24 November 2005


Well, McConnell came out fighting today, slamming the Opposiiton parties for their stance on immigration. Unfortunately, it pretty much turned into a train wreck. Our Jack seems quite convinced that he can actually change policy for the whole of the UK. Sadly, everything he said, Tony McNulty has smacked down already. Never one to let the facts get in the way of some Nat-bashing, however Jack pressed on, saying that he had made representations to the Home Office despite the fact that according to them, he's never asked them to change their policy. They can't both be right! Not only that, but Jack dug an even deeper hole for himself when he said that since the Westminster elections not one SNP MP had brought this up at Westminster, suggesting that he's the only person to have raised this. Except this comes from Hansard of 3rd November, Column 982, during Business Questions:

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): When we have the debate on returning asylum seekers, can we have a good and proper look at the use of dawn raids by the immigration service? There is almost universal revulsion and embarrassment in Scotland about the use of that practice, especially with our backdrop of a falling population. Does the Leader of the House agree that because of our different immigration requirements, and because of our clearly different political values on the matter, it is time to devolve immigration to the Scottish Parliament?

So not only is there a gap between what he's saying and what the Home Office are saying on what he's discussed with them, but there's also a gap between what he said and what Hansard has recorded about the SNP. Oh dear. And that's before you factor in the difference between McConnell's viewpoint (dawn raids are necessary as part of the immigration policy) and Communities Minister Malcom Chisholm's comments that dawn raids are an awful thing. Both Nicola Sturgeon and Colin Fox had a field day with him on this.

Annabel Goldie, on the other hand, took a different tack: she opened as though she were part of a tag team with Nicola Sturgeon (a concept that may worry both SNP and Tory activists), then started talking about energy policy. It is interesting (well, it is if you're me) that while Jack McConnell ruled out new nuclear power stations in Scotland, Tony Blair is taking a pro-nuclear line in Whitehall. What's even more interesting is that Goldie seemed to be supporting Blair on this one. Now, obviously, you'd expect the Tories to be pro-nuclear, but there's definitely a positioning going on here - it goes without saying that she's trying to get Blair supporters to defect to the Tories for 2007. This is just what they need to hold onto their three consitituency seats and maybe take Perth from the SNP as well. Mind you, that's not to say it'll pay off!

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