It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in Scottish politics as far as the relationship between the Conservatives and the SNP administration in Holyrood are concerned.

First, the Conservatives were the only opposition party in Edinburgh initially to support the budget proposed by Alex Salmond’s administration.

And then, a week ago, David Cameron wrote a piece in Scotland on Sunday in which he talked about the need for co-operation between a future UK Conservative Government and the SNP-run Scottish Executive.

Some commentators – such as Alex Massie here – even talked in terms of there being an outside chance of the Conservatives forging an official coalition with the SNP north of the border in the future.

But there’s no doubt now that normal hostilities between the two parties have very much resumed.

Yesterday, Alex Salmond attacked David Cameron for being "at sixes and sevens" over the circumstances in which he would hold a referendum on Scottish independence – a move which I recently suggested could settle the question of Scotland’s constitutional status early in a Cameron Government.

And today the Tories have hit back at Scotland’s First Minister – who represents Gordon in the Scottish Parliament and Banff and Buchan in the House of Commons – and accused him of misleading Scots by claiming to be "in the top ten hardest-working Scottish MPs" in his Holyrood register of interests.

According to today’s Daily Record, Mr Salmond has the worst voting record of any MP representing a Scottish constituency in the Commons for the last two Westminster sessions, during which he has been First Minister.

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie has called on him to resign as an MP and concentrate on being First Minister.

My hunch is that the charge will not especially resonate with the wider public in Scotland – not least because Mr Salmond is in the habit of ensuring he is in the Commons for the most crucial votes when his absence could have been made into an issue. 

I think the Conservatives’ energies would best be used working on the ground in support of Jimmy Buchan, who was recently selected to contest the Banff and Buchan seat for the party come the next election.

Jonathan Isaby

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