Saturday was a day of wonder and portents, of omens and miracles, at least for the Labour party. First off there was the second coming of JC, which was rapidly followed by Kezia Dugdale’s miraculous conversion on the road to a press release. Kezia’s now so autonomous that she’s autonomous from things that she said just five minutes previously. Even things that she got written down.
The great Parliamentary Labour Party coup ended up being so successful that its intended victim Jeremy Corbyn ended up being re-elected by an even larger margin than he was the first time round. And that was despite the assorted machinations the plotters had engaged in in order to deprive likely Jezzamites of the right to vote. There’s Labour and its respect for democracy for you. And now the big boys and girls of politics, the people who kept telling Scotland’s indy movement that politics ought to be left to the professionals, have shot themselves in the foot and hoist themselves by their own I’m Voting Owen placards. But at least they did it professionally.
Jeremy Corbyn is now unassailable as party leader, at least for the membership. He’s still not capable of leading the Parliamentary Privilege Party, which is the party that most Labour members who get elected to Westminster automatically gravitate to. He promises a new politics, a different politics, a politics of change – although not where Scotland is concerned. The problem is that most of his MPs are quite happy with the way things are, thank you very much, and they’re not inclined to change their ways just because the membership says so. The muttering, the back-stabbing, and the undermining will continue, and the PLP will do all they can to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn remains unelectable while claiming that the reason they’re undermining him is because he’s unelectable. And all the while the Tories will run roughshod over our civil rights and take us out of the EU into a dystopian future of Bake Offs and Strictly and Olympic medallists because watching the telly is all that will be left to us.
The day after the Jezzaclysm the Labour right has been reduced to trying to make political capital out of the fact that Jezza’s left hand man Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said something unkind about a former Tory cabinet minister who built a career out of tipping disabled people out of their wheelchairs and kicking their crutches away. They prefer to attack one of their own over a question of tone and inappropriate verbal imagery that might cause mild upset to a rich and powerful and well connected Conservative, instead of attacking Tories who cause actual physical and mental distress to the vulnerable. Perhaps if they devoted just 10% of the energy and enthusiasm they display for attacking their party colleagues to attacking the Tories, then the Labour party just might be electable after all. You’d think that would be clear.
It’s not clear or consistent whether Kezia Dugdale thinks that Labour is electable, although Kezia is a model of consistency and clarity. She’s consistent in her ability to hold mutually contradictory ideas simultaneously. That’s what makes her leadership material. Jezza both is and is not capable of winning another election. The Labour party in Scotland both is and is not totally autonomous. Kezia wants elections to Labour’s UK shadow cabinet but not to her own Scottish shadow cabinet. Labour is both listening to the people of Scotland while simultaneously sticking its collective fingers in its ears and going lalalalalaSNPBad. There’s no inconsistency there and Kezia is absolutely clear about that.
The one thing that it’s clearly and consistently impossible for a Labour politician to admit to is the fact that they might have changed their minds. She once said that it wasn’t inconceivable that she could support independence if Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will but now claims there’s no reason for another indyref. Kezia wants us to accept that when she changes her mind she’s actually being totally consistent. It’s not Kezia who’s changed her mind, we’ve just changed our understanding of what she said.
She clearly and consistently pointed all this out to Gordon Brewer in an interview on the Scottish Politics Show on Sunday morning, where she expressed her disbelief that Gordon couldn’t understand what it was that Kezia clearly and consistently couldn’t understand while she pointed out that up is down, black is white, and James Kelly MSP is witty and engaging. It was like watching one of those cringe making YouTube videos where a skateboarder attempts to skate down a railing on a long flight of stairs only to land heavily on his bollocks, and then fall flat on his face writhing in agony, whereupon a wee dug pees on him and some guy steals his skateboard. Kezia would describe that as a consistently successful manoeuvre and then offer him a place in the shadow cabinet as her spokesperson on policy presentation and negotiating stairways.
Anyway, she continued, deciding to wade on through the quicksand rather than extricate herself from it, Jeremy said that after his reelection he wanted to wipe the slate clean, and that magically makes everything I’ve ever said up until this point disappear. So there. This is perfectly clear and consistent Gordon, and I’m not sure what your difficulty is. Whatever it is, it’s entirely your own fault, and not mine. I hope I’ve made that clear. Oh look, there’s a skateboarder with bruised bollocks who has just been elected to the National Executive Committee. He’s got a video on YouTube.
Kezia is also consistently clear in her view that no one is allowed to point out that she’s not always consistently clear, because doing so is abuse. Anyway, she is correct in one vital point. Kezia claimed that Jeremy Corbyn can’t unite Labour, and it’s perfectly true to say that he can’t unite all of Kezia’s contradictions. Not even the original JC is capable of that, walking on water and feeding the five thousand with a tin of sardines and a pan loaf from Asda is a breeze in comparison to making sense of what Kezia says. Her chances of raising Labour in Scotland from the dead however, are as near zero as makes no difference. Kezia is a miracle maker, let’s watch her make Labour disappear.
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Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-25th-sept-2016
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