Monday, 19 February 2007

Burning Bridges

"A Liberal Democrat MSP has apologised after calling the Scottish National Party (SNP) "xenophobic". Jamie Stone made the comments in a BBC interview at the Liberal Democrats Scottish conference in Aviemore. SNP leader Alex Salmond said Mr Stone had "crossed a line" and demanded an apology from the party. Earlier, Scottish Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen had said the election campaign would be bitter but there would be no name-calling from his party.

Mr Salmond called Mr Stone's comments "unacceptable". He added: "Nicol Stephen, in his speech, called for no name calling but within minutes one of his senior MSPs launches this outrageous attack. "This is totally hypocritical on the party of the Liberal Democrats and Nicol Stephen must issue an immediate apology."

We are about 10 weeks to the Holyrood elections and, already the negative campaigning has begun. I do feel that there has been a see change in the Lib Dems since their Coup against Charles Kennedy last year. Since then, they have become more assertive, maybe nastier than they were before.

Certainly, it feels like some sort of act of desperation. The Lib Dems have staked their claim to be the largest party at these elections. The polls suggest that once again, a crucial supporting role awaits. While down in England, Dave Cameron’s new Tories are trying to
tap up key Lib Dem front benchers. No wonder Menzies Campbell took out all his frustrations on Alex Salmond on Friday.

However there are rumours that New Labour may be about to end their 8 year partnership. If Jack McConnell does end the partnership, then this weekend’s outburst must be some sort of record for bridge burning.

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