23 September 2007

There's Just No Pleasing Some People

Paul Hutcheon of the Sunday Herald writes that all is not well in the Labour Party (Scotland Branch). It seems that many MSPs are unhappy that they have not been overlooked for various posts, with Wendy Alexandfavouring a "wee clique" of supporters.

On this one, I'm actually going to side with Wendy Alexander. Firstly, her frontbench is actually larger than McConnell's: this means more posts and therefore, more opportunities for more people. Secondly, McConnell's frontbench had a huge Strathclyde bias, that Alexander has actually worked hard to correct, so the past seems just as clique-ey, if not more so, to me. Thirdly, this is exactly what happened when McConnell took over in the first place: the then First Minister swung the axe on the Cabinet and replaced almost everyone with people he thought he could trust, so if it is true (and given that most of those who got promotions met at Pauline McNeill's house for a Chinese takeaway, it clearly is), then poetic justice has kicked in.

And why not? After all, Wendy Alexander swept to power with no competition. Has there been a credible challenge, supporters of her rival would have had to get key roles: placing Alexander's allies in every key position would have left some very angry people who could have made her life hell. No challengers came forward, there was no threat to Alexander's position and she was free to re-shape the Shadow Cabinet in her own image. So the MSPs' grievance is nothing new (it's just a different group that's in control), and entirely expected given their lack of cojones in challenging left Wendy entirely unconstrained and free to exert total control over the top posts.

Meanwhile, promises that Alexander would trounce Alex Salmond at FMQs, thanks to her command of the details haven't come to fruition in the first week, primarily down to her decision to lead with a quote take out of context and not adapt to the answer she was given. That lack of adaptability could keep coming back to haunt her, but if she sticks with the details she could land blows on Salmond fairly regularly. It boiled down to bad luck and bad research that this time, she was wide of the mark.

The more worrying factor is the staffing row. George Foulkes' Mouth, which is clearly in control of the rest of him, along the lines of Margaret Curran's Hands, has voiced his contempt at Brian Lironi, currently the Holyrood group's spin doctor, branding him an idiot. Wendy Alexander's words in support of her employee were as follows:

"."

That's right, nada. Add to that her "around-the-clock, seven-days-a-week demands" and rumours of trouble with other key members of her team. So it's little wonder that he was off sick this week, and less wonder that there are rumours concerning his imminent resignation.

But the question is, who would want to sup from such a heavily poisoned chalice?

1 comment:

Lord Higham- Murray said...

On this one, I'm actually going to side with Wendy Alexander.

There, thee, Will - go take a lie down and an aspirin and all will be well in a few hours.