THE DANGER for Mr Salmond is that the other parties will take votes off him in the centre. Blair, according to one opinion poll, is Scotland's most popular politician - a fact which has surprised those observers not fully acquainted with the Scottish political scene. To him falls the task of maintaining his Government's overall popularity, lest Scottish voters use the forthcoming poll as a chance to voice their disapproval of it, as if this were a giant by-election. He must also articulate the benefits of keeping Scotland within the UK. In that task the other Unionist parties must be enthusiastic partners.
THE SNP leader's epitaph will be "Too clever by half". A couple of months ago, the outcome seemed in doubt and a quarter of voters were still not committing themselves. Yet now all the polls show Labour with a clear lead. The latest batch would give them 60 seats, just short of the overall majority. The new voting system virtually guarantees that no party will gain a clear majority. That does not mean we can't have sensible government. Even if he does not get the 65 seats, Donald Dewar should declare he will do no deals. Those who dare to bring down our first home-rule government must take the consequences of forcing us into another election and another chance for the Nats to push for separation.
WHAT CONCLUSIONS should be drawn before casting votes? Judging by the events of yesterday the parties have nothing new to say. They could abandon expensive public relations exercises and rely instead on the common sense of Scots to use their vote as they choose. But then that wouldn't be politics.Reuse content