Sunday 12 October 2014

The curious death of SLAB

Guest Post by Dean MacKinnon-Thomson

(Munguin's man in China)

When the lamentable Johann Lamont took to twitter to declare 'victory' over YES Scotland in September she was missing something. That 'something' was the phrase 'pyrrhic victory'. Someone had better lend her a dictionary quick.

In an aftermath of a referendum campaign which had witnessed 37% of Labour voters ticking the 'YES' box; you'd be free to think a tone of reconciliation was in order. But then, if you think that, you really don't get SLAB do you?

Throughout the campaign many traditional Labour voters drifted to the YES camp. For their temerity to question their received orders from Labour HQ they were cat-called. 'Closet-Nat', 'SNP spy'. Someone I know who did exactly this was even accused of being a 'traitor'. Harsh words, alienation and then the final salt in the wound: 'Victory'. SLAB presided over their worst political campaign in living memory. Wrong tone, wrong attitude. And 'pyrrhic' is just the result.

YouGov & Survation polling (unusually) agree that SLAB is facing a haemorrhaging of votes the SNP In GE2015. 'Just' and 'desserts' spring to my mind:

YouGov aggregates: Lab 31% SNP: 33% LD 6% Tory 20%
Survation poll: Lab 32% SNP 34% LD 5% Tory 18%

Both the Survation poll and the YouGov aggregate of Scottish YouGov polling were conducted after the September referendum.

If we put the Survation numbers through Electoral Calculus we see:

Lab – 29 MPs
SNP – 25 MPs
LD – 2 MPs
Tory – 3 MPs

And before anyone claims 'this couldn't ever happen!', I'd ask you to note polling legend Peter Kellner comments on the scale of swings the SNP'd need to make major gains against SLAB:

“Only three Labour seats are vulnerable to a 5% swing to the SNP; but then comes a tipping point. An 8% swing would cost Labour 19 seats – and probably Miliband’s hopes of becoming Prime Minister.” link:

This is what happens when you take your vote for granted. When you never bother canvassing. When you condescend to 'your voters'. They kick you, and make sure you feel it.

I for one wouldn't rule out the SNP securing an 8% swing away from SLAB in 6 months time. After all, just how is SLAB going to counter the SNPs now massive party membership? The SNP can simply out-gun the Labour Party on the doorsteps across Scotland.

To SLAB all I'll say is: Con te partirò


  1. Deano

    Err ! you lost the referendum a Pyrrhic victory ( do you actually know the history ? )
    Is still a victory now what is more important to you losing nats.
    Winning a Independence referendum vote ( you didnt ) or coming second to labour at Westminster..

    SLAB presided over their worst political campaign in living memory. and still beat the snp in snp organised referendum.

    just how is SLAB going to counter the SNPs now massive party membership? The SNP can simply out-gun the Labour Party on the doorsteps across Scotland.

    You said that about the referendum and all the snp doorsteppers and you still lost the referendum by a massive vote for NO...........lets be honest most normal people were a bit
    peed off with the messianic yes disciples disrupting there peaceful private home lives.
    Banging on there front doors sticking unwanted and unasked for flyer's through there letter boxes.Annoying and following them out in the street with their anti UK tirades

    And so they went into the ballot and voted NO it dont matter how many extremists
    join the snp, in a secret protected and free ballot the snp is always going to lose a vote for Independence.

    1. Erm, Niko... you were addressing Dean, who is not and has never been a "Nat".

      Could you give me some sort of reference to where you discovered that "most normal people were a bit peed off with the messianic yes disciples disrupting their peaceful private home lives. Banging on their front doors sticking unwanted and unasked for flyer's through their letter boxes.Annoying and following them out in the street with their anti UK tirades ."

      Didn't No do that too?

      I'd not bet on your last paragraph though. Or do you think that, absolutely assured of victory Gordon Brown and David Cameron decided to go for devo-max out of the goodness in their hearts.

