There’s an interesting article over at Better Nation in which Jeff Breslin looks at the Labour in Scotland leadership contenders and their chances in the upcoming contest. (I call it Labour in Scotland because, as DougtheDug points out, there is no such party as Scottish Labour.)
Jeff’s conclusions are that, of the possible contenders, none is looking particularly inspiring, and points to Scotland on Sunday’s story which suggests that Joanne Lamont may be appointed acting leader while they “figure out which is the best way forward”, or, as I would put it...”scrabble about looking for someone with just a wee bit of talent.
Jeff somewhat bemusingly suggests that the only person to have made a mark on the SNP has been Kazia Dugdale, so I think that shows what an easy ride Salmond has had thus far, and what a lamentable bunch Labour are, if Dugdale is their star performer!!
But Dugdale is not Jeff’s choice for Labour leader at Holrood. Instead he proposes that Jim (Spud) Murphy be leader from London, and whilst a parliamentary leader would be appointed to fend off the First Minister in parliament, the strategy and real leadership would come from London.
Bring it on, I say. That Labour would admit that they are so disinterested in Scotland that from all the people they send to Holyrood (admittedly far fewer than before), they cannot chose one man or woman who is capable of leading them in opposition, and fit to be first minister (maybe) one day, is very telling. That the real leader of (tongue-in-cheek) “Scottish Labour” prefers to be in London rather than Edinburgh is all good for the SNP.
But if that were to be the plan, what of Jeff’s choice, Jim Murphy, doing it?
Well, I don’t think he’d want it. He took the Secretary for Scotland job reluctantly and would probably much prefer his defence brief, even though he seems to make no mark against the odious Fox.
But is he capable of it? I remember hearing Murphy on two occasions (while he was SoS) on Radio Scotland and on a Scotsman web phone in, being roundly beaten on every single question, by the questioners, who, for the most part gave the impression of being “ordinary working men and women" phoning in with their questions.
He trotted out scripted answers for questions on economics, international affairs, Scottish matters, etc, and when his questioners refused to accept these rehearsed stock answers, and pushed him for a proper response, he was lost. He could only repeat what he had said.
At one point he became so irritated with a man who would not accept his explanation that he accused the questioners in general of being part of an SNP plot to embarrass him.
Incidentally, that programme made me seriously doubt the BBC-Labour conspiracy theory. Not one single questioner had been planted to ask a friendly question.
On the basis, then, that he’s not very good, and it’s probably the last job in the world he wants, I think it might be reasonable to treat Spud’s candidacy with some doubt?
So, should it be Baillie, MacIntosh, Baker, Park, Lamont, Chisholm, Henry, Dugdale, A N Other, or someone from England, and if so, who?
What do you think...? Answers on a postcard to the usual address...