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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 19:55 GMT
'Old' firm legends seek votes
Billy McNeill
Billy McNeill: More respect
Former Celtic and Scotland football legend Billy McNeill is to stand for election to the Scottish Parliament.

The Lisbon Lion, who captained Celtic to the European Cup, will be a candidate for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party (SSCUP).

Former Rangers and Scotland full back Eric Caldow will also seek election under the same banner.

Both the former Old Firm stars will stand for the party on the Central Scotland regional list.

Getting older

Mr McNeill, who is 62, told the BBC it was not his ambition to become an MSP.

Instead, he wants to put his weight behind elderly people's issues.

He believes, as someone "getting older" himself, senior citizens should be shown more respect.

He said: "I think very little attention has been paid to their needs and I think it's important that it's drawn and put before the government.

Eric Caldow
Eric Caldow: Pension rise "ridiculous"

"The pensioners are entitled to a far better deal than they're getting."

Mr McNeill, who was also twice Celtic manager, added: "If the fact that Eric and I support it brings attention to a lot of other people, then it would be worthwhile."

The SSCUP is campaigning for a doubling of the old age pension, although pensions are under the control of Westminster.

Mr Caldow, who played for Rangers in the 1950s and also captained Scotland, branded the most recent pension rise of 1.95 as "ridiculous".

Grey power

John Swinburne, the SSCUP president, said the state pension should be increased from 70.45 to 150 a week.

And Mr Swinburne said that under the proportional representation voting system, there was a real chance his party could return at least one MSP to Holyrood.

He said: "There are 150,000 (pensioners) in the central region and we will only need 20,000 to get one representative. We envisage getting far more than that.

"In fact, if one million pensioners in Scotland voted for the SSCUP, or its sister party the Pensioners Party for Scotland, we would have 25 representatives. Grey power is a great thing."

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