I'm not quite sure why, but I found myself looking up Cry for Help by Rick Astley yesterday, for the first time in many years. It brought back memories of watching one of those interminable Channel 4 "Top 100 of something" list shows, in which Johnny Vegas recounted how he had first heard the song as a teenager. One of his friends had phoned him to say : "Rick Astley. Top of the Pops. Tonight. Good. Watch it." As fate would have it, I ended up having an eerily similar experience last night when one of the prolific SNP posters on Political Betting emailed me to say : "Ian Davidson. Meltdown. Huge. BBC2. Watch it. Now."
Those weren't the exact words, but they capture the gist.
Unfortunately, I didn't see the email until it was too late, and it's taken me 24 hours to have the chance to catch up with the interview in question, but it didn't disappoint - it's epochal stuff all right. What Labour have done in making this man the chairman of a theoretically important select committee is the rough equivalent of Alex Salmond handpicking a Cybernat from the Scotsman boards to be his campaign manager, specifically to enable that person to go on television and use terms like "New Liebour", "Bliar" and "Wee Joke McConnell" as often as humanly possible. That's the surefire way to win floating voters over, right enough.
Plenty of people have already pointed out how Davidson's naked thuggery in representing Scottish Labour's case has utterly destroyed the party's credibility, so I won't rehearse the point again. Instead I want to take a quick look at one part of what might very loosely be described as the "substance" of his argument. He makes the extraordinary claim midway through the interview that the electorate have "given" Westminster the sole right to decide constitutional matters by voting Yes in the 1997 devolution referendum. But the slight logical problem here is that a No vote in that referendum would have meant that there would have been no Scottish Parliament at all, meaning by definition that Westminster would have been left empowered to take every decision on the constitution.
So, to sum up, it seems that by voting Yes in 1997 we were giving Westminster the authority to decide constitutional matters for us, and by voting No we were giving Westminster the authority to decide constitutional matters for us. Doubtless according to Ian's logic abstainers in 1997 had much the same thought in mind as well.
Crikey, what lucky voters we were to be so spoilt for choice. Thanks heavens Ian is on hand to make sure the menu of democratic choices available to us is just as impressive this time round...