Talk of the Town: Politics is a school of hard knocks

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OF all the perils of running for political office, meeting voters face to face must be the greatest.

So former chancellor Alistair Darling found when he was accosted by an angry member of the public on the campaign trail on Saturday. The MP was in south Edinburgh with Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor Eric Barry when he was abused by an unhinged voter and his staffie.

“I thought he was going to go for Alistair,” Eric told Talk of the Town. “He was banging on about how Alistair was the government, which he clearly isn’t any longer.

“This went on for a while but eventually the guy moved on. It’s just as well. I was about to advocate the Prescott response.”

I’ll be pedalling green credentials to voters

FORMER BBC man and keen cyclist John Knox once undertook a bike ride round Scotland to test the political temperature of the country for a radio series.

Now he’s the Liberal Democrats’ candidate in Liberton/Gilmerton for next week’s council elections and is on his bike again – attempting to cycle along all 367 streets in the ward between sunrise and sunset today.

His tour, of around 50 miles, is partly to promote the Lib Dems’ commitment to spend more cash on cycling. But no doubt he will also be able to test the political temperature once more.

It’s just a numbers game

TOMORROW is the biggest day by miles in the short history of Edinburgh Rugby.

They stand within 80 minutes of a shot at Heineken Cup glory when they take on Ulster in the semi-final.

As rugby fans will know, “easy” doesn’t come close to describing the task facing them at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. But it seems it’ll be slightly easier than suggested to captain Greg Laidlaw.

When told their opponents would have the backing of 40,000 fans, Greg replied: “As long as they’re not on the pitch they won’t bother us.”

Fry warms to city’s charms

STEPHEN Fry has been keeping the Twitter world informed of his stay in the Capital, where he’s filming the TV adaptation of the Ian Rankin novel Doors Open.

Having bemoaned Edinburgh as a mobile phone “blackspot”, it seems the intellectual funnyman’s mood has somewhat lifted.

He yesterday praised Edinburgh College of Art for its sealed casket war memorial and its students for their work as extras in the drama.

But, as yet, no mention of a pint in the Oxford Bar with the author.