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Newsweek Scotland: Back from a break

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 17:35 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

SNP Cabinet Confirmed 2011

SNP Cabinet 2011

Just back from a break in Argyll. Did anything happen when I was away? Oh yes - a huge SNP election surge, an overall majority in Holyrood and a new cabinet confirmed. Well, even from Moidart and Ardnamurchan you could feel a wave of something sweeping the country. What was it?

Astonishment? Optimism? Fear? Suddenly it all felt very different. Ironically though, the SNP's game seems to be to play it down. It's true there are new demands winging their way to Westminster but the plan remains to listen - we'll see if that happens - and to manage. That wind of change won't fly kites of independence - it will be captured to create jobs and nurture recovery. It's as though the SNP is trying not to exult too much. They are stuffing their sleeve in their mouth to stop them laughing out loud. Did Alex Salmond shut the door and secretly let it all hang out in a deserted Bute House, twirling his jacket round his head and doing the splits in delight?

No, I admit, I'm struggling with the John Travolta thing too. But I bet the old gambler in him had a fierce grin of satisfaction and he may have recalled the words of one of his heroes the Marquis of Montrose whom he quoted to me when he took on the party hierarchy for the leadership in 1990. He either fears his fate too much, or his desserts are small, that puts it not unto the touch, to win or lose it all.

We'll discuss SNP strategy and the unravelling of the Lib Dems from campaigning force for home rule and coalition to parliamentary rump.
We examine the SNP call for control of the media and a new digital broadcasting station. But isn't that what the BBC already does? (I got an email from an SNP MSP this week saying: Looking forward to a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation!)

We take a look at the shock the arrest of Dominque Strauss-Kahn caused in France as well as explaining what the IMF actually does - apart from making cheap kitchens. And we're in Ireland where an old trooper has been wooing 'em with some British class and breeding. And well done Ireland for taking Queen Elizabeth to its heart. For all the bluster - and historical warring - the Irish as sentimental as a knitted tea cosy. Take a bow, Celtic cousins. Join me tomorrow at 8.

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