Monday 5 October 2009

Goldie: Salmond "irrelevant" to TV debate

The huffing and the puffing over the televised leaders debate continues. This morning it was Alex Salmond accusing David Cameron of refusing “to show respect”to the people of Scotland by not engaging in a deabte with, er, Alex Salmond.

Annabel Goldie, the Angela Merkel of Scottish politics, responded in her conference speech here in Manchester this morning.

She used the powerful medium of television to address the First Minister directly, telling him to put up or shut up.

“Alex Salmond I know you have been threatening to ban the People of Scotland from watching a TV debate between David Cameron and Gordon Brown. Well - I say this to you - you are not standing in this election to become the Britsh Prime Minister, you are not even standing to be an MP.”

She said the SNP was irrelevant to Westminster elections in any case and called the First Minister chicken for backing out of previous leader’s debate. She challenged him to a debate “any time you want”.

Poor Alex, it’s a challenge a week. Being the champ (that's champ not the Mandelson c-word) means that everyone in the playground wants to prove themselves against him.

The blustery weather over Mr Salmond's inclusion in a leader's debate will last as long as an Atlantic storm, it could carry onf for weeks or be over in a few days. Watch the key words in the SNP statements on the issue though - “extremely flexible” - which suggest a compromise is on the cards.

1 comment:

  1. She said the SNP was irrelevant to Westminster elections in any case

    That's odd, I thought the SNP was fighting for every Westminster seat in Scotland.

    The point is not that Alex Salmond won't debate with Annabel Goldie, it's that the Lib-Dems, Labour and the Conservatives are going to go out on a prime-time broadcast in Scotland during the election and the SNP is going to be cut right out.

    Alex Salmond wants his place in any debate broadcast in Scotland where the other Party Leaders are involved. Annabel Goldie doesn't count because she isn't a party leader. Try and find the "Scottish Conservatives" in the Electoral Commission's Register of political parties and you won't find it because it's just a registered party description not a party.

    Perhaps the Conservatives are sensitive because it was the Lib-Dems and Labour who stopped the broadcast of a John Major interview before the Scottish Local Elections in 1995.

    Lord Abernethy's decision was based on the fact that the BBC's decision to screen it as the election campaign north of the border reached its climax, with no plans "to give similar air time to the leaders of the other parties", breached the corporation's duty of broadcasting impartiality that is enshrined in its licence and in its internal guidelines.

    What's difference between one party out of four getting exclusive air time and three parties out of four getting exclusive air time in Scotland as far as impartiality is concerned?

    The Lib-Dems and Labour have gone to court before to ensure impartiality in political broadcasting in Scotland and now they are squealing in chorus with the Conservatives, their one time adversary in the same arena, that the SNP is threatening to do the same.