Scotland’s second best crime writer with Scotland’s second best leader
A wee while ago Jaggy had a bit of hairmless fun with a book containing the selected speeches of Nicola Sturgeon. Well, who doesn’t like shooting fish in a barrel, eh? Actually, the post shone more of a spotlight on the adulatory introduction to that volume, penned by one of the First Minister’s most star struck groupies, Val McDermid. Despite my hailing her as Scotland’s second best crime writer, Ms McDermid instantly blocked Jaggy from her Twitter account. This is most distressing since I really miss Val and Nicola’s social media exchanges about chocolate mousse (seriously, they’ve done that). Then again, I have always preferred Ian Rankin’s tweets, as well as his books.
Anyways, that unfortunate misunderstanding set Jaggy to thinking when and where did Nicola and Val first form their mutual admiration society? I was just about to submit a Freedom of Information inquiry on this very subject to the Scottish Government (that’s the sort of thing FOI is for, isn’t it?) when, by pure serendipity, I discovered that they’ve had at least two sessions together. The first one was at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2015, when Val was interviewed by Nicola about her latest page-turner (although expecting the Dreghorn diva to shine the spotlight on someone else for a whole half-hour was never going to quite work out that way, was it?)
Their second recorded encounter, just under two years ago, was billed as a Night of Inspiration. Following on from the Women’s World Cup, “two of Scotland’s most successful women” were invited to inspire the players from Raith Rovers Women and Girls. (Bet they were dancing in the streets of Raith about that!) Big Val is such a fan of the Kirkcaldy club she’s even had a stand at Starks Park named after her.
Personally, I’d rather have seen the hugely popular crime writer take more of a stand against the Hate Crime Bill than simply appending her signature to an open letter from 20 writers, artists and comedians meekly suggesting this legislation – now on the statute books – could have “unintended consequences” for Scotland’s creative community. There’s nothing unintended about the carefully crafted Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021. It’s (very much intended) consequence is having a chilling effect on bloggers, tweeters and women who might want to defend their rights against gender ideologists, even just by appending a few stickers to lampposts in Kirkcaldy. All that said, you might care to view one or both of the aforementioned films – if you’re not absorbed in the latest unputdownable thriller by Ian Rankin.