Malcolm Chisholm MSP
Leaving aside Edinburgh's rejection of stock transfer last year, Chisholm has presided over rejections of Labour's key housing policy in Stirling, Renfrewshire and Highland. His pleas for Council tenants to hand over control of their houses to an Association have a smack of desperation about them and you get the feeling that no one's listening anymore.
Annabell Goldie MSP
I suspect that Tories are considering that David McLetchie wasn't such a bad leader after all, even if he did fiddle his taxi expenses. Goldie is a good 'Don't rock the boat'-type leader, but with the election looming, rock the boat is exactly what she needs to do. She's making absolutely no impact and the Tories seem less relevant than ever to Scottish politics.
Colin Fox MSP
Colin Fox is here simply for his poor handling of the Tommy Sheridan saga. He seemed to sit back and do nothing while his Party descended into two rival camps, divided over support for his predecessor. Then, come the trial, he decided to follow the lead of Rosie Kane, Carolyn Leckie and Frances Curran, and attempt to stick the boot in to Sheridan. They picked the losing side, and he opened himself up to a challenge for his job from Tommy. There followed a series of interviews which made him sound like a man on the edge and the only reason he held onto his post is Tommy Sheridan's decision to form his own party. And take most of the SSP's activists with him.
The LibDems were in the Moray By-Election to win, apparently. To help convince us that this was the case, they did an unofficial poll (of which we know only their topline figures) which had them within 3% of Richard Lochhead. Then they decided to quote lines from the Northern Scot which seemed to show the paper declaring Gorn as the likely winner. Except, the paper never said that: it was quoting local LibDem figures, and the LibDem declaration that the paper had endorsed them simply antagonised the Northern Scot, who immediately sided against the Gorn campaign. And where did the Gorn come in the final result? A distant third.
I had to think long and hard about this one, but decided that his decision to publish Grasping the Thistle when he did wasn't his wisest move. It was supposed to be a piece of radical thinking; it would have handed the Tories a boost if they'd capitalised on it better. Russell is supposed to be one of Scotland's premier intellectuals, and the work at first glance appeared to contain a good deal of independent thought, potentially embarrassing to the SNP in advance of the election. Except it had been edited by Alex Salmond, and Russell, an SNP candidate next year, was only too happy to cave in. He lost a lot of credibility with his Leadership bid in 2004, but he's lost even more now.
30 November 2006
Malcolm Chisholm MSP