by Craig Sheridan
London Labours Scottish branch are a façade of a political party with a right wing Blairite branch manager masquerading as the ghost of Labours past. It’s an unavoidable fact that they do not and indeed cannot dictate their own policy. They are at the mercy of their National Executive in London. This illusion they have worked so hard to protect over many decades, has eventually been exposed to the nation as a fraud. They now face a deserved electoral annihilation in Scotland as well as complete and total humiliation, as the SNP surge ahead in every age group, class and gender. Following Thursdays results, when the dust should be settling around a government being formed, instead May 8th looks like a gathering storm of Labours own making due to their declaration of not dealing with the SNP and their mantra of the ‘largest party’ forming the government. Labours Caledonian collieshangie is set to go UK wide.
At last, Scots understand what Labour in Scotland represents, namely a bunch of Scots careerists who do not want Scots governing Scots. These pro-self, anti-scots have left citizens feeling abandoned and divorced from government, provoking typical reactions of “I voted for Labour for 20 years. I now want them wiped off the political map. “ When Johann Lamont said they were being treated just like a branch office, she was absolutely correct, but this is because they are a branch office, furthermore one that tells voters what to think to suit their own Anglo-centric policies.
Johann’s petulant frustration hints at Scottish Labour Parliamentarians bizarrely falling for their own con trick and convincing themselves their augmented reality actually exists. This is reminiscent of the English voter fallacy where they believe preferential treatment is awarded to greedy Scots who gain a net surplus from the Exchequer. Of course, with repetition, fallacy becomes perceived in the voter mindset, with truth becoming a corrupted and adulterated irrelevance, despite the estimated £150 Billion excess contributed by Scotland since 1980.
Indeed, it was a revelation of note when Johann Lamont’s former spin-doctor Paul Sinclair divulged that a senior party member said “You did a remarkable job over the last three years in persuading the press that the Scottish Labour party actually exists.” It is a quote worth reading again and thinking about what it betrays.
Paul, who said the current incarnation of Labour in Scotland suffered from an ‘intellectual deficit’ went on to say: “the real damage is that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats saw first hand that the ‘Labour machine’ didn’t exist.”
Now that Labour have abandoned social democracy to the SNP and have no legitimate claim in that domain, if they cannot determine a convincing and radical purpose other than merely being opposed to the SNP, then the omnishambles that represents their perilous state of disorder, will become a full on implosion. In all probability, Labour has already transitioned from being a party beyond reproach in Scotland, to one that is beyond repair. They are clearly too disconnected from even the parts of Scottish society considered previously as impregnable Labour bastions, to effectively fulfil the role of intermediary between vital institutions and the people.
Robin McAlpine of the Common Weal commented “It is a function of the British establishment…it has now got to a point where it is the biggest barrier to social change in Scotland”. Robin is right, regardless of whether your X landed in the YES or NO box in September, few would claim Labour are a party worthy of a ‘socialist’ tag. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pointed out “Once upon a time Labour was the party of progress in Scotland – now they just stand in the way of progress. For too long now Labour has sought position and prestige at Westminster instead of the best interests of Scotland”. Indeed Nicola, the pivotal referendum role Labour played with their fellow conniving Tories and the contemptible way they portrayed the Scots electorate to the world, remains raw.
Labour campaigned hard with the Tories during the referendum, to keep Westminster Tories making decisions to the detriment of Scotland. The blame lies at their door for the missed opportunity to get rid of the Tories once and for all last September. However, there are no significant ideological differences between the two parties. Labour for some time has been conservative with the truth, now they are just conservative and without blush or conscience, after misleading the electorate using Tory funds and with a new toot on an old horn, they proclaim they want ‘rid of the Tories’. There are 80 Scottish Labour parliamentarians, which equates to 160 faces, each saying different things north and south of the border.
That reinvention is required if there is to be an 11th hour reprieve for Labours past transgressions, is not lost on Gordon Brown, who even lies about his first name which is actually James, and who arrogantly declared “I am resetting Scottish politics today”. Well Gordon, a ‘leaky ship needs muckle pumping’ and a politically engaged and educated electorate are unlikely to cast aside their aspirations for a party who literally fear democracy, especially given the mass realisation that the Scottish Labour ‘accountancy unit’ who are not even capable of counting their own members, do not have Scotland’s best interests anywhere near their political agenda. Indeed, no unionist party possibly could.
Reinvention would of course suit the dyke-louper Jim Murphy, having temporarily shed his Blairite beliefs for a diametrically opposed off-the-shelf ‘man of the people’ set, considered more amenable to his preferred target demographic of the gullible, vulnerable and politically illiterate. While bedecked in a Scotland football top and swigging Irn Bru, he tells us ‘a vote for SNP is a vote for the Tories’ but empty vessels make the most noise and it’s now 7 branch leaders in only 15 years; Dewar, McLeish, McConnell, Alexander, Gray and Lamont. Now Murphy, a person not a fit and proper to be involved in the consensual and progressive style of politics Scotland desperately needs. After Lamont, Labour needed a leader who could put an end to factionalism and austerity, but what they’ve got was a right-winger wrecking the little that remains of their traditions and one who dangerously repeats ‘the largest party always forms the government’. This is a position they are about to reverse on Friday as they attempt to do the polar opposite and numbers permitting, form a minority government only allowable by SNP backing.
There is a growing democratic deficit and prevailing lack of accountability as Scots, over-ready for a new style of politics, rapidly lose confidence in the Westminster capacity to uphold public interest and realise Westminster’s wants will always trump Scotlands needs. The sense of utter betrayal and revulsion that educated Scots have towards Labour, is akin to that lifelong revulsion which Scots who suffered from Thatcher in the 80’s still feel towards the Tories. The days of Labour pulling the wool over our eyes and sharing their lies are being consigned to history.
The clambering for power on Friday will be exacerbated by backtracking confusion caused by an inept Labour and their deal or no deal shenanigans. However, the whole mess will just elucidate that Scotland is no more than a cog in a plutocratic greed machine required to generate the power they crave.