There’s an article in today’s Guardian in which assorted Labour party figures bewail the supposedly irrational rage that their candidates encounter on the doorstep in Scotland. The public is so angry that punters refuse even to take Labour’s literature, regarding it as radioactive waste, poisonous and contaminating. See thae voters, they’re mad so they are. What have Labour ever done to deserve this? It makes no sense to the Guardian columnists and the party hierarchy. It’s not the party which is wrong, it’s the people. It’s not Labour which has gone astray, it’s Scotland.
The anger and contempt with which Labour is met is everyone’s fault but Labour’s – Wee Dougie Alexander thinks it’s down to a European-wide phenomenon of anti-government feeling exacerbated by the banking crisis which in Scotland, as elsewhere in Europe, has found expression in a populist nationalism. And at that point we all stop listening.
It’s got fuck all to do with that Dougie. It’s because we know that Scotland isn’t important enough to the Labour party for you to prioritise what Scottish voters want. It’s got everything to do with voters in Scotland being sick fed up of a Labour party which has taken us for granted for generations while it ignores our wishes and sooks up to Tory voters in Middle England in an attempt to get into power. It’s got everything to do with Labour turning itself into a vehicle for government which has no clue what to do once it gets into power except to pander to the right wing press and the financial services industry of the City of London. You had your 13 years of crushing Labour majorities under Blair and Brown Dougie. And you blew it.
Dougie, the root cause for Scotland’s rage against Labour lies squarely with the Labour party. It lies with you Dougie, and with the rest of the sorry misbegotten bunch of placepersons, triangulators, schemers, pseudo-intellectuals, despair mongerers and party balloons who sit for Labour in Scotland. Dougie’s rationale is “big boys done it and ran away” dressed up in the cant of pseudo-sophisticated sophistry.
Rage is a rational response to politicians who don’t know the difference between truth and play dough. Rage is right when faced with an MP who thinks turning up for a photo shoot means they can take credit for a community campaign. Rage is the responsible response to those who have taken a party born in the struggle for social justice and turned it into a party of managing working class aspirations on behalf of the bosses. Rage is reasonable when confronted with a political class which is incapable of a straight answer to the simplest of questions. Jim Murphy couldn’t even answer the question “do you want sugar with your tea” without uttering the words, “Look, I hope you don’t mind.”
I do mind Jim. I mind that you can’t say whether you intend to resign your seat in East Renfrew in order to stand for Holyrood. I mind that you are unable to tell us exactly what cuts your party is planning. I mind that you manipulate facts to suit your arguments, I mind that you patronise, I mind that you interrupt, I mind that you went to work on an egg. I mind that you lie about socialism. I mind that you have no political principles beyond saving your sorry career. I mind that you’re really using mind in the Scots sense and hoping we can’t remember your expenses claims, your cheerleading for wars, your obsession with phallus shaped missiles. But we do fucking mind, as you will be reminded. And we’re going to remind Labour that rage is righteous.
Rage is what happens when a people feel betrayed. It’s the justified anger of the thrice scorned, the correct reply to the wrong question, it’s the four minute warning to a party that’s turned its back on the communities that gave it birth. And even now, despite the howling klaxons, Labour still can’t hear, still doesn’t want to listen.
The sirens shriek the death of Labour, and here we bloody go again with Gordie Broon being dragged out to vow things. Gordon Brown is getting increasingly like one of those elderly incontinent yappy wee dugs drooling in its toothless jaws as it tries to gain some purchase on your leg so it can shaft you – vowvowvowvow. He’s promising all sorts of sweeties if only we vote Labour. That’s the Gordie who was going to personally supervise the vow he swore before the referendum in front of the mass rank of an invited audience of a Labour supporter, some reporters from friendly newspapers and a BBC camera. That one didn’t end well, but here he is intervening for the first time again – only this time it’s just rank.
This intervention is the last throw of the dice of a party that’s gone beyond desperate. They’re dragging out the pensionscarer again to speak in a closed locked room to a rank of reporters replacing a rally. A retiring MP with no power to do anything except remind us how useless he was the last time he made a vow.
This time Gordie is promising £5000 for every foodbank in Scotland. Is he going to personally ensure that promise is kept too? He’s not promising to abolish food banks, he’s not promising an end to the punitive benefits regime and the demonisation of the poor and needy. He’s not promising to listen and learn. He’s sure as hell not vowing that Labour will change. In Labour’s eyes it doesn’t need to change, it’s us who need to change. Labour wants us to change back into the tame controlled flock of the unthinking that bends over to act as a footstool for its political ambitions.
So all we are left with is rage. Our rage will be the death of Labour in Scotland. Watch us, watch us kill off Labour with the laughter of the justified and the scorn of those who’ve been ignored too long. We’ve already pushed the party out of our hearts, now we stand on the edge of Labour’s precipice, waiting for the satisfying splat of crushed careers. Our rage is rational. Our rage is reasonable. Our rage is cool, calm, and considered. And such rage, directed, will change the world.
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