Sunday, 8 March 2015

Red Sails At Sunset, Compass faulty, Navigator AWOL


Watching the conference of The Labour Party In Scotland - or 'The Scottish Labour Party/Scottish Labour' - whatever they'd prefer to call it, two things came to mind. It was overwhelmingly sad and overwhelmingly missing the bleeding point.

Overwhelmingly sad because it was a fairly small venue barely more than half full and because so many people in the audience looked as if they'd spent the night before in a serious bevvy session and had been dragged out of bed to go somewhere they really didn't want to be. I can understand that. With the latest in a long line of disastrous polling results staring them in the face so close to an election - even though, yes, yes, yes, the only result that matters is the result on election day - but as I said, with poll results like that they have little to be cheerful about. There's a mountain ahead and someone's just mentioned no-one thought to pack the hiking boots or the Bovril. And its cold. And raining. Hard.

Overwhelmingly sad because despite the evidence staring them in the face for the last seven years of an SNP Government in Scotland, despite two elections in that time when their vote share first declined, then crashed, despite that shocking crash being blindingly reinforced over the two years of campaigning in the referendum, they truly don't seem to get what's happened to them. It's like they've been decapitated but the head just keeps on talking, not realising it's disconnected and those legs aren't taking them anywhere anymore. Jim Murphy, their new leader, addressed his first conference in that familiar quiet, serious tone that seems to be the only one he has these days. To be honest as I listened I zoned out much of the 'poverty background/ man of the people/why I understand what is needed/ pearls before swine' speech filling and was transported back to sitting in the pews of my childhood Sunday Kirk, sermons droning interminably on with little for me to engage with, to catch my attention and keep it, Nothing to enthuse me. Nothing memorable, just the same as last week and predictably just what next week was going to be like as well. No wonder I jumped ship once I was told I was old enough to make a choice about attending for myself.

Overwhelmingly sad because there was no sense of responsibility for this. No accountability taken for leading supporters straight into a foreseeable, avoidable, catastrophe, for taking Scotland's vote for granted for forty years. No apology for that sense of entitlement, either here or down in Westminster , for betrayal of the fundamental principals of the Labour Party's existence, for abandonment of people's hopes and aspirations of a fairer society for the pursuit of power and influence, for scandal, sleaze and corruption. No reflection, no recognition and absolutely no apology. Only an underlying sense of desperation about 'How do we get back?' It's a good job the stage was bare, so much is there to sweep under the Labour carpet.

In a pre-conference interview Jim Murphy was asked if, as a Tory ex-Prime Minister had said, Labour should rule out a coalition with the SNP to gain power at Westminster. He responded dismissively that "We don't need to be told how to run Scotland." There it was yet again. All those feckin attitudes that have led to this point. You're not there to 'run' us you absolute twit. You're there to serve us. SERVE. US FIRST. US ONLY.

Overwhelmingly sad. After all this you just won't or can't see that Scotland has changed. The labour party is going to become insignificant. We're not going to lie down and let this happen to us anymore. Not by you, not by the Tories and not even by the SNP. If you won't represent us honestly then we will reject you. We will abandon you. We will not trust you and we absolutely will not vote for you.

Scotland understands what Labour should be. We understand its roots absolutely. We understand what it's values should be. The problem is that we don't believe that's what you or it stands for any more.

You have to find those lost principles, that missing integrity. You are in charge of a ship that has lost most of its passengers and most of its crew. You stand on the bridge and order a tweak here and there, a slight turn of speed and an adjustment in direction of a compass point or two to port . You need to grab the rudder and yank it around and you better set full steam ahead while you're at it. The lifejackets have been issued and people have abandoned ship. Shouting "Don't Panic! Don't Panic!" isn't going to work Cpl Murhy.

And so to Capain Mainwaring - sorry - Mr Miliband.

So much of the same from him. A professional speech by a professional politician. But no fire, no inspiration. No sense of belief. No clue. Yes, he spoke more of heritage and principles, of social justice and working families but without the conviction he actually held any of those principles at heart himself. He spoke like he knew he's stuffed. {"Let's not mention the SNP. Let's just make it about us and the Tories."} And worryingly too no recognition of the problem that 'Scottish" Labour faces. How do you square the circle of the clear difference between Scotland and England by voting for Labour. It's not enough to say that 'A vote for the SNP is a vote for the Tories'.

 A} It's not true.


 B} In case you missed the polls - We don't believe it


Setting aside all the problems of  principle, integrity and conviction and lifeboats all at sea, lets talk about the blooming obvious when it comes to getting elected as Scotland's representatives.

How do you square getting working class Scotland voting for you when you have to win a majority of middle class voters in England at the same time, especially with Ukip pushing working class votes to the right too? If Scotland did vote for you how would our voice be heard? How much would Scotland's weight carry within the national party?

{Although it's the bleeding obvious don't expect any BBC interviewer to ask the question.}

The bleeding obvious fundamental of this election is that it's not going to be won in the centre ground of politics. In Scotland it's about the left but - and here's the rub of the matter - in England it's about the right.  Over the last thirty years English politics has shifted to the right considerably more than Scots politics and to get elected any party HAS to win a majority in England. It just will not work if that's not the case. That's why no matter how we have voted our voice doesn't get heard. Scots voters are looking at Labour and finding they don't believe a left-of-centre Scots MP contingent within the wider UK party makes a difference when UK Labour are chasing right leaning voters.


That left-of-centre vote is from SNP MP's completely independent of Labour Central Party, completely and solely focussed on Scotland's interests.


 if those independents are within the context of a hung parliament at the election......

Pass the porage please.


  1. Hari OM
    (...trying to focus as I cheer on oor Andy....oh sorry...Gt. Brit's Andy...)

    Managed to play truant from the 'pew'; Labour as I knew it before departing to Southern climes a quarter century past, was a national party. It fitted a Scotland which still thought of itself as being part of, and therefore contributing to, a unified land. A 'Scottish Labour' would necessarily have to be a different party to the National party of the same name.

    I suspect Mr Mainwaring actually knows this but is at a loss as to how to restructure the platoon. (Not so much LC Jones up this end...more like Sgt Wilson methinks...)

    As to asking the questions - media can go hike as far as I am concerned. The whole brigade of 'em... YAM xx

    1. Interesting times Yamini. Interesting times indeed/

  2. I feel heartbroken for all Scots socialists, of which I am one. The Labour party has not represented socialists since the middle of the last century, as most of us are aware.
    Why can't you learn to spell "porridge" properly? Are you a citizen of the US?

  3. Ah - hullo Humerous Vegetable and thanks for dropping by. Sorry it's taken a few days to get back to you. Thanks for commenting on my fairly new wee blog. I believe I do spell 'porage' correctly, Try having a look at a box of Scotts Porage Oats. Anyway, I'm sure the important thing is that the communication's understood rather than the perfect vehicle. Cos I have to tell you if it's perfection you're after you'll probably find mean pickings here.

    Cheers again and drop by again soon.


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