The interview with Tavish started at 11:24 minutes into the programme and finished 19 minutes later. We'd be lucky if we had a third of that covering what's in our manifesto. By 24:09 minutes, we'd had a brief discussion of policy on the NHS during which Tavish spoke about saving money by cutting bureaucracy and ensuring frontline services were protected and it wasn't until 26:01 that Tavish was finally able to talk about his campaign for a single police force.
Tavish started the interview by saying that our campaign had had its ups and downs but as long as he was able to talk about the things which mattered to people - by which he meant things like jobs and schools and public services which met their needs. Gordon Brewer took that as his cue to ensure that Tavish never got to talk about any of those things.
We can't pretend that the UK coalition doesn't exist - and nor do we want to, to be honest. It ain't perfect, but at least we're delivering Lib Dem policies which will help the poorest, people who rely on the State Pension, freed kids from being detained at Dungavel and places like it, taxed banks more than Labour ever did,put money into helping the poorest kids at school (which we want to repeat here). However, Tavish Scott is not a member of that Government, and nor should he be expected to take responsibility for the decisions it makes. Nor is he a member of the UK Parliament and as such is not responsible for the actions of our Scottish MPs and how they might have voted on tuition fees.
Tavish could not have been clearer on our record on tuition fees in Scotland. He pointed out that we'd ensured Labour's were never introduced up here, that we'd voted to get rid of the graduate endowment, (which, as an aside, I have to say that even Alex Salmond acknowledged in the STV leaders' debate 2 weeks ago). He said quite clearly that he would not have taken the decision the Lib Dems in the UK Government did - and his record proves his point, yet still for every subsequent question was pretty much prefaced with an insinuation that whatever he said couldn't be believed anyway.
Gordon Brewer actually used the phrase "you sold your granny for a whiff of power" which you'd expect to find in the pages of a very downmarket tabloid, not in a supposedly quality news programme.
One other low point was Brewer's line of questioning on a press release our George Lyon had put out attacking Labour for shifting position on closure of Accident and Emergency Units at Monklands and Ayr. What George was doing was rightly to point out the opportunism of the Labour party bending over backwards to be on the same page as the SNP in this election. Yes, Liberal Democrats were in the Government which attempted to close those units, but doing so was a Labour initiative, when Andy Kerr, Labour's current finance spokesman, was health minister.
And then we had an exchange on Scottish Water which was absolutely absurd. Brewer seemed to think it was perfectly reasonable for the UK Government to make an agreement based on an opposition party's policy in the middle of a Scottish election. Tavish pointed out that what we aimed to do would be to take the policy forward as part of a Government. And if we aren't in Government, I wonder if the other parties who are will try it.
And then came the "what would you do in a coalition" questions which, if Tavish had said anything at all on, he'd have got "how can we believe you after what Nick Clegg did?" thrown in his face.
Tavish kept his cool and answered the questions and by doing so won in an unwinnable environment. I think people will be impressed by his grace under fire. And I wonder if Iain Gray or Alex Salmond will come under such close scrutiny. Will Gray be expected to account for the many failings of the last Westminster Government from Iraq to the way it blithely almost bankrupted the country? Will Alex Salmond be expected to account for all the pledges the SNP has broken? I won't be holding my breath.
Willie Rennie said on Twitter that Brewer was like:
the pub drunk with his abusive behaviour on Newsnight with @TavishScott. Landlord should have thrown him outI disagree. The pub drunk would have sobered up eventually and have a bit of a headache and know in his heart of hearts that he'd made an arse of himself, whether he'd admit it out loud or not. Brewer was more to me like the sadistic school bully, wanting to humiliate and shame rather than illuminate and clarify.
You can watch the whole thing here and make your own mind up.