"MICHAEL Forsyth was the Tory government’s enforcer at the Scotland Office during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"The MP for Stirling was Thatcher’s under-secretary of state before being made secretary of state by John Major.
"During his reign, the right-winger grabbed every chance to offend the natural instincts of Scots by bashing the public sector and attacking the most vulnerable in society.
"He left the Scottish Office in 1992 – and when he returned three years later, the Record portrayed him as Freddy Krueger in a nightmare comeback.
"He campaigned against the Scottish Parliament and lost every single Tory seat north of the border in 1997. He was knighted in 1997 and appointed to the Lords in 1999."
Just when people were managing to erase his image from their memories, Forsyth has recently re-emerged from the dusty recesses of the upper chamber in London, to do his inadequate best to frustrate discussions on further devolution or independence, despite the penultimate sentence in the profile, and against all the trends shown in opinion polls, including the Scottish general election.
And now, just to show how good for the independence cause Cameron's visit to Scotland last week was, he has come out with all guns blazing at his leader. Mr Cameron has "lit the touch paper for devolution-max". He says, probably quite rightly (Tris shakes head and pinches self...did I use 'Forsyth' and 'quite rightly' in the same article?), that he has given the First Minister the opportunity to push for more clarity about what he means.
It struck me, as soon as Cameron said it, that it was what all his followers must have dreaded. Unionists have been demanding that the SNP explain more about a wide range of situations after independence, not least defence, division of the horrific debt that the UK has stoked up, embassies, currency... Fair enough too. People need to know what they are voting FOR.
Until now, they knew what they would get if they voted "no". Simply, more of the unpalatable same. Now, having said something along the lines of "If you vote no, we'll give you a little something extra; we're not going to tell you what. It could be fiscal independence, or it could be the right to increase the fines for late-back library books", Cameron has put the boot on the other foot.
Forsyth also pointed out that Cameron's "promise" of some jam tomorrow (even without the indication of how much jam) had left their Scottish leader on the back foot. She campaigned for the leadership of the Tory's Scottish branch, and won, on a ticket that after the passage of the Scotland Bill, there was to be a line in the sand. No more devolution, ever. Cameron in his Flashman at his best way, has driven a coach and six through her leadership pledge. She either has to go back on that, or disagree with her London boss.
But why would Cameron care?
Incidentally, it's a thought that, if Scotland became independent, Forsyth would lose his seat in the House of lords. He might or might not be able to retain his many titles "RT Hon", "Sir", "Lord", but how utterly meaningless would they be if he was unable to take part in his beloved London debates? And a further though, having backed all the wrong horses, failed at being Scottish Secretary, lost every single Scottish Tory seat, why in the name of goodness was this man knighted and then ennobled?
And politicians object to industry rewarding failure?!?!?
I'm obliged (as I so often am) to CH bringing Murdoch's tweet to my attention. It seems the Dirty Digger (as Private Eye calls him) says that Scotland and England would be better off apart. He also thinks that Salmond is the best politician in the UK. Now in the normal run of things no one would be in the least interested what an octogenarian Aussi-American thinks about this, but the fact that he owns and controls (even more now) the best selling Scottish newspaper, makes for an altogether different box of chocolates.
Willie Rennie is wrong to say that an endorsement from Murdoch is the last thing a politician wants right now. The Scottish Sun still sells more copies than any other newspaper (314,000 to the Record's 275,000) and the Times, (another 20,000). Only a fool would think that The Scottish Sun had ceased to have huge influence, whatever its problems with phone hacking. And with a new Sunday Sun, that influence is set to stretch itself over 7 days. I suspect that if Rupert Murdoch had come out for the Scottish Liberals, Mr Rennie would have been Waltzing Matilda!