Pub Signage

In the same week which the odious Daily Express began their 'Save our pub signs' campaign I have taken notice that the local has devised a new hanging sign, replacing it comfortable but time-worn incumbent. The Inn Sign Society tells us, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, that the original pub signs were inspired by the Roman practice of displaying ivy leaves outside of their taverns and in some form pictorial signs have remained in Britain ever since. A solid tradition, and one worth preserving.

So far as memory serves, the Fox and Hounds is the only pub in Houston to display such a sign. The Houston Inn lends its name to no obvious pictorial representation, but uses an image of the building as its logo. The Cross Keys displays its logo on a gable-end showing, unsurprisingly, the crossed keys of St Peter, harking back to Houston's original name of Kilpeter and the dedication of its local church.

I will, however, miss the delightful and slightly anachronistic 'Good food, real ales, fully licensed' notice which used to dangle below. Still, it appears very well if simply painted - my only worry is that my ostensibly poor photography has failed to do justice to the vivid colours and contrasting tones of the original. Kindly note the cheerful Master of Foxhounds in pursuit, baring the appearance of a man who is no stranger to a pie, a pint of ale and possibly a glass of port at lunch-time.

Tories and Labour level in Scotland

Something I certainly didn't think I'd see in this decade, or perhaps even the next: Labour and the Tories on a level pegging in Scotland, according to a Yougov survey. Also revealed is that David Cameron is now more popular, again in Scotland, than Gordon Brown - 42% favouring Cameron over Brown for PM, and only 39% stating the opposite.

The poll puts Labour and the Tories joint on 24%, with the Lib Dems on 17%. The only problem being of course that the Nationalists are confidently ahead of all three with 34%.

If applied to the electoral situation, this would apparently leave the Tories with 8 MPs in Scotland (up from its present single-man presence), Labour with 10 and the SNP with 31 - increased from 6 - and thus demonstrating the charmingly illogical nature of the First Past the Post system. Whilst it would be certainly pleasant to see the Conservatives regain traditional heartlands like Stirling, southern Edinburgh, the borders and - more locally - East Renfrewshire perhaps the demise of an old enemy and the rise of a new - and in some ways more odious - one should not be too much celebrated.
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Previous Articles

Renfrewshire flags - A look back at the proper flags of the ancient county of Renfrewshire.

The Scottish Parliament - Possibly the most controversial structure in 21st century Scotland. A missed opportunity, a tragedy destined to happen or just an underrated work?

A Toast to Glasgow - Some views of Scotland's largest city and northern Britain's great Victorian metropolis.

A Defence of Propaganda - War-time optimism, reclaiming terminology and a nod to the fine work of Abram Games OBE.

St Andrew's House - Art deco at the political heart of Edinburgh.

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