You can’t kill the Coyote. Throw him off an electoral cliff so he plunges into a deep canyon which is impossible to climb out of, crush him under a boulder of votes, run him over with the on-coming Caledonian Express, he’ll still pop up again in the next scene of the Labour cartoon, eternally dooming the party to comedy failure. Jim Murphy has crawled out from underneath another rock, saving his skin by just three votes in a confidence motion at Labour’s Scottish HQ, but he has resigned anyway. Just not yet. In a wee while, next month. He has to hang around for a bit longer so that he can pretend he’s got a shred of dignity left.
Jim won the vote of confidence by 17 votes to 14, which in a fundilymundelicious irony works out at 55% to 45%. But his three vote majority was not quite what it seemed. Jim voted for himself, he also secured the vote of a former member of M16 who now sits in the Lords and who was controversially drafted in at the last moment because Labour has only got one lonely MP left. The surprise nominee is a long standing ally of Jim’s. After those two entirely predictable votes are discounted, really Jim won by just one vote, and that was Nicola Sturgeon’s.
Jim did get the support of Ian Lonely Murray, Scotland’s sole surviving Labour MP. But that was only because the Red Panda realised that as long as Jim stayed in post then he’d avoid most of the flak. Apart from him, Jim’s political passing is mourned only by the plethora of parody accounts on Twitter, who will now turn their attentions to Ian.
So Jim had to go, but not just yet, because a succession of prominent figures in the Labour party south of the border had stated that the party was the party of working people, and the voters of East Renfrewshire sacked Jim from his job. According to the papers, Jim’s resignation has thrown the party into turmoil, which does kind of make you wonder what it’s been in up until now. Something that comes out of a bull’s bum, I’m guessing.
Although I wasn’t present at the meeting, I’d put money on Jim being told that he could have a nominal victory in his vote of confidence, but only on condition that he resigned. It’s that manufactured dignity thing. It looks better in the papers, and allows both Jim and Labour to save a wee bit of face. Right up until Saturday morning Jim gave every indication that he was going to cling on to the post of leader like a dog turd on a leaky wellie without the slightest care that he was going to tread crap all over the party shag pile in the process. He was determined to remain leader even though he knew there was huge opposition against him. Jim showed no inclination to care that he was tearing apart the shattered remnants of the Labour party in Scotland. Yet by Saturday evening we were being informed that Jim didn’t want to divide the party. Uh huh. That’s so in character isn’t it. I strongly suspect that Jim was given no choice – resign or the party would resign itself to giving him the boot.
In a bitter resignation speech, Jim blamed everyone but himself for Labour’s woes. It was the fault of the SNP. It was the fault of the Tories. It was the fault of the voters for not listening to Jim. It was the fault of nationalisms everywhere, including in Tuvalu. It was the fault of previous Labour leaders for leaving abruptly. It was Johann Lamont’s fault for not standing up to Jim constantly briefing against her. But mostly it was the fault of Len McCluskey and the unions for wanting Labour to be left wing.
Jim’s not going to resign like previous Scottish leaders have resigned, before he goes he’s going to work on a plan to reform the party. Mind you, Jim was the one who came up with the plan to reform the party after it was trounced in the 2011 Scottish elections, and that hasn’t exactly worked out well for them. Mostly Jim’s plan will be about getting one over Len McCluskey. Jim thinks it’s wrong that Labour in Scotland can be dictated to by a guy sitting behind a desk in London, although he only objects when it’s a trade union desk, not when it’s the desk of a Labour front bench politician. Some London desks are more equal than others. So Jim’s plan will be to take the last of labour out of Labour, and then hope and pray that Scotland’s voters will vote for the nothing that is left.
Jim’s not going to stand for Holyrood next year – “It’s time for me to do something else,” he said, like maybe finish his degree. But in the meantime he’s off to enjoy a well deserved break somewhere where there’s far less infighting, strife and fundamentalist hatred than the civil wars which are consuming the Labour party in Scotland. Like Syria.
Jim’s tenure as leader of Labour in Scotland ended the same way as it started, with Jim insisting that he knows better than everyone else. If the Labour hierarchy reward Jim’s failure with a peerage, it will be their final death sentence and the party will never recover. Not that their prospects are looking great as it is.
So Jim’s going to come up with a plan which he’s expecting the new party leader to implement. At the same time however, this new leader, whoever he or she may be, will – according to Jim – have complete freedom to take the party in whatever direction they choose. Like for example choosing to take the party in a direction not determined by Jim and his hauf-airsed plans which were responsible for getting them into this mess in the first place.
It’s not going to be easy to find a credible new leader, as Labour’s gene pool is small and rapidly drying up. The choices are not inspiring, just when the party needs a leader with superhuman abilities. There’s Kezia of course, and James Kelly – a man who makes Iain Gray seem warm and human. Whoever it is will not only have to repair Labour’s tattered and threadbare rug, they’ll also have to scrub out the crap trodden into it by Jim. And all this in time for the next Holyrood elections in May next year.
We’re witnessing the end of days for Labour in Scotland. The party was founded as a tool of the labour movement, and it was killed by those who came to believe that the labour movement was just a tool of the Labour party. Not even Wile E Coyote himself could survive that one and live to run another day.
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