Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

David Banks Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

David Banks Columnist

Article excerpt

IF a ScotNat MEP can contest Berwick in the coming General Election I feel bound to announce that I am considering standing for the seat on behalf of Plaid Cymru.

The SNP's Christine Graham, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale has declared (as if her current chunk of Caledonia isn't enough for a body) that she wants to represent the Berwick seat at Westminster when the old warhorse Sir Alan Beith retires next year.

It's more than a one-horse race: the Lib Dem veteran is grooming Julie Porksen to replace him, the Tories have Anne-Marie Trevelyan saddled up and hot to trot while Labour's Scott Dickinson currently carries the outsider tag. Ukip, meanwhile, have made a serious miscalculation: in choosing Alnwick politico Nigel Coghill-Marshall they spurned that bibulous ex-Tory the Byreman; as a result he has offered to be my political agent when the Godzone branch of the Welsh Nationalists makes its move.

From campaign HQ at the Red Lion I am making U-turns faster than Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson put together: first I would contest the seat, then I wouldn't, now I might. Is THAT prime ministerial enough for you? There are problems, you see. The boys in the domino bar are all behind me: Farmer Morebottle has agreed to organise a team of canvassers from his tattie-picking squad, Klondike is making his marquee available for a press conference following the Barmoor windfarm's champagne launch and Lawnmower is organising a rather rural collection of Election Day transport.

But the stumbling block proved to be the campaign motto. What could be more appropriate than the Welsh Nats' own 'Cymru am Beth' (Wales for Ever)? It wasn't that the Byreman couldn't get his teeth around it (in truth, he hasn't got any teeth!); it was when we pronounced it phonetically.

"Cumry-am-beethe?" repeated the Byreman. "Doesn't that sound like 'Beith for ever'?" Ah well, back to the drawing board.

IWAS a part-owner of the bestrun railway company in Britain until yesterday.

Using senior railcards, Gemma and I can travel first-class for the price of standard, enjoy at-ourseat meals and, airline-style, free wines and spirits whenever and wherever we want in our prebooked, spacious seats. …

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