Monday, 1 September 2008

It’s bright but there’s a distinct Autumn chill running through the cloisters of Westminster palace this morning. The place is busier too, the sniffer dogs are back, some politicians are back - there goes Oliver Letwin with his wheelie case in tow - and you get the feel that the place is shaking off its summer torpor. Time then to start blogging.

Decca Aitkenhead is the toast of the Westminster lobby this morning, having caught the chancellor off guard at his Hebridean croft admitting that we are facing an economic crisis comparable to 1948. Lots of cheeky questions to the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman on who really is in charge of economic policy - answer, the chancellor - and continued speculation about Mr Darling’s job prospects.

Being Hebridean I was too busy feeling homesick over Murdo MacLeod’s pictures to notice what the plain speaking chancellor was saying at first in his Guardian interview. The consensus in Westminster now is that he gaffed by simply being too honest about the state of the global economy and the government’s troubles.

Mr Brown is off to Brussels today to sort out Russia at an emergency EU summit, and possibly sort out David Miliband too. It is the first time the pair will have met since July when the Foreign Secretary urged the Labour party, a la Darling, to renew itself. All this jostling will make for an interesting reshuffle.

Expect some news from Brussels about 5pm. Later in the evening Labour announce their candidate for the Glenrothes by-election which will come after the party conferences, that expected cabinet reshuffle, and the autumn relaunch which starts tomorrow with a package of measures to revive the housing market. Here’s the candidates shortlist just in:

Colin Davidson, 49, is a teacher in Bell Baxter High School and is chair of North East Fife CLP. He is an active member of the EIS, and works with a local organisation that allows young people from Fife to travel to America.

Kezia Dugdale, 27, is a parliamentary researcher and former welfare rights advisor. Born in Aberdeen she has run several voter registration campaigns and campaigned on housing standards. She has a degree in Law and a degree in Social and Public Policy.

Lindsay Roy, 59, is the Rector (head teacher) of Kirkcaldy High School. From 1990 – 2008, he was the Rector of Inverkeithing High School, and previously Depute Rector of Glenwood High School in Glenrothes. He is a past president of the Headteachers’ Association of Scotland. He lives in Glenrothes and is a Church Elder at St Columba’s.

The result will be known tonight but if you want a clue - Gordon Brown went to Kirkcaldy High School.

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