"A RADICAL plan to curb the size of government in Scotland - including cutting the number of Executive departments, appointing fewer ministers and reducing civil service numbers - will be at the heart of the Scottish National Party's Holyrood election manifesto...
Under the plan, which will be implemented as part of the "first 100 days" of an SNP-led Executive, the departments of development; education; enterprise, transport and lifelong learning; environment and rural affairs; finance and central services; health; justice; legal and parliamentary services and the office of the permanent secretary will be abolished.
They will be replaced by a department of the first minister and departments for finance and sustainable growth; health and well-being; education and skills; rural affairs; and justice.
A cabinet-level minister will be in charge of each of the six, reducing the number of senior ministers who are MSPs from 11 to six."
Well, bully for the SNP: the Scottish cabinet would be smaller, a benefit which is certainly not to be sniffed at. (Though we wait to see if this aspiration survives a coalition deal where cabinet seats become bargaining chips.) But where is there any sign of the Executive doing less? What functions are to be dropped? Or is it simply the case that fewer ministers are expected to do more? Is this all the SNP has to say about the structure of government?
This blog is not irreversibly opposed to the SNP. Indeed, it seems to us quite likely that they may have to form a government next May. But they really need to show signs that they are doing some serious thinking about what to do if it happens. The kind of nonsense discussed above may earn them a headline but it will not cut it in terms of serious preparation.