By SHAUN MILNE
SNP leader Alex Salmond was in Gordon Brown’s back-yard today(Tues) lavishing praise on the Labour leadership – just not the beleaguered Prime Minister’s.
The First Minister was in Kirkcaldy for the official opening of the John Smith Business Park, a new 100,000 square foot area of office space to attract inward investment and create as many as 4000 new jobs.
During the ceremony Mr Salmond paid tribute to the Scot and former Labour leader who many people still regard as being the greatest Prime Minister Britain never had.
He said: “John Smith made an outstanding contribution to the political and cultural life of Scotland.
“Today we have an opportunity to make sure that he continues to be a part of Scotland’s development, by dedicating this commercial centre to him.”
With premier Gordon Brown still battered and bruised from Labour’s internal squabbling and being routed in the Polls after months of disquiet over expenses and the credit crunch, the SNP leader couldn’t resist making political capital out of the visit to Fife.
He said: “With Scotland now officially in recession, the Scottish Government has already taken decisive action to support jobs and help businesses – with the economic recovery plan setting out more than 60 actions to help Scotland’s economy.
“The John Smith Business Park will support that action by providing the space and the facilities for the growth and expansion we are working to encourage.
“Kirkcaldy is Fife’s biggest and fastest-growing town, with a strong reputation for business and financial services.
“These are the competitive advantages we must maximise if we are to allow Scotland to recover first and strongest from the current economic downturn.
“This business hub will ensure that investors can make the most of Fife’s location and skills.”
John Smith served as Shadow Chancellor under Neil Kinnock’s leadership of Labour before taking over the top job when the Welshman resigned after losing the 1992 General Election, their fourth consecutive defeat.
He was responsible for appointing both former PM Tony Blair and Gordon Brown into his shadow cabinet before he died from a heart attack in May 1994.
After a funeral attended by 900 people and streets lined by a further 3000, Smith was finally laid to rest on Iona in a graveyard shared with former Scottish kings.