Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Dancing Lessons for Brown?
Gordon Brown seems to have the measure of David Cameron but Alex Salmond is dancing around Brown.
Salmond's most recent wheeze to rename the "Scottish Executive" as the "Scottish Government" produced a plodding and so predictable response from Brown.
There is no doubt that the name change does improve clarity: there is a government in Edinburgh which governs Scotland albeit with fewer powers than the UK government and so "Scottish Government" is appropriate whereas the meaning of "Scottish Executive" is unclear.
The change was needed - and had been proposed previously but I don't doubt that the change was made primarily for political reasons.
Brown was on a loser from the start. If he accepted the change he believed he was giving credence to the SNP's determination to increase the profile and powers of the Scottish Parliament. If he rejected the change he would appear as being petty.
He chose petty.
According to the Times "a senior British Government source said, 'It's a confidence trick - an attempt to imply there is a government which doesn't exist.'"
It's a petty and stupid response which indicates how out of touch is the London government. Senior Scottish Labour figures have already talked about the "Scottish Government: Wendy Alexander - according to The Times - and Jack McConnell the previous First Minister.
McConnell stated in a First Minister's address to the Scotish Parliament in 2004, "This is a perfect example of devolution working at its best in partnership with the UK government. ..... And the Scottish government will ....".
So using the new name wasn't even an SNP idea but they've got political mileage because Labour have, as yet, no workable strategy for countering Salmond's deft touches.
Perhaps Cameron should give Alex a call.
Perhaps Brown should learn tap dancing!