Dan Vevers: How David Cameron made an idiot of himself over Alex Salmond 'writing Labour's budget' on Twitter

CommonSpace columnist Dan Vevers thought he was dreaming when the latest tit-for-tat broke out on Twitter on Wednesday


IT'S an election campaign that has at times threatened to induce a variety of bizarre sensations and emotions in me, but today has really sent me into a tailspin, of the tumbling-down-the-rabbit-hole, hand in hand with Alice kind.

And I can’t be sure, but for once I don’t think it’s just me forgetting to take my pills. We really have just gone through the looking-glass with a thunking great big wrecking-ball, except not with a skimpily-clad Nicola Sturgeon on it, but rather the suited buttocks of an either wilfully dense or preposterously desperate prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I thought that David Cameron had already outdone himself today when he told Philip Schofield on This Morning that Alex Salmond was not a man to trust your wallet, watch or tie with. But, of course, that was merely A HILARIOUS JOKE.

The Eton banter’s one thing. It’s the stuff they take seriously you have to watch. See, the prime minister has just released a tweet that is without doubt my favourite of the General Election campaign so far, and probably of all time.

Luring in his followers with a technique he has no doubt picked up from Jamie Ross at Buzzfeed, he begins with the words: “This footage will shock you.”

Unfortunately, it’s not footage of budgerigars going feral, or a skateboarder getting tasered for doing an ollie on US federal property. No, it’s footage of Alex Salmond (him again) at an SNP event for Ian Blackford, candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.

Like the dastardly villain we all know he is, Salmond "laughs and boasts he’ll write Labour’s budget", says Cameron. It’ll be like Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith all over again. We all remember how terrible that film was, don’t we?

Now, I’m no expert on the subtleties of satire and comedy, but I would have thought Cameron might be, who after all made such A HILARIOUS JOKE earlier, at which Amanda Holden laughed so heartily.

Here’s what Alex Salmond says in the footage: "The Labour financial secretary had said on the Andrew Neil programme, when he was challenged about this and what Jim Murphy had said, he said famously: 'The Scottish Labour leader will not be writing the Labour Party budget.’ But then, I knew that already, because I’m writing the Labour Party budget. I’ll just check my top pocket."

Like I said, I’m just a layman at joke-telling. But it seems to me that what Alex has wittily done here is send up the Tory scare campaign against him as some kind of puppet-master to Ed Miliband.

Because it’s obviously silly that someone who isn’t in the Labour Party, isn’t even elected to Westminster yet, and is not currently in a position of leadership within his own party, would be writing a Labour Party budget. Right?

See, call me crazy, but I think that line about checking his top pocket was probably an incredibly nuanced nod to the Conservative Party poster of Miliband being in Salmond’s top pocket.

See, David, I think Alex Salmond was making one of those HILARIOUS JOKES. Although, admittedly, his was a little more clever than your crude depiction of Salmond, The Sneaky Scottish Pickpocket. I admit it has a certain dryness maybe not in-keeping with the Eton banter.

This is just batpoo mental. The prime minister of the United Kingdom tweeting about how terrifying Alex Salmond is, based on a video of him making light of how terrifying David Cameron thinks he is. The prime minister!

This is just batpoo mental. The prime minister of the United Kingdom tweeting about how terrifying Alex Salmond is, based on a video of him making light of how terrifying David Cameron thinks he is.

Of course, David wasn’t alone. Another walking sense-of-humour-bypass who tweeted the video with a straight face was Toby Young, associate editor of the Spectator.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph kind of fudged it, admitting in the second paragraph of their article that Alex Salmond had indeed "made a joke", while not letting that stop them emblazoning it with the headline: "ALEX SALMOND: I WILL WRITE LABOUR’S FIRST BUDGET."

Lots of people are writing very serious and true things about how the Conservative campaign against the SNP is demonising Scots, undermining the union, fracturing the family of nations, attempting to de-legitimise the Scottish electorate, going to lead to trouble down the way, et cetera et cetera.

I’m just in awe at how stupid it all is.

Picture courtesy of Twitter