D’ya wanna be in my gang? Oh yeah!… might well have been the question on Alex Salmond’s lips for the last week. Possibly. Anyhoo, it seems that no-one (or almost no-one) DOES want to be in Eck’s gang and that he along with the 46 other nationalist MSPs is going to have to go it alone and form a minority administration.
I must say I’m quite surprised by this turn of events. I mean, obviously the 17 Tory MSPs were never going to join up, what with them being the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, but I’m surprised at the Lib Dems who, having spent the last eight years in coalition with Labour, have declined the offers of partnership made to them by the SNP and Labour and have declared that they will be back-benchers in this new administration. The only party willing to come out to play with the Nats are the Greens but, with only 2 MSPs, they hardly make a difference.
Of course the biggest stumbling block for any potential coalition is the independence question. With every other party (bar the Greens) opposed to a referendum, it seems that the union is not under any imminent threat. Personally, I think we’ll all be back in the polling booths in a couple of years. Mind you, politicians are a pragmatic bunch and the Nats have waited a long time to be the largest party in Scotland. They have scented power. As Marx*once remarked: “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”.