On Tuesday we witnessed yet another dust raising policy announcement from the Murph E Coyote to disguise the fact he’s run off the cliff and is frantically trying to gain purchase on thin air, and yet again it’s a policy that’s got bugger all to do with the powers of Westminster MPs. With no apparent sense of irony, or indeed shame, the Smugurph one announced that Labour is committed to keeping the Scottish Government’s policy of opposition to university tuition fees. Jim appeared on the BBC talking about it in that soft voice of his – the one that is soft like quicksand into which principles disappear and vanish without trace. Jim’s a wannabe Hughie Green of the 21st century, he’s desperate to find a means of faking sincerity convincingly.
Labour’s Accounting Unit branch manager prefaced his announcement with a note he said he’d been given by a wummin he met on the train, which – he claimed – telt him to shut it about the fitba and start doing his bloody job. I paraphrase of course. I’d like to slip Jim a note on the train telling him to stop making out that people slip him notes on the train, even Hughie Green didn’t think his audience was that gullible. Hughie could teach Jim a thing or three about faking sincerity. Mind you, to be fair, Hughie wore his right wing politics on his sleeve and never pretended he was a socialist. Opportunity isn’t knocking at the door for Jim Murphy though, the sound he’s hearing is a death rattle. And I mean that most sincerely.
This is probably as close to an acknowledgement that we’re ever going to get that Jim’s cunning plan to campaign for the right of fitba fans to get pished while singing the Sash as they smoke a fag beside a petrol pump in a hospital probably wasn’t, on reflection, such a vote catcher after all. I’d say mature reflection there, but this is Labour we’re talking about. They’re mature in the same way that a three year old lump of dried up cheddar that’s been crapped on by a scrofulous sewer rat is ‘mature’. Sadly for Labour, the Scottish voting public are more likely to swallow the three year old lump of dried up cheddar than they are anything that’s issued by McTernan’s spin-department.
It was Labour of course who introduced student fees to begin with. Jim Murphy knows all about that as he was formerly the leader of the National Union of Students, and was instrumental in ensuring that the union’s opposition to Labour’s policy was muted. Which is another way of saying strangled at birth. Jim achieved this by means of “intolerant and dictatorial behaviour” – the words used by Labour MPs who voted for a Commons resolution to condemn Jim. For his pains, or rather for the pains of thousands of students who were left with debt, the arch-Blairite Jim – who didn’t have to pay student fees or get lumbered with all that debt himself – was rewarded with a Labour candidacy.
We’re still waiting for this supposedly “Scottish Labour” to come up with a policy which achieves two things – firstly to be relevant to the Westminster election and not the Holyrood ones we’re not having yet, and secondly to differ from the equivalent policy espoused by Labour south of the border. If Labour in Scotland wants to establish itself as a party which really is a Scottish party, then it’s up to them to prove it. Asserting it proves nothing. Earlier this week Jim Murphy asserted that he’s not a Westminster politician. That would be the Jim who is a member of the Westminster Parliament where he is a representative of a UK political party. Fair enough Jim – now put your actions where that softly spoken gob of your is, and prove it. You could start by not standing for election in East Renfrew in May, and announce that you’re going to seek election to Holyrood. Show some baws Jim, not milibaws.
But we all know he’ll never do that. He’s just going to keep on asserting things to a media that never examines his utterances critically, in the hope that if he keeps on saying it it will magically turn into the truth. He also hopes that the media won’t highlight the potential get out clauses which are a notable feature of all Jim’s commitments. He promised recently to abolish “exploitative zero hours contracts”, but wasn’t asked how expoitative was being defined. Normal people like you or me might imagine that zero hours contracts are exploitative by definition, but that’s not likely to be the case with anthropomurphic types like the Labour party leadership. Which zero hours contracts would they not ban? We’re not being told, and our media isn’t asking.
It’s the same with Tuesday’s tuition fees announcement, as the Wings Over Scotland website pointed out, the announcement is silent on the question of student fees by the back door – a graduate tax.
The tuition fees announcement is yet another policy splash which has nothing to do with Westminster, it’s a devolved matter. Labour’s constant spewing of Holyrood policies in the run up to a Westminster election is not because the Labour leadership is ignorant about which powers are devolved and which remain with Westminster. Labour fought tooth and claw to ensure that as many powers as possible remained with Westminster, so you’d think they’d know what they were. Jim Murphy and his spinmeister John McTernan may be narrow nebbit, parochial, and just plain nasty, but they’re not that stupid.
The reason we’re seeing all these Holyrood policies is because Labour in Scotland can’t produce any Westminster policies which are different from those of UK Labour, for all that they’re trying to make out that they’re more than just a branch office accounting unit which is entirely answerable to the twin heads of the Labour party – the Milibaws, which entirely coincidentally is also a unit of measurement for testosterone deficiency. All we’ve got is a pretend party led by a man who makes an oleaginous 1970s TV games show presenter seem like a model of sincerity. And I mean that most sincerely.
63 days until the clapometer gives its score for Jim.
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