Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dropping Labour in Scotland

Another sign that the political tide is now running against Labour? The Sunday Herald claims as an exclusive its report that:

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are preparing to ditch Jack McConnell as First Minister by declining to enter a coalition with Labour after next year’s Holyrood election.

LibDem leader Nicol Stephen wants to loosen ties with Labour by changing the party’s policy of automatically negotiating with the largest group in the Scottish parliament.

Senior strategists say Nicol does not want to share office with a party “on the way down” and would prefer to keep his options open on a three-way coalition with the SNP and Greens.

The report later says:
One senior LibDem source said: “The current strategy tied us to a coalition with Labour because it was obvious they’d be the largest party by a comfortable margin after the 1999 and 2003 elections.

“But what we don’t want is to enter talks next year with a party clearly on the way down and which is held in contempt by the voters. We want to keep all options open, such as coalitions with other parties.”
It also seems that Jim Wallace is to publish his memoirs. They will:

focus on the struggle to secure a devolved parliament and will deal with his six years as Deputy First Minister. It will also contain insights into UK figures such as Menzies Campbell, as well as former party leaders Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown.
Thanks to agentmancuso.

1 comment:

Bernard said...

That report appears to indicate that 'Lib Dem analysts' believe that Labour will end up with 43 seats, the SNP 41 and the Lib Dems 25, making a total of 109. That leaves just 20 to be shared between the Tories, the Greens, various SSP factions and assorted independents. Given that the Tories won 19 seats last time and are on the up nationally, that seems just a tad optimistic.
But I think that Nicol Stephen is right to question whether we should automatically negotiate for a coalition with Labour. At the moment we don’t know whether Labour and the Lib Dems together would have a majority in Holyrood after next May, which in itself would make a coalition a non-starter, regardless of any difficulties in negotiating a coherent programme for government.