Bye bye Jim Murphy, he shall coyote no more and shall be sadly missed by a couple of dozen parody accounts on Twitter. Jim has finally given up the leadership of the Labour party in Scotland, or to be more accurate, it was clawed out of the cold dead hands of his extinct career by the sheer and utter ignominy of the deep dark chasm into which he’s thrown the party. It’s a defeat from which Labour may never recover, and Jim has secured himself a small footnote in the annals of Scottish political history as the man who made Michael Forsyth look like he was competent.
Forward thinking, dignified and statesmanlike, analytic in his searing political insights, and generous and magnanimous in spirit – these are just a few of the descriptions that no one would ever use with reference to Jim. He won’t be missed by the punters, although he will be missed by the SNP. His resignation is the first major setback that Nicola Sturgeon has faced. Jim’s most notable, and indeed only, achievement was being the greatest recruiting tool that the SNP have ever known.
Jim’s a political magician, he made the Labour party disappear. He clawed his way into the leadership after briefing against and undermining Johann Lamont in private, combined with pious and sanctimonious statements in public condemning Labour infighting. It was the aftermath of the referendum and Labour was staring disaster in the face. But Jim had stood on an Irn Bru crate and bravely faced down an egg, and he was confident that he could turn around the party’s fortunes. True to his word Jim did exactly that, he turned the party round. Unfortunately he turned them round so that they were staring at an apocalypse and an extinction level event. Asteroids hurtling to the ground at 60,000 mph have been less destructive to the survival prospects of dinosaurs, and Jim managed an almost total wipe out of Labour’s expensaurus wrecks. It really would be fitting if, in tribute to Jim’s service to dinosaur extinction, an airless barren rock orbiting in the cold dark lonely depths of space where no one ever visits and no life is to be found was to be named after him. After all, that’s a pretty accurate description of Labour’s Scottish headquarters now that Jim has worked his magic.
Jim’s resignation speech was notable mainly for its digs at Alicsammin. Jim slated the former First Minister for not shutting up and going away and crawling under a rock, but of course there isn’t enough space there what with all the former Labour MPs scurrying out of the light. And of course there is also the consideration that whereas Alicsammin is universally hailed as one of the most competent and capable politicians in the UK, most Labour MPs from Scotland were never capable of joined up sentences, or indeed joined up thinking, to begin with.
That’s what I will miss most about Jim. Alicsammin is an arrogant politician, but he’s an arrogant politician who has got a great deal to be arrogant about. Jim matched him in arrogance but there was nothing behind it except Jim’s estimation of himself and the vacuous bubble of media hype. That’s the mismatch that makes Jim God’s gift to satire. The media was convinced that Jim was going to put the fear of Gord into the SNP, and the howls of derisory laughter from independence supporters were really an attempt to hide how afraid we were of Jim’s galactic abilities. But in fact they were just howls of derisory laughter.
Ostensibly the resignation speech was a speech about the way forward for the Labour party. After losing the party all but one of its seats in what was formerly regarded as its homeland and impregnable stronghold, for some bizarre reason Labour thinks that the guy who threw the party off a cliff is the best person to develop a strategy for them to move forward. It’s a bit like trusting a financial advisor who bet all your money on a blind three legged horse to restore your fortunes because this time round a drunk journalist in the pub has told him about a three legged horse with one eye. But then you really shouldn’t believe anything you read in the Daily Mail, believing what the Daily Mail says has been Labour’s downfall.
Jim does have a bright idea. He’s used the past month well and scribbled down a few ideas that a GCSE politics student could have come up with on the bus into school after spending the night out on the town instead of doing their homework. And appropriately enough a GCSE is also Jim’s highest educational qualification.
Now, because he believes the Daily Mail, he’s spotted a one-eyed three legged horse with its snout firmly ensconced in the trough. The bright idea is for Labour to open up the party list for Holyrood MSPs so the MPs who lost their seats in May can get back on the gravy train again. Because what Labour really needs right now is a bunch of discredited politicians that the voters kicked out of office just a few weeks ago. Jim managed to screw up the pitiful remnants of the Labour party, and he’s determined to ensure that it continues along the same miserable path.
He’s set his face against Labour in Scotland becoming a Scottish Labour party, ensuring that it will continue to ride on the coat tails of a UK party that is drifting ever rightwards in search of votes in leafy constituencies in Toryshire. But then Jim always did approve of Labour’s drift to the right, his great mistake was to imagine that he could take the rest of us with him.
It’s really very simple what Labour’s plan ought to be in Scotland. They should study very carefully what Jim has done. They should look upon his tenure in office and examine it in detail. They should list each of his actions and policy announcements. And then they should do the exact opposite.
Bye bye Jim. You won’t be missed.
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