Now I’m politically opposed to much that she stands for (although I was behind her drive to double the number of extra police that the last government put on the streets, among a few other things), but she is a clever woman who, somewhat adeptly, took to the idea of multi political party chambers far better than Labour leaders ever did. When a minority government came along, one that couldn’t operate at all without the co-operation of other parties, Annabel rose to the challenge and worked with the SNP to get Conservative priorities included in the legislative programme, in return for voting for the budget and the continuance of government. Personally I think that on the whole that co-operation has been to the advantage of Scotland.
Shortly after lunch I met her and had the opportunity to chat for a short while. Face to face she is charming. Quietly spoken, and with beautiful manners, she is far prettier and younger than she appears either on television or in her photographs.
I put it to her that, as polls show that she is more popular than the party she leads, was it not a mistake for her to stand down as leader. She expressed herself, modestly, somewhat doubtful that she was indeed more popular that the Tory party, but explained that she had to be thinking of the future of the party over the next 5 or 6 years and felt that the time was right for her to make way for a younger person. She spoke warmly of Alex as a dominant force in Scottish politics and was glad to have been able to take him to task over the last 4 -5 years. It was clear that on a personal level there is a deal of mutual respect and affection between them.
I’m sure she’s an avid reader of Munguin’s Republic, so I’ll thank her for the time she spent with me. I know she was busy, and I appreciated that she made the time for me.
I should say too that I become more and more proud of my own MSP, Shona Robison, who made a short speech of welcome to a group of visitors to parliament, and fielded an impromptu question and answer session. Her professionalism and her warm sense of humour, together with a down-to earth attitude, makes everyone feel at ease and enjoy sessions like these, where she speaks so knowledgeably, and with such enthusiasm, of our parliament and our country.
So thank you too, to Shona. I know that the 60 people who visited today enjoyed every moment of their trip.
Pics: Annabel Goldie and Shona Robison