Sunday, 19 October 2008

He Asked For It

Today may have been the biggest test for Alex Salmond since becoming First Minister.

He may not have given his most barnstorming performance but for content it was possibly the speech of the entire conference season.

Gordon Brown must have been feeling pretty good about himself when he allowed himself the luxury of dismissing the ability of an Independent Scotland to face up to the current financial crisis. It was a bizarre outburst - why would someone basking in such unfettered positive publicity go out of his way to make such a negative point?

I can only conlcude that his instinctive urge to Nat-bash had been suppressed for so long that it was simply an uncontrollable verbal ejaculation of unadulterated release. There was nothing to be gained politically from it but he did succeed in antagonising someone who is proving to be a far superior politician.

I said in my last post that Brown and his new man in Scotland, Jim Murphy, might live to regret their ill-conceived interjections but I didn't think it would come so soon. They gave Salmond a justifiable platform to remind us all of this Labour Government's considerable failings. But more, Salmond very cleverly harnessed another two enormous issues, Iraq and Trident, where Brown is completely out of kilter with Scottish opinion to provide the context for his arguement that Brown is at least partly responsible for the impending recession. It was powerful stuff and I suspect its craft will have taken Labour by surprise.

Salmond's 'Arc of Insolvency' looks like a paragon of virtue compared to Brown's 'Isle of Irresponsibility'. Once more Brown's questionable judgement and morality is centre stage in Scottish politics - and he has no-one to blame but himself.

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