It was a pleasure to be invited to dinner at the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh’s Parliament Square.
This corner of the old town, by St Giles’ Cathedral, is one of the most popular magnets for visitors.
Yet few from outwith the Faculty get the opportunity to admire the splendid hall and library within, which these days tend to be used as a place for lawyers to have a coffee and plug in their laptops, the books being rarely consulted.
Dinner was for a small gathering of editors and it was an opportunity to chat with like minds at the Record, Times, Herald and others.
It was organised to blow away some of the Faculty’s cobwebs and exchange ideas on getting its work better known to the outside world.
It has a 500-year-old back catalogue and a few characters with stories to tell, though not here. Thursday’s dinner was held under the Chatham House Rule (we were helpfully reminded that despite regular reference to “Rules” there is in fact only one – that’s pernickety lawyers for you). It means we could report what was said, without attributing it to anyone.
However, as the Dean of Faculty Gordon Jackson practically held court (so to speak) it would be rather difficult to disguise the source of anything that was said.
Needless to say he was in good form, entertaining guests with anecdotes and memories from a career spent in the legal and political worlds.
One man who will be delighted with the calling of the General Election is Britain’s most (in)famous banker.
Fred Goodwin is due to appear in court on the same day – 8 June – to answer to shareholders claiming the Royal Bank of Scotland board misled them over a £12 billion share issue.
Prime Minster Theresa May has therefore done the bank’s former CEO a bit of a favour by ensuring he doesn’t hog the headlines and get splashed across the front pages the following day.
Three former RBS directors will be quizzed over the 2008 rights issue which was the bank’s last big hurrah before it crashed and needed to be bailed out by the taxpayer.
Goodwin has barely been seen in public since he was ousted at the end of that cataclysmic year, working temporarily for an architecture practice, before disappearing again into obscurity.
Whatever he says on 8 June (he’s also scheduled to appear the following day) will be his first utterances since he appeared before a Commons select committee. At the very least, he will provide a distraction from the day’s election bun fight.