Sunday, March 18, 2007

Conference Dispatch - Sunday

Rather surprisingly for being the morning after the night before, delegates seem unusually invigorated today. However, that might have something to do with the gale force winds and near-horizontal hail which scoured us all as we arrived at the conference this morning. A few intrepid smokers are huddled outside, looking thoroughly miserable as they get blasted by the elements – I suspect they may not be the most enthusiastic of attendees at this afternoon's health debate!

The papers seemed mostly favourable for the SNP this morning, a few amusing brown-trousers-and-bicycle-clips pieces aside. The Sunday Herald has, disgracefully in my view, tried to stir it up over Brian Souter's donation, despite the fact he got no favours at all from the SNP during the repeal of Section 2A. What inference are we being invited to draw? That the SNP is tainted, while Labour and the Lib Dems, who started the Section 2A repeal process then ran and hid from the ensuing brouhaha instead of making their case, are worthy of our continued support? Eejits.

The main event this afternoon will be Alex Salmond's speech. It's being spun that he will be unveiling the SNP's proposals for government, but it wouldn't be a Salmond speech if he didn't have at least one rabbit to pull out of the hat. The actual conference hall is a bit too small for all of the people here, so I suspect I'll end up watching it on the TV in the breakout area instead.

Overall, there seems to be a sense, even amongst the most hardened of SNP-sceptics in the media, that this might really be it. The polls are all good for the SNP; the party is winning big-hitting endorsements left, right and centre; while Labour are left to fight a relentlessly negative campaign, torn tactically between wee Jack's gang on one side and the 'Brownies' on the other. I have to confess that the grim faces of Labourite journos Angus MacLeod of the Times and Magnus Gardham of the Record have been an absolute joy to behold! 46 days and counting...

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