      Two big flaws in that: you don;t concede ground when you are winning ... and it would also involve either of them having a scintilla of goodness in their hearts... which we all know they don't.

      I expect Dean will have more to say...

    2. Tris, Niko just made my point didn't he? If you disagree with SLAB HQ you become 'a nat'...

      He makes my case rather nicely doesn't he?

    3. I'd add Niko, this next GE will be unlike anything we've witnessed before.

      If SLAB are counting on peddling the usual 'vote labour, keep Tories out' they're peddling a bust flush.

      Everyone knows this GE will be a four party race, even in England: Lab, Tory, LibDem & now (sadly) UKIP ... this UK general picture means the SNP can quite legitimately say voting Lab won't guarantee ousting the coalition at all!

      After all 617 votes stood between Labour losing a safe seat to UKIP. Squeaky bum time is descriptive of SLAB & wider LabUK attitude to the GE...all they want is their 35% strategy, keep the defected LD and win.

      PROBLEM: in Scotland the defecting LibDems didn't go to Labour like they did elsewhere in England. In Scotland they went to the SNP too.

      Face facts, Labour traditional messages for winning Scottish votes in WM is bust. Their strategy patently misunderstands the post IndyRef Scottish levels of engagement. And they are ignorant of where their Scottish votes are coming from.

      Good bye and Good Luck to Scots Lab!

    4. "do you actually know the history ?" Was that a challenge Niko? If you really want a potted history of the the Pyrrhic War, I'll gladly recite one for you.

      Labour did not defeat the SNP Niko. What did happen that the Landowners and big business defeated the people of Scotland using mercenary Labour footsoldiers to do it...

      ...and that old chum, will never be forgiven. There is one, repeat, one Tory MP in Scotland exactly how many years after Thatcher died...?

    5. Exactly Dean. You disagree with Lamont you are a virus, seems to the be story.

  2. Dean when BBCLabour in Scotland have been the mouthpiece for the Scottish branch of Labour for more than a decade complacency sets in by knowing that they can speak the most absolute claptrap and blame everything on the SNP and get away with it.

    When has Darling been questioned over his house flipping habit and resignation from the Law Society because they were going to investigate his integrity or why he bailed out HBoS in 2007 with £25 billion of taxpayers money, never. The chickens are coming home to roost not before time.

    1. The BBC isn't very good at being impartial? You surprise me sir ...

    2. ". There is one, repeat, one Tory MP in Scotland exactly how many years after Thatcher died...?"

      Well, Bonfire night is coming up and we do need a guy....
      Sorry, couldnae resist.
      Label the victory whatever ye like, guys, but I will go to my grave always believing the Yes's won and were cheated. Scotland was stolen from us. Up to us to get her back now.

    3. It will take longer, but in a way it will be better, because unlike 1979, it's not going away this time.

  3. Is Dean in China?


    Shanghai or Beijing or my hometown, Chengdu?

    1. I'm in Xianning teaching english (TEFL)
      Xianning city , Hubei province

      It's famous for hot springs (I'm loving it here)

    2. Oh, and Baths?

      Be careful, Dean.

  4. Perhaps Tris you can tell Niko that his side has only won the first skirmish, the war has only just begun and therefore he can stop crowing. In 1979 the SNP were diminished by the result of another cheating scam, the 40% rule and promises of a better devolution resolution. This time there is no diminution in the SNP, so the 45% are not for giving up. That is quite a sizeable amount of voters Niko should remember and the other thing is the largest amount of NO voters came from a diminishing source, the elderly. I do not think the BBC will be able to be funded by taxpayers alone shortly, well that will be another drain on the resources of Westminster. We have nurses and health workers on Strike in England today, some who must be wondering why they are paying to fund the Labour Party. If I were an unhealthy elderly person of limited means I would start worrying why I voted NO actually, if they can actually turn their heads South and look over the border. A very good analysis Dean, we can only hope that people who did vote yes do not turn tribal on us.

