Saturday 13 December 2014


Congratulations to Jim Murphy and to Kezia Dugdale on winning the election to be leader and depute leader of the Labour Party's Scottish office.

It's not what I would have wished for... nor, from the poll that we ran over the last two days, what the majority of readers of Munguin's Republic wanted. I don't think it's really what Scotland wanted. However, it was what London wanted and what the BBC wanted. And apparently 56% of the Labour Party in Scotland wanted it, so it happened. And Hell mend them!

Sarah Boyack
  38 (20%)
Neil Findlay
  119 (63%)
Jim Murphy
  39 (20%)
Kezia Dugdale
  27 (14%)
Katy Clark
  70 (37%)

Jim Murphy got 20% of the Munguin poll votes, compared with 56% in the real poll. Neil Findlay in reality got 35% of the electoral college's votes, compared with a whopping 63% of Munguin's readers' votes.

Such is life. 

Anyway, thanks to all of you who took time to vote and to comment on the last thread.

So, with a speech about how he had a driving purpose to stamp out poverty, and how angry he was about the difference in life expectancy between rich and poor and his concerns about the difficulties of of the poor in getting a good education, he launched what he called a new era for Scottish Labour. 

But the path ahead will not be an easy one for Jim and his running mate.

His big problems seem to me to be:

He's in London and his job is in Edinburgh. He will be obliged to deputise his main duties to Dugdale while he continues to earn his salary as an MP. I know little of her, except that she, like Murphy, has never had a real job, and she spent her political life before getting into parliament, 3 years ago, as an assistant to a right of centre member of the House of Lords. What little I saw of her on tv during the referendum campaign, failed to impress me. She came over as full of hatred for the SNP ...and pretty much nothing else. 

He has to find a seat in Scotland. He has to either to persuade someone in a "safe" seat to stand down (perhaps with Ed recommending him/her for a seat in the House of Lords... it's been done before as Irene Expenses Adams can testify!!) and then he has to win that safe seat. That's not going to be easy. Those who resign a seat in mid term lose out on a generous resettlement payment, and any elevations to the House of Aristos will be noticed and used by political opponents. And it will have to be a rock solid seat... (imagine losing)... And what IS a rock solid seat at this time?

If he doesn't manage that, he has to make up his mind about standing for Westminster in May 2015. And he must say what he will if he retains that seat and goes on to win a seat in Holyrood.

He has somehow to lose his reputation as a hard right wing Blairite. He is at odds with his branch of the party on many issues, not least the removal of Trident from the Clyde. Blair, and what he did to Labour, is roundly loathed in Scotland, even by those who support the Labour Party and the union. London Labour has agreed to replace Trident with at least £100,000,000,000 worth of new nuclear subs. 

He stands for much that the Labour Party in Scotland is uncomfortable with. He was a supporter of the Iraq War and he voted against there being an investigation into it. He will have to make up where he stands on the report into CIA activities, including their involvement with torture... and the fact that all the intelligence that was gained from that torture was shared with the UK, while he was a minister. 

He says that he is concerned for the poor and that if he were first minister he would raise the taxes on the rich. Although he also said that he wouldn't tax the middle classes. So I'm assuming that his tax raising would be reserved for the super-rich. I seem to recall that Stuart Campbell calculated that that would bring in around £8 million a year, if the rich didn't all suddenly feel the urge to buy property (and pay tax) in England. 

So he'll need to find another way, because I can assure Mr Murphy that £8 million won't go far shared between all the poor in Scotland!
Pointy finger

His conviction is doubtful... His voting record on measures like social security hardly indicate strong support for the poor. Labour in London are going to be harder than the Tories on Welfare. Rachel Reeves has said so. How will he square that circle?

Labour head office has also committed to keeping to George Osborne's spending plans. How many people in Scotland are up for that? And what will that do for the poor?

Scotland is looking for a Labour Party that IS a Labour Party, not the metropolitan pinkish watered down vision of Mandelson's and Blair's, which agrees with almost everything that the Eton Boys say and pleases the rich 'socialists' at the BBC. 

And it's going to be hard for him to convince anyone that he really cares about the poor when he has the baggage of being Blair's most loyal lieutenant.

It will be hard for him to espouse socialist policies in Scotland, while the London party is busily aping Cameron. Miliband will be scared that he will frighten off the kind of voters and donors that they want to encourage.

This may seem a little personal ... and a bit cruel, but it seems to me that I have never met anyone who actually "likes" Jim. OK, you can say that I don't meet enough Labour supporters to make a sound judgement on that and that's fair comment. But it seems to me that he's just not a popular man despite the support he has just had from the party. 

He needs to work on getting the public to like him... and to trust him.

I doubt that will be easy. He's not the kind of bloke you like. He's hasn't got the easy manner that appeals to other men. You can't imagine going for a pint with him. I've never heard of women swooning over him. People like Blair picked up a lot of votes on his good looks (well it was nearly 20 years ago!!) Jim will never be accused of that. And he's hardly an intellectual giant who simply wows you with his wit or clarity of thought.

I wish him luck becoming appealing...

So he's not idea either from the Labour Party's point of view, or from Scotland's point of view.

