There’s an election looming, and the denizens of Westminster are doing their damnedest to make sure we notice them. This means that there’s a flurry, or more precisely a slurry, of initiative and PR stunts which hope to make it look like the expenses claimants are actually doing something productive.
First up is Danny Alexander, who has as much chance of a future career in Westminster as the ginger dug – who isn’t eligible to stand on account of not being human. Although to be fair, you could say that about Danny too. Anyway, Danny has now given us a reminder of all that he has achieved in his time as George Osborne’s Parliamentary KY jelly. Danny’s now arranged for wee plaques bearing a Union flag and the message “Provided by the UK Government: be grateful peasants” to be slapped onto infrastructure projects that are paid for by your taxes. Danny thinks that this will make people look more kindly upon him. Bless.
In years to come people will make a pilgrimage to look upon the marvels bequeathed to us by Danny Alexander. Gaze upon my mighty works, said Danny, and vote for me not that separatist person. Separatist persons can’t give us what Danny gives us, for Danny has given us a union jack sticker on a broadband cable junction box at the side of the A882 between Thurso and Wick.
It’s not exactly Ozymandias. It’s not even Ozzie Osborne, who at least managed to bite off the head of a bat by mistake. Danny once bit the head off a jelly baby, although the general consensus of opinion is that Danny usually sucks.
Fossil fuel is the topic of a speech which Gordie Broon, Labour’s very own fracked fossil fool, will make in Glasgow on Monday. Gordie is the diminishing resource upon which the Labour party pin most of their hopes. But he’s about to run out, as after May he really will be an ex-politician as opposed to an ex-politician who’s still claiming an MP’s salary.
Not for Gordie the simple whacking of a sticker on a cable junction box. If it doesn’t involve scaring pensioners, endogenous growth theory, or vows that no one will take responsibility for, then Gordie’s not going to get out of bed. He rarely gets out of bed anyway. Even Malkie “You’d be amazed at how much spare time I have” Rifkind manages to put in more appearances at Westminster than Gordie does. And Malkie is the supermodel of Westminster who won’t get out of bed for less than eight grand. However Gordie’s extracurricular earnings put even Malkie’s in the shade – although all of Gordie’s go to charidee. The charidee in question being “The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown”. So that makes it all OK then.
Gordie is expected to call for the oil fields to be nationalised, and will still manage to squeeze in the obligatory pensioner scare. That’s the kind of thing that makes him a respected international stateman. Declining oil revenues mean that Scottish pensioners won’t have their pensions paid, or something. Only Gordie has a plan to do something about it. Except he’s retiring so he’s not going to be able to do anything about it after all. And Eds Miliband and Baws don’t show any sign of adopting it as Labour policy, so it’s all totally irrelevant anyway.
There will be pages of analysis in the press, but the truth is it makes no difference what the superannuated has-been is promising this time. As long as Labour can put the fear of Gord into the over 65s, they might be able to rustle up a few votes. And that’s all that really matters.
Afraid that the media hasn’t noticed him for all of thirty minutes, after a few months of will he won’t he, Jim Murphy has announced that he might just stand as MP for East Renfrew after all, or maybe he won’t. Jim’s still incapable of giving a straight answer to the question, instead he prefers to drop gnomic hints that are capable of just about any interpretation you care to put on them, and besides, the media will print any auld crap that him and John McTernan issue as a press release.
It’s like his promise to end “exploitative zero hours contracts”. The key word there is “exploitative”. Any normal person might think that all zero hours contracts are exploitative, but the Labour party leadership are not normal people. They haven’t told us how they’re defining “exploitative”. So if you thought that they’d made a promise to end zero hours contracts – contracts which Labour governments first introduced – you’d be sadly mistaken. It’s not just workers on zero hours contracts who are being exploited here, it’s the voters as well. Weasels and their words, eh.
Jim has been reduced to issuing press releases that say he may, or may not, stand for re-election in East Renfrew because Plan A has not come to fruition. Plan A apparently involved persuading a sitting MSP with a whopping great majority to take early retirement so that Jim could be parachuted into the seat, with the by-election to be held the same day as the Westminster General Election. This would allow Jim to sneak in under the radar without too much media attention on his re-election campaign.
Jim’s cunning Plan A suffered from a number of fatal flaws. Firstly it depended upon the noble proposition that a Labour MSP has no greater love for their party leader than they lay down their pension rights for a careerist on the make. This meant that Jim was relying on a Labour MSP to put Jim’s interests before their own bank balance, because MSPs lose a large chunk of their pension rights if they stand down before the end of their term in office. So that was never going to happen.
The other flaw was that it relied upon there being a safe seat which could act as an inflatable mattress to cushion Jim’s landing. With the Ashcroft polls showing that even Coatbridge is vulnerable to the rise of the SNP, there is no longer such a thing as a safe seat for Labour in Scotland. That just leaves Jim putting himself at the head of the Labour list for the West of Scotland region in the 2016 Holyrood elections.
In the meantime Jim still has to stand as the MP for East Renfrewshire, trying not to let on that he might very well stand down after a year. “Vote for me to be your MP for 12 months so that there is no break in my pension entitlements” is not exactly the most persuasive of election slogans. Jim’s taking the voters for granted, but he’s relying on securing the votes of all those Tories in his constituency. You can see why Tories would be comfortable voting for Jim, so he may scrape back into Westminster.
But still, there’s the delicious prospect that he just might get beaten. That would leave the leader of the Scottish Accounting Unit electorally unaccountable. I can’t decide which I’d prefer – to see Jim humiliated and out of office, or to see him re-elected as the leader of a Labour Accounting Unit that is down to a handful of MPs, and then to have to return to Westminster in ignominy, the leader of the red panda party. The only thing red about him will be his face, red with embarrassment.
No amount of fracked fossil fools are going to save Labour or the Lib Dems from their date with disgrace. 65 days, and counting down. Get the popcorn.
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