Weeds in the rubble

You go away for a couple of weeks, and in your absence the tottering edifice of the Labour party in Scotland manages to collapse even more, proving that it is in fact possible to demolish a building that has already fallen in on itself. But it’s worse than that for the erstwhile people’s party, Labour’s even bringing in the bulldozers to clear away the rubble, but not because they’ve got wonderful plans for a cutting edge new building. They’re just making room for more tired old weeds like Anas Sarwar.

Policies which were announced with as much of a fanfare as possible when you’ve got James Kelly as a spokesperson are quietly dropped. Although to be fair you’re going to get more excitement and drama from reading the annotated minutes of a meeting of the Aberdeen Victorian Brick Collectors Association about clay varieties and brick baking times than you’re ever going to get from the Labour MSP for Rutherglen.

Indeed the Aberdeen Victorian Brick Collectors Association are already combing through the rubble of Labour in Scotland in search of bricks or even anything vaguely substantial, although early reports are that they’ve failed to find it. We can only await the next edition of their newsletter with bated breath, which is a whole lot more anticipation than the Labour manifesto is going to get. Rumour has it that the Labour manifesto is going to come with perforated pages so that policies can be easily removed during the campaign if James Kelly doesn’t manage to excite an audience with his gag filled discourse on SNPbad housing policy and its effects on brick manufacturing.

A long time ago in the dim and distant past, which in Labour’s timescale is the week before last, they were going to raise the rate of income tax in Scotland. The low paid were to be compensated with a rebate that they were going to get from the cooncil via unspecified means. This is what made the party’s tax policy progressive, allegedly. Only now they’re not going to reimburse the low paid after all, because George Osborne did something to the tax rates. Which means that Labour is now trying to tell us that Tory tax policies are progressive. It’s only the SNPbad’s policies which aren’t progressive. Or something. There are more strictures and contortions in Labour’s policy announcements than there are in all the varicose veins in a vascular surgeon’s appointment book. At least varicose veins don’t restrict the blood flow to vital organs, which is more than you can say for Labour in Scotland.

Then there’s the named person scheme, which according to the right wing media is the baddedestly baddest SNPbad in the history of SNPbadness. They’re going to take your children off you and indoctrinate them in Scottishness you know, and it’s all going to happen before you can say och jist gaunie no. Labour supported the policy when it was introduced in Holyrood a loooooong time ago when James Kelly was still just boring for Rutherglen instead of boring for Scotland. Only now, thanks to coming down with a severe case of the Daily Mails, Labour has decided that it doesn’t support the policy after all. It’s not clear what they propose to replace it with, it’s just important in the run up to an election that they establish that the SNP is really REALLY bad. And they’ll take your weans off you and give them antielocution lessons so they keep saying och maw jist gaunie no.

Despite announcing a few months ago that Labour members would be free to campaign for independence when there’s another independence referendum, Kezia Dugdale asserted this week that she’d oppose a second referendum even if a party won a majority in Holyrood with a clear manifesto commitment to holding one. Seems that Labour only approves of democracy when it delivers the result that Labour wants. It’s not the politicians or their policies which are wrong in the rheumy eyes of Labour, it’s the people.

This is certainly a policy position. It’s maybe not one you might agree with, but at least Kezia is giving us a clear idea of where she stands, even if it does seem to be a reversal of the stand that she had a few weeks ago. But the revolving doors of Labour policy spin ever faster, because today in an interview in the New Statesman, Kezia averred that it wasn’t inconceivable that she could vote yes in a Scottish independence referendum. If the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to stay and is guaranteed a place in the EU if it votes for independence, then Kezia says she might support indy.

Despite seeming to have changed her mind yet again, Labour’s Scottish leader was keen to stress that she thinks the circumstances are all but inconceivable in which it would not be inconceivable for her to support independence which had previously been inconceivable. Got that? That’s about as clearly articulated a policy as you’re going to get from Labour in Scotland. But don’t worry if you’re confused, they’ll have changed their minds by the time I get this article published on the blog.

What’s really inconceivable is that Labour in Scotland could discover a policy other than SNPbad and stick with it for longer than a week. There are 78 rpm gramophone records that spin more slowly than Labour. And let’s be honest, a scratchy wax cylinder of Harry Lauder pandering to the cringe would be rather more in touch with the realities of post-referendum Scotland than anything that’s come out of Labour of late.

This is the incoherence, confusion, and outright incompetence which leads to the very real and unwelcome prospect of the Tories becoming the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament. Not because there’s any great upsurge in support for the party of Osborne, Cameron, and the self-aggrandising Boris, not because there’s any great affection for tank girl Ruthie, but because Labour isn’t capable of organising the proverbial menage, and wouldn’t be trusted even if it did. We had part one of the death of Labour in Scotland last May, this May we see part two. And part three will take place during the local elections next year. And all that will be left are the weeds in the rubble.

