Salmond’s switch

It has been said that our current SNP administration has the luxury of being in government and in opposition at the same time.

When the May to July quarterly unemployment figures were announced, Alex Salmond declared that Scotland’s lesser rate of 7.5 per cent compared with 7.9 per cent on a UK-wide basis was down to his party’s superior management of the Scottish economy.

Now that the situation is reversed and the August to November figures show that Scotland’s unemployment rate is 8.5 per cent as opposed to a UK average rate of 8.3 per cent (your report, 14 December), Mr Salmond blames the Westminster government’s austerity measures.

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In the real world you can’t have it both ways. If the decisions taken at Holyrood can have a material effect on unemployment figures, Mr Salmond’s party needs to take responsibility for this recent dramatic rise in the unemployment rate.

If not, Mr Salmond has to admit that the actions taken by his administration have limited effect on the macro- economics of Scotland, in which case he should resist crowing when any of the economic indicators, however temporarily, show that Scotland is performing better than the UK as a whole.

Peter Muirhead