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It's FMQs, stupid

Brian Taylor | 14:46 UK time, Thursday, 29 October 2009

"The economy, stupid".

Thus the phrase hung in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign HQ by James Carville in 1992.

It was designed to focus the team upon the voters' concern with the dollar in their pocket. It worked inasmuch as Clinton won.

Iain Gray borrowed the phrase today for first minister's questions. However, Mr Gray appeared keen to focus on the word "stupid". Rather than the word "economy."

For this was a sharp personal attack upon Alex Salmond, based upon sundry criticisms from business organisations that the Scottish government might be more helpful - and less inclined to promote other "anti-business" policies such as minimum pricing for alcohol.

Mr Gray said the FM was "a banker who got it wrong on the banks, an economist who is getting it wrong on the economy, and a Scottish first minister who is getting it wrong for Scotland."

If Mr Salmond was rattled, he contrived to conceal it exceptionally well. He reminded Mr Gray that, having reshuffled his front bench team, he had now appointed most of the Labour group to office.

Smart move, reckoned the FM, getting potential critics on the payroll vote. (Not that they get paid extra - but you get the concept.)

The two then barracked each other about help for small business.

Then they traded insults based on quotes from, respectively, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

And that was that.


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