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TORY candidates have been jamming the phone lines with calls to each other to discuss the week's big issue.

Not the surprisingly-good performance on TV by leader David McLetchie... but the disastrous showing on the box by ex-MP Phil Gallie.

In its battle to avoid Scottish politics' equivalent of the wooden spoon, the party seems united in the view that the shadow spokesman for business and economics has got to go.

One insider told me: "Phil's performance on the TV show Vote '99 has been the only subject up for discussion.

"It was embarrassing."

To explain the dilemma a devolved Scotland would face over a single European currency, the Ayrshire Tory explained to viewers how Eritrea once faced similar difficulties in Africa.

But as Phil may soon discover, it's a long way from Asmara to Ardrossan.

A WEEK is a long time in politics. A month is even longer.

But that's how much time has passed since Alex Salmond voiced a desire for a trade blockade of Serbia.

It happened when he faced the three other main party leaders at the Sunday Mail's Question for Scotland debate in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

When the issue of Kosovo was raised, Mr Salmond expressed his regret that NATO had attacked Milosevic with bombs instead of first trying a embargo.

Since then, he has been pilloried for being out of step and knives have been sharpened behind his back.

How ironic he must find it that NATO chiefs have now decided to introduce an oil blockade.

A BOY is never too old to turn to his daddy for help.

Lib-Dem Allan Steele is running for East Renfrewshire Council, but the Edinburgh lawyer's work keeps him 60 miles away from his ward. Never mind - his namesake dad is so confident of victory for the Lib-Dems in his own nearby ward, he regularly travels over to his son's patch in the evening to canvass for him.

Steele senior has good cause to be confident of winning his own seat. As I revealed recently, inter-party co-operation is so good in the area that Blair's boys have decided not to put up a candidate against old Allan.

Do I hear mention of a Lib/Lab pact?

I DID it my way... that was guv'nor Pat Lally's musical summing- up of his last three years as Glasgow's Lord Provost.

Pat, who had more comebacks than Sinatra, was chairing his last council meeting in the city he loves on Friday.

But a more modern musical slant was put on his time in office.

Frank McAveety, the Labour Group leader who is destined to be a star at Holyrood, suggested Gloria Gaynor's disco hit I Will Survive, or the Oasis classic Don't Look Back In Anger.

Waverley, who likes to relax to the sound of a baroque ensemble suggests... Dame Elton John's I'm Still Standing.

NEW Labour's man in South Hamilton, Tom McCabe, has garaged his shiny BMW to hit the campaign trail on Shanks's Pony.

Is this an environmentally friendly gesture by the leader of South Lanarkshire Council? Or is he worried his expensive gas-guzzler may be regarded as a tad ostentatious by more envious voters?

"It's a lot more simple than that," explained Tom. "I was leafleting in Blantyre when someone scraped the car from one end to the other."

Repairs cost pounds 700 - and the candidate isn't keen on a repeat.

OLDEST election candidate is 80-year-old Ella Rae, standing as an Independent for Glasgow's posh Newton Mearns suburb.

Ella says she doesn't need spin doctors to dream up her election slogans - not when she can do it herself.

From her living room election HQ, she said: "It's New Labour, New Tory... and Auld Ella. The choice is yours!"

It's a winner all the way.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 25, 1999
Previous Article:Will 007 be able to save the day for Alex?; Opinion: the voice of the people.
Next Article:Serious kids' stuff.

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