The Labour party have kicked off the Spring conference season. Perhaps Kez or Corbyn will pack the place out but so far the conference looks sparsely attended compared to conferences of yesteryear. One of the reasons for that may be that nowhere on Labour’s conference site could I find out where the conference was actually being held. Though I suspect it wouldn’t have made much difference. It’s in Perth by the way.
The Labour party, North Britain branch is in dire straits. Judging by their confusing budget reports (no one knows quite how they are funded) the amount of cash they raise from the membership suggests a serious decline in numbers. The former party of government has slipped to 3rd largest party at Holyrood and from a total of 41 members out of 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster they collapsed in a single election to a single member. Their polling for the upcoming local government elections is hovering around 15%. Even with the vagaries of the local government voting system it looks like Labour will lose control of their West Central Scotland powerbase. They may hang on by doing deals with the Tories and Lib Dems as they did at the last LG elections to maintain control in a number of areas even though they were overtaken as the largest party by the SNP. Further confirmation that effectively in Scotland there are only two parties, the Independence Party and the Unionist Party. They just have different branches.
I shed no tears for Labour. They have been a corrupt leech on Scotland for 60yrs. Even now they are embroiled in corruption scandals in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. It was joy to be rid of the collection of chancers, careerists, anti Scots, liars and scumbags that represented Labour in Westminster.
Hemorrhaging support on the left to the SNP and on the right to the Tories, Labour has an identity crisis. What do they stand for? Well conference has answered that. They stand for the Union and federalism. Both will kill them. They are standing on the wrong side of the argument and the wrong side of history.
On the Union they hope to win back support from the Tories but the Tories are full on, dyed in the wool, always have been, no surrender unionists. Labour can’t compete with that, nor should they want to. They had a chance before the 2014 referendum to carve out a niche supporting full fiscal autonomy stopping short of independence. This was a position urged on them by a number of leading figures including former First Minister Henry McLeish. Instead they allowed themselves to be used as front men and fall guys by the Tories. The result is the terrible position they find themselves in today.
Not only is their position not credible they have pursued it with the kind of rhetoric which displays the complete lack of self awareness that is the hallmark of Labour. It’s a kind of Gordon Brown delusion, if we said it it’s true even if it is totally ludicrous.
Take Ian Murray MP. ‘Straight Talking, Honest Politics’, according to the caption on his platform dias. Labour’s sole surviving MP, courtesy of Tory tactical voting in Edinburgh had this to say, “I want to make it absolutely clear to both Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed to Ruth Davidson, the SNP has absolutely no mandate for another Scottish independence referendum. If they try to push one through, Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament all the way” Another day this load of pish would have qualified Murray for our ever popular Moron of the Day series. Clearly the SNP election manifesto contained a provision to call a new referendum if there was a ‘material’ change in circumstances. A vote to leave the EU by the rest of the UK was given as a specific example. That is exactly what happened yet this clown claims the exact opposite. Do Labour simply not realise what fools they look when they spin theses lies? There is also a majority in the Scottish parliament for a referendum.
The second pillar of their new policy is Federalism. This is seriously flawed. They have adopted a century old Liberal policy which in those 100 plus years has gone exactly nowhere. To solve what they see as a Scottish ‘problem’ they want to impose a UK wide solution which the UK or certainly England isn’t interested in. If fedaralism/devolution was seen as a practical solution to governance in England it would have happened long ago. John Prescott’s half hearted attempt at devolution for Northern England in 2004 was roundly rejected by 78%-22%.
The fact is Scottish Labour is leaderless and rudderless. I have a certain sympathy for Kezia Dugdale but she volunteered for the gig and hasn’t shown much leadership or imagination. The senior members of Scottish Labour are air heads like James Kelly and no talent serial liars like Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie. They have however done the independence movement a favour. By sinking into the morass they have left the Tories as the potential leaders for Better Together2, that should be interesting.
Despite the continuing, unwarranted promotion by the BBC and MSM, the Labour party in Scotland is staring into the abyss. Barring a miracle in May Scottish Labour is condemned to a biblical period of wandering in the wilderness or outright extinction.