Holyrood’s political leaders finally struck a cross-party deal last night in the fight to safeguard thousands of defence jobs in Scotland.Interesting to see if cooperation will set a precedence for other areas. Purely from a non-partisan point of view, this approach makes sense but the burying of the various hatchets in the (Scottish) common interest will be a hard act to continue with. Ms Goldie's part in the alliance is the most intriguing:
At stake is the future of thousands of workers at warship-building yards on the Clyde and Rosyth and air bases at Leuchars and Lossiemouth threatened by Westminster cost-cutting.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the latest round of talks had been successful after agreement between the SNP, Labour, the Scottish Conservatives and LibDems could not be reached at two meetings last week.
Their joint submission will now be delivered to the UK Government before Defence Secretary Liam Fox finalises the sweeping cuts to military spending expected in the Strategic Defence and Security Review next month.
Mr Salmond said: "The document is about the compelling case for Scotland and Scottish jobs and skills. The more united Scotland’s voice is, the stronger it will be, which is why this cross-party submission is of vital importance."
Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie, whose Westminster bosses will make the decision on the cuts, said that she had "always argued that a robust case should be put forward for the Scottish contribution to the UK defence facility".That contribution being funded from the central defence budget obviously, but still a clever way of putting it:
She said: "Labour’s financial mess poses very tough choices for the Coalition Government but this cross-party submission is a well documented, factual representation of how important that contribution is. It is essential that the MoD decision-making process has the best information available from all sources."I'm not sure if the approach being adopted by the four main parties will actually result in *more* information being made available to the MoD or will make it simply make it more difficult from a PR point of view for Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition to ignore their Scottish parties... but if it has the same end result then everyone, in Scotland at least, is a winner.