In line with my disquieting new habit of feeling something approximating to goodwill towards the UK Labour leader, I actually found myself watching a Labour Party Political Broadcast this evening without any discernible steam coming out of my ears. That is, until Iain "the Snarl" Gray popped up uninvited midway through (in a clumsily inserted Scottish Labour 'opt-out' from the main broadcast) to make this utterly extraordinary comment -
"Over the last three-and-a-half years, the SNP have broken every single promise they have ever made."
Whether or not it's true that Ed Miliband "gets" Scotland, it's depressingly clear that Iain Gray does not "get" the modern Scottish electorate, and probably never will. In fact, the new contrast with Miliband's sunny disposition is simply going to make Gray's relentless carping, sourness and pointless belligerence ever more unappealing to voters. It's his enormous good fortune to find himself in the position of being favourite to become First Minister almost entirely through no actions of his own, but he could yet throw it all away with his own actions if he carries on like this.
Rest assured that there will have been seven-year-old children shaking their heads in disbelief this evening, asking their parents - "have the SNP really broken every single promise they ever made?". To which the only possible response would have been "no, darling, that man's just being a wee bit silly". If a politician repeatedly uses such stupidly overblown rhetoric, there comes a point where it's a debased currency and people just completely stop listening. Has that even occurred to Gray? It appears not. I believe that's what's known as a lack of 'emotional intelligence' - a failing Gordon Brown often used to be charged with. That was actually slightly harsh in Brown's case, but not in Gray's.