Sunday, 6 November 2011

The lost opportunity because of that stupid cartoon

There was much made of the stupid cartoon that came out the Scottish Lib Dem press machine, but there is something to just what dreamworld Alex Salmond is living in over his quote about Scotland and Qatar. What he said was:

"As nations, we both have considerable expertise in oil and gas production, but as we look to the future and a low-carbon economy, we must increasingly develop new technologies.

"We discussed the remarkable similarities between our respective nations.

"Although both Scotland and Qatar have common strengths in the oil and gas sector, we are both seeking to develop our low carbon energy industries.

"This is where Qatar's focus on becoming a global knowledge hub links well with Scotland's considerable reputation as a world-leading education nation."

Scotland a world leading nation in education? Where is that league table. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment that is just average. Edinburgh may be the 36th Rank University in the World this year, with St Andrews 85, but out of 12 UK universities that is just 2. Glasgow does come in at 102, Aberdeen 151and Dundee 176, none of this is totally top of the world stuff, though not to be sniffed at.

So the real issue that the Scottish Liberal Democrats should have been attacking Salmond on was education from that cartoon. That and the commitment to green energy as Patrick Harvey did the other week. Unfortunately those ships have sailed.

Now maybe my former colleagues in Scotland are trying to pretend it is business as usual, maybe they are scared of the impact that the elections in may had. But there is something that has to be done it is choose where, when and how to attack. Sadly such insight was lacking on this occasion. With backs against the wall trying to avoid seeing Scotland swept away on a Nationalist tide you need to be smart in how to stem that tide not give it more power to the waves that come with it.

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