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Dual strategy

Brian Taylor | 16:33 UK time, Sunday, 17 October 2010

From Alex Salmond, the narrative for the next Holyrood elections: independence is required to give Scotland the financial powers to reverse recessionary decline.

It is, of course, a dual strategy.

As always, the SNP leader is promising to govern Scotland sensibly and consensually, where possible, within the limits of devolution while simultaneously inviting the voters to go further.

Equally, the strategy is tailored to the prevailing circumstances. More commonly, Nationalists have argued that self-confidence will impel people towards supporting independence.

Now they have to deal with economic circumstances which are scarcely conducive to confidence. But they argue that they can offer a compelling pitch to counter those circumstances.

Another notable point from Mr Salmond's speech and, indeed, the entire conference: personal attacks upon his Labour rival, Iain Gray.

Mr Salmond matched Iain Gray's pledge at the Manchester Labour conference of a "living wage" of £7.15 for those employed by the state - and others employed in sectors where the state is influential.

Emerging narrative

But, further than that, he lampooned Mr Gray as "the invisible man".

Plainly, that will be part of the emerging SNP narrative for the election - to pitch their leader against his counterpart.

PS: I came off air from live coverage here in Perth to discover that Celtic had sneaked a lucky late winner at Tannadice. Bet it was offside. Or a foul. Or both.

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