She’s at it again, but with just two pay cheques between now and an ignominious end to her undistinguished career as an expenses claimant, you’ve got to expect the lovely Magrit Curran to keep opening her gob in a desperate attempt to fend off the doom which is heading towards her career in politics like a mob of Transylvanian peasants bearing torches and pitchforks. Mags’ latest is to inform us that we need to vote for her because if we don’t it will make Davie Cameron secretly happy. It’s wrong to do anything that makes a Tory secretly happy, especially Davie Cameron because he’s smug enough as it is. So you should never attempt to bring secret joy to a Tory, except when it’s also in Magrit’s interests.
She was herself quite happy to make Davie happy all last year during the referendum campaign. When there was the prospect that Scotland might swan off to a Tory free future, Magrit waved a metaphorical and indeed literal Union Jack and cheered at the notion of Scotland continuing to suffer Tory governments that we didn’t vote for. Davie Cameron was thrilled about that. He was in fact seen to smile, and indeed gloat. There may even have been a guffaw.
Thanks to the sterling efforts of Magrit and her buddies, Davie managed to avoid a shame-faced early end to his premiership and going down in history as the man who campaigned on the slogan Broken Britain, and who then actually broke it. Thanks to Magrit, Davie can still strut the world stage telling anyone who listened how the Queen purred. You can be pretty certain that Davie’s job was not saved thanks to the efforts of any Conservatives, it was because of Labour. It was because of you, Magrit. Davie Cameron was oh so very happy about everything you did for him.
However none of that counted.
It doesn’t count if Davie is going to be happy if it involves Magrit keeping her John Lewis list and travel expenses claims. Making Davie happy is only a bad thing if it involves giving Magrit her jotters. Still, she can use the jotters to tot up the amount she’s claimed from public funds while she waits for an appointment at the job centre. It will give her something productive to do, which is more than she ever achieved in her career in parliament. But you can’t blame Labour for putting her on the front bench – when she’s up at the front they can keep an eye on her, because when Magrit’s got your back she’ll only stab it. Just ask Johann.
Magrit and her pals are determined to tell us that if we vote SNP in May, we’ll get the Tories. It’s the only selling point that Labour has got, but the logic is as dubious as Jim Murphy’s commitment to socialism and as plausible as Ian Davidson winning an award for tact and diplomacy. Labour cannot escape the uncomfortable truth that Scotland returned a massive majority of Labour MPs in 2010 – and in 1979, 1983, 1987, and 1992 – and we got the Tories anyway. If people in other parts of the UK are determined to vote Tory, we’re going to get a Tory government.
The truth is that swapping seats between one set of MPs who claim to be against the Tories but not against their austerity politics, that would be Labour, and another set of MPs who really are anti-Tory, does not increase the chances of the Tories being able to command a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The number of seats which change hands between Labour and the SNP in Scotland has precisely zero effect on the number of seats which fall to the Conservatives in other parts of the UK, except of course in Magrit’s imagination.
The MP who represented Glasgow East before Magrit was the SNP’s John Mason, who took the seat in a by-election after the previous Labour incumbent – the unlamented David Marshall – resigned to spend more time with the proceeds of his expenses claims. Magrit Curran’s election reduced the total number of SNP MPs by one, and yet we still got Davie Cameron as Prime Minister. She took her seat from a sitting SNP MP in 2010 and we still got the Tories in government, so you’d think that she ought to know that. Of course she knows it – but she’ll still tell voters something else entirely. Magrit’s very presence as a Labour MP gives the lie to the Labour line that voting SNP makes a Tory government more likely. That’s Magrit and Labour’s modus operandi, and that’s why no one believes a word they say any more.
Labour tells us if we vote SNP we’ll get the Tories. Meanwhile the Tories say if we vote SNP we’ll get Labour. The Lib Dems say oh god please please please we’re really sorry about everything it wasn’t our fault. But’s it’s really quite simple. Vote SNP and get a block of MPs who will oppose the Tories while at the same time actually defending Scotland’s interests. Now there would be a novelty.
I don’t give a toss if it makes Davie Cameron laugh hysterically, although it’s more likely that his hysterical laughter will be a symptom of an impending breakdown. I’m still going to vote SNP in May, and I’m not even an SNP supporter. I’d prefer to vote Green or SSP. But in May I will not only be voting SNP, I will be actively campaigning for them. Natalie McGarry will be a great choice for Glasgow East – it’s just the delicious icing on the cake that it will also make Magrit Curran sad.
Meanwhile, I committed the tragic error of watching a bit of BBC’s Question Time, a programme which bears the same relationship to an understanding of Scottish politics as nailing your scrotum to a plank with rusty nails does to foreplay. Never again, is all I will say, and I only watched a few minutes of it. Question Time all by itself demonstrates why Scotland needs a strong voice in Westminster, because we sure as hell don’t have one just now. And there was us thinking that we were all better together and a happy family of nations in this sceptred isle.
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