Today’s Scotsman reports that wealthy landowner Archie Stirling is to launch a new party ahead of May’s Holyrood elections.  The party, the Scottish Democrats, aims to improve the quality of Scottish government by recruiting candidates with experience of the private sector.  "Some of those running the country have done nothing except be professional politicians all their lives; it’s no wonder they don’t know what’s going on," Mr Stirling told The Scotsman.

The Scottish Democrats with a business-friendly agenda will be seen as a challenge to Scotland’s Tories but former Scottish Tory MSP Brian Monteith poured cold water on the whole project:

"The idea of launching a new party in February for the 2011 elections is one thing, but trying to launch a party three months out from an election is just daft. The history of Scottish politics is littered with people who tried to change the system outside the established parties but who got nowhere. It is often easier to change things from within parties."

Afternoon update from The Scotsman: "Tories today pledged to seek a better deal for businesses in public sector procurement in Scotland. Their Holyrood manifesto will contain a commitment to a dedicated unit to sort out and simplify the public procurement process."

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