Sunday, 17 May 2015

We need to talk about Labour (Scottish branch)

(with apologies to Kevin!) 

By Panda Paws

So ten days after SLAB’s worst ever electoral performance since its inception, Jim Murphy has announced, well what exactly?  It appears that he will “offer” his resignation in one month’s time, using the intervening period to write a blueprint on how SLAB should reform itself. Presumably binding his successor to follow his plan for the future, because obviously the one in the recent past worked so well! 

Now, I don’t doubt that SLAB needs reforming. I do, however, doubt that St Jim of the Halo is the one to lead them to modernisation, reform or whatever the buzzword de jour is. He actually survived a motion of no confidence by 17 votes (including his own and an unelected peer) to 14 (or 55% to 45% as just about everybody has managed to calculate). The BBC described it as a narrow vote in favour which was interesting given there was a similar % vote in September that was described by them as “decisive”.

What seems clear (as mud perhaps) is that Jim is no longer planning to be First Minister next year, which will make Nicola Sturgeon sleep a lot easier I’m sure. Indeed one report states he’s no longer planning to stand for election as an MSP. 

Apparently he has other as yet unspecified plans. Mmmm, isn’t it the Queen’s Official birthday in June; the one that has an honours list including peers of the realm? Might Jim join Darling and Brown by parking their bums on red seats that come with £300 per day attendance allowance, a subsidised restaurant and the unelected chance to amend legislation? 

Or will his ties to the Henry Jackson Society result in some tidy little sinecures? Needless to say like the rest of the now redundant MPs he won’t get a taste of his own medicine by having to sign on at the Job Centre. 

Contacts dear boy, contacts!

One thing we did learn from the speech is that not only are the SNP bad, but Unite is bad too, and Len McCluskey is very bad, very bad indeed. Fundymundily bad! Because if there is one thing that you need to do after pissing off the majority of your party’s voting base, it’s pissing off the Unions that help fund your party and maintain your, albeit now tenuous, link to the working class.

In April 2014, McCluskey threatened to disaffiliate Unite from Labour and launch a new workers' party if Labour lost the general election. Frankly in my humble opinion all the unions need to review whether Labour is the party that best articulates the aspirations and needs of the working class and thus deserves their funding. Although the multi-millionaire Umunna has Chucka’ed his bid for the UK leadership, the other candidates appear to be on the Blairite wing of the party triangulating ever rightwards.

So what of the future? 

Can SLAB recover in time of the 2016 Holyrood elections? 

Who will want the poisoned chalice of leading the party into what will almost certainly be another defeat? 

And possibly even their worst ever Scottish Parliamentary election?

If Kezia Dugdale fancies a long term career in politics, she might want to decline any invitation to stand at this point. Going into an election as leader of a Jim Murphy refashioned SLAB could be considered as a career limiting decision. 

As I said last week (you read last week’s piece didn’t you?), we live in interesting times indeed.


  1. Step forward the RT Hon Paul Martin he is certainly dumb enough to grab the poisoned chalice as the rest are members in the brain cell passing round club I think..

    1. Ah the Nobleman's son. The Hon ... a junior aristocrat.

      Yeah. They are always dumb as dumb can be.

  2. Is it not a fascinating insight into the mind of Mr Murphy that everyone else is 'bad'?

    1. He certainly appears to be extremely bitter, about everyone and everything!

  3. When you work your socks off for the good of the establishment and you get nowhere it makes you bitter. There is Sunny Jim doing his bit to keep the Union together for his masters and failing, so he needs to have one success, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, aka Labour in Scotland just might work for him, or not. I doubt he will be signing on any time soon as has been said previously he has been making contacts like most of them.

    1. He thought he was going to end up a big cheese, one way or the other, and he's ended up a big failure.

      Even under his beloved master, Blair, he only rose to the dizzy heights of the non job of SoS for Scotland.

      Under Miliband, presumably to keep him on side, he got to shadow defence, but he was obviously not up to the job, because he was demoted to international development.

      He played to referendum with his 100 towns, but frankly I doubt he made any difference at all. He rarely drew crowds and when he did it was to boo and hiss at him.

      What swung the referendum was Brown and Cameron... not Darling and Jim.

      And he stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, something which had been agreed by all as a huge mistake, not least of all Brown (who of course was on the opposite side from Murphy in Labour's internecine war.

      Lasdt ditch ... he would come in and save Scottish Labour/ "I won't lose a single seat to the SNP."

      In a way he was right...there was a single seat he didn't lose to the SNP...

      Instead of bowing out with dignity he clung on, and to be fair, he won a vote of confidence and then resigned.

      But he did so with a bitter and unpleasant speech that blamed everyone for his failure, and hacked off the unions into the bargain.

      Overall, he's hardly been a runaway success, has he?

      No wonder he's bitter...


  4. Never understand political leaders who, when they lose, refuse to stand down. Clegg did, Milliband did, Farage sort of did.

