Last week it was the SNP spring conference, now it's the turn for both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour to hold their first 2011 get-togethers. David Cameron has already spoken at the Tory gathering in Perth but obviously events in Libya meant his original speech was changed.
In the next issue of the magazine, out on Tuesday, we talk to Alex Salmond, Iain Gray, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott while looking ahead to the Scottish election on 5 May. The polls indicate a very close race. The Conservatives are still struggling to make an impact in Scotland and the Lib Dems, currently with the same number of MSPs as the Tories, lagging behind in fourth.
In our article,Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray talks about his fears that “Alex Salmond is trying to turn the election into a beauty contest between him and me.” Gray has struggled to get his personality across as Labour leader. Ipsos MORI have put together a briefing which shows the problems anyone standing against Salmond has. He is vastly better known by the Scottish public – nearly 90% know him well or a little. Iain Gray only just gets over 50% in the same poll. Just over 50% are satisfied with Alex Salmond’s performance as leader while only 33% say the same about the Scottish Labour leader.
Both the SNP and Labour claim the latest polling is good news for them. What’s clear is that the current First Minister remains in a class of his own as a political personality. No wonder Iain Gray is concerned about any “beauty contests”. Look out for the feature on Tuesday to find out if Gray successfully introduces what he is all about. He could become First Minister in May and yet the majority of the Scottish public feel they don’t know him.