Friday, 18 March 2011

Cam heads to Scotland's khaki election campaign

Cameron is heading to Scotland this afternoon, before going to Paris tomorrow for a meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and members of the Arab League.

The Prime Minister's speech to the Scottish Tories in Perth will be all about Libya, kicking off another khaki election campaign for Holyrood.

In 1999 Nato airstrikes against Serbia overshadowed the first Scottish parliament election, prompting Alex Salmond's "unpardonable folly" comments, after which the late Robin Cook declared him "unfit to lead".

In 2003, as Scots went to the polls, the Iraqis were throwing their slippers at fallen statues of Saddam Hussain. It looked as if the war was over and it was barely beginning.

There was a reprieve of sorts in 2007, although UK troops were still involved in engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Today, as the UK is poised to take action against Gaddafi, Alex Salmond, now Scotland's First Minister, has welcomed the UN no-fly zone.

“The fundamental principle of international intervention is that it must be done under the authority of a United Nations mandate, and therefore I welcome the agreement of a ‘no fly zone’ with the clear legal underpinning of a Security Council resolution," he said, just now.

It is unlikely to be the last word on the subject in the seven weeks between now and the election result. It might be a khaki election, but it won't take the parties long to point out that there isn't much khaki left in Scotland after the Strategic Defence Review.

(I hear several returning officers, including the Western Isles, don't intend to hold their count until the Friday morning, so it will be seven weeks this afternoon before we get a total result for the Scottish parliament.)

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