This week marked 100 days since the SNPs momentous victory in May’s Scottish Elections. During these 100 days, the Scottish Government has outlined ambitious plans to increase the powers of the Scottish Parliament, including devolving responsibility for corporation tax, the Crown Estate and increasing borrowing powers. However it has also become embroiled in a series of high-profile rows most notably with the Scottish Legal establishment.
In 2007 Salmond burst out of the blocks with announcement after popularist announcement. This time round Salmond has sought to focus on pressurising Westminster to devolve more powers to Holyrood. His desire for further borrowing powers has seen movement, though those concerning Corporation Tax have gone nowhere. Hampered by the summer recess, the Governments legislative programme is not expected until September, while its attempts to fast-track the Offensive Behaviour at Football & Threatening Communication (Scotland) Bill came unstuck amidst claims the timescale did not allow for adequate consideration.
Meanwhile, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was again defending his decision to release the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, 2 years after his release. MacAskill was left further red-faced when he admitted that officials are not 100% sure of Al-Megrahi’s whereabouts. Efforts have been made to contact Libyan rebel leaders to help track down the Lockerbie bomber but the “dust of the battle” will have to settle before the picture is clear.
The Scottish Labour Leadership contest received the welcome injection of a candidate. Tom Harris MP announced that he would be willing to lead the Scottish Party as long as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander remained uninterested. Harris’s announcement has received a mixed reaction so far with some arguing that with the supposed dearth of talent in Holyrood a Westminster heavy(ish) hitter is required to take on Salmond, while others believe the Scottish Party has enough talent to select from within. The so-called ‘big fish’ that survived the election drubbing have been anything but enthusiastic in throwing their names into the hat. Johann Lamont has declared, Hugh Henry has declined, while Jackie Baillie has remained on the fence. The new leader will be chosen in late November following the results of the internal review into the future of the Scottish Party.