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Impolitic: David Cameron, Newsnight and the return of Tommy Sheridan

The sight of an old Etonian Conservative pleading with Scotland to stay just felt weird.

David Cameron's advisers should tell him whenever he speaks he isolates himself. The speech was aimed at the opening of the Winter Olympics and tried to evoke the spirit of London 2012. The only winter image he evoked was that iconic image of global warming with the polar bear adrift on a small floating iceberg.

If he really wants an Olympic theme he should dress up like a plucky glorious failure, Eddie the Eagle, Dave the Dodo and do the ski jump.

Thankfully, the second show in BBC Scotland's referendum strand saw a vast improvement.

Five Million Ways to Be Scottish had Stuart Cosgrove focus on what makes us Scottish and our identity. It stuck to the remit, was neither a political film nor campaign video.

Uncannily, I was wondering what had happened to Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University? It had been three hours 42 minutes since he'd been on TV or radio then whooft, there he was.

The question was asked; would there be any subgroups in the referendum that may be disproportionately important? No, replied Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University, no subgroups but a possible stereotype. Someone young, male, with a very strong sense of Scottish identity; let's call him Caber Man. You could see Stuart Cosgrove thinking about tossing jokes, salad dodgers, the country being full of old tossers. Though Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University missed a trick. Surely there was a chance to highlight a subgroup of, let's call them, middle aged football casuals and Northern Soul fans who dress disproportionately to their age…and I say that with all due respect.

In the last few weeks FMQ's has become like a visit to your granny's. I think they start out trying to be erudite and clever but in the white heat of the debating chamber resort to type and it becomes colloquial. Idioms flying too and forth quicker than someone hitting the nail on the head, letting the cat out of the bag or biting off more than they can chew.

Last week it was about being zipped/ buttoned up the back. This week we were "waiting till the cows come home". Of course, any line used by Groucho Marx is alright by me: "I could dance with you till the cows come home. Better still, I'll dance with the cows and you come home". (Duck Soup, 1933)

Newsnight Scotland, presented by our favourite grump, Gordon Brewer is being axed. Shame, it was a nightly staple in our house but I always felt I was the only one watching it.

It will be replaced with an all new shiny show, about news and politics, from Scotland, at night, with Sarah Smith from Channel 4 in a show focused on the referendum…which Newsnight Scotland never spoke about.

I'm getting nostalgic already for the show. All those badly lit guests with really bad make-up and ear pieces falling out, in a broom cupboard with old pictures of Edinburgh or Dundee from 1973 behind them. In the Dundee picture if you look closely you can see a young desperate Dan and Paw Broon square up to each other outside the kebab shop.

Sarah Smith's good, she also likes comedy. She stood on my toe twice within minutes at a Stuart Lee gig in Edinburgh around 2005 so at least she has decent taste in comedy, if big feet.

If Tommy Sheridan was American, we would be witnessing his political resurrection.

America loves a sinner. Repent! Repent! The rhetoric is always more Old Testament, all fire and brimstone. You could see Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin Jimmy Swaggart beckoning Tommy on stage.

By US political falls from grace Tommy Sheridan's alleged misdemeanours are strictly small fry but America would love him. We would be sharing his evangelical search for forgiveness then watching him speaking in town halls, building it up and within 18 months he'd be running for President.

Tommy's resurrection show was in St Brycedale's Kirk, in Kirkcaldy. A cold, rather sombre gig but soon the cynics were nodding, the disgruntled agreeing and the non-believers warming to him.

Tommy is not American. He's Scottish and hopes a modern independence will be based on the Nordic model- political model.

Tommy also lives in a nation that's quick to judge and slow to forgive.

I'm a cynic. It's my job to deride, to lampoon but I was impressed with the humbled, slightly older, and dare I say wiser Tommy. Tam's tan had faded, but he looked healthy; like a reformed person. His tone was more respectful…a bit less firebrand, more deliberate. He also spoke passionately and without prompt, didn't stammer, say 'you know', or 'going forward' for close on 40 minutes.

It's clear to see that Tommy Sheridan is at ease, part old school politician, part sales man closing the deal, part actor, part stand-up.

Of course there isn't a political version of rehab, more a time of reflection in the political hinterland. He may have burned too many bridges, created too many enemies to have a comeback.

Imagine if he joined one of the major parties? Though I'm not sure if they would have him. Who wants someone in your party heckling you from your own back benches? Someone who could run rings round you?

With any luck Tommy will have been taking this time to write his memoirs and who knows, perhaps he's left the final chapters blank.

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