Labour’s plummeting poll statistics prove that it is actually possible for something to plunge more quickly than gravitational force and laws of physics would allow. But then Newton never thought to include public disgust and oppobrium in his calculations. The 45 are going to give Labour MPs their P45s, and there may be no Labour MPs left in Scotland by the end of next week. The word pandafication has entered the political lexicon.
According to a report in the Torygraph, senior Labour figures in Scotland are demanding that Jim Murphy BA Politics (failed) resigns as leader of Labour’s branch office in Scotland after the election. Despite the portents of impending doom, it is rumoured that the Murph E. Coyote intends to cling on to the cliff edge of leadership even if he’s kicked off his seat by his constituents and the shell shocked band of Labour MSPs, cooncillors and exMPs hammer at his grasping paws with rolled up copies of the Labour party rule book.
The in-fighting in Labour has already broken out into the open, with reports of cooncillors refusing to support the re-election campaigns of their local Labour MP just in case their political death is contagious. So it’s not just the punters who will be glad to see the back of certain Labour MPs. The walking dead of the Labour party in Scotland are already demanding a victim, they wanting a post mortem before the execution and Jim is going to be offered up for ritual sacrifice. We’ve not even had the vote yet and already the recriminations have started – which I suppose makes then precriminations.
I sat down with some doritos and sour cheese dip to watch Jim Murphy getting interviewed live by STV’s Bernard Ponsonby. Well I say “live”, but he was really a political corpse. There was plenty of sour cheese on display from Jim, but the dip was far more solid and substantial. Bernard asked Jim about the dire opinion polls and whether he took responsibility for Labour’s impending demise. The rapidly greying Jim said it wasn’t really about him as an individual – and across Scotland people were shouting at their tellies – “Yes it is Jim. Yes it is.” Jim is still denying that he’s in denial about the dire straits his party is in.
He’s also denying he’s going to make any cuts, he’ll be making “savings”. We all know that Labour’s going to make cuts. Jim’s problem is that no one in the Labour leadership has told him what they’re going to be. He’s going to pay for all the extra goodies he’s promising with extra taxes, like a tax on banks which apparently is mostly going to be raised outside Scotland. Although during the indyref Jim was one of those who spent his time telling us that the banks were Scottish. Labour is as consistent on that one as they are on the safety of the NHS. The NHS was safe during the indyref, according to Labour, and it was only evil nationalist separatists who said it was under threat. But now Labour tells us that the NHS is under threat and only the people who didn’t realise it was under threat can save it. It’s all very confusing in Jim’s mental universe. Perhaps that’s the reason his eyebrows appear to be living separate lives.
Jim wants extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, because Jim’s a patriot. He doesn’t want the extra powers that the SNP want, because they’re unpatriotic extra powers. Jim only wants patriotic powers. Like powers over benefits that Labour ruled out during the Smith Commission negotiations. Perhaps Labour only ruled them out then so that Jim could patriotically demand them now.
Bernard moves on to asking Jim about a letter he wrote to Tricia Marwick, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Jim had wanted Tricia to make a ruling that MSPs should be banned from having two jobs. But isn’t that exactly what Jim is proposing for himself? Hmmm? Jim wants to be a full time MP and then stand for Holyrood next year and be a full time First Minister. So does the two jobs thing not apply to him? Jim says it won’t apply to him, because – he doesn’t add – it was of course just a means of getting a wee dig in a Alicsammin. Not having two jobs outside politics of course was what he really meant, he says in that soft creepy voice of his. Except that Alicsammin’s two jobs were both in politics too. Jim hopes we don’t notice that bit. But we do Jim. We do. And so do voters in East Renfrew.
Bernard asks him – So will you be a full time MP? Jim won’t answer. Will you be a part time First Minister then? Won’t answer. Mind you it’s not really relevant, because he won’t have any job at all by the end of next week.
Finally there was the obligatory fitba reference, and Bernard asked Jim if the SNP were Real Madrid, which team would Labour be. Clearly the answer is Third Lanark, because they’re extinct too. Anyway, the only thing we learned from that entire interview was that Bernard is a Celtic fan. Jim’s still talking mince, still not answering questions, and still doing an impression of a sour cheese dip that’s well past its sell by date.
Libby Brooks, the Guardian’s Scottish correspondent whose main claim to fame is that she isn’t Severin Carrell, called Jim’s performance “quality”. Which was accurate, as long as you prefixed it with “poor” or “pish”. Or possibly she hadn’t been paying any attention and was asking if there were any of the soft centred Quality Streets left.
The only thing you can be certain of with an interview with Jim Murphy is that he won’t answer any of the questions, but then he spends all his time talking over the top of everyone else, so to be fair he probably doesn’t know what the question is. The answer, we all know by now, isn’t Jim Murphy.
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