Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A New Term and A New Time

It was back to Holyrood for me today, as the MSPs were all sworn in. The SNP has a group of 'new', but still very familiar faces about the place. There's many individual stories to tell, but I am particularly pleased to see Dr Ian McKee finally elected as a member for the Lothians. Having campaigned for him back in 1999 in Edinburgh Central, I'm delighted to see someone of his calibre finally make it. He's a weel-kent face around Edinburgh, and will garner a huge amount of cross-party and non-political goodwill across the city.

While on the subject of the new intake, I must say that it's terrific, if still a little strange, to see so many of those with whom I came through the ranks of the FSN and YSI, taking their seats in Parliament. We might all be better dressed and better fed today than we were back then, but the sense of a new generation in the SNP coming to the fore, is both compelling and wonderfully tangible.

If the glum faces at the swearing in ceremony were anything to go by, today seemed to be the day it sank in for Labour that they are no longer in the lead position in Scottish politics. I was told of an (almost) poignant moment, when Alex Salmond was whisked outside for a TV interview. Looking on as he passed by was one Jack McConnell, perhaps being confronted for the first time with the reality that the incessant clamour of journalists seeking his views on the great issues of the day, is likely now a thing of the past.

With the election of a Presiding Officer now being re-scheduled for next week, even more than usual the Garden Lobby acted as an impromptu clearing house for journalists, MSPs and their bag-carriers. As Holyrood doesn't really do quiet corners, the cacophony slackened off in the afternoon, doubtless so the informal politicking could carry on elsewhere, lubricated by a glass or two of wine and liberated from the prying eyes of others.

The faces might have changed somewhat, but the urge to make deals and build alliances, the very currency of politics anywhere, lives on as strongly as ever at Holyrood.


Richard Havers said...

Only one thing I'd disagree with. Did the media ever really clamour for the Joker's views on anything? That was a big part of his problem. He never really made anyone believe he had a clue what he was doing.

Richard Thomson said...

Maybe 'clamour' is an exaggeration. Point is, he was a 'person of interest' before, but now likely won't be.