I’ve given up – my plans to write about something other than the flustercluck which passes for the Smugurph’s leadership of the Labour party in Scotland have foundered upon the McTernan Rocks, a diminutive and unpleasant excrescence in the barren sea of Blair which previously sank the career of the leader of the Labour party in Australia, and dragged into the murky depths by the slimy tentacles of the cataclysmic Robertson monster with its remarkably small mouth.
Much as I criticise the Labour party in Scotland, I had assumed that they had an organ approximating a brain which permitted them to engage in a modicum of strategic planning. A wrong headed brain, a selfish brain, a self-serving and hypocritical brain perhaps, but it was reasonable to assume that somewhere deep within the bowels of Labour party lurked something which could be described as grey matter. But no, there’s just more crap and a fetid odour. You’ll find plastic toys of infinitely greater value in a Christmas cracker, as well as jokes that are less stale. Labour only gives us plastic toys like Wee Wullie Bain, and bad jokes like Magrit Curran.
The deeply gobsmacky thing is that Labour is after all a party which aspires to govern the Yookayohkay, and so you could be forgiven for believing that they must have some notion of the complexities of the task before them. But you’d be sadly wrong. The Labour party in Scotland is brain dead. The only grey matter they have is corpse grey on the mortuary SLAB. All they are interested in is trying, by whatever means necessary, to persuade enough information deprived suckers to mark an X by their candidate in the next election. They don’t have a clue what they propose to do with power once they achieve it – other than, of course, to keep getting those salaries and expense accounts, and angling for cushy directorships once their political careers are spent. What Labour won’t be doing is anything that approaches the redistribution of wealth and power.
It’s hard to imagine what reason a sentient body interested in responsible socialist tinged government might have had for appointing John McTernan, dwarfy pitbull stand-in and purveyor of jaggy underwear for Tony Blair, as the chief of staff for the Labour party in Scotland. John is the embodiment of just about everything that has revolted people and turned them off Labour over the past couple of decades. John represents a Labour party which is unremittingly negative, sneering, dismissive, and possessed of an overweening sense of its own righteousness which it believes provides more than ample justification for its childish vindictiveness.
John’s great political theory was the notion that the only way to beat the Tories at the ballot box is to out-Tory them. So he enthusiastically spun and smeared for a party that tacked ever further to the right. People like John believe that hating the Tories means it’s OK to be hateful, and in his hatred fails to realise that he has turned into the very thing he hates. The irony is of course lost on him. John doesn’t do irony. He doesn’t do empathy, compassion, or understanding either. That’s what makes him the perfect right hand man for Jim Murphy.
John was most likely behind the utterly ridiculous claim that under the Smugurph, Labour would recruit 1000 more nurses in Scotland than the SNP, and these nurses would be funded by a raid on a tax on London properties. It’s the kind of nastiness favoured by John, who naturally assumes that everyone else is as revolting as he is. The underlying assumption is of course that Labour supporters were attracted to vote Yes because they hate the English, and so can be persuaded to return to Labour if Labour promises to punish the English – especially those in London. The policy is of course an utter nonsense, but it grabbed the headlines, so job done. Health is a devolved matter, so no number of Westminster MPs is going to make the slightest bit of difference. The only way that Jim’s nursing pledge could come to pass is if Labour wins an outright victory in May 2015 in Westminster and May 2016 in Holyrood. Good luck with that Jim. Meanwhile Labour politicians from London accused Jim of trying to buy Scottish votes by damaging the party’s chances of succeeding in gaining votes in London – where it also needs to succeed if there is any chance of it forming a government in 2015. Ed Miliband must be rueing the day that he decided to back the Smugurph for Scottish leadership and wondering if Sarah Boyack or Neil Findlay would have been so bad after all.
The lovely John tweeted on Friday that his appointment had been condemned by the usual suspects – that would presumably be you and me then – but welcomed by the “right people”. And this is perfectly true, right people were hugely enthused, John’s appointment was widely welcomed by right wing commentators who write for the Telegraph.
John’s strategy for Labour is founded on the need to bring “Glasgow man” back to the party. “Glasgow man” is shorthand for West of Scotland male voters, who traditionally backed Labour, but who voted Yes in the referendum. People like me then. But if John McTernan thinks I am going to be attracted by his vindictiveness and his negativity, he’s in for a rude shock. I’m not interested in “sticking the boot into London” John. I’m interesting of ridding politics of nasty wee trolls like you.
It’s even harder to imagine the thought processes engaged in by the person who wrote the press release saying that the Scottish Labour party would henceforth put the needs of Scotland first when developing policy. Apparently they were unaware that this was an admission that they’ve not put Scotland’s need first up until now – although admittedly this comes under the heading “so tell us something we don’t know”. All this was bad enough – but what on earth possessed them to tell the papers that the party had christened the new doctrine Murphy’s Law? Don’t they know what that means?
There hasn’t been a less appropriate name since General Motors launched a marketing campaign to sell a car called the Nova in Mexico, unaware that No Va is Spanish for “it doesn’t go”. Labour doesn’t even have the excuse that they are operating in a foreign language. Unless you count honesty, but that’s not a foreign language to them, just a foreign concept.
My thoughts today are in Paris, as the city mourns its dead. Let’s strive for a world where the only weapons are words. Let’s strive for a world where the powerless have a voice. Let’s strive for a world where the fanatics realise that a god whose honour must be defended with bullets, bombs and bloodshed is a weak and fragile god who does not deserve to be worshipped.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis juif. Je suis musulman.
BellaCaledonia is hosting the IndyRef awards. And this wee blog has been nominated as funniest blog. Aww shucks. You can vote here – http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2015/01/11/bellas-indyref-awards-test/