A nuclear election?

Astounding news from across the North Sea!

The German state of Baden-Wurttemberg is to have a Green prime minister, the first in the history of the German Greens. In the election at the weekend the Greens doubled their vote share to just over 24%, giving it enough to lead a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats, after 58 years of rule by the conservative Christian Democrats.

So what might that mean for the Scottish elections? The Greens were riding high in the polls in Germany (although not quite as high as this) and local factors and personalities always have a bearing. But it seems that the Green surge came quite late on, proving yet again that a week is indeed a long time in politics.

A critical issue has been the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. While other parties hastily revised their opinions on nuclear power, the electorate was not fooled by such expediency. The Greens were able to point to a consistent track record on opposing nuclear power; indeed, one of the landmarks of the Greens when in the federal government was a commitment to the phasing out of nuclear power stations. Will the same factors be seen here in May?

Flip-flopping on nuclear is just as common in Scotland as well, with Labour all over the place on it and the Lib Dems in the UK Coalition harnessed to a Conservative obsession with nuclear energy. The SNP alone can be said to have at least some consistency, albeit sullied with its parallel romantic attachment to the black black oil (and coal). There are few things as critical as the security and safety of future energy supply. There are few things in politics as scarce as credibility.