Monday, 29 October 2012
Alex Salmond's Position Is Secure
Somehow I have an overwhelming desire to throw something at the television whenever Danny Alexander appears.
Often I've pondered on my dislike of the Libdem MP and only today I realised what irritates me. Apart from his immaturity - which can be excused perhaps - it's his inability to express himself without avoiding a direct question and his obvious effort to stick to his pre-prepared script regardless of any question.
Johann Lamont has a similar style although I couldn't possibly accuse her of being immature, except in verbal debate.
Both are poor speakers but that deficiency doesn't make a poor politician. Not all politicians are orators and the public understand for some it's a struggle to look comfortable in front of television cameras. Some take lessons, at taxpayers expense, yet improvement isn't always noticeable. Iain Gray springs to mind and the Labour politician David Miliband who spent £7,000 on 'speech' lessons.
What does make a poor politician is one who pointedly insists on ensuring those who disagree with them are ridiculed. The truth doesn't matter as long as they manage to get their insults recorded.
This past week, along with Danny Alexander, the leaders of the unionist parties have all criticised the character of the First Minister. Their efforts were feeble and they only resulted in displaying how professional and competent Alex Salmond is when in the scrutinising eyes of cameras.
Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with a tory-voting friend and it was a more pleasant occasion than usual because for the past four weeks I had lost my voice (no sniggering please) but the third course of antibiotics seem to be solving the problem.
During our chat I asked what she thought of Ruth Davidson's performance at FMQs last week. 'Horrendous' was the reply. We discussed the 'legal advice' issue and both agreed it wouldn't cause Alex Salmond any long-term damage. "The public really aren't interested in politicians' petty squabblings and childish insults," she insisted. I agree, although I don't think Jackie Baillie's latest nonsense should go unchallenged by the Scottish Government. Telling the public that the removal of Trident would cost 11,000 jobs, when a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish SND revealed only 520 jobs at the Clyde Naval Base were directly dependent on Trident is lying. Surely?
We both said details of how an independent Scotland would survive enough to have the social policies and economy Alex Salmond desires were far more important. Let Danny Alexander and his ilk continue to fill our screens with their soundbites, but none will produce a knockout blow on the First Minister - unless his economic proposals for an independent Scotland leave room for ambiguity. We need clear details backed by international economists and figures which can be understood and verified by the voter.
I'm not a gambling woman but I would bet that, at present, Alex Salmond's position is safe in the hands of an opposition who are third rate by comparison.