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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