I image there will be some pretty happy SNP people today though.


  1. Well I am a happy bunny, we have one of the most right wing of right wing Labour MP's who has the grace to confirm that what Johann Lamont said was true. I am sure that she is having a wee laugh today. God I hated her but how can I put it if she had actually developed a back bone she could have changed so much. She could have told Ed to go and bile his heed and she could have taken the party towards Independence but well she didn't and we know that the victors will write the history books. I heard a wee bit of Jim Murphy's acceptance speech and thought that this man hasn't got a clue where to start to put Labour (Scottish Branch) back together again, thank goodness.

    1. No he hasn't. He's not a conciliator. He's the most divisive man in Labour.

      I really think, despite what Niko says. that this spells the beginning of the end.

  2. Jim won't move to the left. If he does then he loses East Ren in 2015. As for 2016, I see him going for Eastwood currently held by his amigo Ken McIntosh with Ken being promised either ermine or the vacated East Ren seat in a by-election - unless Jim "expenses max" wants to keep both seats which he's perfectly entitled to do.

    Fun and games. I wonder if I'll be able to hold my nose and vote Tory to get rid of him in May or whether I'll cast a wasted vote for SNP which is likely to be the only Yes party standing.

    1. Scottish Green Co-Conveners Maggie Chapman & Patrick Harvie have today congratulated Jim Murphy & Kezia Dugdale on their election to the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party and invited Labour members to join the Greens following the result.

      With Jim Murphy’s record as a staunch defender of the Iraq War, privatisation of public services and deep cuts to social security many Labour members and supporters will now be seeking a new political home, following many who have already done so. One in ten Scottish Green Party members is an ex-Labour Party member.

      Patrick Harvie MSP said:

      “I congratulate Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale on their election. Neil and Sarah are also due great credit for offering Scottish Labour some more radical options.

      By electing Jim Murphy though, Scottish Labour have made a choice that confirms them as a pro-Trident, pro-austerity party, still Blairite so long after Blair, and this will dismay many. I find it hard to see how that agenda can connect with Scotland’s newly politicised voters.”

      Above is what Patrick Harvey of the Greens thinks of Jim Murphy’s appointment, I have found Mr Harvey over the past few years in the run up to the Scottish referendum, to be fair and honest in his opinion, and even he’s dismayed at Labour’s appointment of Murphy.

    2. PP... It's probably, as you have said before, a wasted vote for the SNP in your seat.

      It's between the Tories and the Tory... I think I'd hold my nose and vote Tory.

      You'll need to do it on an empty stomach. Vomit makes a ballot paper inadmissible.

    3. Anon: Thanks. Patrick Harvie is a good guy. I've liked a lot of what he said in the independence debate.

      I think he's right here too.

  3. tris

    Ave Murphy morituri te salutant

    That'll be a bit above most of the others you will have to explain
    to them . and as for Helena this is more your level

    1. I did a rough translation on the last post...

      Hail (ish) Jim. We salute you in your dying.... more or less.

      I wish you'd do your own translations Niko. You know how much people charge for this kind of thing? And my Latin stinks on ice!

      Conan's the Latin man. He went to a good school.

    2. LOL...

      I got a couple of lovely Helleborus Niger, which are weird because they are white. I assume the foetid ones actually do stink?

    3. The Niger can refer to the fruit colour not flower Sambucus niger has black berries e.g.

    4. Ahhhh... thank you. :)

    5. Aww Niko, you were thinking of me. I knew you were not that bad. Maybe we could walk Taz and Hektor one day, well maybe not depends what sort of dog Taz is. Hektor is most particular, but like Munguin what with the pedigree and the fact that Pugs were princes in the Chinese Empire, well they just never got over it.
      As for the latin Niko, you forget I do use a computer and I have said I am not impressed by those who are pretentious. Remember what I said about poor little rich kid Stein and his brother.

    6. Taz is BIG... but it's not him you have to worry about. He's a gentle giant. It's Niko that is problematic. Even if he speaks Latin!

    7. helena

      Taz is a nice staffy and i am afraid a snp supporting nat

      pretensions who moi ?

    8. Taz, as you can gather is the brains of the outfit!

    9. Well if he is a Staffie the walks are out, one tried mounting mine and now all of them are marked doggies. Okay Hektor wouldn't win any battle with them but he would die trying. Now I have no idea what way Hektor would vote but being that one half of his parents come from Ohio I tend to like to think he would ave voted YES, that and he hates not being fed. Then Granddad and Mum come from Sunderland and Mum, County Durham, Wheatly Hill, Labour Country, who knows.

  4. It seems to be the BBC and the rest of the MSM salivating over this crowning as the grassroots and even the Greens see it as the beginning of the end for Labour in Scotland.


