The SNP leadership is nothing if not a wee bit cocky. At the height of the SNP’s hellish few days last week, Alex Salmond took the unusual step of making a personal appearance at the group meeting of SNP MSPs.
Salmond was there on a bit of a charm offensive trying to persuade wavering MSPs that they should not follow the example of their former colleagues Jean Urquhart and John Finnie by quitting the party.
As cabinet ministers trooped out of the meeting, Alex Neil (above) was asked if they had succeeded in convincing rebellious souls that their future lay with the SNP.
“Nae bother,” was the health secretary’s response.
With a little help from the opposition
Further evidence of the SNP’s supreme confidence was provided in a tweet from the education secretary Mike Russell at the end of that very bad week for the SNP.
“On my way home from Parliament after a week in which the opposition parties proved themselves unfit even for opposition!” Russell said.
Surely an admission that his boss Alex Salmond had got off lightly.
Snubbed by the Westminster club
Simmering tension between the SNP MSPs and their MPs at Westminster came to a head at their recent party conference in Perth. MSPs were disappointed not to receive an invitation to an excellent do hosted by the consular diplomatic corps that their MP colleagues would be attending.
Undeterred, the bold Christine McKelvie MSP decided to gate-crash. There she was met with a distinctly frosty welcome from her House of Commons colleagues. Struck by her impudence, they rather high-handedly asked what she was doing there when foreign affairs are reserved to Westminster? Who says the Lord Snooties are reserved to the Tory Government?
Houston, Alex has a sticky problem…
Perhaps it would be a trifle unfair to describe our MSPs as a bunch of space cadets, but they do seem to have a healthy interest in the goings-on beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Last week, there was a debate in commemoration of the late Neil Armstrong. As MSPs spoke eloquently of the first man on the moon’s links to the Armstrong clan and to Scotland, it was left to Stewart Stevenson of the SNP to suggest that the American space programme had played a key role in the development of Teflon.
Which leads Drumlanrig to the mischievous observation that perhaps Stevenson could get on the phone to Nasa to order some more of the non-stick substance because his boss Alex Salmond seems to have run out.