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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
13th May 2010

That was the election that was

Massive amounts of effort from people of all parties across the whole country for a long time and the election result in Scotland was exactly the same as in 2005.  There was a bit of disbelief when we realised what the result was “no change?” was a wee question without an answer bouncing around Scotland’s politics because there has been change – massive change.  We may have had the same parties elected to the same seats and the same people in many cases but they’ve lost office, gained office, found strange advancement, or found themselves left rueing a result that leaves them unlikely ever to hold Ministerial office.

Jim Murphy’s days as Scottish Secretary (sometimes cruelly called our Governor General) are over, Alistair Darling no longer serves as Chancellor and Gordon Brown is no longer Prime Minister.  They’ll be getting into the back of their cars and wondering why they aren’t moving.

Back in Jim’s old office Danny Alexander (he’s a Lib Dem MP) will be looking around – but not for long, he’s a part-time Scottish Secretary and his real job is in the Cabinet Office running the line for Nick Clegg.  His party colleague Jim Wallace, who didn’t stand for election this time, has joined the Government as Advocate General for Scotland.  Paul McBride QC will be less than pleased – he turned his coat from Labour to Tory, sooked up mightily to the Tory Grandees, and was, as it says on his website (, advisor to the Conservative Party on Scottish and UK Law and Order.  That puts him in the same camp as David Mundell, really, a wee camp of people who might have expected preferment in a Tory Government being sidelined for Lib Dems.

I’m not sure that Danny Alexander is up to being Secretary of State for Scotland and I can’t understand why Nick Clegg didn’t call on the talents of Charlie Kennedy – a far better politician with gravitas and experience, with people skills, humour and wit.  I suspect that it might be because Kennedy would outshine Clegg.  Alistair Carmichael is a more heavyweight politician than Alexander as well, but he’s been sidelined as a whip and Malcolm Bruce doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the new government.  Is Nick Clegg really intent on rewarding loyalty to him rather than picking the most talented to serve with him?

We look forward to some interesting times, I think, including the intriguing prospect of a Tory Prime Minister promising to show respect to Scotland.  If he keeps his word that would be more than Labour did in 13 years in power when they treated Scotland with contempt, assuming that the country belonged to them, expecting votes and seats to be delivered to them as if they were tributes to a ruling elite.  The most glaring and breathtaking example was Margaret Curran’s ill-tempered and bilious attack on the SNP when she said “They campaigned for Labour to lose the election, they fought to reduce the number of Labour MPs, they stood candidates against Labour, they repeatedly called for Gordon Brown to resign” as if, somehow, it was wrong of Scotland’s party to field candidates in Scotland’s seats, wrong of Scotland’s voters to choose their own MPs, wrong of political opponents to argue the other side of the debate.

I think Labour may be trying to cover up the truth, though.  As I said earlier, the result in Scotland was exactly the same as in 2005.  Labour lost England directly to the Tories, Scotland and England voted different ways, and in England Labour lost and lost heavily, seat after seat falling from them.

We look forward to interesting times and we look forward to difficult times.  Labour will seek to blame the Scottish Government for many of the problems faced by Scotland while the Whitehall Government of the Libservatives will be imposing massive, severe and damaging cuts on all of us.  I think that there’s probably about 350 days to the Scottish election – I suggest putting on your seatbelt and hanging on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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