Donald Dewar may be building a reputation as a stand-up comedian, somewhere in style and stature between Chic Murray and Ronnie Corbett, but he declined yesterday to boogie for votes.
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FRANK McAveety, Glasgow Council Labour leader and parliamentary candidate, was on hand to introduce John Prescott to the local electorate. Mr Prescott asked one Glasgow lady if she was confused by the prospect of three ballot papers. ''It'll be no problem to people who can handle seven bingo tickets at the one time,'' interjected Mr McAveety.
NOT that everyone has been won over by Oor Donald. While campaigning in douce Largs, Donald's entourage was spotted by a little girl who said to her mother: ''Mummy, can I have a balloon?'' ''No,'' says the mother. ''Mummy, can I have a flag?'' she says. Again the answer is negative. ''Why not?'' says the agitated little girl. ''Because,'' says her mother, pointing a trembling finger at Donald Dewar, ''that's the man who took away the assisted places scheme.''
WE would not presume to tell readers how to vote but will point out to any Tims in Glasgow Kelvin that they have an opportunity to go green and white in the Holyrood ballot. Or white and green, to be exact. Sandra White (SNP) as constituency MSP and the second vote for the Green Party.
DEPT of We Think We Know What He Means. William Gibson, Tory candidate in Motherwell, has issued a leaflet including this soundbite: ''We are still in liaison with the police with regard to problems in the Duchess of Hamilton park but we have been encouraged that a 'flasher' has been caught in the park . . . This is again an example of how well Tories work in the heart of your community.'' NEWS just in. Responsibility for the Jill Dando murder has been claimed by a group called Combat 18-30.
THE Diary has been inundated with information about Mr Hugh Dallas, the eminent referee. It has come entirely from Celtic-minded sources who claim to have incontrovertible proof of the following: n Mr Dallas in a previous life was King Billy's second-in-command at the Battle of the Boyne. n He is directly descended from a chap called Trevelyan who was personally responsible for the Irish potato famine. n He has an Orange mobile phone. n It is no coincidence he is named after the place where John F. Kennedy was assassinated. n He grew up in Bonkle so there you are. The Diary has been unable to check any of this but we will pass on the dossier to the SFA inquiry into events at Celtic Park last Sunday.
One of the issues to be settled after the Old Firm game concerns the fan who tumbled from the top tier on to the fans below. The question must be asked - did he fall, or was he pished?
WITH football referees in the news, did you hear the one about the referee who now sees the world through Scotland glasses? Step forward Urs Meier, the Swiss whistler who did such an excellent job in overseeing Scotland's victory over Germany last week. Afterwards, he went for a couple of beers with his linesmen in Bremen, and bumped into a contingent of the Tartan Army. He was admiring a fan who had sunglasses with the saltire etched on the lenses. The fan generously presented them to Urs who in return gave him a FIFA referee's badge. It's just a pity you have to go all the way to Switzerland to find a generous referee.
IT is safe to assume that the Observer's Simon Kuper is not in line for any crystal ball awards. Only hours before Sunday's Old Firm mayhem, Simon told his readers: ''It would be easy to conclude that today's Old Firm game at Parkhead will be as crazy as ever, particularly since Rangers will clinch the league title if they win. The truth is that the game is a tamer affair than it has been for decades, both on and off the pitch. Glasgow has changed.''
THE George Bar in Hamilton decided to mark the election with a special Scottish ale festival over the holiday weekend at which the beers were put up as candidates, staff members canvassed for their particular favourites, and a ballot box was set up for the votes. The bad news for the SNP is that Inveralmond's Independence only came fourth with 15% of the vote. Three beers tied for first place, but after mixing all three together, customers whole-heartedly decided that a coalition would not work. SNP candidate Adam Ardrey called in and declared: ''I always knew there were many Bravehearts in Hamilton. I can now confirm there are one or two extraordinarily brave livers, too.''