Little at Large: Charity sprint challenge by MSP who ate all the pies

Charity sprint challenge by MSP who ate all the pies.

Frank McAveety, a Labour MSP, has issued a bizarre challenge for Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to go head-to-head with him in a 100m sprint, and has urged colleagues to bet on the outcome, with proceeds going to the Rainforest Fund charity. McAveety was goaded into this strange summons after Salmond reminded him of an embarrassing incident involving a pie four years ago.

McAveety, then arts minister, had claimed that he was late for ministerial questions because he was attending a book awards event. In truth, he was tucking into a plate of pie and chips in the Holyrood canteen.

The beneficiary of this contest to find the Usain Bolt of Scottish politics remains unclear. There is no Rainforest Fund, north or south of the border. There is a Rainforest Action Fund, however, based in Hemel Hempstead. With an income of only £2 in 2002, it could do with a cash injection.

It's the 10th anniversary of the Compact this year, but preparations to mark the big day at the Compact Commission have hit a minor snag: no one can remember exactly when it was launched. But the Third Sector archive can reveal the truth: the momentous day was 12 November. Supporters of the much-maligned Compact can take comfort from the fact that another agreement signed on that day has not fared any better. Al Gore, vice-president of the US, 'symbolically' signed the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, on behalf of his country on 12 November, 1998.

The dry wit of Richard Corden, chief executive of the Compact Commission, was in evidence at the Charity Law Association conference last week. "We're independent because we've been instructed to be by the Government," he told delegates.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer

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