27 January 2007

The Big Picture

It seems that a good deal has happened while I've been away, but for me the most important thing is Dennis Canavan's decision to retire. In a way, I feel guilty that I predicted this, but suggested that politics would cause the decision. In fact, he's decided that politics needs to take a back seat in his life and given the hurt and suffering he must be going through with the death of one son and the infirmity of another, you can see why. But the idea of Dennis Canavan staying of it for long? That's not his style. When he's ready (and he will be, make no mistake), he'll be back, probably not as a full time politician seeking office, but as a campaigner. For what it's worth, I have a lot of respect for Canavan and I'm sad that he's had to take that decision. That said, you have to admire him for it and I hope he's fronting a campaign soon.

Anyway, there is now the matter of his replacement as MSP for Falkirk West. Grant Thoms reckons that the seat is now in play for the SNP, and with the SNP Candidate being a sitting Regional MSP (Michael Matheson), Labour do have a disadvantage to deal with there, especially as Matheson came ahead of the Labour candidate in 2003. Nevertheless, when Canavan isn't on the ballot paper, Labour have a history of coming first, whether it's the 2000 By-Election (albeit by a narrow margin), the 2001 Westminster Election, the Regional Vote in the 2003 Holyrood Election or the new Falkirk seat in the 2005 Westminster Election. My top tip? A Labour win, with a wafer-thin majority, which, pending any boundary changes, Matheson will be able to overcome easily in 2011.

No comments: