Monday, November 20, 2006
The first minister's position has been further undermined by his failure to back his party on key policy areas. McConnell has been at pains to resist new nuclear power stations in Scotland, arguing that the country could meet most of its energy needs from green power, including wind farms.Nice to see Scottish Labour trying to be taken seriously.
He is conscious that the Greens, who could be kingmakers after a close election result next May, have ruled out a rainbow alliance with him unless he guarantees not to build new nuclear power stations. Instead, by the time he addresses his party conference in Oban this week delegates will know that trade union muscle has defeated him and cast his coalition strategy into crisis.
Labour's glossy final manifesto policy document, agreed by ministers, MSPs and senior activists, is almost mocking. "No political party can be taken seriously on climate change if it refuses out of hand to consider any source of energy generation that is carbon free, such as renewable energy or nuclear."
Seriously. Taking this together with McConnell's decision a few days ago to go for corporation tax reductions if Northern Ireland gets them we are looking at an, at least nominally, sensible Labour party.
Lets not go too far - after all these aren't promises but just offers to look at. They are also made in a pre-election period when cynicism is justified & finally we have the experience of Jack's previous promise just before the last election, that economic growth would be his "number one priority" followed by a full term of almost nothing. Also we should note that support of corporation tax cuts could mean no more than a token cut & that Labour's national nuclear plans still involve spending about 5 years deciding whether French & American reactors can be licensed as workable & Hunterston & Torness suitable as sites for new reactors despite the obvious fact that they have been working for decades. Since Hunterson is due to close in 2011 & it takes 4 years to build a reactor we obviously cannot spend an extra 5 on paperwork.