We’re in that period before Christmas when the prezzies have already been wrapped up in an Ashcroft poll and put under the tree. Have we got that Murph E Coyote doll we asked for? The one that runs off the canyon edge keeping aloft on its own frantic spinning, only to fall and land with a resounding splat in a dustcloud of McTernans. The special edition Scottish Labour model, the one that comes with additional features, like extra hubris and a smug look that can be wiped off its face. It’s one of those toys that are only fun when you smash them.
There’s a Murph E Coyote shaped package under the tree, and when you shake it it’s got that reassuring death rattle. It’s certainly looking good, for those who want substantial more power for Scotland if not for James Francis Murphy BA Politics (failed). But is it really the prezzie we long for, or will we be disappointed and only get a pair of hand knitted Westminster featherbedders. The signs are good, but we won’t know for sure until we open the prezzie on May 7. In the meantime we’ve got a Schrodinger’s Murph – Labour in Scotland is quantum, neither alive nor dead but in both states simultaneously.
The living death of zombie Labour was illustrated in the obsessive knee jerking of Kezia Dugdale when interviewed on Sunday’s BBC Politics show. She was asked about the manifesto that Labour launched on Friday. The Dugless one was asked by Gordon Brewer about the cuts that Labour has said they’ll have to introduce. No matter how he phrased the question, no matter what he asked or how he asked it, her answer to every question about Labour policy was, “The SNP is really bad and have bad questions to answer badly. The bad bad SNP are really bad. The SNP want Full Fiscal Autonomy and that’s bad. The bad SNP have bad questions to answer. The SNP want another referendum and that’s bad. Did I say that the SNP are really badly bad and have to answer bad questions, because the SNP are really bad. That’s how bad they are, really bad, SNP bad. And finally, because this is an important point, I’d just like to mention that the SNP are really bad. I have so answered your question Gordon.” Badly.
Kezia and the Labour party are too dense to realise that answering criticisms of their party with attacks on another party is an implicit acceptance on the proposition. When the only answer to the question – “Just how rubbish is your party?” is “But the SNP are more rubbish.” You are accepting that your own party is rubbish and expecting people to listen to an attack originating from a party which tacitly acknowledges that it’s rubbish. But then we already know that Labour is rubbish. That’s why they’re doing so poorly in the polls.
A woman who couldn’t answer demanded that others answer so no one would notice she had no answers of her own. But we did notice, we do notice. We notice how bad Labour is. They don’t stand for anything except keeping their careers, and hating the SNP. And they only hate the SNP because the SNP threatens their careers. It’s not even a principled hatred.
In a desperate attempt to gain some purchase, Labour churns out policies from John McTernan’s ACME catalog of spin, but it makes no difference. The reason is that Labour doesn’t have a policy problem. It has a trust problem. It doesn’t matter what policies you have if no one believes a word you say. And that lack of trust isn’t down to the Murphoid one, although having a man who is a serial political cross dresser in charge really isn’t helping Labour’s bid for believability any.
It doesn’t matter how many easy rides Jim gets in the media, no one will trust Labour until the party reforms itself. Labour has already been given numerous chances to reform itself, 2007, 2011, 2014 – and Labour’s “reform” was to give us Jim Murphy. Jim Murphy is the Stars in their Political Eyes addict who wowed the metrocommentariat with his impressions. Today Matthew, Jim has painted his face blue and is wearing a Scotland shirt, next week he’s donned a frock and is channelling Rosa Luxemburg. The week after that he’ll be manning the barricades in the Paris Commune with a pile of Irn Bru crates. The week before the election he’ll be camped out in a battery farm in the hope that someone throws an egg at him. But when you remove the hastily applied make up and the costumes, underneath Jim is still the Blairite chancer that he’s always been. I know that, you know that, the dug knows that, we all know that.
It’s so bad for Labour that the Sunday Herald has reported that Jim Murphy has sought legal advice on whether he can remain as leader of the tattered remnants of Labour in Scotland if he loses his own seat. The Smugurphy one denies that he’s asked for legal advice on the issue. But then he would, wouldn’t he. There have been rumours of wriggle room in the clause in the constitution that says that a candidate for election to leadership must be an elected politician, but the rules are silent on what happens if a successful candidate loses their seat afterwards. In Jim’s world it would be perfectly acceptable for a totally discredited leader to retain his position, but then he was totally discredited before he was elected, so to be fair there would be no real change there.
We are living in historic times. The death of the Labour party is being foretold in the signs and portents of polls and Kezias. Labour isn’t spinning, it’s a death spiral.
We can’t take anything for granted. The polls are stupendously good for those who want to break the back of the old ways of doing things in Scotland, the secret deals and handshakes, the cosy agreements, the old boys’ network, the careerists with a cushy seat for life. The polls are gobsmackingly good, unbelievably good, but the only vote that counts is the one on May 7.
Let’s keep working. Let’s open Schrodinger’s box and find Labour’s cat has expired. Let’s see the cartoon until the end, and watch the coyote run off the cliff and fall to its doom in the dust. Labour in Scotland May 7 2015, that’s all folks!
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