A Tale of Two Heavyweights

Written by Cameron Grant  

It was a tale of two of Scotland’s most prominent politicians of the modern era this week as Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown, in their own inimitable ways, reflected on past achievements and looked forward to the forthcoming General Election campaign.

Bristling with confidence, Scotland’s former first minister took to the airwaves to set out a series of concessions – including an end to austerity, increases in public spending and the acceleration of the high speed rail project – which he says Labour would have to agree to in return for SNP support should it end up holding the balance of power on May 8.

Indeed, so confident and self-assured was Mr Salmond in his belief that the SNP will make sweeping gains in Scotland in a little under six weeks’ time, that the prospective MP for Gordon suggested his party could “lock out” a minority Conservative administration from Downing Street, a move opponents said would be a subversion of democracy. All of which allowed David Cameron to use his final Prime Minister's Questions to smack down Ed Miliband as Alex Salmond's poodle.

But it’s Nicola Sturgeon, not Alex Salmond, who has the task of leading the SNP into battle as the 2010-15 Parliament comes to its conclusion and such was the standing of her predecessor’s comments to the media that she felt the need to reassert her authority in a BBC interview and to label Scottish Labour a dying party.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – the man widely credited with saving the UK in the dying days of the referendum last autumn - brought 32 years in Parliament to a close on Thursday with a typically tub-thumping speech in which he vowed to “fight and fight again” for a Britain of shared values and social justice and warned of a UK at risk from further division.

However, whether his party can return to the 56th Parliament of the UK as the party of government will depend much on its ability to reverse its almost anaemic poll performances in Scotland to date.

Latest poll (ICM/Guardian): SNP: 43%, LAB: 27%, CON: 14%, LD: 6%, Oth: 11%


Cameron co-founded 3x1 in 2001. He has 25 years’ industry experience and is a past chair of both the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association in Scotland.