I can't tell you how honoured I was to start my Tuesday morning by having a brief exchange of views with the "Head of Office" for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, no less. (Although I presume that's the office in Mr Alexander's soon-to-be-ex-constituency of Inverness, rather than in the Treasury itself.)
Graeme Littlejohn : So, SNP don’t like English MPs coming to Scotland to intervene in #indyref debate, but want PM to come to Scotland to debate? #SNPlogic
Me : Cameron feels free to intervene in the #indyref at his leisure, but thinks the debate should be "between Scots"? #LondonLogic
Graeme Littlejohn : So does FM "PM would do well to butt out, certainly anybody who has a vote in Scotland is entitled to contribute to the debate"
Me : But he isn't butting out, is he? So what excuse does he have for not debating? Do explain.
Graeme Littlejohn : PM of UK certainly has the mandate to govern, and hold government meeting, in Scotland. But he doesn’t have vote on Sept 18th.
Me : Graeme, this is simple : do you think Cameron should butt out of the #indyref, or should he debate? Can't have it both ways.
Graeme Littlejohn : (no reply)
If I hadn't been restricted to 140 characters, I would also have pointed out that Graeme's argument is based entirely on the premise that yesterday's visit of the UK cabinet to Scotland for the first time in 90 years had nothing whatever to do with the independence referendum, and that Cameron never actually spoke about the referendum at any point during the day. Defending that premise would certainly be profoundly challenging, but it would still be great fun to see someone give it a go.
(Duncan! You're needed!)
* * *
Hot on the heels of that exchange, I also had a slightly longer one with the London-based "American turned Brit" comedian Erich McElroy, who boasts about his "Scottish heritage" and his quest to "save Britain" from Scottish voters taking part in the "Brit referendum". (He's basically John Barrowman, but with a better singing voice.) I've no idea whether his patriotic fervour is real or only for ironic effect, but given that I spotted his "I'm more British than you are" show in the Edinburgh Fringe programme last year, I'm guessing we might be dealing with the genuine zeal of a convert here.
Me : Cameron let out "cry of joy" at Bowie. Are we supposed to vote No to make our Tory overlords joyful?
Erich McElroy : It's not the Tory overlords I worry about. It's the lizard people.
Me : What's the difference?
Erich McElroy : Tory's often have nicer hair.
Me : "Often"? I rest my case : London Tories don't even have nicer hair than lizards on a consistent basis.
Erich McElroy : You must be able to say one nice thing about them?! And I don't mean the lizard people.
Me : I was hoping for guidance from you on that, as you're the one that wants Scotland to be ruled by them!
Erich McElroy : Did I say that? Hmmm let me check my past posts...
Me : Interesting. For clarity : you DON'T want Scotland to be ruled by Tories we didn't vote for?
Erich McElroy : Nope. Defo never said that!
Me : Hmmm. Call me cynical, Erich, but you appear to be ignoring my question. Uncomfortable area?
Erich McElroy : Cynical.