We don’t know if anyone still reads the BBC’s “Blether With Brian” column since the Corporation banned Scottish readers – uniquely in these islands – from posting comments on it, nor can we normally think of a reason why anyone would. It’s generally the blandest-possible summary of events people have already seen for themselves, with no effort to impart any sort of insight or analysis.
However, once in a while the understated approach yields a more profoundly powerful result than screeds of polemic, and we can think of no way to better illustrate the bizarreness of Johann Lamont’s chosen line of attack at yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions than to simply relate the events as they transpired, in the most neutral and factual manner, as the national broadcaster’s Scottish political editor does today.
“How to decide who has won an election? The customary method is to count the ballot papers – and to award victory to the one with the most votes. Now the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies adds a degree of sophistication to that. But, still, the spoils tend to go to those with evident popular support.
This, apparently, is an old-fashioned outlook. Just so Twentieth Century. At Holyrood, Labour’s Johann Lamont suggested another test might be used instead. The SNP, she said, might have won the council elections “on the arithmetic”. But “on the politics” they “got stuffed.”
Stranger still was Brian’s citation of Fat Les in support of his assertion, but other than to wistfully dwell for a moment on our long-held dream of Scottish fans repurposing the song in question with the words “Irn Bru” replacing the title, we’ll let that one pass.