One party in a state

According to complaints voiced regularly by the surprisingly large number of right wing Unionist commentators which a left leaning country produces, Scotland is now a one party state. The overwhelming dominance of the SNP, which is currently crushing all the other parties the opinion polls, means that Scotland has no effective opposition. This is of course a very bad thing, because the right wing Unionist commentators’ favourite parties are scarecely getting a look in.

Some, well I say some, I mean the Tories’ Adam Tomkins, has published a blog saying that he’s now confident that the Union is safe. Adam has leapt to this conclusion, or rather fond hope, precisely because the SNP is doing so well. Essentially his argument boils down to “we must be scraping the bottom of the barrel now” and there can’t be any downwards left to go. He’s clearly not taken the Labour party into account here, as there seem to be no limits to the depths of the hole that party is digging for itself.

The thing is, it’s not that Scotland is a one party state because the SNP is so fantastic. The SNP is merely competent. Scotland is a one party state because the opposition is fecking hopeless, and there is absolutely no sign that any of the Unionist parties are about to get their act together any time soon. This is as true of Adam’s beloved Tories as it is of Labour and the functionally extinct Lib Dems. Tory leader Ruth Davidson is so confident of success in May that she’s bagsied herself a flying carpet to a list seat in Edinburgh where she can escape the wipeout awaiting the party in the West. Adam’s hopes of revival rest upon the dubious condition that voters who get fed up with the SNP will once again put their faith in the same Unionist parties that they’ve already lost faith in. But the big flaw in his argument is that this isn’t a one party state, this is a democracy, and other pro-independence parties are available.

It’s vanishingly unlikely that anyone is going to put their faith in Labour any time soon. Labour is killing itself. The only contest that Labour is winning is the contest for party least likely to inspire confidence. It’s not just that Kezia Dugdale’s all new Labour cabinet looks exactly like Jim Murphy’s all new Labour cabinet which looked exactly like Johann Lamont’s all new Labour cabinet. Labour’s new team is the same as its old team and the old team was pretty mince. Any party leadership which thinks James Kelly MSP is one of its leading lights is in deep trouble. James’s only claim to fame is that he once narrowly failed to make the finals in the World’s Most Boring Man competition. Even Iain Gray is less grey. Kezia’s problem however is that she’s having to make her selection from a very shallow pool. The only reason the stagnant pond has still got oxygen is because of the amount of puffery it receives from BBC Scotland.

But even if you do change your mind and decide that you want to support the Labour party after having supported someone else, the Labour party is making it pretty clear that you will not be welcome. The Labour party is now engaged in purging members and supporters who it believes have voted the wrong way in its leadership election. By the wrong way, they of course mean voted for Jeremy Corbyn. Those whose votes and membership are no longer welcome even include people who have previously stood as candidates for council seats for Labour, union members, and Labour supporters of many years standing.

The purged ones have been grassed up to Labour’s compliance unit because they may once have said something on social media that showed less than brainless acceptance of whatever right wing craziness the Labour party leadership was espousing that week. Funnily enough none of the supporters of the three interchangeable wonks has been purged, only supporters of the only candidate who actually stands for anything recognisable as Labour values.

We’ve crossed through a magic mirror into a topsy turvy world where you get purged from the Labour party for supporting a socialist leadership candidate, apparently being left wing isn’t progressive, or at least not the right kind of progressive – with the emphasis on right. And to think the party’s right wing think that it’s Corbyn supporters who have taken leave of their senses. By a spooky coincidence the new Labour purge is happening on the 75th anniversary of Leon Trotsky being purged by an ice pick in his head. The modern Labour party is equally determined to stick an ice pick in the head of anything that could be described as socialist or left wing.

Labour has now become a party which refuses to accept that people who once supported other parties have changed their minds and now support Labour instead. Although to be fair, you only need to look at the shower of idiots, placepersons, and robotic careerists who lead the party to realise that it is pretty implausible that anyone would drop their commitment to the Monster Raving Looney party and shift to Labour instead. But as they complain about the SNP crushing all opposition, perhaps they ought to remember that it’s doing so because it has welcomed new members who formerly supported other parties. The difference of course is that the SNP does actually have some principles that it stands for.

Still what the Labour party hierarchy is doing is nothing new. It used to be all the rage in Northern Ireland. It’s called gerrymandering. When you can’t be sure that you’ll get the election result that suits you, you don’t change your own policies, you change the electorate instead. The only contest that Labour is winning is the one where they make themselves even less popular than the Tories.

Scotland is continuing its progress to being a one party state, aided immeasurably by one party in a state, a state of confusion, a state of disgrace, a state of betrayal of everything it once stood for. Labour still has a lot of digging to do before it reaches the bottom of the pit, and when it does stop, it will be because there’s no party left.

