19 January 2007

Trying too hard to be clever

That is the charge I'm levelling at David Cameron, after Michael Crow of STV accused him of playing politics on the Constitution yesterday. Cameron cited examples of where the Tories and Labour have co-operated or will co-operate with each other. The UK Tory leader pointed out that the Schools Bill only made its way through Parliament with Conservative support, and then cited the renewal of Trident as another issue where the Labour government will require, and receive, Tory backing.

There were three mistakes in this: firstly, the Schools Bill does not affect Scotland, and as such is utterly irrelevant as Scottish voters will never feel its effects; secondly, public opinion regarding Trident, and the feelings of many civic groups in Scotland, is far from positive, and by mentioning his support he has reminded voters of one reason why they might want to avoid the Tories; and thirdly, it's the possibility of the Conservatives supporting Jack McConnell at Holyrood that has caused such consternation among activists of late and Cameron's intervention will only end up renewing that argument.

If I were David Cameron (and believe me, I'm glad that I'm not), I would deny that I was playing politics, but I would say that Labour's actions on the Constitution have left an unresolved issue as regards England, and I would flag up that the Tories were the ones who had a proposal to deal with this. It's a pretty rubbish policy (I'm back as me again, now, by the way), but a policy it is.

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