It's been far, far too long since I last reposted a Twitter exchange, so I thought you might enjoy this one, which took place at around midnight. You really do have to pinch yourself to remember that the guy I'm talking to here - with one week to go until the general election - is Scottish Labour's director of policy, and not a sneering schoolboy with too much time on his hands. Or at least, you would have to pinch yourself if we didn't all know Blair McDougall of old.
I must say I found it all rather moving, because I've been trying to get Blair to speak to me on Twitter for years, but without success.
Me : Just received an email from Margaret Curran telling a blatant lie: that Sturgeon "promised" the indyref was "once in a lifetime". Shameless.
Blair McDougall : she didn't did she? That's terrible! There's no proof Sturgeon ever said that...oh!
(At this point he directs me to a video in which Sturgeon says that the referendum is "probably a once in a lifetime opportunity". Fans of the English language will doubtless be aware that if I say I will "probably have a banana tomorrow", I am not actually promising to have a banana.)
George M Clarkson : Blair, you have forgotten...#nooneislistening no-one cares goodbye...
Blair McDougall : that's for letting me know you hadn't read my tweet
Me : That's a bit rich coming from the man who hasn't listened to (or understood) the words in his own video.
Blair McDougall : You're right she clearly never, ever promised #indyref was "once in a generation/lifetime"
(At this point he directs me to a longer video, featuring a compilation of clips in which Sturgeon once again does not promise that the referendum is a once in a lifetime event.)
Me : Agreed, Blair. She never, ever "promised" once in a lifetime. Glad you've grown up over the last few hours.
Blair McDougall : nope. Never.
(At this point he directs me to text stating that it is "the view of the current Scottish government" that the referendum is a once in a generation event. Once again, there is no sign of a promise, and the word "lifetime" is mysteriously absent altogether.)
Me : Sorry, where is the word "lifetime" in that text? Or, indeed, the word "promise"? I see what you mean. Never.
Blair McDougall : I'm saying you're right. Nicola Sturgeon never ever said it was "once in a lifetime"
(At this point he directs me to a headline in Yes campaign literature, which does indeed paraphrase Sturgeon as saying that the referendum is "a once in a lifetime opportunity", but yet again contains no trace of a promise. For example, it does not read : "Sturgeon's solemn promise to Scotland - If you vote No, that's it. There'll be no more democratic votes on this subject until you're all dead.")
Me : Thanks, Blair. So I was right when I said something that I didn't say. Interesting.
John Ferguson : So if 3 million people march in Edinburgh demanding a referendum, Labour would say no?
Me : Of course. This is the UK, not a bloody democracy.
Blair McDougall : yeah. You're right. Never any suggestion that there wouldn't be another referendum.
(At this point he directs me to a quote from an SNP spokesman anticipating that there would not be a second referendum, because there would be a Yes vote in the first one.)
Me : Fantastic! I'm right about a second claim that I never made! I'm confident of a quick hat-trick.
Blair McDougall : yup. You are right. She never ever said it was "once in a lifetime."
(At this point he directs me to an SNP press release in which, you've guessed it, Sturgeon uses the words "once in a lifetime opportunity" but doesn't make any kind of promise.)
Me : The hat-trick! God, I wish I had made that claim now, because I WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT! You're making my dreams come true.
SoldierWhy : In years to come the dictionary definition of pyrrhic victory will feature a picture of Blair McDougall.
Me : As will the dictionary definition of "masterminded total wipeout".
Blair McDougall : yes. Never any suggestion there would just be one indyref (I have about 15 more but am off to bed)
(Pity he couldn't find even one example of a tweet in which I actually made any of the claims that he was gagging to refute, ie. that "there was never any suggestion there would be just one indyref", or that Sturgeon never used the words "once in a lifetime opportunity". Yup, it was just his luck that all I had done was point out that Sturgeon never made the "promise" that Curran lied about.)
Jon Smith : still beating that drum in the hope it swings voters? It's not worked so far. So Blair. What's your plan B?
Me : I think Plan B is trolling Nat bloggers at the dead of night. Surefire winner.