Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's the Economy, stoopid

I think Cathy Jamieson could learn a lot from sitting down and watching the DVD of The War Room, the inside story of the Clinton Campaign in 1992. This was where we got to see, posted on the wall, a scrap of paper with "It's the Economy, stoopid". It was there to remind people that what people were really bothered about was would their job be safe? Could they afford to pay their mortgage? Would they have to make the choice between heating and eating?

James Carville's old maxim is as true now as it was then.

Why, then, did Cathy Jamieson use a valuable appearance at FMQ to ask a question about suspended SNP Councillor Jahangir Hanif, whose firing of a Kalashnikov in Pakistan in 2005 has caused outrage?

Why use the few minutes of guaranteed media coverage to talk about something that most people don't really care that much about? I'll be honest, I'm not keen on anybody who gets that close to guns - and using guns anywhere near children is, as far as I'm concerned, criminally irresponsible. Someone I know once gave a 4 year old a gun to play with - utterly mad. The Nats on the blogosphere who are rushing to Hanif's defence are maybe overloooking his irresponsible behaviour in their rush to score a point.

However, people worried about rising food and fuel costs, jobs and mortgages are probably not going to care two hoots about some internal wrangle in the SNP and they will care less about having it exploited by Labour.

Tavish Scott, on the other hand, asked a pertinent question about what the Government was doing to help people in fuel poverty. At least he understands what's important.....

It's all a shame because I quite like Cathy Jamieson - she seems warm, genuine and competent and would make them a half reasonable leader. Last week I was surprised to find myself on the same table as her in the cafe at Holyrood just after FMQs. Good for her to muck in with everyone else. Unfortunately, she seems unlikely to win and to be beaten by a man whose personality matches his name - Ian Gray. Yet another case of a good woman being beaten by a mediocre man, which happens all too often in politics.

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