Monday, 21 March 2011

Triangulation, Holyrood style

If there wasn't enough confusion over Labour's policy U-turns, flip-flops and boomerangs - OK, let's be nice and call it policy convergence - and exacerbated by the lack of any radical new agenda from the SNP, it seems the Tories are getting in on the act as well, at least if their new party political broadcast is anything to go by.

In a short film slightly reminiscent of Kinnock: the Movie (minus the other half, of course) Auntie Annabel is shown feeding the birds in her garden, then doing a bit of birdwatching, while underlining how bonnie Scotland really is (no sign of litter strewn streets, puking drunks and boy racers trying to wake the dead, though).

Enough of that though - then it's on to the real substance:
When I think of what the 16 Conservative MSPs have delivered in the last four years - the 1,000 extra police officers, the council tax freeze, help for business, help with jobs....
Eh? While it's arguable that they've enjoyed a bit of leverage at Holyrood, it's surely overegging the pudding a bit to say that the Conservatives have delivered these things, which is primarily down to the SNP Government? I thought perhaps the Unionist BBC had got the PPB scripts mixed up as part of its dastardly plan to thwart the SNP, or that Annabel had concluded that the Nats really were the 'Tartan Tories' and had jumped ship, but it would seem not.

And with not a little irony she goes on to deny the claim that politicians are all the same because the Tories should be judged on what they've done, and in her weekend speech to the party faithful Ms Goldie preached the virtues of straight talking. Which suggests to me, er, that politicians are all the same, both as regard the lack of straight talking and increasingly, it would seem, in terms of policy.

So it should be hoped that one of the big three - and let's not intrude into the private grief that's the Lib Dems - can come up with something more original and substantial before polling day. Otherwise, it'll just be a personality contest, and with the SNP apparently quite happy to steer things in that direction, and with the miniature 'Annabel: The Movie' (together with the self-effacing 'old nag' jibe) suggesting a similar tack from the Tories, this might well work in Iain Gray's favour as the unknown and underdog, who might turn out to be the Scottish Nick Clegg in the televised debates.

Then again, he might well fall flat on his face, and ultimately the Clegg effect turned out to be just froth anyway.

But if Labour and the Tories just want to ape the SNP then personality and Punch & Judy it'll have to be. But perhaps Alex Salmond will turn out to be the Holyrood equivalent of Gordon Brown's "clunking fist".

No comments: