The “leaders'” debate

So what are we to make of the leaders’ debate last night?  What does it tell us of Scotland now and in the future?

Well, you’d expect me to be sceptical. I turned the TV on, knowing that there would be no Green voice present, despite having been the fifth party in parliament since devolution and despite a Yougov poll showing that 63% of voters wanted a Green voice in the debate.

Neither was it clear to me why Tavish Scott, with a 2% personal rating and a party free-falling in the polls, should command the same air time as SNP or Labour while the Greens were denied any air-time at all.

Still, putting these points aside, I was dismayed by what I saw.  On cuts, there was a dreary consensus with little sense of the investment that Scotland needs to be a greener and more equal society. The other big issues of the day: Scotland’s nuclear-free energy future; Scotland’s place in the international community – all went un-aired.

So in a policy vacuum, it was personalities to the fore.  Of the candidates only Annabel Goldie seemed to be enjoying it.  But, then, if you are as unpopular in Scotland as the Tories are and have had such a disastrous campaign start as they have, perhaps you can afford to relax.  Alex Salmond had the most to lose, going into the campaign with a reputation as the prime orator.  He looked discomfitted by the format.

But, again, what would it have hurt to have squeezed an extra lectern in?