Alexander wins one horse race
And then there was one. One candidate for the Scottish Labour leadership, that is. For the avoidance of doubt, that candidate is Wendy Alexander.
She received nominations from 41 out of 46 Labour MSPs. And she knows the names of the infamous five. Only joking.
Strictly speaking, she doesn’t become leader until September 14 – when the party’s Scottish Executive will sit down with MSPs to sift through the vast list of contenders to succeed Jack McConnell.
But she’s wasting no time. She held talks today with Labour’s council group leaders – and she’ll head off round the country to consult with the voters and the grassroots. Stand by, Inverness. She’s coming your way first.
To listen, of course. But to say what? That’s grouped around four broad themes: a competitive yet compassionate economy; consumer not producer focused public services; empowering people not institutions; and Scottish solutions for Scottish aspirations.
If she means it – and she does – then these decidedly broad themes could spell tension ahead. Institutions and producers have a habit of getting miffed when politicians suggest, even mildly, that they might care to put the customers first.
Plus is she ready to stand up for “Scottish solutions” against powerful politicians in London, if necessary? Against the Prime Minister, if necessary?
When I asked her, she grinned and said she would seek co-operation – but would stand her ground.