Saturday, 19 March 2016

Scottish Labour: pining for the fjords

Today is the Scottish Labour conference. Bravely, they are holding their special day in the Yes City of Glasgow - a city which dealt a considered rejection to their constititional position in 2014 before calmly and coldly eliminating every single one of their MPs last May.

This May, Glasgow would be a Labour-free zone if not for the beleaguered Unionists cheating the List system and forcing politicians rejected by the electorate into Parliament (No, it seems, only means No in referendums).

Once upon a time, the Scottish Labour conference set the political agenda for the nation. Today, it resembles a support group for psychologically-damaged individuals who need to vent, crossed with the more fruitcakey elements of the fringe conspiracy-theory parts of their erstwhile allies from Ukip. All this in a tone resembling tub-thumping 1979s Ulster loyalist preachers.

The remarkable thing about the behaviour of the conference is that it's not coming from the lunatic fringes of Unionism, but the heart of the Party. A candidate for May's election took to the stage to rant that ”the SNP believes in dictatorship ". (This is reminiscent of lead Glasgow candidate Anas Sarwar, who accused the Scottish Parliament of " not being a democratic place").  The behaviour is indistinguishable from that of Nigel Farage following the Oldham by-election. So wrapped up was he in his cocoon of Ukip lunacy that he genuinely couldn't believe that people weren't voting for him. The only credible explanation, in his fevered mind, was that Muslims must have committed large-scale voting fraud.

That's the mentality Scottish Labour is in just now - heavily redolent of the nuttier fringes of Ukip fruitcakery. It's not a good look - and that's why the Labour party in England is slowly edging, horrified, away from them.

Jeremy Corbyn, astonishingly, is boycotting his own party's Scottish conference, as is shadow finance minister John McDonnell, whose calculated insult is even more a slap in the face when one considers he is giving a speech just metres from the Conference venue. 

It's not the first slap in the face to the party's beleaguered "leader", Kezia Dugdale. Last week, a Jeremy Corbyn for PM roadshow event in Edinburgh saw speaker after speaker praise the SNP for its consistent opposition to Tory austerity. Dugdale, humiliatingly, was not mentioned at any time. This resulted in a formal letter of complaint being sent by violent, drunken, anti-Catholic bigot (and Scottish Labour peer) George Foulkes to Corbyn. 

And you can result assured that a furious, spittle-flecked missive from Dugdale's mentor would not have been sent other than at her bidding.

Scottish Labour has become an embarrassment to Labour in particular and the Left in general, and both are edging away. This could have also have been seen in a quite extraordinary exchange between Scottish Labour troll Duncan Hothersall (a sock puppet for the Scottish party's " leadership") and the Left-wing journalist and author Owen Jones, who is close to the party leadership, which led to Owen denouncing Scottish Labour members as filled with "bitterness and lack of self awareness", and pointing out the closeness of Scottish Labour and the Conservatives. He went on to bemoan Scottish Labour bitterness for "repelling people rather than convincing them", and told Hothersall it is "people like [Hothersall] who need to take responsibility for the situation Scottish Labour is in". 

This is reflective of a Left-wing activist base and leadership in Labour who are looking on in horror at Scottish Labour's hard-right lunge and trying desperately to disassociate themselves from it.

While Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell's plugging away at Tory austerity has brought down Iain Duncan Smith and may yet bring down George Osborne, Scottish Labour supported Tory austerity and campaigned against Corbyn.

That will have been remembered in London. They are preparing to let Scottish Labour twist in the wind in May with no financial or moral support from London. The last Scottish Labour conference had a succession of big names. This year's has Alex Rowley and Bill Butler.

The Labour leadership will have been working closely with the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP against Tory cuts while Scottish Labour voted with Osborne and opposed Corbyn. And maybe they've come to the conclusion that they would rather work with a strong, centre-Left SNP bloc to oppose the Tories than a hard-right, divided, bitter rump of ultra-Loyalists and Edinburgh lawyers.


  1. Superb.

    You could almost feel sorry for the fringe nut jobs, obsessed with hatred for Nicola Sturgeon. Foulkes, Hothersall, et al. Lost in a wee world of their own.

  2. Tories/Lab will end up forming a formal Unionist pact.We have already seen evidence of this on some Council by elections with candidates from Unionist parties standing as Independents.

  3. Excellent made me chortle . Gives me as an Northern Englishman (with Scottish kin) an insight into why Labour is imploding in Scotland .Would love you to do a similar post one us dear old Lib Dems but I guess we are so far under the radar we are not worthy of such pythonesque vitriol. No doubt we are rightly consigned to the political grave yard to rot alongside old Charlie K for our wicked connivance with the Devil (The Tories)the very essence of anti Scottishness . You could of course also hate us for our Coalition with Scottish Labour too. So long ago .... Richiedaw,Chester

  4. The Long Goodbye is moving in to its end-game, thank fcuk.

  5. The Long Goodbye is moving in to its end-game, thank fcuk.