It’s a hard life being the leading candidate for branch office manager of the Labour party in Scotland. How exactly do you make a convincing and principled pitch for a job where the main requirement is that the post holder has neither convictions nor principles. It’s one of those philosophical paradoxes that would exercise a great intellect, only the job also means surrendering anything approaching intelligence, or indeed even common sense.
This week leading candidate Kezia has written an article for the Guardian spelling out her dream of abolishing the House of Lords and replacing it with an elected chamber which meets in Glasgow. This will piss off Michelle the Moan no end, as it will seriously impair her ability to take selfies on her verandah with a view of Tower Bridge. Selfies with a view of Greggs in Shettleston just don’t have quite the same social cachet. Although you can at least get a yum yum, which adds considerably more to the sum total of human happiness than anything Michelle has ever done. Logically then, the benches of the Lords should not be full of opinionated minor businesspersons who sook up to the Tories, but coconut buns and bread rolls. But the Lords went stale a long time ago.
Kezia thinks that her great idea will bring massive new job opportunities to Glasgow. Sex workers, bra suppliers, drug dealers and purveyors of brown envelopes would all see booming trade. Although to be fair, Glesca cooncil has already being doing sterling work in that department for years.
Sadly however, Kezia’s great idea has about as much chance of happening as Gordon Matheson getting through a car park without a twinge of embarrassment – or introducing the long promised city wide free wi-fi in time for the next election, seeing as how they didn’t manage it in time for the last. But then Kezia is merely continuing in the traditions of the Labour party in making promises that have no chance of ever seeing life outside the invisible jam jar.
Labour promised to abolish the House of Lords in its very first manifesto over 100 years ago. It took the party until 1997 to introduce legislation to reform the Lords – not to abolish it mind. Despite the crushing majority enjoyed by Tony Blair and the all singing all dancing promises that things could only get better, Labour replaced the unfair hereditary system with the only system that could be even less fair. Blair gave us a bloated upper chamber stuffed full of political placepersons, timeservers, party donors, and people who were being rewarded for services rendered to political parties, all of whom were appointed for life. There are actually dictatorships which have more of a fig leaf of democratic accountability than this.
So Kezia can make fine promises abour reforming the Lords which have the same political validity as daydreaming about what you’ll spend the millions on once you win the Euromillions lottery. You have about the same chance as winning the Euromillions jackpot as you do being struck by a meteorite, which makes both vastly more likely than the Labour party actually fulfilling its promises. Not that you’d know any of this from watching BBC Scotland, which is still fixated on NHS waiting times and calling for Nicola Sturgeon to apologise. Labour doing what it was set up to do over 100 years ago is as likely as BBC Scotland producing a news and current affairs programme that people actually want to watch.
Kezia’s making her big plans because Labour in Scotland has no plans. Neither Kezia nor the second runner wossiface want Labour in Scotland to become a real Scottish Labour party, neither will commit to the abolition of Trident, neither will say anything which contradicts the drones and automatons who run the party from London. Hope springs eternal, but not in the Labour party in Scotland, where only dopes spring eternal. All we get is the whoosh of the vacuum, filled only with grandiose ideas that will never come to pass and the constantly repeated mantra of SNP Bad.
After all, being Labour branch office manager in Scotland means that you have a boss whose job is defined by vacuity. With the exception of Jeremy Corbyn who is attracting so much oppobrium you’d think he was in the SNP, none of the leadership contenders want to say anything that’s remotely controversial, or which even has any content. This is most clearly illustrated by Liz Kendall, who is clearly going for a Barbie airhead approach to politics. This may be a post modern feminist statement, but it’s really just more likely that she’s terrified of saying anything that a Tory newspaper might find remotely contentious.
Liz has published a wee list of key aims for her leadership bid, aspirations which could easily be confused with the gushing breathy dreams of a contestant for Miss World. Liz wants to share power with the people, build a more caring society, and ensure a future of hope for our young people. None of this actually means anything, and it is as bereft of semantic content as Kezia’s aspirations for a Hoose of Lairds in Glesca are bereft of any connection to reality. That’s all we can expect in modern Britain, austerity, crap wages and working conditions, the demonisation of the poor and the marginalised, and happy clappy sound bites from politicians who wrap themselves in a flag while denying that they’re British nationalists.
But Liz is a well rounded leader to be, she also wants a national day of niceness every day, a wishing tree in every constituency office, blue skies in August, and little birds which sing in every branch twittering happiness as the little people skip gaily to their minimum wage jobs on zero hours contracts. Only this being Labour they’ll be little birds which sing and report back to Liz so that she can keep tabs on everyone. The Labour right being noted for its authoritarian tendencies. Liz wants a future where disabled and unemployed people are drowned in a vat of paperwork by smiling and caring people who are doing it for their own good.
Welcome to Britain 2015, going backwards not forwards, but we’re doing it with a happy soundbite and fantasy league politics. Don’t you feel proud?
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