Ask Johann – In Absentia

ASK JOHANN - IN ABSENTIAThe exclusive column from Scotland’s best known agony aunt.

Whilst National Collective took some time out in order to give Better Together a chance at levelling the grassroots playing field – which sadly had no effect – our regular agony aunt, Johann Lamont, found an alternative outlet for her well-intentioned but frequently wayward advice.

State broadcaster and occasional reporter of facts, the BBC hosted a webcast for the regional leader of the Labour party and, as the questions were to be taken by email, I submitted the following on behalf of NC readers. In order to minimise interminable, logic-free responses and allow me to return swiftly to the bar without having to transcribe, I made the questions multiple choice. Surprisingly, none were chosen for inclusion, although she did make reference to mince.



Dear Johann,

I’m delighted to see that while National Collective is on hiatus, you’re resuming your agony aunt column with the BBC. Obviously, for balanced coverage of the independence debate, National Collective is preferable, despite being a pro-independence site, but I’m sure you’ll still be a laugh a minute. My question is: Would you agree that Douglas Alexander, having remained silent on the £500,000 donation to Better Together from ‘not at all dodgy’ oil trader Ian Taylor, must have been out of line in questioning donations to the Conservatives from the same source?

Johann says:

A. This is aw NATS durty tricks! If the NATS go INDY, yu’ll no hae dodgy oil traders, cos yu’ll no hae oil – FACT!

B. Dinnae go pickin oan wee Dougie. The boy’s goat enough proablems, whit wi’ that sister an looking like Pinocchio an aw.

C. Is youse sayin thon National Perspectives are INDY? Ah jist thoat they wis fae Dundee.

D. Whit donation?



Dear Johann,

Of all the many articles published by National Collective, I’d be interested to know which are your favourites. I realise that this is a bit like asking what is your favourite flavour of ice-cream, in that even vanilla is pretty awesome. But if this were Desert Island Discs, which of the contributors would you most like to read whilst rolling a fatty and listening to Peter, Paul and Mary?

Johann says:

A. Wee Michael Gray’s the wan that goat thum intae bother. Ah love him. But ah couldae telt him cawin Alistair Darlin a knobby wis askin fur it.

B. Alan Bissett’s a wee smasher. Ah dinnae unnerstand his daft poems but he’s goat lovely herr an he wrote a play.

C. Big Ross, the chieffy, he’s a wee bitty shy aboot pittin his name tae stuff, an ah cannae really blame him. It’s as well the laddie kin draw.

D. Strawberry.



Dear Johann,

Given the Labour party’s obvious confusion over whether or not spending £100bn on nuclear weapons is a good thing, aren’t there sufficient grounds for granting independence to Jim Murphy?

Johann says:

A. Wu’ll need nukes tae set aboot Kim Jong-Un – FACT!

B. Wu’ll NO need nukes tae set aboot Kim Jong-Un – FACT!

C. Wee Jimbo’s in Wessminster, so he OOT-RANKS me.

D. If Jimbo goes INDY, the NATS’ll hae a hearty – FACT!



Dear Johann,

I’m a committed, life-long Labour supporter. But I’ve become so disenchanted by the party’s inability to string two words together without it leading to in-fighting, that I’ve become a Buddhist in order to end it all and be reincarnated supporting some other party. Obviously I haven’t come to this decision lightly as it means cancelling my subscription to Swish! Magazine. But the last straw was when I heard some Labour MPs were boycotting this weekend’s conference over devolving income tax to Holyrood. At that point I was so upset, I did some in-fighting of my own and messed my trousers. I think what I’m trying to say is: Aren’t National Collective marvellous?

Johann says:

A. Thur’s nae in-fightin in the Labour party – the MSPs dae exactly whit the MPs tell thum.

B. Thur’s nae in-fightin in the Labour party – in-fighting’s whit Lefties dae.

C. Me an Mags went tae Tenerife an thur wis nae in-fighting – except when ah wis takin a light for ma fag an she set fire tae ma fringe. Ah gie’d her such a boalikkin.

D. Me an Mags went tae Majorca an thur wis nae in-fightin – except when she says tae me ‘Square go ya bass’.

E. Nae in-fightin! – FACT!



Thanks due to Alex Airlie – FACT!

Follow Greg Moodie on Twitter @gregmoodie.


About Greg Moodie

Greg Moodie is a writer and graphic designer with an impressively ludicrous CV and a poor recollection of anything on it. Technically Dundonian, he says he graduated from the city’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art ‘before the invention of fire’ but that, like Vegas, what happened there stayed there.