    He seems to forget that a politician has several priorities:

    1. Constituents. Rules that out.
    2. Your country - whether UK or Scotland he's failed on both counts.
    3. Your party. Not doing a very good job is he?

    Labour need to move one, and he is acting as anchor.

    The new leader in Scotland has to be an MSP. And whoever it is needs to be free of the shackles of Labour HQ. This might allow them to pursue policies which are relevant to Scotland, not those in a vain attempt to win South East votes.

    If they continue the way they are going, I wouldn't be surprised if the Tories are second biggest party after next year's elections.

    1. As I've often said, Anon, I think he was an amazing choice, in a bad way.

      Labour always talks about learning lessons. After every defeat they suffer they go away to learn lessons. Now it's true that they won the referendum, but they immediately lost their leader.

      The referendum may have gone the way that they wanted it to go, but their core vote voted YES. If they were in a mood to learn lessons that should have told them something.

      If you are listening to your members, you must wonder why they voted against you in the referendum.

      Yet they thought it a good idea to elect as their leader a man who by his own testimony, played a major role in that referendum.

      A man who was photographed with David Mundell and Annabel Goldie.

      A right winger.

      It was beyond belief but we were overjoyed.

      I agree that the next leader has to come from Holyrood. And although it will create all kinds of new problems they have to be freed form the shackles of appealing to the stockbroker belt.

      We really don't want a Labour party here that doesn't want to be bothered with unemployed people as Reeves suggested. That to us is a Tory party.

    2. These were people who had alternative employment prospects,don't think Murphy has much in that way.
      Once he understands what being unemployed really means,he might develop empathy for others in the same situation.
      Unemployment used to mean hard times and little money to go around,now it is a completely different ball game and destitution and hunger are becoming the norm.
      Welcome to the real world which you helped to create Mr Murphy,no fun is it?

    3. I suspect his mates in the right wing of Labour will see him with a job.

      He was a faithful servant of Blair and Mandelson. They could find him a job washing their cars or jets or something...

      Maybe he'll get a show on BBC Scotland, or at Faslane. Who knows?

      I doubt he will go hungry though. His type never do.

    4. I suspect he will still be getting paid by his US handler.

    5. I see that Lord (Waltzing with Hilda) Foulkes has endorsed Fifi's leadership bid. The kiss of death, surely??

    6. Is Kezia standing because yesterday someone I think on Wings said that Ken MacIntosh would not stand if she was standing and now he says he is?
      If she is of course he will back her, his little poodle, if she was my daughter I think I would have disowned her by now for giving the family a showing up. All that money spent on her education, makes me worry if the exams are not hard enough.

    7. LOL Jutie. Can you imagine, had he ever been first minister, him standing up to pressure from the American Senate like Eck did?

    8. They go back a long way, John. He taught her everything she knows... which could explain a lot, I guess.

      Although to be fair I was amazed to see her newspaper article which was gracious in its congratulations to the 56.

      She certainly didn't learn graciousness from the sour faced, bitter Noble Lord!

      I kneel as I type this, obviously!

    9. Kez must be mad, Helena.

      With respect to her, at her age she hasn't got the experience to be First Minister. Nicola failed when she was that age to lead the party, but went on to learn and to hone her talents.

      I can't see them being able to make any turn around in the next 11 months in any case, so she would more likely than not fail and have to resign, effectively ending her career in the early 30s.

      Better to let MacIntosh fail, and go for it in 10 years' time when the mess may have been sorted.

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  6. Keyboard sorted. Hooray.

    Not that it will help with my spelling :)

    Panda Paws Good stuff an enjoyable read. But should we be wasting time on , let's be honest here, a minority party . The press are already trying to revive the corpse. This would be a disaster for us. Scotland does not get represented at WM by LIEbour. never have. They are the shackles Scotland has thrown off and if we need oppsition and theres plenty of that from any of the union parties , then let it be a Scottish opposition , not some voicebox for the WM elite.

    Liebour and the press are at it every day. It's mind numbing and repetative and fools no one.

    I ask you. What would it take to make anyone vote LIEbour ??

    I for one , and i know i am not alone, will never give them the time of day never mind my vote.

    So what conditions do you think we need to be sure that LIEBOUR will work for us. Remember they are still chucking out the lies even now. It's a big ask to trust them now so ..... ??

    Not a dig or to cause an arguement , just really interested.

    I get the feeling some "miss " the party because they believed they stood for something before and could revert back to what they where. Still not seeing that they kept us check for the WM boys club and did bugger all as Scotlands industry was dismantled .

    Is giving up Liebour like giving up the fags ??

    Thank goodness the young team have no such doubts. Phew . Sorry if i am going on. Just get the impression we should be moving on and ignoring LIEbour. They are a single seat party and we have a job to finish them off in the SE.

    Just saying .