Small reshuffle: two demoted.

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russellsalmondcunningham.jpgThe focus of the Holyrood media pack's attention today and tomorrow is on the demotion of Fiona Hyslop from Education to Culture, but that's not the curious part of this mini-reshuffle. 

It might seem a clear jobswap with Mike Russell, but actually he too has been demoted, perhaps for carelessness in his private office.

Unusually, I like Mike. I hold a high opinion of him, although not necessarily as high as he does of himself. But until today he was Minister For Making Scotland Independent as well as Minister For Tartan and Homecoming. Fiona Hyslop goes to a Culture Ministry stripped of that first role, which has gone instead to the Maximum Eck himself. 

It couldn't be clearer. The job of Chief Cheerleader For Independence is what made Mike's old job so central. The constitution might be a side-issue to most Scots, but not for the Nats. As it was, it was like being Minister for the Environment in a Green government, or Minister for Privatisation in a Tory administration.

Reshuffles, like Newtonian physics, are a zero-sum game. The profile and the importance have gone somewhere, taken away from the underlings. In keeping with tradition, Salmond's promoted himself.


There quite probably is an element of personal puffery about this, but it also means that there is likely to be only one person - consistent image/consistent message...or not, you'll know all about that, eh? - as chief conduit to the media.

Since a significant number of voters are sheeplike enough for "recognition" to be a major factor in their choice of candidate, well...

And frankly, as far as all the Scottish parties (heck, UK parties when it comes to it) are concerned, anything which diverts attention away from their lack of strength-in-depth is most likely a very sensible move.

I mean, number 3 in the Scottish Labour Party, that'll be...oh.


you read this wrong. Mike Russell is now in the cabinet as a Cabinet Secretary, before he was a junior minister, albeit with some imprtant briefs. And until last February he was a backbencher, so some "demotion"

Why did he not keep the constitutional brief? How do you think political opponents and the education sector would have reacted to a "part time" education minister? Particularly given the problems.

No, smart move by Salmond - put his top guy in the most difficult brief. Salmond more than capable of leading on the constitution, in realty always has. And even the real demotion was handled humanely.

AWC, I'm not suggesting he should have kept the constitution - and yes, I understand his pay grade has gone up, but you're surely not suggesting education is more important to the Nats than independence?!

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