    Five reasons why Jim Murphy's election is bad for the labour movement

    1. ch

      wot the snp vs the city of london.............nae chance

    2. Return to earth, this is earth calling, come in...........pleeeeze.

  5. I'm not a great fan of Murphy, but there's a bit of received wisdom going on with some of this stuff. Miliband was the left-wing, union-endorsed candidate in the Labour leadership election in 2010, but that doesn't mean he's popular in Scotland. New Labour on the other hand were wildly successful in Scotland, even in the post-crisis Brown years. The Iraq War was in 2003 so we can hardly argue it took until after 2010 before the electorate somehow decided Labour was too right-wing. That argument had been made against New Labour for a decade - Monbiot's Captive State (arguably the most popular formulation of it) came out as long ago as 2000.

    What's actually going on here is we're mixing up an SNP attack line they've been aiming at Murphy for months ("he's too right-wing for traditional Labour voters") with an analysis of what's going to happen in an election. There's some truth to it (Murphy is unpopular with some on the left of the party) but he could equally win more support back by being more of a political heavyweight. It is a personality contest at the end of the day, which is precisely why Miliband is doing so badly.

    Your average voter in Scotland doesn't have a chip on their shoulder about Murphy not being left-wing enough. It's always a mistake to assume that because a very small number of activists have very strong opinions that everyone else across society thinks the same way. If Murphy leads the party properly and frames policy in accordance with its members (as all party leaders do) then I'd be very surprised if he's not more successful than his predecessors.

    1. Hi Gordon.

      I accept that there are many who don't know or care about left and right. But when he starts talking right wing policies like ...well, he backed student fees in England... he backs nuclear weapons...he backed the Iraq war... he didn't want an inquiry into it... he backs Israel, and did so even at the time of Sharon. Some of his right wing friends of Israel are an embarrassment to the tories, never mind Labour.

      He backs welfare reforms, Atos test. welfare caps...

      If you say it's down to leading with you think Murphy is the man for the job? Is he any more likeable than Miliband? I'd say not.

      I think in this televisual age it helps to have a warm personality, and a genuine looking (at least) common touch. Neither he nor Miliband does.

      It helps if you are passably good looking (members of the opposite sex can be swayed by a pretty face). Miliband isnt good looking, Murphy most assuredly isn't. OK, it's not nice of me to say it, but it does count!

      According to those who know him he is an authoritarian and divisive character, seeming devoid of any warmth.

      Worse still he's been running a fiddle on his expenses, a very profitable one, regarding letting out his flat in London.

      Women think he's creepy. He's not in any way a feminist (Curran and he fell out over this).

      I've heard him in debate. He's not the big hitter they make him out to be; just another shouter. I've heard working men pull his arguments to pieces. On his tour he simply ignored people who asked hard questions ...even if they were little old ladies.

      And most of all he won't even be here. He'll be (or should be) in London doing the job the country pays him to do. I think I'd be right in saying that the leader of Scottish Labour branch is not a salaried state appointment. And once again, if Dugdale is supposed to be a hard hitter, I've missed it.

      I just cant see one redeeming feature, and in a way I'm sad that Scotland will be the worse for having him as the opposition leader.

      We need good opposition, and since Annabel Goldie stood down, we haven't actually had one..

    2. Damning from within CH.

      The divisive leader.

  6. Tris, anent today's news, have a swatch at this wee table of how SLAB politicians voted.

    When you disregard all but the MSPs you can identify the power groups within the Holyrood SLAB benches.

    Hours of SLAB kremlinology speculation joy as they backstab each other into electoral oblivion.

    SNP Baaad!

    1. Oh....very interesting.

      Just look at all the obedient ones who voted the way they were instructed to.

      I note that Lamont didnt vote at all for Murphy or Dugdale.

      They have an enemy there. And one who is not without influence, as all ex leaders are.

      I think I'll hang on to that list.

      Merci beaucoup!

    2. Ca ne fait rien, avec plaisir.

      My question is what is Jackie Baillie's price for loyally supporting this stitch-up?

    3. Lady Baillie at some time in the future? She did go to a very good school you know.

      Credit to the Chair Choob ... he wasn't having any of it... and if Milband had said anything I dare say he'd have god a good seeing to.

    4. GOOD seeing to.... obviously!

  7. Niko,

    We who are about to die salute you? Have you reached the end of your tether with Labour? I wonder what cunning plan Labour have up their sleeve when they are appointing such a right-wing individual with an 'interesting' history as their 'Scottish' branch manager? It does not appear to make any kind of sense but I suppose that is Labour all over in more ways than one.

    PS: For the pedants, you can have plans up your sleeve!

    1. Ah yes, that's a much better translation. I got my ends mixed up... It's us that's dying, not him.

      Oh well...

      Did they speak Latin when you were a boy, John?

  8. It looks as if the lady behind Fifi is praying "Please God shut her up before she makes an even more embarrassing balls-up"

    1. Apparently he's had a conversion, the likes of which would have had Saul change his name to Abdullah, never mind Paul.

      He's now back in favour of free education (the last time he felt like that was at his gradu... well, his classmates' graduation). He's against war, and trident, for trades unions, renationalisation, Palestine, and wants Tony Blair called to account for his war crimes... (although not extending that inquiry to junior ministers).


      I suspect that Nicola will be gentle with her.

  9. congratulations is also due to Munguins republic for getting similar voting figures to the real vote by my reckoning 263 votes, well done.

    1. Thanks JD... Pity we didn't end up with the same result!!!