"Let me tell you my background," said Nick Ferrari on tonight's Question Time from Edinburgh, when invited to offer some words of wisdom on the release of Megrahi. Given the gravity of his tone, I naturally expected I was about to learn that he had a position of some expertise on the matter. No, it turns out that he "has a show on LBC" and that irate Londoners have regularly been on the blower to tell him what a bloody awful thing those Jocks did. Yes, I think we get the picture, Nick. Later on, he authoritatively informed us that football doesn't cause half as much violence against women in England as it does in Scotland - he presumably knows this because Dave from the Office of National Statistics is a regular caller to his show. Clearly when I wondered aloud whether the link between Old Firm matches and incidents of domestic violence had been firmly established by statistical evidence I shouldn't have been looking towards academic research to provide the answers - Nick "The Encyclopedia" Ferrari was my man.
As for Douglas Alexander on the same show...well, I can only admire his brazenness. As he nodded furiously in response to Nicola Sturgeon's reminder that he had once described Megrahi's release as "stomach-churning", I wondered how on earth he was going to reconcile the reaffirmation of that view with the revelation that the UK Labour goverment of which he was part had wanted Megrahi released at all costs. Silly me - it turns out that it was merely the "scenes in Tripoli" after the release that he had been referring to as stomach-churning, and not the release itself. In that case, let's recap - the Labour government a) privately thought Megrahi's release was highly desirable, but b) thought (as did we all) that a triumphalist welcome in Tripoli was inappropriate. That being the case, wasn't it more within the Foreign Office's province to take steps to head off the latter problem, something they should have been in a position to do given Tony Blair's demonstrably close relationship with the Gaddafi regime?
Last but not least, we had David Dimbleby musing with a glint in his eye that Alex Salmond only likes to appear on Question Time when it is in England. Well, I can't claim to know for a fact why that is the case, but I'm prepared to hazard a confident guess. By my rough calculations, Question Time comes to Scotland somewhat less often than our 9% of the UK population would justify - the infamous show in Glasgow was a full four-and-a-half months ago, which even taking account of the Christmas break is a much longer gap than you'd expect. The producers can't really avoid having an SNP representative on during the Scottish editions, and Salmond may well have rightly calculated that his agreeing to appear only in non-Scottish editions is the sole way of ensuring that the party receives its fair share of participation on the programme. You can guarantee that if Salmond did routinely participate in the Scottish editions, there would have been no SNP representatives at all in shows recorded elsewhere. Not for the first time, it seems that Dimbleby is totally oblivious to the Anglocentric irony of his own bemusement.