maybe Rod’s howling made it worse, but it got very dark very quickly on Saturday evening outside Buckingham Palace. We could see it getting dark at 9.30pm in The Mall. Here, it was not only much lighter, but many of us were basking in a warm evening sun.

By the time the shindig concluded at 10.30pm, it was pitch black in London. Yet, a car went past our house then and it didn’t have its headlights on.

So, Your Grace… (I am addressing Prince Charles, who is the Duke of Rothesay. Dukes are addressed as Your Grace.) When the time comes for your jubilee, you could host it in Stornoway or Lerwick, where we would at least be able to party for longer.

If it was in Stornoway, you would perhaps have a wee banquet. You would have to say your own wee prayer before the meal, your grace. Your Grace, just thank me later.

Tom made Tolsta home history

Someone from Tolsta must have put up a wee prayer, as a formerly abandoned crofthouse was crowned Scottish Home of the Year. The home in New Tolsta was competing against particularly posh pads. Bought by artist Tom Hickman in 2006 after lying abandoned for 37 years, it was restored. Tom made Tolsta home working a thing well ahead of its time.

With so many objects, the latest home of the year must be a nightmare to spring clean

His sheep art is wonderful, as it’s made with real sheep. Not like Damien Hirst encasing carcasses in formaldehyde, but he uses real wool for texture. However, with so many objects, the latest home of the year must be a nightmare to spring clean.

Artist Tom Hickman next to his art
Tom Hickman in New Tolsta, Stornoway (Photo: IWC Media/BBC Scotland/Paul McGinley)

Spring cleaning in our home has begun. The hoover is whizzing around the house, closely followed by Mrs X. The daughter, with help from a wonderful neighbour, has cut the grass. Thank you, Monty. There’s a salad right there.

That was a joke. Listen, I wasn’t slagging off vegans when I mentioned Kwasi Kwarteng. Many vegans are like Prince Charles and talk to plants – even though they eat them.

There are even non-meat eaters who believe plants talk to each other. Imagine the fruit and veg aisle in Tesco. A broccoli announces: “Hey, look at me. I look like a wee tree.” A mushroom quickly replies: “That’s nothing. I look like an umbrella.” Then a walnut says: “Look at me. I look like a wee brain.”

That’s when the banana shouts: “Can we please change the subject?”


Iain Maciver is a former broadcaster and news reporter from the Outer Hebrides

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