I scarcely know whether to laugh or cry. Kezia Dugdale has devoted a blog post to triumphantly pointing out that Alex Salmond was technically wrong in his assertion that there are no maternity hospitals in Glasgow North-east, on the grounds that while there may be none today, there were two when David Kerr was born in 1973. "Arrogant bluster" from Salmond, Kezia calls it. Hmmm. To me, the First Minister's comment sounded more like an appropriately bemused response to one of the most desperate (not to mention barking mad) smear attempts in recent by-election history.
What on earth is Labour's point here? It's beyond dispute that David Kerr's family home at the time of his birth was in the constituency. Are people really supposed to take into account the exact grid location of a candidate's birth when determining his or her suitability to be the local MP? Kezia (astonishingly) seems to think so - it's hard to see what other interpretation you can place on her approving mention of the fact that the Labour candidate was born in Stobhill. David Kerr's mother must indeed be tormented with guilt that her perfidious show of disloyalty to the community by giving birth in Govan (gasp) has so blighted her son's career prospects thirty-six years later - unless of course David was personally directing the decision-making process from the womb, which is always a distinct possibility. But why stop at the birth? Have Labour not thought of setting their crack team of historical investigators on to the possibility that Kerr may also have been conceived outside the constituency, on a long weekend in Blackpool perhaps?
Back in the real world, I sometimes wonder if Labour activists ever stop and reflect for a moment on how all this petty, pedantic, sixth-form society point-scoring comes across to real people. I'll give them a hint - the main message it sends out is "we have an irrational, personal dislike of our opponents". Never a good image to project of yourself. And it was precisely by providing a positive, uplifting contrast to the relentless Labour "snarl" that the SNP were able to sneak victory at the last Scottish parliament election.