08 August 2008

It's all kicking off

The Labour Leadership Contest - sorry, contest for the Leadership of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament - is now in full swing and the rows have begun: mainly as Tom McCabe suggested that the next Leader ought to be a full-on leader of Scottish Labour. The MPs have, in the main, taken the huff about this - their view is that the Scottish Labour Leader is Gordon Brown, and you get the feeling that they don't want the shift in focus moving entirely to MSPs, who then themselves get the bonus to their status. Now this sentiment seems to gloss over the fact that Parliamentary power has been devolved, and Scotland has two Heads of Government already: the Prime Minister and the First Minister, so if it's good enough for the country as a whole, it should be good enough for Labour to have a UK Leader and a Scottish Leader operating out of Holyrood. And any worries about loss of prestige ought to be countered by the point that all with so much being devolved, Holyrood is where it's at anyway, and Scottish Labour MPs are little more than lobby fodder, so there's little prestige to be lost. And if being an MP were such a privilege, why did it take Labour five attempts to find a prospective replacement for David Marshall?

Anyway, the LibDems are also considering their options. Sadly, there are no rows to report, which is pleasant but frustrating when you're a blogger who would like to post on the contest but doesn't really see anything worth mentioning. However, the contest is proving more competitive than expected and although everyone assumed Tavish Scott's victory was a cert, it's looking less certain now. That's good for the party, and especially for Scott: if he wins, he's won a real contest, and earned his position by convincing members that he is right; if he loses, members avoid sleepwalking into choosing a Leader simply because he looks like he'll win, and avoids the Gordon Brown/Wendy Alexander trap of having a torrid time as Leader by getting the tough scrutiny after winning the job rather than before.

The SPL season begins tomorrow, though Rangers' European hopes (along with those of Hibs) have ended already in what was a dismal, humiliating display of capitulation. European prospects look bleak and Queen of the South have a tough draw against Nordsjaelland of Denmark.

And the Olympics are now on: readers will not be surprised to learn that I support the idea of a separate Scottish team. Well, let's face it, it would be a major, major boost for the Scottish pharmaceutical sector...

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