Drumlanrig: Tony Blair | Alex Salmond | Drew Henry

Minor matter of Blair’s old school tie

SNP candidate for Perthshire South and Ochil, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, is joined by Alex Salmond during campaigning in Milnathort, Scotland. Picture: Getty

Tony Blair’s choice of tie was the subject of some comment after the former prime minister was on television wearing a rather natty striped number to deliver his speech warning against an EU referendum.

As connoisseurs of old school ties, many members of the old boys’ network were quick to recognise similarities to the Old Etonian tie. Blair’s chameleon-like qualities have been often commented on, but surely the Old Fettesian was not caddish enough to pretend he’d actually been to Eton?

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An explanation that cleared the former PM of the charge of posing as an Etonian was offered by Sandy Pratt, who was Fettes head boy when Blair was there. Pratt said the tie looked like one that was actually worn at their own alma mater. “I think the tie he was seen wearing during his EU speech is the minor sports tie, awarded to those not good enough to play the mainstream sports of rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics,” explained Pratt, who added: “Mr Blair’s sport was basketball, I believe.”

Sitting duck Salmond’s balloon punctured

There were some marvellous pictures of Alex Salmond campaigning in a hot air balloon with the glamorous former Bollywood film star and SNP candidate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

But when the picture was tweeted by The Scotsman, it was a bit of a sitting duck for Salmond’s opponents on the social media website. “Alex Salmond takes to the skies in hot air balloon on campaign trail with @TasminaSheikh,” was the Scotsman’s tweet.

The firebrand Labour MSP Neil Findlay was first up, replying: “@[email protected] – should that not read @TasminaSheikh takes to the skies with a balloon?”

SNP’s Henry out of the loop on A9

Don’t ever ask for directions from Drew Henry, the SNP candidate who looks as if he may topple Danny Alexander in the Liberal Democrat-held seat of Inverness, Nairn, Strathspey and Badenoch.

One of Henry’s big pitches to the voters is that he lives and works in the constituency and therefore knows the big issues troubling the locals.

Despite taking such pride in the area, his local geography isn’t up to much.

During a passionate discussion of safety issues on the A9 broadcast on BBC Scotland radio last week, Alexander challenged Henry to name a “single inch” of the road that had been dualled as a result of Scottish Government policy.

“The Ballachulish loop,” was Henry’s reply. It was with some glee that Alexander was able to point out that Ballachulish isn’t on the A9.

Come to think of it, Ballachulish is not even in the Nairn, Strathspey and Badenoch constituency.

Memoirs of a subliminal book promotion

The distraction of having to fight an election in Gordon meant that Alex Salmond cancelled a whirlwind book tour to North America to promote his memoirs earlier this month.

After giving the matter some thought, the former first minister decided it was for the best that he should stay in Scotland and speak at local hustings rather than go to Toronto and New York to sign copies of The Dream Shall Never Die.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on what would have been a rather jolly trip across the Atlantic, the picture on his election leaflets (right) suggests Salmond is keen to do a little subliminal advertising to boost book sales at home.