Ken Macintosh, the not leading candidate for branch manager of the Labour party in Scotland – who is better known as “Who’s he?” even in his own party – has stated that Scotland shouldn’t get any more powers from Westminster. Ken’s really keen to attract back the voters that Labour has lost to the SNP, and thinks that the best way to do it is to refuse to concede any more devolution at all. Labour calls itself the party of devolution, Ken calls it the party of you’ll have had your devolution.
Ken is concerned that a woman whose only ability is to shoehorn an attack on the SNP into every single statement has greater public recognition than he does. Just this week alone, Kezia Dugdale has blamed the SNP for letting her tea go cold, demanded the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon after a wean in her local swing park bruised his knee, and written an impassioned article for the Labour supporting Daily Mail bewailing the fact that SNP supporters laugh at her. Faced with such determined opposition, and let’s face it it’s the only opposition Labour is capable of mounting, Ken decided he had to do something. He looked around for a likely bandwagon and jumped on it. I’m just like Jeremy Corbyn! cried Ken, except for the socialism, the opposition to nuclear weapons, and the desire to renationalise privatised industries and utilities that is. So failing the possession of any traditional socialist polices, and in order to show that he’s a traditional Labour politician in tune with Old Labour in Scotland, Ken decided to do the traditional Labour in Scotland thing, and to tell a load of auld mince to the media.
Ken gave the interview in order to raise his profile, because at the moment he’s not even the best known person inside his own head. So brave Ken set out to court the Yes leaning populace, and told Commonspace, a pro independence news site, that he doesn’t want Scotland to get any devolution pudding, because we still haven’t digested the stale kale and rotten potatoes of the Smith Commish. He did also manage to get some attacks on the SNP into the piece, but no one really noticed because Labour attacks on the SNP are like bad smells, after a while your nose grows accustomed to them and you no longer notice.
In fact Ken’s pretty uncomfortable with the powers that Scotland currently has. This is because in the mental universe of Who’s He, Scots are a backward looking atavistic bunch of bigots, religious fundamentalists, right wing extremists, and Ruth Davidsons. The most popular car in Scotland is a tank, and they cause havoc on the M8 every rush hour as they compete to run over migrants and gay people. The favourite pastime of a Scottish person is dressing up like John Knox and going out on the town looking for a witch to burn, but not on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath we go around in massed groups looking for budgies’ swings to tie up. But then someone pointed out that that constituted work and was sinful, and so we had to take turns throwing rocks at one another. It’s a damned hard life being a puritan bigot you know. But looking on the bright side, we are apparently very good at it, according to Ken. In fact, according to Ken it’s about the only thing we’re any good at. I’d better not say any more about how good we are at bigoted intolerance though, because vanity is a sin and someone might throw a rock at me.
But back to the man who makes Iain Gray seem high profile and James Kelly seem likeable. Why, said Who’s He, if Scotland gets more powers from Westminster in 20 years time Scots might elect a right wing reactionary government, and that would never do. It’s the duty of the Labour party to protect Scotland from reactionary right wingery by, for example, not voting against Tory cuts to social security and adopting Conservative policies wholesale in order to make a pleading pitch to the strivey achievey people who make up focus groups. Ken thinks it’s far safer for Scots to leave all the really important heavy lifting powers of government in the hands of a parliament most of whose representatives are right wing reactionary extremists right now, and who look set to remain so after the next General Election in 2020.
Anyway, the logic, such as it is, is that Scotland is inhabited by reactionary provincials, and we rely upon the good graces of the Westminster Parliament to teach us how to act like civilised human beings. We needed Westminster to introduce anti-racist legislation, equal wage laws for women, and gay rights, because Scotland would have been incapable of working out for itself that it’s wrong to discriminate. Scotland isn’t a major multicultural centre like London, and we live in a cave with a brown paper bag over our heads, pining for the days when the Calvinists banned Sunday shopping.
Saying that Scotland can’t be trusted with the levers of power is hardly a positive selling point for a man who aspires to be First Minister. It’s like giving your car keys to a man who tells you that he’s only capable of driving sheep – although to be fair that’s quite a good qualification for a Labour party parliamentary leader. But amongst the voting public, “Vote for me because your country is mediocre and I’m the best person to manage its mediocrity,” isn’t what you might call a strong selling point.
Poor Who’s He, he’s got a very bad case of the Cringe, and the fact that Cringeworthiness is considered a positive in a serious contender for leader of a major political party is a sad illustration of the extent to which Labour, and the Union in general, has lost its way. So now we know that we’re really better together because we’re socially inadequate – like those poor lonely souls on Channel 4 dating shows who can’t get laid. Vote for me, says Ken, because you’re ugly, you’re inadequate, and you can’t get a shag. Ken’s Cringe tells us that there’s nothing that the Union has left to offer Scotland, and that we’re far better off without it.
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