Readers will recall way back in June 1994: OJ Simpson was on the run and live tv channels tracked the police chase as the former running back drove his White Bronco along the freeways of LA. Fast forward twenty-four years and David Mundell is driving his Vauxhall Corsa in second gear across the Badlands of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. He’s always one-step ahead of the GMS team. He’s spotted at Bentpath, mistaken at Gilnockie, then pops-up on CCTV at Powfoot – he’s seen by a sharp-eyed petrol-attendant filling up at Thankerton, before heading off in the direction of Biggar.
He is the The Fluffitive.
He is only able to escape capture because of the collective uselessness of the Scottish media and the fact that he is so unremarkable that he is able to blend into any surroundings at will.
To recap the Secretary of State has gone awol after a string of lies and ‘misclaims’ have been exposed in recent months:
David Mundell (October 2017): A Scotland Brexit impact study exists.
David Mundell (November 2017): No Scotland Brexit impact study exists.
David Mundell (February 2018): Scotland Brexit impact study exists and we’ve seen it.
His statements haven’t been vague or open to misinterpretation, they’ve been really specific.
He’s been caught lying through his teeth – or – potentially worse – just so out of the loop of government ‘strategy’ that he’s little more than a decorative appendage.
“Doom-mongering warnings of a ‘lost decade’ and ‘deep and severe’ damage are becoming increasingly alarmist.”
Mr Mundell was categorical: “There is not a Scotland specific analysis.”
Mundell is in danger of making Alistair Carmichael look like The Wise Old Man of Truth.
Politicians routinely lie. They do it all the time, but when they’re caught-out it’s more normal for them to dissemble, shuffle about, stall or distract. It’s not rare for politicians to lie, but it is rare for politicians just to run away.
So the whole sordid affair does leave you at a loss.
Politicians have set such a low bar, it’s unusual for someone to lower it – like some Tory limbo dancing of public standards.
How does someone so wildly incapable rise to the dizzy heights of Governor General? And what does David’s behaviour do to the reputation of the great Office of State?
Do we imagine the great Secretaries of Yesteryear fleeing in the face of a wee porkie?
Does anyone really imagine the Right Honourable Harry Primrose 6th Earl of Roseberry doing a runner?
Remember the oleaginous Malcolm Rifkind (since sadly traduced)? He was less likely to head for the hills than brass it out to camera oozing patrician power and plush over-confident steely vigour.
You can’t imagine the weasel-eyed Michael Forsyth hot-footing at the first whiff of trouble can you?
Dr John Reid would have rather bitten your arms off rather than turn and flee, and Helen Liddell was said to be ‘so hard her balls clanked’.
Douglas Alexander would have stood his ground and no doubt written a 5000 essay displaying his great intellect, whilst Danny Alexander, what, wait… Danny Alexander was Secretary of State for Scotland?!
Maybe this will catch-on?
Maybe as Trump is re-shaping the US political landscape so too is Snackbeard re-shaping ours? Maybe, instead of being seen as a cowardly incompetent liar, he will be seen in years to come as a brilliant political operator. Maybe other politicians will follow suit? Maybe if things get too hot at PMQs Theresa May will just shout “Oi Philip let’s leg it” and scarper. Maybe Michael Gove will, under intense scrutiny from John Humphries just climb out the window and abseil out of Broadcasting House?
There is of course a far-worse scenario.
Maybe Mundell will simply never return.
Maybe Mundell is the Reggie Perrin of Scottish politics. Maybe he’s the Shergar, the Amelia Earhart or our era? Maybe David Mundell is Scotland’s D.B. Cooper?