HE HAS been involved in sensitive international peace-keeping efforts and diplomatic conflicts – so it was perhaps not surprising that there were certain issues about which Kofi Annan was wary of talking.
However, as the former UN secretary-general arrived in Scotland yesterday to deliver a lecture, there was just one issue which was off limits.
It was not the war in Iraq, nor disputes at the United Nations. Instead, the two words not to be uttered in his presence were "Alex Salmond".
Of course, he’s not really the Dark Lord, just someone with an over-vivid sense of imagination (and his own importance) and that's the real reason behind the snub:
Mr Salmond was embroiled in the dispute in January, when he said Mr Annan would be visiting Scotland as part of the Year of Homecoming to give a lecture on Robert Burns. The First Minister made the announcement at a Burns supper in Alloway, telling about 100 guests it was a "sign, a symbol, of the power of Robert Burns that the former secretary-general of the UN writes to offer a lecture as a contribution to our Year of Homecoming".
But Mr Annan's office later asked for a correction.
It turned out he had been coming to Scotland, but on the invitation of Mr Brown to deliver the Adam Smith Lecture.
Naughty, although it’s left to a SNPer to deliver the best quotation of the article:
SNP MSP Brian Adam said it made Mr Salmond sound like Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter books, referred to as "He-who-must-not-be-named".
A more appropriate title would be "He who cannot be shamed"; but this from Adam again is a cracker:
"The idea that Alex Salmond is the name that we cannot speak is just absurd. It belittles the office of the First Minister and belittles Scotland."
No, once again, Alex Salmond does not = Scotland and the next SNPer to repeat that falsehood will be erm...zapped pronto by my red,white and blue wand and a specially adapted expelliarmus-nat charm.