What do you call it when you throw a party and no one comes? You call it Labour’s Scottish accounting unit. On the advice of folk like John McTernan, the leaders of the Labour party in Scotland threw social democracy down a privatised toilet in pursuit of a triangulated Tory jobbie, and now all that’s left are the skid marks on Jim Murphy’s Y-fronts. This is not an enticing prospect for any voter, and they’re staying away in droves. Scotland has taken the claes peg off its nose, and has reached for the electoral dettol instead. It’s guaranteed to kill 99% of careerists’ careers stone dead.
The UK media has now woken up to the fact that the electorate of Scotland has collectively decided that it won’t be laundering Labour’s soiled pants any longer, and has reacted with a hysterical panic which isn’t just borderline racist. It has long since crossed that border and is deep into kitsch kilt tinfoil glengarry territory. You could seek an explanation from the Guardian’s cartoonist and specialist in Uncle Tammery, Steve Bell, but that wouldn’t help much because he thinks denial is a tributary of declyde.
It’s predictable that supporters of invisible British nationalism of the Labour party variety might be appalled by their party’s impending annihilation, but the Conservative media is equally outraged. However it’s not that Tory leaning newspapers are disgusted and appalled that the Labour party is in deep trouble. Causing deep trouble for Labour the sort of thing that Tory leaning newspapers strive for.
What they’re really upset about is that Labour is in such deep trouble that they now have the same electoral prospects as the Scottish Conservatives. The only consolation for both Labour and the Tories is that their chances of re-election are marginally better than Danny Alexander’s, although not by much. The real disgust of the Unionist media is that Scotland has turned its back on all the Unionist parties, and is seeking to have a distinctive voice of its own in the next Westminster Parliament.
This is, apparently, a very bad thing as it portends rampaging hordes of ginger rodents, Nicla doing an impression of Mylie’s wrecking ball, and foaming rivers of blood. It’s all got terribly biblical all of a sudden. Apart from Nicla on her Mylieball. The worst thing of all is that the UK is relying on Ed Miliband and Davie Cameron to do a Moses routine and lead the Union out of the wilderness and part the rising wild waters of the red sea of Scottish anger.
So much for lovebombing and telling us how the UK needed a Scottish voice in it. I seem to recall that just a few short months ago we were being told that Britain just wouldn’t be Britain unless it had a Scotland in it. Our colourful kiltish characteristics and folk dances were an integral part of this Island Story, or at least of Steve Bell’s cartoons in the Guardian. They needed us, they loved us. Please please don’t go. Now however what we discover is that what they meant was – shut up, don’t get up out of your seat at the back of the bus, and you may get some cereal shortly.
But the passengers have already got out of their seats at the back of Labour’s Scotland battlebus and are advancing down the aisle intent on wresting the steering wheel from Jim Murphy’s hands. The only question remaining is just how much of an electoral kicking the party is going to get.
Writing in his blog this week, Eric Joyce had some sage advice for Labour in Scotland. That’s how low Labour has fallen. A disgraced MP with a propensity to alcohol fuelled violence is now their moral conscience. Eric believes that the only hope for Labour in Scotland is for it to become a real Scottish Labour Party, and to argue for the continuance of Scotland within the UK from the perspective of a truly Scottish social democratic party which is independent of Labour south of the border. But, he adds, even that is only going to be possible if Jim Murphy’s band of placepersons, careerists, and dinosaurs manage to cling on to at least a couple of dozen seats in May’s election. To be reduced to two dozen seats would represent a massive historic defeat for Labour in Scotland, but the polls suggest that even that seems to be hopelessly optimistic.
Eric thinks that if the polling figures are borne out, and Labour is reduced to a rump of less than 20 seats – and many polls point to Labour’s seat tally being down in single figures – the, he says, the game is a bogey for the Unionist parties. Labour’s only hope would be to reinvent itself entirely as a Scottish party advocating full home rule or independence – taking the party back to its historic roots. Because that’s what Labour stood for when it was founded over 100 years ago. Labour then wanted to see Scotland with Home Rule, to have a similar status to Canada or Australia, self governing dominions of the crown. It’s taken over 100 years of the failed experiment of the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism to bring Labour back to where it began.
Meanwhile today saw the release of the GERS figures, for government expenditure and revenues in Scotland. There’s been the usual smugness from the usual suspects, who are hoping somehow that a poor set of figures will make Scottish voters keep quiet and still at the back of the bus. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Let’s take the Unionist crowing at face value. Scotland runs a massive deficit and has a dangerously unbalanced economy which is over-dependent on the plummeting price of oil. Oh my god we’re a basket case, and only the tender mercies of Westminster save us from penury.
However to claim that this is an argument against full fiscal autonomy or independence overlooks the pointing finger. The Scotland with its massive energy resources, both fossil and renewable, its fertile land, its copious rainful which means that the Scots word for drought refers not to a shortage of water but to the desire to have a wee dram, its abundance of food supplies, its highly educated populace, its diverse industries, its tourism, its world class universities, its ancient democratic traditions, its situation in a quiet and geopolitically stable and peaceful part of the globe. That Scotland. That Scotland is too poor and helpless to govern itself, too poor even to have devo max and fiscal autonomy within the UK. So whose fault is it that that Scotland is in such a lamentable financial state? Oh yeah – that would be Westminster and the Unionist parties who took what were the raw materials for one of the most successful nations on the planet and turned it into a feckless basket case. And they want us to reward them for that.
Let’s get up from our seats at the back of the bus. Let’s whack the bus driver over the head with a packet of cereal, and let’s start having some influence about the direction of the journey we are on. Let’s keep scaring the columnists in the UK media. Because when we scare them, they pay attention.
There’s only one way to do that, and it’s not by voting Labour.
Donate to the Dug
This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.