I’m pretty worried that Gordon Brown might call an autumn poll but here are two good reasons why there might not be a September/ October election:
- The SNP are doing well in Scotland. A YouGov poll reported by the Scotsman notes that the SNP are doing better today than in May when they became the largest party at Holyrood.
- Labour didn’t do that brilliantly last Thursday. That’s not my view but that’s the verdict of Mike Smithson over at PoliticalBetting.com. His post is well worth a read.
"Goldie, with her justice spokesman, Bill Aitken, was in First
Minister Alex Salmond’s office within days of the election to put the
Tories’ argument for the agenda in the battle against drugs addiction
to move much more firmly towards rehabilitation. Those points have been
accepted by the SNP. Aitken has similarly made proposals about the
handling of sexual offenders. Again, they have been generally accepted
by the SNP. This is enormous progress. From being the
untouchables of Scottish politics, the Tories are now again acceptable
citizens. It means that the MSPs now have real political purpose to
their work, being able to make real achievements rather than just
hoping to get the odd mention in the newspapers.
Much more is
likely to come. Apart from the justice agenda, where there is
considerable agreement between the Tories and the SNP manifestos, there
is also much similarity between their thoughts on business rates (big
cuts for small firms) and on the need for Scottish Enterprise to be
slimmed down and reshaped…
One other sign of the Tories’
return is worth mentioning, and that is the election of a Conservative
MSP, Alex Fergusson, as the parliament’s Presiding Officer. This may
not look politically significant, since he has to divest himself of
political trappings. But I recall listening to a ferocious argument
between two Labour MPs over who should succeed Betty Boothroyd as
Speaker of the House of Commons – Michael Martin, a Labour MP, or Sir
George Young, a Tory.
Never forget, said one vehemently
anti-Young MP, that Boothroyd’s deft handling of the job had helped to
convince a dubious electorate that Labour could handle big public
offices. Did George Reid, while impeccably impartial, do that job for
the SNP? And might Fergusson also do it for the Tories?"
Scottish Chairman Peter Duncan resigned today. BBC Online has the story. Let us hope that this opportunity will be used for a reorganisation of the Conservative operation in Scotland and the appointment of a full-time CEO-type figure.