Shirts up

18th April 1997 at 01:00
More from the hustings. Some parliamentary candidates enjoy great serendipity in the coincidence between their interests and their constituencies.

Take Brian Nugent, the SNP's man in Coatbridge and Chryston and not surprisingly "a keen supporter of Albion Rovers". As a lecturer in Shetland College - there's commuting for you - he is also a member of the Shetland Life Group. Just to complete a complex life story, he was born in Airdrie.

Funnily enough, John Lloyd, modern studies teacher at Inveralmond Community High in Livingston, is contesting Dunfermline West for the SNP and has discovered a passion for Dunfermline Athletic, about which he has written a book. And Laurence Millar, SNP candidate in Midlothian, is naturally an "enthusiastic supporter" of Newtongrange Star FC.

Edinburgh teacher Peter Johnston is a fearless fellow, fighting the SNP's corner in Livingston but flaunting his "avid" support for Dundee United. Similarly the affections of Ewan Dow, leader of the SNP administration in the former Tayside Region, are with Aberdeen FC despite being the party's candidate in Stirling.

SNP candidates are not the only football fanatics, of course. Labour's Martin O'Neill, a former Edinburgh teacher, is standing in the new Ochil constituency but can also be found sitting regularly at Easter Road. The Liberal Democrats' Dick Speirs in Angus even boasts a professional interest: he is Arbroath's club doctor.

None of the Tory candidates appear to have acquired any footballing passions, although Elizabeth Smith, the George Watson's teacher standing in Edinburgh South, says she is widely experienced in coaching hockey and tennis; she is also highly committed to charting the demise of communism in Russia.

Other Tories have unusual claims to fame. Scott Dickson in Motherwell and Wishaw reminds us that he fought to oppose demolition of Wishaw High, an effort duly rewarded when Historic Scotland listed the building in 1992.

And the good folk of Banff and Buchan will be delighted to learn that William Frain-Bell ran Katie's student night club when he was a student at St Andrews University.

But perhaps the most colourful past is to be found in Glasgow Maryhill (where else?) where Stuart Baldwin has turned Tory after touring the world with his rock band the Natural Scientist for three years, "sharing dressing rooms with the Sex Pistols, Stranglers and the Bangles". He says he found the rock lifestyle difficult to sustain after the birth of his first child, underwent a major career change and joined the financial sector.

Right on.

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