Getting the most out of the political situation.

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Iain Dale, who's doing his best to corner the political blogs by telling us all how much he loves us, interviewed Salmond today for Total Politics

The story's not yet posted there, but PA reports some pretty unattractive comments by the First Minister about not minding the economics of Thatcherism, just the social side. 

So those two aren't related? The massive social dislocations around de-industrialisation and privatisation weren't anything to do with her flawed economics? 

However, the rest of the interview makes more sense. Specifically, he goes on to say that:

".. of the other parties in the Scottish Parliament, the Greens - who have been very constructive - and the Conservatives have been the ones who have got the most out of the political situation, in my opinion."

It's hard to disagree. We are often the only party opposing the Nats, especially on transport, planning, and the environment. Conversely, where we agree with them, we'll work with them. In between, we look for common ground, and always aim to be fair and honest about their record, the successes and the failures. This is what constructive means. 

Last year's budget remains the most glaring example. We told them what we wanted to see changed. We explained what changes would be sufficient to make it a budget we could abstain on, and what changes would be sufficient to make it a budget we could back. 

Net result? They made enough change to allow abstentions, a whole string of green improvements to the budget which I won't bore you with again, and their budget went through. But in the end, Labour and the Liberals also abstained and got nothing for it. My very first entry here set out how the various parties did.

For a little schadenfreude, by the way, check out the Labour comments in the BBC article about our discussions with the Nats in May last year.

Back to the interview, it's hard to disagree with Salmond's other conclusions about the various parties here:

"The Labour Party have just been heads down, charging and usually missing, bypassing the matador and heading into the crowd somewhere.

"And the Liberals? I have no idea what they're doing. I don't think they do either."

In short, Green votes elect politicians who make change happen. Liberal and Labour votes don't. On this at least, Salmond's spot on.

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This page was published on August 21, 2008 6:47 PM.

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