The red panda is a real thing. It’s much smaller beastie than the better known giant panda, but it’s only marginally less endangered. According to Wikipedia, the red panda faces extinction because of habitat fragmentation, inbreeding, and poaching – which by a happy set of coincidences also form the reasons why the red pandas of the Labour party in Scotland are also staring extinction in the face. No one is really sure what sort of creature a red panda is, but it looks like some sort of weasel, a bit like Ian Davidson with a full head of ginger hair. Real red pandas are much cuter than Jim Murphy however, but then so is a snake in the grass slithering through dog mess.
Red pandadom beckons after STV published an IPSOS Mori opinion poll of voting intentions in next year’s Westminster revenge match – when the voters on Scotland get to boot the Westminster political parties in the glands as punishment for being a bunch of self-serving self-regarding self-abusers. The poll, fieldwork for which was carried out as Johann Lamont resigned as branch office manager, shows that the SNP stand to receive a whopping 52% of votes in Scotland. The SNP enjoy a lead of 29% over Labour – meaning that the SNP’s lead is greater than Labour’s entire vote share of 23%. Translated into seats, Labour would be left with just four MPs in Scotland, which makes the red pandas marginally less endangered than the giant pandas of the Tory party – just like the real pandas. Spooky, and just in time for Halloween.
The poor polling news was compounded by another poll from YouGov which was only marginally less desperate for Labour. Like the desperation difference between wanting to throw yourself off a cliff, and wanting to throw yourself off a cliff after you’ve slit your wrists. If translated into seats, YouGov’s poll would give Labour just ten useless bench occupiers.
Despite the dire polling figures, Labour isn’t toast. Toast is home made and often organic. Labour is a pop tart, chock full of artificial ingredients which appeals only to those with no political taste buds. Labour is likewise filled with a red coloured goo which bears the same relationship to socialism as the contents of a pop tart do to real fruit. And the Labour leadership’s favourite Gordon Ramsay stand-in who will rescue this culinary disaster zone while swearing a lot is apparently Jim Murphy – a right wing, ultra-Blairite, Iraq war supporting, expenses junky, egg magnet.
Jim promises that if he’s elected as branch manager, he will stop Labour in Scotland from self-harming and will put an end to its obsessional in-fighting. And this is true, because it’s Jim and his pals who’ve been engaging in most of the self-harming and obsessional in-fighting by briefing against Johann and anyone else that Jim thinks stands between him and his career plans.
I did have to laugh though, when Jim said that the Labour party needed to find some passion again. Jim and the rest of the sorry careerists who pride themselves on “professional” politics are precisely those who have leeched anything resembling passion from politics, with their focus groups and triangulation. There is however plenty of passion in Scottish politics – it’s just a pity for Labour that it’s the passion of those who are intent on bringing about the long overdue demise of a Labour party that’s become a parody of its former self, a party that’s as progressive as a pop tart with imaginary jam.
Labour is now facing another election – it’s going to have to elect a new deputy branch manager following the resignation of Anas Sarwar. Anas has resigned in order to remove the inevitable objection to Jim Murphy’s election which would have led to both the branch manager and the deputy branch manager being Westminster MPs. Anas is an obedient little Labour placeperson, he does what his daddy tells him, and he does what Jim Murphy tells him too.
Anas’ resignation as deputy manager of Scotmid conveniently delays the need for Jim to find a safe Holyrood seeat. This is very handy for two reasons. Firstly because there’s no such thing as a safe Labour seat at Holyrood any more, and secondly – as pointed out by Lallands Peat Worrier – the plan mooted by some senior party figures for a Labour MSP who plans to retire in 2016 to be persuaded to stand down a year earlier is a non-starter because it would mean that he or she would lose their pension rights. And it would force an election purely for reasons internal to Labour, a situation which the voting public is unlikely to look kindly upon, all the more so when they are already looking on Labour as kindly as an axe wielding maniac who’s just given up smoking. Over ten days now – in case you’re wondering. But I’ve never knowingly wielded an axe. Just a sharp tongue.
The root cause of this seismic shift in Labour’s Westminster electoral prospects is that Scotland’s voters have finally decided that the well established tactic of differential voting in Holyrood and Westminster elections is an idea whose time is past. There is no point in voting Labour in Westminster elections in order to keep the Tories out for a number of reasons – not the least of which being that Labour stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories throughout the referendum campaign. And if there is little chance that Labour can win the election in England, then there is absolutely no point at all voting Labour in Scotland in order to protect ourselves from Tory governments. We’re going to get the Tories anyway, whether that’s yer actual Tory basterts, or a Labour party that apes Tory policies in order to sook up to Tory leaning voters in English marginal constituencies.
It’s not that Scottish tactical voting is dead – it’s just that it’s got a whole lot smarter. There’s nothing Labour can do to turn things around, you can’t turn around a sinking ship. The only question remaining is the scale of their defeat. Labour’s tea is oot – they’re being served burned pop tarts and red pandas.