KEN HOUSTON says it’s good to see Alex Salmond back in the Commons, if only on the basis that ‘better the de’il ye know…..’ as his return to active politics might help to re-balance the SNP in a way that could stop it from terrifying the markets.

Mr Salmond’s comment immediately after his victory on 8 May that “the Scottish lion roared tonight” was more than just a piece of patriotic bluster. Rather it revealed what appears to be a subtle difference between him and his successor as leader of the party.

Mr Salmond is no Tory as the various Acts passed during his role as First Minister testify. However, one suspects he is, first and foremost, a core nationalist and that his raison d’etre is the achievement of a Scottish State. And if, unlikely as it seems, an independent Scotland was to suddenly take a sharp turn to the right, then so be it.

This is in contrast with Nicola Sturgeon who, unlike Mr Salmond (a former RBS economist), appears to have little appreciation of how business works … her recent ‘business pledge’ aptly proved.

An election leaflet that popped through my letterbox a few weeks ago gave ‘top ten reasons to vote SNP’, not one of which called for creating an environment that would encourage businesses to grow.

The inference one takes from this is that for Ms Sturgeon independence is a means to an end – i.e. high-spending government securing what she would no doubt describe as ‘social justice’ – rather than an end in itself.

In other words, with Mr Salmond independence might be ‘job done’ whereas for Ms Sturgeon it would merely be ‘job half-done’.


A PS to the ‘business pledge’ so brilliantly dissected by Bill in ScotBuzz…

In the election leaflet mentioned above, the SNP called on employers to provide “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” Fair enough, but what about “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay?”

The Scottish government, which has just become a “living wage” employer, wants all employers to do the same  - complemented by  ‘progressive’ (to use Nicola’s favourite word) workplace conditions, generous annual holidays, a premier sick pay scheme and gold-plated pension provisions.

Yet statistics consistently show absence and sickness levels at the SG (and local authorities and other public organisations) to be substantially higher than in the private sector.

This can only mean one of two things: either the Scottish Government is not the model employer it strives to be or, conversely, working there is a real cushy number, with a light-touch approach by management to staff absence.

Either way, the situation is hardly ideal.

Twitter: @PropPRMan


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