Scottish Labour's very own Prince of Darkness John McTernan informs us in the Scotsman today that fear always beats hope in political campaigning, and it looks like his party have decided to put that theory to the test over the remaining few days of the election campaign. I've just received a delightful leaflet inviting me to draw the following contrast -
"Knife crime wrecking lives under SNP
Carry a knife - go to jail with Labour"
On the flip-side of the leaflet I'm introduced to the "McKennas", a 'typical, hard-working, Labour-voting family' (they look a remarkably smug bunch, it has to be said). The McKennas apparently worry themselves to sleep every night about the bloody SNP being soft on crime. "Bernadine" McKenna warms to the theme in the following monologue...
"The problem is getting worse. I'm backing Labour's policy of 'carry a knife, go to jail'. There's no excuse to carry a lethal blade but folk know they'll get away with it. I worry about what could happen to our family."
I'm worried about what might happen to your family too, "Bernadine". I'm desperately concerned about what might become of your fine daughter "Sarah" McKenna if she pops round to lend her Auntie Joanna a kitchen knife in future - under Labour it'll be straight to Cornton Vale for that young lady. No excuses, you knife-wielding scum!
But it seems "Frank" McKenna is in full agreement with his wife -
"[The SNP] are wrong not to back this tough approach. Now the Tories are back, we need Labour to focus on the things that really matter, like keeping our streets safe."
Do you know what...those words are reminding me of something. Isn't that remarkably similar to what John Park is quoted as saying every single day in the press? In fact, doesn't some of it appear word-for-word in Labour's manifesto? Crikey. Take a well-earned bow, "Frank" McKenna - you're the co-author of Labour's manifesto! You've devised some of the party's best-loved catchphrases from this campaign! When oh when is this man and his camera-friendly chin going to get the credit they deserve?
I do have a small quibble, though, "Frank". The general rule of thumb for political rhetoric is that you can tell how vacuous it is simply by reversing it and seeing if it still makes sense. Your statement reversed reads as follows -
"When the Tories weren't in power in London, we didn't need Labour to focus on the things that really mattered. It was OK if our streets weren't safe."
So that's what you have to believe if you buy into Labour's "now the Tories are back" drivel.
And what's this? "Bernadine" and the magnificently-chinned "Frank" have both had their say, but nothing from "Sarah" McKenna? Are teenagers meant to be seen and not heard under Labour?