John Gibson: Even Tony sent him a message

Never much cared for his politics. Nor, if I may venture, for his football team. But everybody else loved George Foulkes, it seems.

The Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle was packed for his 70th on Saturday night. Glad I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have relished spending an evening under the same roof as ex- Commons Speaker Michael Martin.

It was a night for ex so-and-so, being a predominantly Labour occasion, their glory days long past.

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Hilary Armstrong, chief whip in the last Government, read out a message from Tony Blair. Some of us remember him. This was probably a postcard from some sun-splashed shangri-la with a good luck peck from Cherie.

Other faces in the crowd included Pilmar Smith, 13 years a director at Tynie, ex-Lothian Buses chairman and bosom buddy of Foulkes.

Also worshipping at the shrine Shadow Defence Secretary Lord Martin O’Neill, Lord David Steel, David McLetchie (how did they let you in, David?), Gavin Strang, Ian Murray and Mark Lazarowicz.

Bad day to have a birthday if you were a Jambo. They lost at Inverness. Even worse if you were a Hibby. Fenlon’s feckless bunch blew it at Easter Road. So all was relatively sweet at Gorgie.

Pier pressure

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This fanfare, this folly about a new royal yacht to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will cost a fortune and we’ve got individuals busting a gut to stress punters won’t be stumping up for it.

It’s big bucks the nation can ill afford. What’s wrong with the yacht she used to have? They’ve just given her a few licks of paint, freshened her up. Chipped off the barnacles.

The old tub must be good for another ten years. It could even stand another p*** up for the Tindalls.

A front-runner in the campaign for a brand new yacht is Education Secretary Michael Gove. An odd sort you could pick out in an identity parade, he’s trumpeting: “We should be proud to honour our Queen in this way.” That’s bound to get the bowing-and-scraping Gove a gong. Pronounce it “Go,” by the way. So go, go, go for it, Michael!