Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The deafening silence

One of the Scottish Labour party's more endearing qualities is their constant howling for people to resign. Indeed, the struggling little band of loyalists seem to consider a day without screeching that an SNP minister is sacked to be a day wasted.

In the three SNP governments since Labour fell in 2007, they have called for the resignation of almost every minister. 

The party called Alex Salmond "unfit to lead", and demanded he step down for opposing air-strikes on schools and hospitals. Interestingly, a Liberal MP called Alistair Carmichael, who I must assume is no relation to the corrupt MP and former Scottish Secretary who was recently unmasked as a grubby liar and shabby electoral cheat, also called on Salmond to resign as an MP because, er, reasons.

He's not the only ex-SNP leader and Cabinet minister from whom Labour has demanded a resignation: violent dipsomaniac and convicted criminal George Foulkes (a Labour member of the nobility) demanded the resignation of John Swinney as SNP leader, while the Iain Gray, who appears to be a member of a comedy troupe but is actually the unionist finance spokesman, later threatened to use Parliamentary procedure to force Swinney out of his job because Labour's Jack McConnell had let the Scottish Parliament's tax-varying powers lapse.

And of course, in 2010, Labour MP Ian Davidson demanded the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as Health Secretary for lobbying on behalf of one of her constituents. His electorate enjoyed this little episode so much that they threw him out this month.

Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, was also a target for Labour, with then-leader Iain Gray squealing for her to be sacked during a 2009 episode of First Minister's Questions. Subsequently, then-Education spokesman Hugh Henry also demanded the sacking of her successor, Michael Russell.

Even last year, the culture of forgiveness seemed not to have affected Labour, as they called on Kenny MacAskill to resign, a demand called a "pathetic stunt" by then-First Minister Alex Salmond. Richard Baker also called on the unfortunate Justice Secretary to be sacked for the Satanic and devilish practice of going to a meeting in Canada.

And the same Baker also demanded the sacking of Richard Lochhead as Environment Secretary on the grounds that he had campaigned on a local issue which the Cabinet had rejected. 

If you've lost count, incidentally, that is the Scottish Labour party calling for the resignation of every single Cabinet minister from the Third Parliament. 

They have demanded the sacking of Transport minister, Stewart Stevenson, on the grounds that it had snowed heavily. In Scotland. In December. In the same year, the party demanded the sacking of wine fan Roseanna Cunningham, now the Employment Secretary, saying she was "simply not fit to hold office" for the heinous crime of asking for a path to be put on a map. 

In 2008, it was now-Transport Secretary Keith Brown who Labour were calling to be sacked (this time, for being "partisan")

Last year, they demanded the resignation of the Health Secretary, Alex Neil for intervening to keep an hospital open.

Since the collapse of the Labour party in Scotland in 2007 and the subsequent unbroken period of rule by the National party, through two separate Parliaments and two different First Ministers, the only Cabinet ministers Labour have not demanded sacked are Michael Matheson, Shona Robison and Angela Constance - three people who have been in the Cabinet only since last year.

It's odd that they have been deafeningly silent on the crimes of their fellow Better Together man, Alistair Carmichael. One would have thought, given their propensity to demand resignations and their belief that A Sacking Call A Day Keeps The Nats Away, they would have relished the struggles of an MP for what remains, ostensibly, a rival party. Christ, Daily Mail columnist and sometime Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale can even find the time to call for the Nationalists to sack a parliamentary candidate!

Perhaps their voices are all lost in a summer flu bug. Or perhaps their phones have run out of credit. Maybe they're all on holiday! Or could it be, that for Scottish Labour, the preservation of the Union matters to them much more than anything else - and it's not worth rocking the boat. Even to defeat a guy who served David Cameron with slavish devotion for years. 

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