The state of both UK Labour and its Scottish branch office has been written about extensively, and I have tried not to add to the clamour. What with all the new faces on the lists for Holyrood, the behaviour at First Minister’s Questions yesterday and finally a peach of an article in the Huffington Post today, I can’t hold back any longer; I’m afraid this may be a long one.
For a group that has been saying it is listening to the public – what ever you do don’t google Scottish Labour Listening, I got about 149k results – Scottish Labour don’t seem to hear much. They carry on their merry little way, complaining that that their voters have deserted them. Point 1 – they aren’t your voters and they aren’t your votes; you took the electorate for granted for far too long. You cannot expect people who have been let down as badly as the Scottish electorate have to come running back once you say “It’s ok over IndyRef, you were wrong, we forgive you.”
Then let’s get to the name Scottish Labour, just stop with the “we’re antonymous” line. You aren’t, you are an accounting unit same as the Scottish Conservatives & Scottish LibDems. You are a branch office, it doesn’t matter what you say, the policies are set out by UK Labour.
Pages 24 & 25 list on the Electoral Commission’s GB Register of Political Parties show RISE, Scottish Democratic Alliance, Scottish Democrats, Scottish Green Party, Scottish National Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Scottish Unionist Party… but where is Scottish Labour surely it should be between the Green & the SNP? If only. Point 2 – the dishonesty of repeating the lie pisses people off, and they are not going to stop challenging you on it.
I suppose it is better for you if the public challenge on your name than your policies – whatever they are today? The policy vacuum provided by Kezia Dugdale was a welcome respite after the series of proposals by Jim Murphy. His ever increasingly frantic policy announcements were finally squashed last April when he was put firmly in his place by Chuka Umunna, the then Shadow Business Secretary, backing Ed Balls by saying the Scottish Labour leader “will not be in charge of the UK Budget.”
Well it would have been a respite, if it wasn’t for the constant – sorry there’s no other way to describe it- #SNPBad from Kezia and Jackie Baillie. So much easier to say someone is doing something wrong than actually put out firm costed proposals of your own.
Quick serious question – just what positive contribution has Jackie Baillie ever made to Scottish politics? She seems to me to be one of the most negative people around. Of course I am biased as she is one of the Better Together signatories.
So Point 3 – actual costed policies and don’t go spending the absence of a cut in Air Passenger Duty again. The public aren’t stupid. Not taking money away ISN’T an increase.
Then on to candidates. The regional list were announced last week, the list that Kezia said in August 2015 would contain new talent and fresh faces. Out of the 56 candidates only 7 weren’t either MSPs, ex-MPs, councillors, party researchers or members of the NEC. And why select people who were kicked out on their arses only last May? Even a current UK Labour shadow cabinet member is reported as describing the last batch of SLab MPs as fucking useless. Putting Anas Sarwar on the top of the Glasgow list seems a stupid thing to do, and not what I would describe as listening to the public. Point 4 – if an electorate don’t want someone don’t claim to have changed and then put the same people forward.
Which leads us on to the current MSPs. Tricia Marwick must feel like she is a teacher rather than a Presiding Officer some days. What with James Kelly having to be repeatedly told to sit down last December and then yesterday Neil Findlay not owning up to shouting liar at Nicola Sturgeon during FMQs and subsequently giving the most feeble halfhearted “apology” only after being identified. I’ve seen better behaviour in a infant class at play time. The petted lip (I love that phrase) both showed when caught out does not assist their supposed image of grown men!
I have heard rumours that Findlay said more than just liar, but with the racket the Labour representatives were making at the time I cannot make it out clearly. Heckling was more in line with the Houses of Parliament than Holyrood. Point 5 – you are MSPs sent to Holyrood to represent your constituencies – act like it!
UK Labour backed the wrong horse when it came to the referendum, they put party first only seeing the Scottish seats as a buffer to a Westminster majority. Well they lost the chance of that majority and with their insistence that they would not work with the SNP – preferring to see the Tories in power – sealed their fate to many. It has been 9 months since the last election and they have wasted that time, either in shock of their losses, the trauma of an someone on the left of the party winning their leadership and now the scheming on how to be rid of him.
The Blairites keep insisting the center ground has moved right and that they must follow. Bugger that, instead of the policy think tanks/circle jerks they seem so keen on, actually LISTEN to people. People want acceptable levels of health, education & infrastructure. Admit PFIs were a fuck up, promise to re-nationalise utilities and more importantly mean it.
As to Scottish Labour, I think their only hope is a second referendum sooner rather than later, which they should throw themselves wholeheartedly behind, and then form a new independent Labour party, with actual fresh faces and ideas. The way it’s going at the moment, I can only see a future Scottish Labour as a skeleton propped up by an increasingly resentful UK party making, while it’s “traditional” support continues to leach away. Polling third in Scotland to the Conservatives should not happen, and admitting you are fighting for second place is nothing a SLab leader should be doing.
I’ve realised I’ve got to 1,000 words without mentioning their attitude to the Smith Commission or their habit of abstaining on an issue at Westminster and then sitting back at Holyrood expecting the SNP to deal with the mess. They have spent so long resenting the SNP taking “their” votes and seats that they have forgotten that they are meant to oppose the Conservatives.
I’ve voted for Labour (& LibDems) in the past – mainly because I lived in a true blue seat – and it is disappointing to see them brought down to this level by their hubris.
The one thing they do need to do is listen, but considering past performance I’m not holding my breath.