09 January 2007

Blowing one's own trumpet

Clearly, the good folks at STV (I refuse to do the lowercase thing) do not read this blog. Tonight, they expressed surprise that Rhona Brankin is the new Communities Minister, but when Chisholm resigned I discussed his replacement, and used the words: "My money's on Rhona Brankin, the Deputy Environment Minister."

Granted, I reached the conclusion by simple process of elimination, but all the same, I have been proven correct this time. Why can I predict this, but not the correct football results on a Saturday?

Anyway, Sarah Boyack is the new Deputy Environment Minister. Boyack was Transport & Environment Minister under Donald Dewar, then Transport & Planning Minister under Henry McLeish, then Backbencher under Jack McConnell, so this post has a 'Back to the Future' feel about it. There are three conclusions that we could come to (if we wanted to) about the appointment:

1. McConnell has been stung by criticism that his Ministerial team has a West of Scotland bias. Therefore the MSP for Edinburgh North & Leith (Chisholm) has been replaced by the MSP for Midlothian (Brankin), who has been replaced by the MSP for Edinburgh Central (Boyack). Even if Boyack's seat is very, very vulnerable.

2. McConnell is so worried about his long-term survival as Labour Leader that he is desperately trying to patch up the differences caused by his sacking of almost the entire Labour Ministerial team upon first taking office. Wendy Alexander is Convener of the Finance Committee. Tom McCabe is Finance Minister. Jackie Baillie seems to have become the Labour Party's 'fixer' and has got the Executive out of a number of tricky situations. Angus MacKay lost his seat in 2003 and Susan Deacon is standing down, so neither of them are a post-2007 threat.

3. The Labour MSPs who have not been appointed to anything at any point since May 1999 are such dodos, that even Jack McConnell will not let them near any levers of power.


chief Y is a vowel campaigner said...

one of the odd things that has struck me recently is mcconnell's fmq's performances. normally he holds an air of arrogance that almost prevents him accepting the premise of questions, prior to christmas i got the feeling he was actually taking the issues head on. in a way i guess i agree with your statement that he is worried about his position, unfortunately i feel labour will benefit from the regional list and just survive by gaining on that what they lose through fptp

Will said...

Well, Labour's benefits from the List aren't as secure as you might think: if the Labour Regional Vote remains constant (which most polls do not project), one Constituency loss in every region would only lead to a gain of a Regional seat in 4 of the 8 regions: Highlands & Islands, Mid & Fife, North East and South.

In Central Scotland, they would have to lose two seats before the List kicked in, and in the other regions, they'd actually have to lose three seats by my reckoning.