"Gawd." Can he "be arsed"?
Yup, you've guessed it, it's our old friend Mike "varied vocabulary" Smithson - the blogger who in May 2010 gave the single worst piece of advice in political history when he begged his colleagues in the Liberal Democrats to go into coalition with the Tories, rather than agreeing to a progressive coalition to keep the Tories out. You've got to admire his sunny optimism, because he's now hoping that Alex Salmond will ignore that less-than-promising track record by listening to his risible warning that standing in the nominally Lib Dem-held seat of Gordon would be "oooh, such a terrible gamble, much better to stand in a Labour seat that voted Yes" (you can almost hear the pleading in his voice when he gets to the latter bit). He then ramps up the self-delusion to a truly heroic level by cautioning Mr Salmond that "life is almost always hard for ex-leaders" - particularly one who "failed in the biggest project of his political career".
When confronted with someone as clueless as Mr Smithson I'd normally want to let them down gently as I acquaint them with some unwelcome facts, but as he's such an objectionable individual I'll just get straight to the point. I doubt if there's a single person in either the SNP or the Scottish Liberal Democrats who privately thinks that a Salmond candidacy in Gordon next year would result in anything other than an overwhelming SNP win. Indeed, the SNP are strong favourites to win the seat anyway regardless of who their candidate is. Smithson's notion that all the Lib Dems have to do to stop the tide coming in is to say to people “You voted NO – now tell him you mean it” misses the point so spectacularly that it's difficult to know where to begin. There's a senior politician who will shortly discover the true meaning of the word 'NO' in the Gordon constituency, and he goes by the name of Nick Clegg.
This is apparently going to be news to Lib Dem bloggers caught in the Bedford end of the metropolitan bubble, but in stark contrast to Clegg's rock-bottom approval ratings after a litany of broken promises, Mr Salmond emerged from his supposed "failure" with his personal reputation even further enhanced. He and Nicola Sturgeon now tower over Scottish politics like colossuses. Either one of them could stroll to victory in the majority of constituencies in Scotland, and would have at least a fighting chance in pretty much any seat (with the possible exception of Orkney and Shetland). If Salmond does decide to seek a return to Westminster, the only question is whether he takes on an easy seat like Gordon that he would be virtually guaranteed to win, or whether he leads from the front as he did in 2007 by selecting a constituency much further down the SNP target list. To all intents and purposes Gordon already is a rock-solid SNP seat - Salmond won the roughly equivalent Holyrood constituency of Aberdeenshire East by a mind-bogglingly wide margin in 2011, and that becomes the effective baseline result if he's the Westminster candidate (especially given that the Lib Dem incumbent Malcolm Bruce won't be on the ballot paper this time). The only way that the SNP might fail to win the seat is if Salmond isn't the candidate and thus doesn't bring his personal vote across, leaving an outside chance for the Tories to hoover up the bulk of No-voting Lib Dems. But either way it's bad news for Smithson, because the Lib Dems themselves don't have a hope in hell.
My guess is that Salmond will indeed choose the easy option of Gordon, not out of undue caution, but simply because of the practical and presentational difficulties of dealing with constituency workload from two different parts of the country (the hints seem to be that he would retain his Scottish Parliament seat after being elected to Westminster).
Returning to Mr Smithson's cretinous attempt at an intervention, I should point out the glorious irony of his lazy assumption that No voters are "owned" by the anti-independence parties. That's rather different to the tune he was humming in 2011, when he issued a hysterical "warning" that the SNP had "misinterpreted" their landslide victory as being a vote for independence (he was apparently blissfully unaware that SNP spokespeople had spent much of election night repeatedly making the point that people who voted SNP hadn't been voting for independence). With his customary comic timing he added that "Salmond now has to find a way out of this mess" - code for finding an excuse for cancelling the referendum! As it turned out, Salmond found a much better way "out of the mess" than that - he turned 900,000 votes for the SNP in 2011 into 1,600,000 votes for Yes in 2014.
As for the "ex-leader" jibe, it apparently has yet to occur to Mr Smithson that Salmond could well be just six months away from resuming his old role as leader of the SNP parliamentary group at Westminster (if he does become an MP, he'll either be literal leader or de facto leader). And if this "failed, washed-up" politician becomes Deputy Prime Minister of the UK into the bargain, or even if he is simply the kingmaker from the opposition benches, I suspect we'll be hearing the screams of "DOES NOT COMPUTE" from the general direction of Bedford for many satisfying years to come.