Sun Tzu said two thousand years ago in his seminal “The Art of War” that being able to choose the battlefield was key to victory. This week Labour north and south of the border signalled that their tanks would be aggressively defending the NHS – their home turf. The onslaught has been overwhelming and has not wasted time taking prisoners – Kezia Dugdale demonstrated this at First Minister’s Questions this week. Victory was won.
Now Alex Salmond, in order to defend his successor, cynically tries to move our attention back to the SNP’s chosen constitutional battlefield with talk of Home Rule being won in May’s General Election. The problem with this strategy is that this battlefield is now a minefield. Home Rule would mean Scotland would have to shoulder the full impact of the oil price crash alone. Mr Salmond may well view that as a price worth paying, but I expect Sun Tzu would view it as a pyrrhic victory. Mr Salmond would be sent homeward by Sun Tzu, to think again.