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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30 2016


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WHEN I was a young man


and finding my way in the world, it was often a source of considerable rancour to me that despite my evident charm, good looks, and remarkable physical definition, I was never once contacted by Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and offered the role of James Bond. I had watched The Man with


the Golden Gun and decided that if that was all there was to that acting malarkey, there was nothing that Roger Moore could do with his eyebrows I couldn’t. Alas and alack, the call from


Pinewood Studios never came. And when Mr Broccoli decided to cast a Welsh James Bond, he cast Timothy Dalton in the role. By that time, of course, I


was less suave and physically prepossessing than I had been some years previously. Leaving several of my teeth, a couple of ounces of soft tissue and an earlobe on the pitch at Nelson RFC in a friendly had made me less of a knitting pattern model - that much is true. I nevertheless reasoned that what I lacked was more than made up for by a certain ruggedness. ‘Rugged’ was definitely the way to go for James Bond. Instead, Dalton morphed


into Pierce Brosnan – of whom Mrs Edwards was far too fond – before eventually changing into Daniel Craig. Daniel Craig’s effect on the


missus is somewhat like catnip on moggies. Oddly, the sight of me in a pair of Bermuda beach shorts hauling myself out of the tide


at Rhossili tends to see the wife reaching for the harpoon gun, rather than a cooling beverage or sun cream. If you read the books and


note Bond’s alcohol intake, there is no way he would be in a pair of tight fitting speedos. If he wasn’t in intensive care after a third liver transplant with skin the colour and texture of a banana, he would emerge from the surf looking more like three tons of lard roughly packed into a potato sack than Daniel Craig. Of Mr Craig as Bond, I am


equivocal. He is certainly very good but I can’t help thinking that the bastard is not only playing the role which was predestined to be mine in the body I should have, but he also managed to marry Rachel Weisz. I mean one or the other – but not all three! Nobody seems to know


whether or not Daniel Craig is to return or to be replaced by another unrealistically toned and thin younger gentleman with a liver like a Swansea loaf. On that basis, while I am


sturdily not to say capaciously built, I feel that I am a more realistic James Bond than any of the alternatives whose names are being bandied around. Yes: the role is mine for the


taking, I feel. I can even take out my false teeth to sound more like Sean Connery. Yesh! I can hear it now, Mish Moneypenneh! There’s one proviso, of


course: no bugger’s sticking an umbrella and olive in my pint of SA.


HELLO from the spaceship


HOG1, readers. This week, Draenog comes


to you from his flying saucer, orbiting high above the turbulent Jovian atmosphere as a member of NASA’s first mission to send chimpanzees abseiling into Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on rope woven from moonbeams. After all, if you had asked


Draenog at the turn of the year whether Neil Hamilton would have returned to politics as a UKIP member of the Welsh Assembly and thence been elected as leader of UKIP there, he would have laid you very good odds that your foxy chum would beforehand end up sitting round the banked fires of Hades with a box of matches and a can of petrol while he and the rest of the infernal damned tried to keep warm and demons skated round frozen pits of pitch. So, readers, Draenog’s present


occupation as an astronaut is only fractionally less unlikely than any of those eventualities. Mr Hamilton’s ascent to the


UKIP surface is proof that it is not only cream that floats to the top: especially of a midden. However, let’s be kind to Mr


Hamilton: if a man with his record in public life can become leader of a group in the Welsh Assembly, there must be hope for the rest of us. Mustn’t there, readers? After all, the alternative construction to be put on Mr Hamilton’s resistible rise is that the standard of Assembly members is so hopeless that even Z-List junior whips from the Thatcher government whose Westminster career ended in deserved ignominy


Draenog’s whole new world


nearly 20 years ago can return to active politics. No doubt, Mr Hamilton will


use his past expertise to work assiduously on health matters: in Westminster he lobbied vigorously on behalf of Skoal Bandits, carcinogenic tobacco chews, and claimed that there was no evidence that lead in petrol was harmful to humans. With that sort of track record, readers, Draenog cannot wait to see what Mr Hamilton makes of the Welsh Government’s proposals on public health. In response to a proposed ban on vaping, Draenog fully expects Mr Hamilton to light up a meerschaum pipe filled with Frog Morton tobacco and proceed to puff away in protest. Of course, that is not the worst


thing about Neil Hamilton. As the occupant of the fourth safest Conservative seat in the UK, had he kept his head down and restrained himself from indulgence in colourful conduct with equally colourful characters, he would probably still be sitting there to this day. Instead, his conduct led to the


people of Tatton having Martin Bell and his white suit inflicted upon them. As if that was not bad enough, and that was pretty bad, Mr Hamilton’s replacement as Conservative candidate - and ultimately MP for Tatton – was George Osborne, the much-loved and admired skinflint and personality vacuum. Readers: we can forgive many things, but not George Osborne. If it came to a choice between


George and Neil, readers, Draenog would opt for the option of trial by combat between the two. Simply tie them both to separate one


 





tonne blocks of concrete and drop them from a Hercules into the sea somewhere off Rockall. Whichever managed to swim ashore in Greenland first would be the winner. A fair test, Draenog thinks


you would agree, readers. It could be followed by a similar contest between Boris Johnson and David Cameron, possibly involving flamethrowers that shot killer bees. Draenog’s current viewpoint,


dangling tantalisingly above Jupiter and wondering what that odd obelisk is rotating in the distance, seems eminently more sensible that being in the Senedd at Cardiff Bay. We should never forget, no


matter how much medication and alcohol we imbibe, that UKIP’s presence in Cardiff Bay is – more or less – the will of the people. Having barely registered above 15% of the vote in any single constituency, the party got enough voters’ number two vote to get seven seats. That triumph of the will was


led by the former leader of UKIP in Wales, Nathan Gill. It seemed an unusual choice to ditch Mr Gill after he delivered UKIP’s first seats won at a general election to a UK legislature, but UKIP are not politics as usual, readers. They are barely politics at all, and what politics they espouse is entirely unusual. It all rather reminds Draenog


of the old saw about the Scots fighting their mortal enemies: the Scots. Less a party and more of an argument, if and when they bother to rock up at the Senedd, UKIP will add to the gaiety of the nation. All those charming middle-class English types telling us poor down- trodden and ignorant Cymric sorts


      


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