15 September 2006

Monklands Update

Well, the Executive's amendment to the Monklands motion passed fairly clearly, but the interesting stats are how the local Executive MSPs voted:

Karen Whitefield (Airdrie & Shotts), Elaine Smith (Coatbridge & Chryston) and Cathie Craigie (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth) all abstained, first on the Executive amendment, then again on the motion as amended (you have to admire their consitency!). Donald Gorrie, the Liberal Democrat Regional MSP for Central Scotland, voted with the Executive.

The SNP are leading their attacks on the three abstentions, claiming that they should have voted against the Executive's position outright, and they'll try to make hay with this over the coming months, particularly in the ultra-marginal Cumbernauld & Kilsyth. That attack will be blunted by Linda Fabiani's abstention on the final motion, probably because were the Executive to reverse its decision, the A&E in East Kilbride (where she will be the SNP's candidate) would then potentially be in the firing line. What is interesting is that Alex Neil (who was leading the attack) only mentions Donald Gorrie's vote in passing.

Now, there's a logic here in that Gorrie is all but certain to stand down next year, so there's no sense in attacking him personally, but we'd normally expect a lengthy discussion about how the LibDems are 'Jack's Little Helpers' and have prioritised their place in the Executive above the needs of local people. Of course, it's hard to level that accusation against Donald Gorrie, who is one of the more independently minded LibDem MSPs, but more importantly, is this the clearest sign yet of SNP doe-eyes towards the Liberal Democrats for a post-Election Coalition?

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