October 24, 2010


If I could accurately predict the lottery numbers, would you pay attention? Of course you would.

Well, I might not know the winning numbers, but I would like to make a prediction that is guaranteed one hundred percent accurate. It is for West Lothian Council in general, and the Roads Department in particular. Yes, a genuine prediction.

Let’s see if THEY pay attention.

As a regular guest on STV’s “The Hour”, the presenters seem to really enjoy when I get them to select something at random, then demonstrate that I knew in advance what the outcome would be.

Last week, Michelle McManus selected a celebrity at random from a list of a hundred. She happened to opt for Sean Connery, and it just so happened that I had already arranged to have a Sean Connery lookalike planted in the wings. 

It proved that I knew, in advance of the event, what was going to happen. I had predicted it.

So, here is a special prediction for West Lothian Council.  (And remember, I have a reputation for getting these things right. Just think of me as a sort of Nostradamus of the North.)

My prediction for Oor Cooncil: I realise that this may come as something of a surprise, but over the next few weeks it’s going to get colder. Ice will form on the roads and pavements of West Lothian. There might even be snow.

So, now that you know what the future holds, it might be a good idea to nip down to wherever you keep the rock salt supplies and check that, this year, you have enough.

Because “whindust” (just granulated rocks, really) doesn’t contain salt, and doesn’t dissolve. Which is why the citizens of West Lothian are still tramping it into their homes a year after you spread tons of it all round the streets. And it’s why many drains are blocked.

There; the oracle has spoken.

PLEASE don’t have me coming back halfway through the winter and saying: “I told you so.” It’s boring for me: it’s embarrassing for you.

Drew McAdam


“F” FOR ART? (Not easy to say, that.)

October 18, 2010


I can’t believe it. Once again, no West Lothian artist has been nominated for the Turner Prize.

And that’s a shame. Because I reckon they would certainly win. Why? Because our artists tend to shy away from ridiculous pretension, and if they paint a duck or a tree it looks like – well – a duck or a tree. In that order.

This year, nominations for the Turner prize and winner’s cheque for £25,000 include a painting of a tree with a lopsided moon peeking out from behind it. There is also a piece entitled “Clutter” that resembles broken bed frames with a discarded tarpaulin draped across it.

Do you think that will be one of the “classics” in a few hundred years, with craftsmen spending weeks carefully restoring it to its original condition? Unlikely.

And let’s not forget the “soundscape” entry, produced by a girl singing folk songs up closes and under bridges.

They’re having a laugh, aren’t they?

West Lothian primary kids should have an hour set aside for a special art class. We could provide them with old bicycle parts, coat hangers, the contents of a skip, superglue and several broken mirrors. I’m sure that they could produce some form of “conceptual art” that would lift the prize.

In fact, a monkey with a stick and a pot of paint could probably do the same.

Wouldn’t it be great to have an honest Turner Prize winner who, given the cheque at the glitzy award ceremony, says: “Actually, I have to tell you… my dog did it.”

Now THAT’s art!

So, come on you local artists. Forget your penchant for displaying skill, expertise and talent. Just find some rubbish, staple it together and give it a fancy name.

It would be great to have a local artist win the Turner Prize. Or are you all too busy producing REAL art?

Drew McAdam


October 10, 2010


This is an appeal on behalf of Care for Abandoned Roadside Ditches (CARD).

It has become common practice recently for workmen to dig an immense hole at the side of the road, only to cold-heartedly abandon it to its fate, usually with little more than a cheap plastic barrier to help it survive.

If a car or motorcycle were to run into the side of the road, the ditch could be seriously injured. Even killed.

Just one heartbreaking example is the ditch abandoned near the B7008 (see photograph) near West Calder. This is a true case. Over a year ago a squad of workmen dug a massive hole at the side of the road. It was then callously abandoned. Now, containing old pipe work, rusting iron, a plastic barrier and several lumps of concrete it has become water-filled. A family of frogs recently made its home in it.

An abandoned hole.

A pitiful sight. And easily missed at night, as this is a dark country road. Strong winds regularly blow the fragile barriers down. But kindly locals have tended to it, replacing the barriers. However, it is only a matter of time before a vehicle runs into it.

When that happens, it is unlikely that the ditch will survive. It is amazing that it has endured over 12 months without incident. But it’s only a matter of time…

Amazingly, within a 100 metre stretch there are a further two similar abandoned ditches, though one has managed to take shelter beneath a sheet of thin metal, half hidden by the grass verge, and has survived like that for over two years!. Imagine the injury to this abandoned hole if a vehicle were to park on it!

So, how can you help? Well, for just £3 per month you can adopt a HIG (Hole in the Ground). You will receive a special fact sheet, an adoption certificate and a monthly newsletter keeping you up to date with its progress. You will also get a free pass to visit it anytime you wish.

Alternatively, you could find out the home telephone number of your local councillor and phone them at all sorts of ungodly hours, drawing their attention to the plight of any long-abandoned, half-completed works you happen to notice.

Perhaps you could even send photographs. That way, when a vehicle hits one, you can prove that they had prior knowledge. And you could sue.

Yes, YOU can help these unfortunate, abandoned holes by informing the council and demanding they do something as a matter of urgency. The council will, we are sure, react immediately. After all, they are – as they never tire of telling us on letters, brochures, and on every border signpost – the “Council of the Year 2005”.

In the meantime, when driving on country roads, beware. You never know where one of these deep ditches may be lurking. Cold, abandoned and half-hidden.

On behalf of long-abandoned ditches everywhere, we thank you.

Drew McAdam


October 4, 2010


Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has decided to shake up the rules on discipline in schools. It seems that the “no touch” classroom rule is to be scrapped.

He has decided that teachers should be allowed to physically restrain unruly children. And they should be allowed to console victims of playground bullying.

It’s something I’ve heard a lot of parents talk about, and the majority will be in favour of this, I’m sure.

Personally, I have no problem with teachers being allowed to restrain “unruly” children. In fact, I have a whole list of suggested methods for that – though top of the list is ensuring that incompetent teachers lose their jobs, and that only those teachers who can command respect and keep control by sheer force of personality and confidence should work in education.

Having a staff that can actually do the job they are paid to do seems like a good start.

Anyway, I digress. One interesting fact to surface was that there IS no “no touch rule”. Gove, himself, said that there are no nationally imposed rules preventing teachers from touching pupils. He also said that some schools adopt a “no touch” policy because they fear complaints from pupils who are restrained or comforted by teachers.

The “no touch” rule, as far as I can ascertain – and as far as Michael Gove can ascertain – is a myth. It’s nonsense. It doesn’t exist.

In fact, he went on to say that “There are a number of schools that have ‘no touch’ policies and we are going to make clear this rule does not apply.”

Ah, I see. This is something the high-heid yins in the schools have introduced and maintained. Now, they are being told it’s not on.

Quite right. There is not a parent I know who, if their kid fell in the playground and was crying and bleeding, wouldn’t want a teacher to comfort them.

What kind of society have we become where those in education make up a rule that they have to strand idly by while my child – any child – is breaking its heart?

And why? Because it’s easier than dealing with a complaint.

I’m sure the majority of level-headed teachers would ignore the rule, anyway. At least, I would hope so.

Drew McAdam