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34 comments on “Weeds in the rubble

  1. jimnarlene says:

    I’ll get the weedkiller ready. A heavy dose of separation preparation, should do it.

  2. Tinto Chiel says:

    Och, Paul you’re being so unfair to Vicky Pollard, sorry Kezia. She has a clear policy: aye but naw but, aye but naw but.

    Keep digging, Kez.

  3. Welcome back Paul.

    Macart and guests done you proud.

    They say a week’s a long time in politics,but for Slab a week is an eternity.

    What the f**k are they on?

    No,me neither.

  4. Albawoman says:

    Back in action WGD! James Kelly has been a MSP for many many years. The multiple deprivation stats and health stats for the area remain static. A total reflection of the nothingness from Mr. K.

    His pal Tom Greatrex spent a good deal of his time developing his CV. He has landed a juicy little job number as CEO of the Nuclear Industry associations. The stats did not shift on his watch either.

  5. Andy Borland says:

    I have to say I love it when you go away Paul.
    Now now, hear me out.

    Every time you come back and pick up your metaphorical pen, the fire in your belly is replenished and reinforced.

    And the quality of your writing reflects it perfectly.

    Fabulous stuff 🙂

  6. macart763M says:

    It was a train wreck of a week for Labour Paul. Worse, beyond the anger and disgust I’m more used to feeling toward that particular party, this week I actually felt (for a second mind you), pity.

    I watched the Labour leader in Scotland dismiss all the signatories of the Claim of Right, kick the very idea of popular sovereignty into touch and the following day listened to our hapless heroine struggle with basic arithmetic and short term memory issues on GMS.

    This was the party of Hardie and Maxton and agree with them or not, produced latterly the likes of Smith, Dewar and Cook. Today we have what? This is what their slavish ideology of party before people has reduced them to, Kezia (mitigate/offset) Dugdale. So besotted with and tied to that hoose on the Thames, they’ve allowed themselves to become utterly sidelined, disregarded, a political bad joke. Their belief in the UK experiment, of regionalising Scotland and the dream of ‘One Nation’ UK had an unfortunate sting in the tail they didn’t see coming till it was way too late. They both regionalised and marginalized themselves. In short they lost relevance with their own central leadership who, let’s face it, couldn’t find Scotland without the aid of a GPS and Bear Grylls.

    The wider Labour party couldn’t give a flying f**k what happens in Scotland today. Thanks to their ideological shift of the nineties their focus is fully on the battle for the same marginal seats the Tories currently rely upon for their tenure in office. Wee hint for policy wonks? Those seats aren’t in Scotland, which is a COUNTRY by the by.

    It appears that Labour have achieved regional status only for themselves.

    Wonder if Labour in Scotland are feeling the better thegitherness yet?

  7. Bill Hume. says:

    Where have you been all my life? Another afficionado of the Aberdeen Victorian Brick Collectors Association. I thought I roamed this world alone.

  8. Labour are treading water (or trying to) until the debacle of the election is over, and Anas can take over. He’s the closest they have now to a big beast, the others having been ripped to shreds. And he can shout louder over Nicola than Kezia and lie without getting flustered. So much for the new politics in our parliament. They were to herald a new way of doing politics, but instead it’s all gone downhill, driven by the need to keep in with Westminster. Only the SNP has a vision of a more inclusive future where heads can be held high.

    • diabloandco says:

      Presumably all the while clutching a document marked TOP SECRET.

      At least some ,nay many , of the previous labour leaders in Scotland had the nous/modesty/recognition of their own lack of ability to stand down – I doubt that is one of Mr Sarwars characteristics.

    • Mr Sarwar has the solution to the attainment gap. The next New Labour Government will pay for every child in Scotland to attend private schools, just like Mr Sarwar’s weans.
      Problem solved.
      Why didn’t we think of that?

      • Jan Cowan says:

        You’ve prised open the chink in his armour, Jack.

        • Jan, he is the spawn of Tony and Gordon, the Devil’s Seed of the neo-conservative New Labour movement that introduced us to PFI contracts, Academy Schools, NHS Privatisation, and managed to get us involved in 4 wars in as many years.

          He is the millionaire son of a millionaire, who I believe had a curry banquet to ‘relaunch’ himself, and will now sit back and watch the SGE bunfight from the sidelines ; because of the all inclusive nature of PR, he will segue effortlessly into a seat at Holyrood, and probably be declared leader of the New Improved, shorter than shortbread, haggis munching, Jimmy Shand Loving Parcel of Rogues.

