Lord Mike Watson's new post will fan the flames of shame

THE night was not young and most guests had left the annual Politician of the Year awards of 2004 – a glitzy affair in Edinburgh’s venerable Prestonfield House Hotel.

I was the deputy editor of The Herald newspaper, sponsors of the event, and was having a nightcap with some of paper’s advertising staff in one of the hotel’s snug reception rooms.

We had spent the last 45 minutes outside in the cold November air after talk of a fire alert.

I assumed, as you usually do, the alert was a false alarm, yet when we returned to the welcome warmth the hotel, there did seem to be a smell of smoke....

Then, our normally bubbly events manager Kerry appeared, looking anxious.

She said: “Mike Watson tried to burn down the hotel. Can you speak to the hotel staff? They are very upset.”

As you would be.

Read the rest of my column here.

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