Less than two months since Scotland voted No, and it’s become clear that the big loser from the independence referendum isn’t the SNP or the other pro-independence parties, it’s Labour. Is schadenfreude fatal? I may have given up ciggies just to die from an overdose of smugness, gloating, and an overwhelming urge to yell out: “Ha ha! Fuckin’ TELT yese!”
Johann Lamont famously told Scots that we are not genetically programmed to make decisions, but now she herself has been programmed – a bit like a washing machine – and has decided to leave Labour to its rinse and spin cycle. The woman who has spent the last two years telling us that being ruled from London like a branch office is a good thing has resigned as leader of British Labour in Scotland – because the party in Scotland is being run from London like a branch office. No, really, pick your jaw up off the floor.
There’s some serious irony lurking there. Well, not so much lurking as standing in front of you in a dayglo spandex suit screaming “Look at me I’m the dictionary definition of irony, you bastard” into your face. It’s irony that’s so unsubtle that even Alanis Morrisette would pick up on it for a song lyric. Johann can’t spot it though. Johann doesn’t do irony, or indeed intellectual coherence, joined up thinking, or sentences with a subject a verb and an object. Actually it transcends irony, iron is a base metal. What we see before us in the British Labour party is something heavier, rarer and far more toxic, it’s plutoniumy. They’re entirely artificial, radioactive, destructive of all that is organic, and have a limited half-life. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of self-serving careerists.
What Johann does do is lobbing a few grenades in the direction of Labour’s Scottish MPs and Ed Miliband. Or as he’s known in the Lamont household – that fucking useless skinny wanker. The Labour MPs are, according to Johann, dinosaurs – a discovery that Johann has only recently made. The rest of us realised this long before the asteroid that wiped them out crashed into the Yucatan peninsula where it created a massive crater known as Chicxulub, which is Yucatec Maya for “Jim Murphy’s expenses”. So vast, it can be seen from outer space.
However, the reports in the media that Johann has resigned as leader of Scottish Labour are not strictly true. There is no such party as Scottish Labour – Scottish Labour is a branding exercise belonging to the British Labour party and has no distinct existence of its own. A non-party can’t have a leader, and indeed Johann was very much the model of a non-leader, non-leaders all over the world looked to her for inspiration on how not to lead. It is more accurate to say that Johann was the fictitious leader of a fictitious party who has fictitiously resigned.
When Johann was elected as the fictitious leader of a fictitious party, British Labour swore a vow that she would be a proper non-leader, and would non-lead Westminster MPs as well as Holyrood MSPs and local cooncillors. It was of course a deception. But Johann took the gig and was quite happy to go along with the deception right up to the point where she realised that she was one of those who was being deceived.
Johann’s resignation was allegedly provoked in part by the discovery that Magrit Curran – her auld pal fae uni and co-conspirator – was canvassing members of the party’s ruling executive in order to get them to persuade Johann to resign. Magrit and Johann go back a long way together, but personal loyalty counts for about as much as a manifesto promise or a referendum vow in the Labour party. Magrit Curran – the wummin that’s too venal for tribalism. But the straw that broke the humphy camel’s back came when Labour’s leadership in London decided to sack Ian Price, the general secretary of the Labour party in Scotland, without anyone consulting Johann, which is a bit like giving someone a house then breaking in and redecorating the living room with puce green flock wallpaper without telling them.
Today the Guardian is reporting that for over a year Johann was forbidden from criticising the bedroom tax – a key issue in the referendum campaign – until Ed Miliband had made up his mind on the issue. This is code for “consulted with focus groups of voters in key English marginals”. Labour’s policy is set, as it has always been set, by the need to persuade Tory, and now UKIP, leaning voters in marginal constituencies to vote Labour. There are no such seats in Scotland, so the demands of Scotland’s electorate simply do not figure in British Labour’s calculations. We get to be taken for granted – and now Johann has found out that getting taken for granted is a bit of a pisser, so she’s voted with her feet. There’s all Magrit Curran needs to know for her wee commission investigating why Labour is about as appealing as a centrifuge full of dysentry victims.
The question now is who is going to accept the poisoned chalice and take over as leader of the moribund bunch of expenses claimants, time-servers, arselickers and greasy pole climbers. The range of potential candidates is less than inspiring. Some in Labour are pushing for Gordie Broon, the recently declared Saviour of the Nation, however his political career is hanging by a vow. Jim Murphy’s name has been mentioned, by people who don’t spit while saying it, which is something of a novelty for Jim. But that would be an effective demotion for a man who has spent his political career fighting to advance a sacred principle which can be summed up in just two words – those words being “Jim” and “Murphy”. Plus he’s a warmongering Blairite whose past will most assuredly follow him like the smell of a bad egg. Kezia Dugdale, of all people, has been mentioned, and you know things are desperate when Kezia is regarded as a plus, but she didn’t get the BBC radio show so she needs something to do with herself.
Still, you can console yourselves with the thought that no one has mentioned Jackie Baillie as a new possible leader, but that’s only because – judging by her performance on Good Morning Scotland on Saturday – she has finally taken leave of what little senses she once possessed.
So that just leaves the hereditary MP for Govan, the millionaire slimebucket otherwise known as Anas Sarwar, who as deputy has taken over as fictitious interim leader of the fictitious Scottish Labour party. This is perfectly appropriate, seeing as how Anas is a fictitious human being. But he has no intention of giving up the Westminster seat bequeathed to him by daddy – it’s a family heirloom after all.
Meanwhile the UK polls show that Labour is slipping behind a Tory party which is itself riven with infighting and division, and in Scotland the SNP surges ahead in Westminster voting intentions. Looks like we’re going to find out whether schadenfreude is fatal, but Labour’s condition certainly is.
Still not had a ciggy – that’s almost 5 days now.