          And Iain Gray, Jackie Baillie, Jenny Mara, Kezia Dugdale will all stagger over the line, no matter how resoundingly we reject them .

          Crikey, Even Rennie, Scott, Davidson, Carlaw, Fraser and Tomkins will be there to talk mince for the next five years (unless of course England votes to leave the EU).

          His armour is his brass neck, Jan.

          There was an almighty political upheaval in Scotland last May; not so you’d know it if you were relying on the Media…

          He is a political failure in every sense of the word. That won’t stop his motor mouth gibberish when Holyrood reopens for business.
          Anas Sarwar, champion of the Working Poor. Aye, right.

          Off to watch some Scandie Noir…
          A bientot. Bisous

  9. Punklin says:

    Yeah sure that’s right about Sarwar – could be even more of a saviour of slab than Jim Murphy was …

  10. Marconatrix says:

    It´s all a bit tragic really, like watching yer grannie succumb to some horrid wasting illness, or once astute Uncle Hamish as he slowly loses his marbles. Decency requires we leave them to their private grief, why ever would they want to flaunt their tragic demise so publicly? May the agony be swiftly over.

    The final act will be less a contest than a mercy killing. A sad necessity before we can all move on.

  11. Black Rab says:

    Dead things do not know they are dead and therefore utter ironic nonsense in order to attempt to retrieve a semblance of the deception that had gone before. Labour resemble a fictional party devoid of rational in a dystopian Philip K Dick novel. Dugdale, Sarwar and their like make me tired.

  12. Margaret says:

    A favoured son wrote to his dad
    Please help me out, it’s looking bad
    I know dear son I have a plan
    And you will be the go to man

    Our darling Kez will get the boot
    Right up her jacksy. what a hoot
    It’s in the stars that you will lead
    Our friends will help to do the deed

    Auld Geordie with his bright red nose
    Wee Jock can wear his knee length hose
    They’ll help because they want the brass
    It matters not they have no class

    We can call upon the NATO man
    And the one who thought Afghanistan
    Would never hear an angry shot
    Was that the truth? no it was not

    I want for you the very best,
    That money still can buy
    And you can do what you do best,
    That’s lie, and lie, and lie

    And soon around your shoulders
    They’ll drape an ermine coat
    Be sure that this will come to pass,
    For I can rig the vote

    These Lords will tell the natives
    How things will have to be
    So you my son can shine so bright
    Though most folk think you’re just pure —–

    Love Daddy xx

    • diabloandco says:

      A wee compilation of your poetry would be grand Margaret!

    • Immaculate, Margaret.
      I wonder if Call Me Dave will visit his father in law’s island estate (that’s Lord Astor, son of THE Lord Astor of Profumo infamy) to shoot deer for sport this summer.
      Hunting grouse every August brings much needed employment to those quaint little rural chappies in the Highlands doncha know?
      My son’s children’s children will read of our history in fifty years’ time and ask, ‘why the hell did the citizens of Scotland put up with this tyranny for so long?’
      Indeed. Keep the Muse flowing, Margaret. Our heartfelt thanks, M’lady.

  13. An excellent tour de force, Paul.

    I’m a Bankie, and red lead runs through my veins.

    I remember when they made things on the Clyde, like ocean going liners, sewing machines, and made to measure suits.

    I remember when a horizontal borer wasn’t a Labour MP pissed out of his skull lying on the floor of the HoC Members’ Lounge dribbling on about ‘hard working families’, ‘aspirational policies’, ‘transformational thingymabobs’, and ‘pooling and sharing’.

    The rot started in the ‘sixties, when the London Establishment discovered that they could get ships built in the Philippines and Taiwan using bamboo scaffolding, and paying the serfs in bags of rice.
    Nice little earner.

    Kezia Dugdale represents the death rattle of New Labour up here. As she staggers from one climb down to the next, and the Robertsons, Brewers, Kerrs, Taylors and Ponsonbys of the until now compliant media lose patience with the arrant nonsense which they are forced to support in the cause of the Union, I wonder whether she will make it to the finishing line.

    There is no longer a working class throng blindly following, Kezia.
    We don’t need to be hit in the face with a shovel to know it hurts. We will never be fooled again. Live with it.

    Davidson, Rennie, Dugdale, and the cluster of benchfillers who make up the Better Together consortium, are, IMHO, just not up to it.

    Not that I’m complaining, though, but.

    I think it was Runyon :- ‘The race is not always to the swift: but that’s where the smart money’s going’.

    The surge towards Self Determination is unstoppable now. Ruth Willie and Kezia know this.

  14. Ianmc says:

    Seems that Labour only approves of democracy when it delivers the result that Labour wants. It’s not the politicians or their policies which are wrong in the rheumy eyes of Labour, it’s the people.

