Tom Harris last night on John McTernan -
"John was his brilliant usual self"
John McTernan this morning, being interviewed by Andrew Neil -
"Just as I wouldn't ask my butler about policy, so I wouldn't ask Labour party members how to win back the south of England."
Tom can rest his case, I feel - the man is sheer class.
Incidentally, I left a comment on Harris' blog last night, which thus far seems to have failed to make it through moderation (although hope springs eternal). I should have taken the precaution of saving it, but it was broadly a response to this sentence -
"I say 'mistake' because my blood pressure goes up when I hear all the old tosh about Scottish politics being so different from politics everywhere else in the country."
It's a bit difficult for Tom to maintain the fiction that Scotland is not radically different from the rest of "the country", given the notoriously wicked - and yet directly elected - "separatist" government that lords it over humble souls like Harris and McTernan (when they occasionally drop in for a visit, I mean). I also made the point that, even if Harris is given the rather peculiar object of his heart's desire next May - namely Iain "the Snarl" Gray as First Minister - that will simply be yet further proof of a gulf between ourselves and the politics of the south of England. Labour may have edged into a one point lead in the latest Britain-wide poll, but that's as nothing to the 25-or-so-point advantage they routinely enjoy over the Tories in these parts. I think Tom is going to have to face up to it - for reasons best known to himself, he literally campaigned for Labour to step aside and allow David Cameron to take office in May, and deep down it may well be that he also now hankers after the impossible dream of a Tory renaissance in Scotland. How else is he going to see the political uniformity across "the country" that he so craves?
On a closely related theme, I was slightly puzzled at Tom's stated enthusiasm for McTernan's contribution to Newsnight Scotland last night, given that one of the key (and utterly risible) points that McTernan made was that Jack McConnell was always given free rein in policy terms by London Labour. Since when did Tom think that a capacity for Scotland to strike its own policy path is in any sense a desirable thing?