    1. I'd be interested to see what is happening to the BBC licence fee situation, Helena. There is a fair sized campaign to stop people subscribing for live tv, now that there are so many other ways to watch programmes at your leisure.

      By and large young people don't watch tv at all. It's very passé and older people are finding that they can use their computer.

      They are about to decriminalise non payment even if you do watch tv, because there is a mass protest against the BBC and 10% of cases in Sheriff courts in England are for non payment. In short they just can't afford to keep on prosecuting them.

      The is people democracy.

      I'm delighted. It serves the corrupt organisation right.

      And yes, I agree... won a battle, but the war is still up there to win...

    2. Helena

      To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
      Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
      To the last syllable of recorded time;
      And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
      The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
      Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.

  5. Interesting article, though my fear is that no matter how bad Labour become, the BBC and Daily Record will still support them and the grassroots campaign will be invisible to the vast disinterested mass of voters who get their information mainly from the mainstream.

    1. Yes, they will, but they are less and less influential as time goes on, Craig

    2. People used to say the same thing of the Scots Tories: 'the Scotsman will always support them'... but then the printed media became less important...then the public got a little upset at them...then the party of Disraeli and MacMillan was reduced to 1 MP.

  6. Great article Dean, The Labour party in Scotland as I call them, are due a good kicking, many people are disillusioned with them, especially since they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, for 2 years against independence, the drastic cuts that are just up the pipeline, will hurt many poor and disabled folk,thanks Labour.

  7. Anon and the other nats

    Umm !

    From 2007-11 they (the cconservatives )often propped up the SNP, securing small policy concessions for support on key votes (most notably on the budget, but note that they voted in agreement with the SNP over 70% of the time).

    1. They never slept with them 24/7 for two and a half years like Labour is still doing.

    2. They ( the Tories ) also propped up Slab when Slab were in power, glass houses and stones.

    3. Umm yeah but YOU are the hypocrites who slag off one party meanwhile your
      snp masters did it for far longer .

    4. Niko...again...try hearing this: I'm not a Nationalist. Never supported the SNP in my 25 years. But you know what? I'll never support SLAB. I've seen what they've done in Glasgow - f*&k-all.

  8. Dean

    Thank you for taking the time to write an article from a Labour supporters point of view, very much appreciated.

    I agree with much of what you say but I think the rot set in a long time ago. I have made no secret of my dislike of the Labour Party for a long time. I believe they treat anyone who disagrees with them with utter contempt and have a sense of entitlement that has allowed them to totally lose sight of what they are and why they even came into being.

    My own opinion is that the rot set in way back in the 1980s at the end of the Michael Foot era. I was only a pre teen then but I still remember Kinnock started to shift the party away from the working communities they represented and started to try to appeal to tv and the media. I also think that Labour of old had, in the main, MPs who had actually worked for a living, were members of the trade union movement etc. Now what you have in the main are career politicians, public school educated, wealthy MPs. They are also often married to other politicians, friends with politicians from other parties and the media whom they went to school with etc. The list goes on and sadly what happens is we end up with a democracy in name only populated by three parties who are all the same. For Labour this is the story for the last 30 years and is slowly killing them, even when they get a local person elected like Hilson in Fife, they are found to have lied to get there to local people and are just yes people for the leadership anyway.

    Labour have lost their way and are showing no inclination of finding their way back. I feel sorry for the few decent members who are left in Scotland like those in Labour for Indepenedence and their best hope is to abandon Labour and form a new party or join the SNP which is party undergoing change and will I suspect be the new Labour movement in Scotland and may even change it's name in the not too distant future.

    For the GE next year I am not so sure Labour will get a real doing. I suspect that the SNP may get 10 plus seats but I think with the support of the dying media in Scotland Labour may just pull off one more horrah but that will it their last as I think this one last chance they will get will be their westminster undoing in Scotland. But saying that anything less than near devo max might kill them off earlier.

    Anyway just my thoughts.