April 26, 2007

I’ve written a couple of times on the topic of the upcoming Scottish elections on May 3rd. My choices are still not pinned down, in part because no party makes any clear point ahead of any other. The standout is SNP, if only because of their radical aims to see Scotland as an independent nation again.

I do find it interesting, however, to see one of the other parties creaking under its own weight. Labour’s landslide win at Westminster in 1997 was long overdue, and I think Tony Blair has done a pretty good job. No prime minister can ever be perfect, but I do think Tony’s done well in his fairly long term. (The Iraq war is probably his biggest slip, but interviews with him I’ve read/listened to via the New Scientist and Newsweek make it quite clear that he was/is passionate about this topic and that the war, for its flaws, will do good in the long term; to our credit, the UK arm of the war seemed to better handle the peacekeeping operation than the American troops, but perhaps that was the spin the UK press deemed appropriate for us.)

So it’s with great interest that look to Jack McConnell, leader of the Scottish Labour wing, and try to figure out why we have a First Minister who, essentially, bumbles his way along while avoiding the heavy topics.

Now, fair’s fair. Sitting at the top of the pile he’ll attract the Big Guns, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I think Labour’s trying to pull the tactic that worked so well for them in 1997 — dish the dirt on the other parties. Name-calling. I suspect this is something McConnell is not comfortable with, but he probably has his colleagues and a PR team behind him gunning strongly for this tactic. The impression of McConnell I get is that he would rather focus on the real topics that should be up for discussion, the old stalwarts of education, health, transport, taxation, etc. But sitting at the head of his party with a direction chosen by his PR team with which he is not comfortable, he squirms his way through interviews. I’d say it’s already a PR disaster, but everything’s too close to call before May 3rd.

For reference, I plucked the following Newsnight interview from over on Tartan Hero:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Interestingly, the majority of part three covers youtube, bloggers, and political bloggers.