Friday, November 23, 2007

The Currency of Opposition

You have to marvel at politicians, their ability to speak out of both sides of their mouths - simultaneously - amazes me. There's an interview with Alex Salmond in the Scotsman this morning and it's a master class in the art of doublespeak. First he was asked, "You have been in government for six months now. Which aspects have been more difficult than you imagined?

None. (my emphasis) There are some fairly challenging changes we are trying to make to the nature of public governance of Scotland, in terms of the civil service, the number of government departments, in terms of the number of bodies and agencies and the streamlining [and] decluttering of the public sector in Scotland. That is fundamentally important and I thought that would be more difficult to get under way. (again my emphasis) Obviously it will take years to complete, but it is certainly well under way. I have been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of people to buy into that move.

He was then asked, "Which parts have been easier than you expected?"

"Initially, I knew we had a number of immediate priorities - saving the accident and emergencies, getting rid of the [Forth and Tay road bridge] tolls, scrapping the graduate endowment and so forth. I have been pleasantly surprised by the way we have managed to deal with some of the more underlying issues - the skills strategy, the enterprise strategy, the economic strategy."

This is the best bit of all. He actually thinks that a strategy, which revolves around setting up a 'council of economic advisors is in some way a solution. It's not dealing with the problem it’s just a talking shop you daft beggar! As for the enterprise strategy Scotland has had one in place since 2001 it's called 'Smart Successful Scotland' and it's done no good. The SNP's strategy seems to revolve around realigning Scottish Enterprise in some, as yet, undefined way. Again it's not a solution as such, it's merely a desire to change it - nothing difficult in that Mr Salmond. These remarks seem to equally apply to a skills strategy.

Our First Minister needs to realise that talk is cheap, it's the currency of opposition and what we need are results. The SNP prove they can talk the talk; they have yet to show they can walk the walk.

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