ALEX Salmond should have the gratitude of the Scottish Labour Party for at least one reason: for establishing beyond doubt that minority administrations can govern without the need for a coalition partner.
I sincerely wish Labour had learned this lesson while we had the chance. I personally was convinced at the time of the necessity of doing a deal with the LibDems in order to govern effectively. Had we instead listened to wiser counsel, and decided to govern on our own, we could have avoided the electoral and democratic catastrophe that was proportional representation for local government.
We made that particular reform for one reason only: to buy the co-operation of the LibDems, whose support had been effectively advertised for sale on eBay for the right price. And the right price was Lowest Common Denominator politics.
Sick of the old system where only the most popular candidate won? Want a new system that guarantees a winning candidate even for the losing team? Reckon everyone should be able to be represented by a councillor from his preferred party regardless of how many votes that party actually wins? Then the single transerable vote is the one for you. In fact, have three, or even four councillors and then you can choose which one to represent you. That’s democracy in The New Scotland – the political equivalent of non-competitive sport in schools: all shall have prizes.
So thank you, Alex. Thank you for showing us the error of our ways. I trust it’s a lesson Labour will remember when we return to power at Holyrood.