Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So should Cameron debate with Salmond, or should he just butt out of the referendum altogether? "Er..." says Danny Alexander's aide.

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.


  1. Interestingly I'd not heard of either of them.

    Does that mean I'm out of touch, or are they just not that well known?

    I was rather interested to hear that Bowie himself left the UK over 30 years ago. I can't help but wonder why we should not do what he has done.

    As for Cameron, it seems to me that as the head of government of the UK he has to be involved in the debate.

    He is the one who had to permit the referendum to make it legal. When we win, he will be the one with whom the Scottish government will have to deal. Of course, I realise that that will be delegated to, presumably, a team of senior ministers, but he will have the final say, and draw the lines in the sand.

    It is ridiculous, therefore, that he will not face the people of Scotland with his proposals, or publicly answer the questions of the First Minister about what the consequences of a no vote would be.

    I don't know why they take you on. It seems to me you invariably win and they invariably look foolish.

  2. "or are they just not that well known?"

    McElroy certainly isn't. The only reason he stuck in my mind is that I read the description of his show in the Fringe programme and thought to myself : "That's a tough sell for a Scottish audience."

  3. A publicity stunt for his fringe show I expect. Never heard of him either just like 99% of the population. Still find it amusing that a diminutive pensioner in NYC made 4 words and it appears in the press. I made comments that day and this pensioner did not get a mention. Never mind, must become a pop star. :)

  4. They must have to pay a small fortune to keep on board the revolting spinners for yellow tories like Alexander, Rennie and Carmichael.

    Imagine having to sleep at night while knowing you are the reason Cameron and Osborne are able to hammer the poor, disabled and vulnerable with such nauseating relish. Surely no amount of cash would be worth that?

    Then imagine having to explain to your family and friends that all you ever did was help the tories while making your own party a complete irrelevance in scotland.

    You have to wonder how they live with themselves.