A right blue do

THE efforts of the Tory Party in Scotland to win back the hearts and

minds of the people would appear to have got off to a slow start in the

up-and-coming elections for Strathclyde Regional Council.

Of the six sitting Tories (out of 103 cooncillors) only one is seeking

re-election to continue la lutte. He is Fergus Clarkson, who has only

been in the job for two years after winning the Arran, Largs, and West

Kilbride seat, and is still full of enthusiasm.

The other incumbents have handed in their electoral dinner pails for

reasons of age, infirmity, or other commitments. One feeling that is not

to the fore in Strathclyde Conservative politics is a burning desire to

be a regional cooncillor.

The decision by Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Forsyth to reduce

allowances and make the post of regional cooncillor even less

financially tolerable than it is at present is also a factor.

There is a marked reluctance among high-flying Tory potential

parliamentarians to become candidates for local elections. So, if you

really want to be a Conservative candidate for Strathclyde Region in

May, apply now. You might find the selection process not too difficult.

Silent speech

ALSO on the Conservative candidate selection front, an interesting

situation has arisen with the death of Ulster Unionist MP, Harold

McCusker. Now that Scottish Tories have approved and, indeed, encouraged

involvement by Conservatives in Ulster politics we have the prospect of

a Scot standing in Mr McCusker's seat.

Thus, we hear that a vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative party

was approached to give a ruling on whether the vacancy in Upper Bann

could be advertised in Scotland. ''Certainly, as long as Sir Albert

McQuarrie and David Myles don't mind,'' came the reply.

There was a moment's silence before it was explained to the top Tory

that Upper Bann is in Northern Ireland and nowhere, at all, at all, near


Last word on Tamson

THE final, absolutely definitive, word on who was Jock Tamson of the

Bairns fame, comes from two English newspapers. First the Sunday

Express, describing the Glasgow 1990 show at the Tramway: ''Bairns, Jock

Tamson's celebration of the works of Robert Burns . . .''

The Sunday Times also has information previously denied to the rest of

us. In its TV listings we read on Sunday: ''The South Bank Show. Hilary

Chadwick's film follows the development of a Scottish theatre piece

entitled Bairns from first readings to dress rehearsal. Written by Jock

Tamson, the play takes apart the cliche of the drunken Scotsman.''

PS -- While we're on about this theatre piece, just how many people

have exercised their right (and their sore legs) and walked out? And who

made the loudest exit?

What Nelson said

WE now have the absolutely, positively definitive version of what

Nelson Mandela said when he got out of the jail: ''Look, ah've got a

ten-bob note in ma pocket and ah'm off tae the pub for a right few


Or perhaps he said: ''Did Killie really win the league in 1965?''

Paralysis in the galluses

WE would also like to kill off the gallus controversy with this

version from the ubiquitous vicar, Bill Shackleton of Greenock: ''Gallus

is the singular of galluses. It is an old Glasgow word found in the

streetname Gallusgate. As everyone knows, condemned prisoners were led

along that thoroughfare to be hanged by the galluses until they were

able to get in touch with Beltrami. The public enjoyed these events and

the word carried over into the theatre where the expression 'Don't

Gall-us, we'll Gall-you is still used.''

A sack to bear

THE war of words surrounding the long running Aberdeen Journals

dispute continues unabated. Last week the National Union of Journalists

announced the results of a survey of popular opinion on the dispute

which saw more than 100 journalists sacked. At the same time the union

launched a free newspaper which highlighted the stories it maintains the

Press and Journal and Aberdeen Evening Express have missed since the

dispute began nearly five months ago.

The management responded in kind. Last week the Press and Journal

brought out a promotional leaflet aimed at the north and west. This

advised readers: ''If you want to know what's happening in Inverness and

the Highlands, you need the Press and Journal six days a week.''

On the back of the leaflet is a coupon box for home deliveries of the

paper. This is highlighted by a photograph of a newspaper boy delivering

the paper which you apparently need if you want to know what's happening

in Inverness and the Highlands.

This photograph has confused a lot of people who thought they knew

what was happening in Inverness and the Highlands. The boy in question

bears a quite remarkable resemblance to one of Inverness Caledonian's

footballers Mark McAllister who a few years ago used to deliver papers.

Mark McAllister is the son of the former Inverness-based Highland

Editor of the Press and Journal, Bill McAllister who, as everyone in

Inverness knows, was sacked by the Press and Journal management a few

months ago for refusing to cross the picket line outside the P&J's

Inverness Office.

Firm response

WE can now say with confidence that the groundwork for the Lobey

Dosser statue will be done.

Readers of this column over the past few weeks will not have missed

the fact that we are trying to raise #10,000 to enable artist Calum

MacKenzie to create the world's first equestrian statue as a memorial to

Bud Neill, the Scottish cartoonist. Neill was the creator of, among many

other characters, Lobey Dosser, the Calton cowboy and Elfie, his

faithful two-legged horse.

We have had a tremendous response from the public with #2, #5, and

bigger donations coming in -- more than #700 worth so far. Now we have

had the first weigh-in from business.

Hewcon, the contracts division of Hewden Stuart, has offered to carry

out site preparation work, build Elfie's plinth, and provide transport,

forklift truck and crane services that will be needed. This offer of

goods in kind is worth at least #2000, which brings the fund, at a

stroke, to #2700.

It also means that the target becomes more achievable, since we

''only'' need #8000 from the generous public; the widows and their

mites, and those who want to donate but who mite forget.

We are delighted by this offer from Peter Smith, the boss of Hewcon,

particularly since they are a Glasgow-based firm. Although, like all

good Glaswegian enterprises most of Hewden Stuart's business is done

furth of these parts. Very Glasgow, very mercantile.

Mr Smith feels that the Lobey Dosser statue is a perfect contribution

to Glasgow culture in 1990 and we cannot find it in our hearts to

disagree with him.

Mites and mightier donations equally welcomed at:

The Lobey Dosser Statue Fund,

Herald Diary,

195 Albion Street,

Glasgow, G1 1QP.

Every donation is deposited and recorded at the Glasgow head office of

the Clydesdale Bank, whose chief executive Richard Cole-Hamilton is

treasurer of the fund.