Scotland on Sunday Alex Salmond Scotland

Church of England and Twitter, Borat hits wrong note, .Scot plans, Jocky Wilson tribute and more

By Colin Grant

March 25, 2012 | 7 min read

If I were a gambling man I’d put a couple of quid each way on Dr John Sentamu to become the next head of the Church of England.

Never heard of him? Neither have I, but he has precisely 21,558 Twitter followers and that makes him the bookies favourite for the job.

The Church has decided to use Twitter to help find a successor to Dr Rowan Williams, who is stepping down as the Archbishop of Canterbury later this year.

According to The Sunday Telegraph that’s good news for Dr John, who appears to be well and truly worshipped by his social media followers.

The Archbishop of York is way ahead of his potential rivals. His closest Twitter challenger is the Rt Rev Nick Baines (Bishop of Bradford) with 3953 followers. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, meanwhile, is lagging way behind with a paltry 562.

Of course, even Dr John will have to work hard to match the output of Debsylee. She describes herself as: “Mummy, photographer, designer, tea drinker, red lipstick wearer, lover of ingenuity and proud to be a Lincolnshire gal.”

With 83,285 followers she just makes it on to the lower echelons of the Twitter Elite, a listing of the UK’s most powerful Twitter users.

Religion found its way into Facebook as well last week, as Scotland on Sunday reports.

The paper reveals that the sister of a teenager on trial for the murder of two British tourists in Florida has been charged with retaliating against a witness after allegedly making insulting comments on her Facebook page. She also urged her brother, who faces two charges of first degree murder, to pray to god.

When arrested Samantha Huffman told police she was exercising her right to free speech.

I have to admit I have a degree of sympathy for her defence, especially since her 17-year-old brother, Shawn Tyson, faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

No such sympathy, though, for the Government of Kazakhstan.

They banned Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 film Borat (full title: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) because they didn’t get the humour.

According to The Sunday Times that film came back to haunt them last week.

A Kazakh competitor had just won a gold medal at a shooting event in Kuwait. Maria Dmitrienko was standing on the podium when the national anthem began to play.

And that’s when triumph turned to tragedy for Maria.

A hapless stadium official, who has probably had his hand chopped off by now, had downloaded Borat’s version instead of the genuine article and it was blaring round the stadium.

As the ST reported: “The first notes were followed by the stirring word all other countries are run by little girls and Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region before rising in a crescendo to the patriotic invitation to come grasp the mighty penis of our leader.”

The paper noted that Maria stood tall as the song continued with the boast that Tinshein swimming pool has a filtration system that removes 80% of human solid waste.

After Kazakh fury led to a minor diplomatic incident the medal ceremony was repeated, this time with the correct anthem which begins: “Sky of golden sun; Steppe of golden seed; Legend of courage – Take a look at my country”.

I think I prefer Borat’s version.

On a more serious note, Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday without the word “fury” on a front page.

This week The Scottish Mail on Sunday obliges, with an excellent story which appears to be a genuine exclusive but, strangely, isn’t billed as one.

“Fury over Cameron’s web ‘gift’ to Salmond” states: “The Scottish Mail on Sunday has learned that the Coalition—with the backing of the Prime Minister—has privately approved plans to let Scotland have its very own .scot web address.

“The move will allow Scotland’s website owners and official bodies to ditch the traditional .uk internet address in favour of .scot.”

This has provoked a backlash from Tory MPs who accused the PM of caving in to campaigners wanting to break up the UK.

The paper reports that Yorkshire Tory MP Andrew Percy said: “..all this is doing is giving Alex Salmond’s Nationalists a propaganda coup. God (here we go again) forbid that the UK is ever broken up but while it remains we should stick with .uk whether we are in Wales, Scotland or England.”

Alex Salmond had his usual, off-the-cuff soundbite ready. His spokesman told the paper: “Scotland is well on the road to independence and it looks like we will soon be independent in cyberspace too.”

I think this is a small example of Cameron hedging his bets, while Salmond may have been too hasty.

The UK Government will now sell the rights to .scot and cash in on the patriotism of around 70 million Scots worldwide, thus depriving an independent Scotland from enjoying a highly-lucrative windfall.

David Cameron is the latest in a long line of Tory Prime Ministers who’ve faced heavy criticism from within their own party.

Indeed, some of Margaret Thatcher’s worst detractors came from within her own cabinet.

Perhaps that’s one reason why The Iron Lady now claims she regretted going into politics.

The revelation is included in a new book by Tory grandee, Lord Spicer, which began its serialisation today in The Sunday Telegraph.

Apparently Mrs T told Lord Spicer: “If I had my time again I wouldn’t go into politics because of what it does to your family.”

Frankly, I don’t believe her. If she was that worried she could have resigned sooner.

And now to Sports.

During the 1980s two men played a leading role in what would become a massive TV phenomenon. One was the Crafty Cockney, Eric Bristow, who was as flamboyant and as mouthy as they come. The other was Jocky Wilson from Fife, who was quieter and more unassuming but also happy to speak his mind when he felt the need to do so.

Their frequent meetings at the World Darts Championships gripped the nation’s TV with viewing figures for their 1989 clash in the final estimated at 10 million.

Jocky, already a legend, won that one to become immortal in the eyes of many darts fans.

Of course, he was only human and, tragically, he passed away on Saturday. News of his death was reported on the front page of The Scottish Sun Sunday.

In what was a genuine exclusive the paper stated: “Darts legend Jocky Wilson died last night—two days after his 62nd birthday.

“The two times world champion—who was battling lung disease—passed away at his home in Kirkcaldy, Fife, just after 9pm.”

Jocky had his well-publicised problems with alcohol and was a heavy smoker who refused to stop when his health deteriorated.

Despite his shortcomings very few had a bad word to say about him and there’s no doubt in my mind Scotland has just lost a genuine sporting hero.

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