Sunday, 10 May 2015

The worst ever

As Scotland continues to celebrate the release of our country from the cold, dead hand of the Scottish Labour party, an organisation which has been utterly humiliated and now completely obliterated, an observation. 

The textbook example of an extinction event for a once-hegemonic political party is the destruction of the Progressive Conservative party in the 1993 Canadian federal election. The annihilation of Scottish Labour on Thursday eclipses even that. In the future, psephologists will not discuss the Progressive Conservative extinction of 1993, but the eradication of Scottish Labour in 2015. 

Firstly, make no mistake. This isn't a defeat. This isn't a setback. It is an dismantlement which exterminated Scottish Labour now and for all time. The party is over. 

Secondly, the extent of the ruin is mindboggling.

In 1993, Kim Campbell had been leader of the Tories for 132 days. Jim Murphy had longer in charge (145 days) to turn things round from Johann Lamont's leadership than Campbell had to turn things round from Brian Mulroney's.

In terms of raw seats, Murphy has somehow contrived to do even worse than Campbell. Whereas she led the Tories to the worst-ever defeat in the Western world with only two seats, Murphy eclipsed even this humiliation with only one seat. And while, like Campbell in Vancouver Centre, Murphy lost his seat in East Renfrewshire, Campbell had held the seat for only one term, Murphy for four.

There are similiarities between the two leaders personally as well: Campbell, as the poll numbers began to collapse, was viewed by the electorate as "condescending and pretentious", words which could have been written for the humiliated Murphy. Although Campbell did have some degree of self-awareness - she resigned immediately whilst Murphy has hilariously consulted lawyers in an attempt to cling onto the prized position of being Leader of Ian Murray.

It now looks inevitable that, like the Progressive Conservatives, Scottish Labour will disband. I hope they don't. I hope the remnants of the party descends into internicine civil war, with defenestrated MPs like Maggie Curran and Jim Murphy squabbling and fighting sitting MSPs to try and get into Holyrood and back onto the gravy train; the fighting become ever dirtier and more bitter, leading to the almost boringly inevitable split in the party.

For two years, Scottish Labour stood shoulder-to-shoulder with David Cameron and his Conservatives against the working people of Scotland. This week, we took our revenge on them. It is a righteous, shuddering revenge from which Scottish Labour will never recover. Their party has ceased to exist, for all intents and purposes. They richly deserve it for their betrayal of working-class Scots. I taste schadenfreude. And I like it.

1 comment:

  1. I like it too. When you ask "What's the point of Labour in Scotland?" the answer comes back - no point when you have the SNP fulfilling their erstwhile role. And when you ask "What's the point of Labour in England?" again the answer comes back - no point when you already have the Tories. I believe they should just chuck it and find themselves another job outside of politics.