I'm finding it hard to work myself up into my customary state of moral outrage over the BBC's (provisional) decision about which parties should be treated as 'major' in the coverage of this year's election, because this time it's not really the SNP that is being disadvantaged - although admittedly it's possible that overly-generous coverage of the Liberal Democrats could harm the SNP in its bid to prize away the Northern Isles constituency seats. But in spite of my relative inner calmness (and it's genuinely a novelty), I can't deny that the decision and the reasoning behind it is just as indefensible as ever.
Consider this. In 2003, the Green party won 6.9% of the list vote, and seven out of the 129 seats. At the subsequent election in 2007, they were still treated as a second-string party, and were barred from most of the leaders' debates, which were still the traditional four-way affairs between the SNP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In 2011, the Liberal Democrats won 5.2% of the list vote, and five out of 129 seats. That was clearly inferior to what the Greens achieved in 2003, and yet for some reason the Lib Dems are still being defined as one of four parties who attained "substantial representation" in 2011. There's no explanation at all of why the goalposts have shifted over the last nine years. It's murderously hard not to conclude that the BBC's flexible definition of "substantial representation" boils down to "whatever the Lib Dems have, and whatever the Greens don't have".
Of course, those sympathetic to the Greens are framing this as an injustice towards Patrick Harvie's party, but it could just as easily (perhaps more easily) be argued that both the Lib Dems and the Greens should be barred from the main debates. I'm not saying that would in any way be fair or desirable, but it's the only real conclusion that can be drawn from the 2007 precedent. It should be noted that prior to last year's general election, Ofcom made clear that it was only the Lib Dems' performance in 2010 that justified their status as a major party in Scotland - their support in the most recent Holyrood, local and European elections wasn't sufficient. It's hard to see how Ofcom will be able to avoid the conclusion that last year's result is the final piece of the jigsaw, and that the Lib Dems should now be relegated to the second tier alongside the Greens. OK, Ofcom is not the BBC, but it will be distinctly odd if the two organisations diverge on such an important point.
* * *
Tom "Bomber Admin" Harris, now very much an ex-MP, quoted at Stormfront Lite yesterday -
"Corbynistas bang on about their man’s “mandate”. If party rules had been respected, he wouldn’t even have been on the ballot paper."
Those ridiculous anti-democratic rules, requiring that any candidate for the Labour leadership can only go forward to the ballot if they are nominated by 15% of Labour MPs, were of course respected to the letter. Jeremy Corbyn received the requisite number of nominations, fair and square. It's Harris, McTernan and their ilk who disrespected the process by making a bogus distinction between "real nominations" and "nominations by moron". All a bit reminiscent of their fallen hero Tony Blair unilaterally rewriting the rules of the United Nations Security Council to incorporate the novel concept of the "unreasonable veto" (ie. a veto exercised by any country other than Britain or the United States).