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17 comments on “One party in a state

  1. Itchybiscuit says:

    I wish I had the baubees to donate something for the dug (how many times have you heard that?) so failing that hurdle I can only gush about how much I enjoy your dissection of the current political realities in Scotland.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your points – I couldn’t believe that the tired old faces of SLab’s ‘placemen/women’ are being described in the meeja as ‘new’. The trouble is, we’ve all heard what they have to say on just about any subject under the Sun. The only thing that ‘unifies’ SLab’s ‘new’ front bench team is their constant mantra of ‘SNP BAD!’.

    James Kelly and Iain Gray conduct themselves like nightclub bouncers while Jackie Baillie is the cheerleader holding their ‘jaikets’. Which is just as well because the pegs in the SLab cloakroom are getting shooglier by the day. The less said about Jenny Marra and Ken MacKintosh, the better for all concerned. Dynamic sounding job descriptions abound. Unfortunately, the time-servers and arse-coverers couldn’t sell a lifebelt to a drowning man let alone sell their policies to the Scottish people.

  2. macart763 says:

    Superb as ever Paul. 🙂

    Adam Tomkins, constitutional adviser to the Scotland Office… Uh huh! 😀

    Aye, apparently those super duper powers of tax collecting responsibility and road signage we’ve not even got yet will prove the doom of the SNP and the need for greater democratic accountability in Scotland. Now apparently in Mr Tomkins fevered imagination the current SG and in particular Mr Swinney have just done things all wrong with existing powers, the new ones will set the cap on the whole show and illustrate just HOW wrong….. Oh jeez. 😀

    Of course folk simply can’t see through just how awful the SGs handling of Westminster’s largesse has been, that’s all. We’ve only voted the way we have because we’re a bit dim it appears, but that’ll all clear up under this theory of Mr Tomkins.

    Yeah, anyways what we can see through is a pretty silly attempt to offset responsibility. The cuts orchestrated by Westminster and in particular the conservatives are taking effect and yet more are on their way. The Westminster ‘veto’, as we’re all aware, has already been exercised and more helpful fiscal levers will NOT be forthcoming. The Barnett Formula WILL be savaged and services WILL eventually suffer and 40% of tax collecting powers with restrictive caveats on how that 40% of responsibility can be applied is worse than useless. No control of welfare or resources, partial control of tax. Its a joke and a poor one at that. The responsibility for the decline or failure of an economy lies with those who control the levers of that economy. The whole exercise is, as has been covered many times over, a constitutional and economic bear trap for the Scottish Government.

    ALL the Scottish government can do is rob Peter to pay Paul. Manage the budget as best possible and make the books balance. They’ve done well since 2007, fair play to them, but now they’ll need miracles to make the pennies stretch and without full control of tax and spend, we’re tied to pretty much the same economic model and budgetary restrictions we’ve had to deal with since the whole sorry Barnett mess began. What the SG shouldn’t have to do is fight the decisions or mitigate the policies of their own central govt. That should be a kinda heads up moment for all unionist parties right there as to why the Scottish electorate have turned their backs on establishment politics. Somehow though, I doubt they have the wit or humility to examine their own responsibility or culpability in their rapid, hopefully terminal and certainly richly deserved decline.

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      Ever felt you may ‘not have the same political and economic rights’ as others [where 56 out of 59 elected MPs (in only this Country it seems) do not apparently carry the day – where the Secretary of State is from a party of 1 and his deputy [his suppose-ed political rival – perhaps, the more likely his ‘Grand Alliance’ colleague] is from a party of 1 and the other ‘sole mate’ of the Triumverate is just biding his time (where the needs of The Three, outweigh the needs of The Many) – then maybe, you are not in a One Party State, but are, by definition …. in an Apartheid State.

      Labour has had its day, for whatever reason it chose to enforce the Union whip in the Referendum – this was its mistake and is irreversible – and as a consequence Labour are now irrelevant, and are irrelvant in what is to follow. Certainly there are ever swelling ranks within the SNP but suspect there are even larger numbers with no real interest in ‘the SNP’ as such (or being members of) … but simply desire Independence, under the Yes banner, as the logical solution to the situation unfolding.

      • Iain says:

        Your are misguided, in the world of Unionism Scotland is not actually a country and thus the 56 of 59 scenario does not actually exist. Of course no Unionist politician shall say that openly as they are not that dim but that is the reality the UK runs under. Really sad that so many No voters were happy to leave us in that situation, Scotland a region of Greater England that pretends it is a real country when it suits!

  3. Dave Hansell says:

    To be fair to the Tufty Club clique which has been running the Labour Party for far too long there is one political party whose members and voters they are desperate to the point of paranoia and cognitive dissonance to welcome into the party, to the exclusion of all other cnsiderations.

