It's not entirely clear whether Tom Harris's decision to [sort of declare his candidacy for Scottish Labour leader in a contest that's impossible under the current rules because the post doesn't actually exist and the closest equivalent - leader of the Labour MSPs in the Scottish Parliament - he's ineligible for as an MP] represents a serious stab at becoming Scottish Labour leader or is more of a stalking horse-style move to draw out the big beasts amongst Scottish MPs at Westminster, who are of course reputed to view Holyrood as something inferior to the real deal in London.
Of course, Harris has stated that his move is designed to make the likes of Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy show their hand and also to promote a wider party debate about "ideas" (although his remarks on Newsnicht seemed to portray a greater desire for the leadership per se than his earlier comments as reported in this morning's press). But it's hardly implausible to suggest that he's being slightly disingenuous and that he really does see himself as a contender, and that he's in effect using the stalking horse argument for his own benefit rather than the more conventional approach of employing it to test the waters for the benefit of others.
Thus he could be using Alexander and Murphy as a smokescreen to test opinion on himself as Scottish Labour leader. After all, following his stint as a transport minister in London it's often been said that Harris craves a position of power in some capacity, even reputedly giving up his highly successful blog in the believe that it was a stumbling block to a ministerial post, and indeed that he's now a bit miffed that Ed Miliband hasn't seen fit to recognise his talents in the shadow Labour team.
Of course, he's hardly Scottish Labour's 'stalking donkey' - the uncomplimentary description of Tory MP Anthony Meyer when he stood against Margaret Thatcher in the hope that a big beast like Michael Heseltine would show his hand - since he has had some experience of ministerial office, is clearly no daftie and on TV and radio seems more than plausible in today's media-obsessed environment. Moreover, ideologically he's perhaps a bit more realistic than those in the Scottish Labour party who seem to think that all they need is someone slightly to the right of Jimmy Reid or Tommy Sheridan to guarantee electoral success.
By the same token, however, his centre right politics are presumably a major barrier to his acceptance by the Labour Party in Scotland, and his Nat-baiting on Labour Hame verges on the juvenile and gratuitously provocative, and if Iain Gray managed to become the bête noire of the cybernats without ever venturing onto cyberspace then it's easy to imagine the kind of reaction that a 'Tom Harris for First Minister' campaign would engender.
But clearly to a large extent all that's only a concern to those of us who are (relatively) obsessed by online Scottish politics - and to a greater or lesser extent whoever leads Scottish Labour will be a cybernat bête noire anyway - thus from the electoral perspective Harris's online activities and history are likely to be of only marginal importance to voters more generally.
But to that extent he's also effectively a complete unknown, but then again Murphy and Alexander are hardly household names, and it's difficult to think of anyone who could possibly lead Scottish Labour and have a profile even approaching the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Kenny MacAskill, never mind the biggest beast himself.
Of course, that's one of several reasons why leading Scottish Labour is regarded as something of a poisoned chalice, and why no one other than Tom Harris has as yet declared their hand. Thus if he genuinely is a stalking horse it would be ironic indeed if there was no real contest and he won by default.
But whether this would be because he is a genuine thoroughbred or because the rest of the field comprised old nags who were left in the stalls, this would quite possibly not become apparent for some time after his effective coronation.
(And as per this recent post, if Tom Harris became Scottish leader, and was an MSP and MP simultaneously (at least for a transitional period) this would give him even more reason to ignore things like the exploitation and profiteering attaching to the taxi cartels operating both north and south of the border!)