P&J Column for 20.5.13

Poor old Nigel Farage; imagine being made to feel unwelcome in the country you think of as home.


I am not afraid to tell you that the bullying and ballyhoo that surrounded Nigel Farage’s trip to Edinburgh made me feel ashamed to be Scottish.

I’m far from being Farage’s greatest fan.  His politics are too liberal for my tastes (he still clings to the redundant notion of votes for women and the lower orders).  He went to a rather suspect second-tier public school and worked in the City for some time.  So he’s trade, essentially. Furthermore he has tainted his bloodline by marrying into Prussian stock.  Lastly there’s the name. Nothing wrong with ‘Nigel’ of course, but his surname is a portmanteau of ‘mirage’ and ‘farrago’ and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the man is at least partly French. Which certainly ought to be enough to disqualify someone from public office, although sadly isn’t, anymore. It’s political correctness gone mad.

But despite all that I still see something in the man that I like.  No politician who smokes, drinks and annoys Alex Salmond can be all bad.  And in some of his pronouncements I see at least a measure of the stout common sense that is needed to make Britain great again.  He isn’t yet talking about abolishing the minimum wage, re-introducing the workhouse and providing border guards with machine guns, but one is not without hope.  That said, irrespective of whether you like the cut of the man’s jib or not, answer me this: what is the world coming to when a fellow can’t attempt to put across a simple message of xenophobic isolationism without being shouted down by isolationist xenophobes? When will the nasty, bullying left realise that threats of violence and crude attempts to silence their opponents achieve nothing?  If it was down to me, I’d parcel-tape their filthy mouths shut and stick their placards where the sun don’t shine.

‘CAVA’ KENNY CORDINER, the football pundit who goes in studs up

It has been another truculent week in the crazy world of football. But even an old hat like me sat up and took notice when David Beckham announced he will shortly be bending it like himself for the last time.

I only met Beckham the once.  He was part of a Man United squad that Fergie took to the late Teddy Scott’s testimonial in 1998. He was at the height of his Manchester fame, and I had got into the hostility suite through the dodgy fire door at the Dick Donald stand but we hit it off because we had so much in common.  If you compare Becks’s and my careers, you can draw lots of parables between us. You could say I was the original Goldengirls.  And a lot of people did.

He played for some of the biggest clubs in the world – Man U, Madrid, LA, Milan and Paris.  I played forbig clubs too, like Longside and Formartine. Sadly though, it wasn’t all success for Becks.  Like me, he had a tendency to get himself into hot weather with referees.  Who can forget his red card at the 1998 World Cup when he aimed a little kick at Argumentative player Diego Simeone.  The English media was not happy that their team got knocked out and they made Beckham the escaped goat.

But the similes don’t end there.  His career took off when he scored that wonder goal from the halfway line.  I used to get took off when I halfed someone on the touchline.  He has Victoria Posh, his glamorous pop star wife and I has the lovely Melody, who once filled in for Diana Speed doing continuity on Grampian TV.  He posed in his undies in that advert for Armani  whilst me and Joey Harper once posed in our dookers for McKay’s of Queen Street.  What a booking that was, as well as our fee, old man McKay gave us the swimming trunks to keep. Well, that budgie smugglers was a bit on the nippit side, especially for King Joey, so I’m not sure he’d have been able to re-sell them anyway. There is still a pair of that trunks in the shop window – right next to the corduroy dungarees and the luminous green hard hat.

But the one thing Becks has been really famous for is his different hairstyles.  He’s had skinheads, cornrows, lassie’s hair and even, when he was younger, a mock-chop.  Thousands of men tried to copy his looks.  Well, when it comes to personal grooming old Kenny is no stranger to blazing a trial.  In the 1970’s I was the first footballer to go for the often-copied combination of bubble perm and Zapata moustache. In fact, that look was known as the ‘Full Cordiner” and it fairly got a recreation from the fans. When I was playing never a game went by without someone shouting from the terraces “Good grief, look at that full Cordiner’!