Miles Kington: McNugget defends an ancient Scottish name

'It was only the adoption of my name to describe wee lumps of chicken that gave me any misery'
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The Independent Online

Today we are bringing you another helping of the current trial of MacDonalds v McDonald's, in which the burger chain is being sued by hundreds of people called MacDonald on the grounds that it is dragging the ancient Scottish name into disrepute, quite apart from dragging the word "restaurant" into disrepute.

There was a sensational development yesterday when a witness took the stand who was not called MacDonald.


Counsel: Are you from Scotland?

Witness: Aye.

Counsel: Is your name MacDonald?

Witness: It is nae.

Counsel: Then what is your name?

Witness: Henry.

Counsel: Henry what?

Witness: Henry McNugget.

Sensation in court.

Counsel: Do you mean to tell me that you have the same name as the poultry chunks served up in McDonald's so-called restaurants?

Man in public gallery: I object to that!

Judge: If that is the man from the McDonald's Lawyers Snatch Squad who keeps interrupting, then I order him to be taken from here and...

Man: No, sir, I am not a McDonald's person! I am a sharp-shooting solicitor representing the British chicken industry, and I must warn you that any reference to paltry chunks...!

Counsel: I didn't say paltry. I said poultry.

Man: Oh. Well, that's fine by me. Sorry. It's just that we in the chicken business get such a bad press because of our inhumane and murderous procedures... No. hold on, I'll rephrase that...

Judge: Not in here you won't! Take that man out and hang him upside down from a moving rail! I gather that's what they're used to in the chicken business...

The man is taken from court squawking and flapping, and, presumably, strung up. Right, carry on.

Counsel: Tell me, Mr McNugget, what is the origin of your very unusual name?

Witness: I got it from my father.

Counsel: Yes, but what I meant was ­ where did it come from in the first place?

Witness: He got it from his father, my grandfather. He came from Inverness.

Counsel: And what does it mean?

Witness: I believe it means, "at the mouth of the River Ness".

Counsel: God give us strength. What does the name McNugget mean?

Witness: It means, "son of Nugget".

Counsel: And what does Nugget mean?

Witness: It doesn't mean anything. It's just a name. Ye might as well ask what Tavish means, or Gilchrist.

Counsel: "Gilchrist" means "servant of Christ".

Witness: Does it? Well, I knew a fellow once called McGilchrist, and he wasn't a servant of Christ, not by a long shot. In fact, I remember one time when we were out on the town of a Saturday...

Counsel: Mr McNugget!!

Witness: Aye?

Counsel: We are not here to talk about your drunken times in Scotland! We are here to talk about the misery caused to you by your name.

McNugget: My name has never caused me any misery. It was only the adoption of the name by these McDonald people to describe yon wee lumps of chicken that gave me any misery.

Counsel: Would it be true to say that since that time people have taken to squawking when they pass you and flapping their arms like wings?

Witness: Aye.

Counsel: How has this affected you?

Witness: Not much. It's affected them a lot more.

Counsel: In what way?

Witness: When I've fetched them a belt on the lug.

Counsel: So the action of McDonald's has actually driven you to violence?

Witness: It certainly has. As sure as eggs is eggs...

Man in public gallery: Just a moment! I represent the Big British Egg Legal Wing, and I want to say...

Judge: I have had enough of this! Clear the court!


More of this case some other time...