POPE Francis has been given the thumbs-up from Nigel Farage, who approves of some of his pronouncements on the refugee crisis.
Quite what the Holy Father makes of Nige’s endorsement is not known.
Unsurprisingly, it was the pontiff’s warning last week that terrorists could infiltrate Europe hidden amongst the huge numbers of refugees coming into Europe that appealed to the Ukip leader.
“I tell you what I like about this Pope,” Farage told his dining companions in Brussels. “I have met him. I am actually massively impressed by him,” added the politician, before remarking that his sentiment was quite something given his descent from Protestant Huguenots, who were “burnt at the stake”.
Youth and experience sore affronted by politics of rugby
WITH the Rugby World Cup under way, perhaps it is only right that Drumlanrig reports on the coarser form of the oval ball game played by various parliamentarians in a recent tournament.
Politicians descended on Rugby School, where William Webb Ellis famously “picked up the ball and ran” to invent the handling code, to show off their scrummaging skills. One of the more experienced participants was rugby devotee Ian Davidson, the former Glasgow South MP..
The Labour politician admitted to be “very sore” after donning his boots for a game against politicians from other nations including France and New Zealand.
He fared better, however, than Gavin Newlands, the more youthful SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, who was reportedly injured within two minutes of taking the field. As a former captain of Paisley Rugby Football Club, Newlands must have been disappointed.
Apparently, the only nation missing from the competition was Australia – their MPs were too busy replacing their prime minister.
Much hairdo about helmet
THERE was much discussion of hair (yes, hair) on a trip to Brussels by the Scottish press corps last week.
Scotland’s only Ukip MEP, David Coburn, made the rather unlikely claim that he had influenced Nicola Sturgeon’s hairstyle.
“I kept telling her to get rid of her helmet hairdo,” claimed the European Parliament’s answer to Vidal Sassoon.
“I’m delighted she’s taken my advice,” he added.
The SNP MEP Alyn Smith had a more realistic take on his own newly-grown facial hair, which – to his surprise – has a bit of a salt-and-pepper look.
“It’s less George Clooney...more Santa Claus,” said the self-effacing Smith.
Lunchtime o’booze and Ukippers
LUNCH with Nigel Farage is a cork-popping experience. It was almost as if he was playing a caricature of himself when he arrived at an up-market restaurant in the Belgian city last week.
“I’m gasping for a drink,” was his opening gambit. As the wine flowed, Farage waxed lyrically about the Scotland he knows – golf at Carnoustie and fishing on the Spey. It remains to be seen whether this sort of local knowledge will help Ukip in future Scottish elections.
Guffawing, he also reminisced about a charming Irish bar (alas, no more) where the Ukippers were once regulars. Their cosy sessions, however, were interrupted one night when the BNP’s Nick Griffin also popped in for a drink. Sensing uncomfortable publicity if he was snapped in the same room as Griffin, Farage approached the landlord the next day to explain his difficulty.
The amount of cash put over the bar by Ukip was such that mein host made sure that Griffin was given his marching orders and Nige was able to booze in peace.