'Many voices' may be better together than a solo Darling

THIS week has proved most interesting in the development of the Better Together campaign after it was suggested that former chancellor Alistair Darling is being sidelined.

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I for one, always had objective reservations about Mr Darling being the choice to lead the No campaign, which is seeking to prevent Scotland from becoming independent.

I have similar reservations about the Yes campaign leader, Blair Jenkins.

Both, are men of integrity and substance, but I am unsure of whether they have the ability to engage and inspire people.

In truth, I doubt whether either has the personality or charisma to win people over to their argument.

I also felt that Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown were somewhat damaged by the poor state in which they left the UK economy, and the fact that they lost the last UK election.

It would appear that we are therefore likely to see much more of other significant political figures in the anti-independence campaign.

Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy and John Reid are all being lined up to take a more prominent role.

Mr Darling has said that it is his decision to bring in "many voices" to his campaign.

I assume that this "many voices" approach would not include an invitation to George Galloway.

His anti-independence stance has been well publicised, although his inclusion may provide a boost for the Yes campaign.

The suspicion is that a drift in the opinion polls have caused many in Westminster to question the direction of Mr Darling's campaign.

Mr Darling's insistence that the inclusion of these other politicians in the campaign is his decision, and was not forced upon him, does smack more than just a little of someone who may just have been sidelined.

THIS week's fiasco, in relation to the sale of Glasgow 2014 tickets, is regrettable.

All the other arrangements for the Games appear to be progressing on schedule.

However, the IT problems which have caused major difficulties on the website, with customers waiting hours to log on, are simply not good enough.

What is important now is that the website is not brought back up online until it is robust enough to cope with the demand.

A second failure of the online ticketing system could begin to affect the reputation of the Games.

On a positive note, it does look as though Glasgow 2014 could become the first Commonwealth Games destination to be fully sold out for all events, at all locations across the city.

Great news, although no more blips please, or else someone may be for the high jump.

THIS week brought some very welcome news in relation to Scotland's unemployment figures.

In the latest jobs assessment, for the three months from January to March 2014, Scottish unemployment was down by 18,000.

The number of people in employment now stands at the highest figure since records began more than 20 years ago.

The housing market in Scotland has also returned to just a few percent below the value of average house prices, prior to the recession.

Taken together, both of these indicators provide strong and consistent evidence that the economic recovery is now well underway.

In welcoming the news, the inevitable political differences on both sides were somewhat predictably brought within the context of the independence referendum.

Alex Salmond says that the figures demonstrate that even with limited powers, we are improving the country's economic health. In the other corner, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said that being part of the larger UK single market gives us stability and certainty.

In the absence of any political consensus on the reasons why the unemployment figures are falling, I, for one, say well done to both.

THIS week saw the sad, yet inevitable, death of Stephen Sutton.

At just 19, and with a terminal diagnosis of bowel cancer, Stephen posted a farewell message on his Facebook page, which attracted a lot of attention and went viral.

His ambition was to raise £10,000 for his favourite teenage cancer charity.

Donations to his Facebook page now exceed £3 million, with money continuing to pour in, even after his death.

Life can, at times, be so very cruel. Stephen's mother wrote on his Facebook page, "My heart is bursting with pride, but breaking with pain, for my courageous, inspirational son."

Moving words. Rest in peace Stephen.

Local government

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