    This paragraph gets to the crux of many a Westminster Party. Nanelt Labour and the Liberals. Labout has always been about the “power”. Not what they can do with that power. They have aLabour kbows best outlook in life

  15. Davy says:

    Believe it or not, she has already reversed her decision on voting for independence, check the teletext on BBC.

  16. Mike Fenwick says:

    Will we see the collapse of Labour result in the Tories as the major opposition?

    Over the next term of the Parliament:

    – would you NOT wish to see the very real and important distinction between what the Tories would wish to have implemented and maintained in conflict with what can and could be achieved in an Independent Scotland?

    – would you NOT wish to see the the architects of austerity being held to account by those who oppose the tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor?

    – would you NOT wish all those who were scared into voting NO to be able to witness the difference, on a daily basis?

    If indeed an incoherent Labour is the catalyst for a Tory opposition at Holyrood, maybe we shouldn’t dismiss that result as entirely unwanted and negative.

    And not least when the Tories at Westminster, in their continuing drive for more austerity, and their increasing internal divisions, will also be highly visible to those we need to move from NO to YES.

    Am I wrong?

    • Robert Graham says:

      spot on , the Tories are being protected by a useless Labour opposition that dont have the brains to figure out it’s not the SNP they should be fighting its the bloody tories ,they are effectively the tories first line of defence as they were during the referendum and they still haven’t learned anything from that experience as in their mantra SNP cuts give it a rest idiots.

  17. Nice piece of writing. Gives me inspiration..

  18. arthur thomson says:

    If anyone is in a position to communicate with Kezia, please advise her to resign now. It is nauseating to see how she is out of her depth, making a fool of herself and setting herself up to be the fall guy next month.

    Spot on Mike Fenwick.

  19. Kevin Taylor says:

    So, Kezia has failed to set any Scottish or British heather alight – she was doomed never to have success in a very pro-SNP, Labour-hating, post Ref Scotland. Nae-hermm, hen, we like your faither but you can go and raffle.

    Who will be the new leader?
    SLab leader will be:

    Anas Sarwar
    Glenn Campbell
    Ian Murray

    Yes, all three of them at the same time. They will all take turns at sitting on each other’s knee, stern-faced and earnest. To a man, they’ll all form, and agree, Scottish Labour policy from London as they salute our pathetic flag and clench their three collective fists against all things Nationalist. To the tune of David Rose’s ‘The Stripper’, they’ll cross their free hand across their hearts and croon; ‘God Save Our Queen, Our Gracious Queen’ and they’ll ne’er forget to crush those rebellious Scots, those bastard rebellious Scots, who refuse to buy the Daily Record.

    Oh, now sit-down, you three stooges, leave us in peace while we govern a nation, go-play with crooked bankers while Scotland prospers, go negotiate poor steel with China while Scotland produces mettle; while England rots in gore from wars and deceased cripples, Scotland is the stuff of dreams.

    We have a ringside seat to the greatest show on earth.
    Both votes SNP.

  20. John Edgar says:

    Kezia Dugdale is being hu g out to dry; she is , as they say, on her tod! No ” big beasts” at the SlaB’s last conference to lend support. Even their loyalty to their London bosses could not entice Corbyn to attend. That sends a signal. Kezia, you are out of favour and will soon be in disgrace. There are no ” show trials any more, but the Labour equivalent is to isolate you when the cause is up. Hence, Kezia’s ongoing incoherent and contradictory ramblings.
    The former ” grandees” who misled the party with vows (Brown), with deception (Darling – the closet
    capitalist) and contempt ( Robertson with his reference to Scotland as a North British minor entity) have all vanished and are enjoying the fruits of patronage after serving foreign masters. SlaB has turned itself into a minor entity in Scotland, as have the other unionist parties. They are all worse together now.

  21. Jan Cowan says:

    Perhaps in time the Greens will forge ahead of Tories blue and red – but not yet. BOTH votes SNP.

  22. Saor Alba says:

    Exactly Jan. Not yet, but perhaps AND HOPEFULLY in time.
    Vote 1 SNP. Vote 2. SNP

  23. Tinto Chiel says:

    I feel Kevin Taylor and John Edgar’s analysis is largely accurate: Kezia is being played as the scapegoat and may be disposed of once she has taken the rap for May 2016. Alternatively, she may even be the prolonged sacrifice for the council elections next year, if she can take the punishment. The really sad thing is that SLAB think a change of Toom Tabard (e.g. Sarwar) will have any positive effect.

    I’m just surprised about 20% of Scots even consider voting for these utterly meretricious types, who have only served themselves, at the expense of the working class, for decades.

    Can’t stop the future, guys….

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