    Which puts the belly aching and mardy arsing from Liz Kendal about the labels “red tory” and “Tory lite” into its proper perspective. Give her due though, it takes chutzpah to a whole new level when those like Liz Kendal et al, who have no problem in sticking the “lazy” and “not useful labels” of “hard left” which “add nothing to the debate” onto others whilst at the same time purging the party of the wrong sort of voters and prostitutiing the party to attract Tories, complains when their own approach is used back at them.

    At present every single one of them are falling over each other everywhere you go in the media in order to outdo each other in denouncing those they have defined as the “wrong kind of voter.” There was some failed nonentity who lost one of the Glasgow seats given space in that we’ll known organ of journalistic and truthful rectitude the Telegraph the other day. Banging on about what will happen when these wrong sort of voters lose the Labour leadership election and how they will split from the Labour Party and coalesce around what he referred to sneering as the peoples assembly. Leaving the self styled grown ups like himself to get on with running a “credible” loyal opposition.

    The constituency meetings must be like an AA session, where people gather around in a circle and introduce themselves to each other with the words “hello, my name is [insert name here], and I’m not a bona fide citizen or member of the public.”

    They’ve not just lost the plot, they’ve transported it to another dimension.

  4. david agnew says:

    The old rule is that no one votes for a divided party. So watching labour tear itself apart is rather disturbing but the end state is a party that will be hopelessly split and divided regardless of who wins. The more amusing part is that the likes of Tomkins does not appreciate how dangerous this is. What we are seeing is a total collapse of British politics in Scotland. There will be no credible or capable “british party” to represent the union in Scotland. Politics, like nature abhors a vacuum and so credible opposition to the SNP will emerge, but it will be the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Socialists. Parties that also do not answer to a London party leadership. The institution of Britain is not going to be represented by anyone in Scotland, But Scotland will be represented in Britain by independent Scottish parties. A subtle distinction that Mr Tomkins simply cannot get his head round. If he did, he’d be shitting himself.

  5. In 1999 when the Scottish Parliament kicked off again, after its 300 year long half time interval, (Not) Labour was in charge at Westminster; we had a (Not) Labour led administration and (Not) Labour First Minister at Holyrood; and (Not) Labour were in charge of Edinburgh, Glasgow and many other urban local authorities.

    Now we have a Conservative government at Westminster who still has an effective feudal grip on Scotland; we have an SNP led administration at Holyrood; and Edinburgh and Glasgow and many other urban local authorities are still under the control of (Not) Labour to a greater or lesser extent.

    Yet only now are we said to live under a one party state.

    Go figure.

  6. scotsgeoff says:

    I wonder if all those ‘Labour’ grandees that were encouraging a vote for any party other than the SNP in the General Election are now also denied a vote?

    Thought not;unless they want to vote for Corbyn.

    We are really through the looking glass now…like WAY through it, out the room and doon the stairs and halfway up the street.

  7. gavin says:

    Labour, long, long ago, outsourced(as you do) its principles and *values* to the Tory Party for a make-over. Just about the same time Tomkin’s was a leftwinger.
    So Labour and Tomkins moved right at the same time, and became “new”.
    As for the “new” front bench, any outfit which has Baillie as “fact-checker”, has a serious credibility problem.
    Labour, with this election, is just at the start of its problems. McTernan, Labour’s Jonah, is again on the box, bad mouthing Corbyn——is he still an employee of Scottish Labour?
    5 more Osborne years (longer than normal years ), and a defunct Labour/LibDumb opposition——-the winds of change will be blowing for Scotland!

  8. Dan Huil says:

    There’s no way the so-called united kingdom can survive. People like Tomkins cling on to their imperialist beliefs still dreaming of a sun that never sets. Hilarious.

  9. wanlock says:

    I have some thoughts on democracy, and the one party state,

    Would we have the same turmoil in the Middle East with the imposed Democracy, would China be held together in a democracy, a concept promoted in Ancient Greece is not a solution in this modern world.

    The Gulf states would not exist if this principle was universal, democracy is an illusion in this modern world.


  10. Something needs to change and hopefully it will soon.

    Great to meet you yesterday evening, Paul, and to chat to you. Hope your mum enjoys Lin’s book, and that the dug managed to hold out till your return.

  11. Gordon McAllan says:

    “….. the Compliance Unit …..”

    Orwell is not dead.

  12. Gordon McAllan says:

    “Kezia’s problem however is that she’s having to make her selection from a very shallow pool.”

    Very true.

    When the Scottish Parliament was formed, the comment – considered unkind by many – was made that the (strongly Labour Party-fed) institution was just like a county council, such was the perceived limitation of the new MSPs’ potential. Sure, there were a few genuinely-bright individuals and some apparently-“smart” political operators, but many were simply cases of voting-fodder, drawn from the ranks outwith the familiar local authority party caucus.

    And maybe it didn’t matter too much to the Labour Party, then.

    But it certainly matters now …..

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