Saturday, April 18, 2015

Can you predict what Labour's excuse is going to be?

When I took part in the recording of Derek Bateman's podcast the other day (you can listen to it HERE or HERE), one topic that came up was the monumental difficulty that Labour are going to face if they attempt to do a post-election U-turn on their previous insistence - for anti-SNP tactical reasons - that "the largest party gets to form a government".  There's no longer any real doubt that they're contemplating that U-turn, because a number of London journalists have been briefed that Labour will attempt to take power even if they fall slightly short of being the largest party.

I've been trying very hard to imagine what a plausible excuse for the change of heart might look like, but it's a real struggle.  You have to bear in mind that the right-wing press in London will be indignantly parading a long series of unambiguous quotes from Jim Murphy and the Scottish campaign literature, so whatever retort Labour come up with, it's going to have to be good.  So far, my suggestions are somewhat less than good -

1) Yes, we said that, but we said it a few months ago.  Back then, no-one could possibly have anticipated the crisis that we'd be facing now.  We all have a responsibility in the national interest to ensure that a stable government is now formed.  It is our judgement that the Tories have no prospect of forming a stable government, and surely none of us wants to see the uncertainty of a second general election.

2) Yes, we said that, but we said it a few months ago.  Back then, no-one could possibly have anticipated how clear Nicola Sturgeon would be that she intended to put Ed Miliband in office.  The reality is that SNP voters were in no doubt that they were giving a mandate for a government led by Ed Miliband.  The Miliband bloc in parliament therefore clearly outnumbers the Cameron bloc.

3) We always made clear that it was merely fantastically improbable that the second-largest party could form a government, because it hasn't happened since 1924.  It's a miracle!  It's happening again!

4) Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you're under. When you wake up, you will under NO CIRCUMSTANCES recall that we've spent this entire campaign telling Scottish voters that the largest single party gets to form a government.

Feel free to add any other possibilities you can think of.

52 comments:

  1. Jim Murphy is not a Labour MP, neither is Magrit Curran or Alexander, at no point were they speaking for Labour.

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  2. "When Jim kept asking when was the last time the largest party didn't govern, he was in fact reminding people that it's happened before."
    ---------------------------

    "There's no longer any real doubt that they're contemplating that U-turn, because a number of London journalists have been briefed that Labour will attempt to take power even if they fall slightly short of being the largest party."

    A link for that would be handy. Pretty major development.

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    1. I'd have to do a trawl to find it, but I've seen it mentioned at least three times in the London press.

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  3. The only response possible is: "Oh look, a squirrel !"

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  4. How Labour explain away their post election backtrack is the mere start of their problems, especially when you consider what will happen next year in Scotland.

    There seems to be a consensus that 2015 is now done. SLABbers and commentators are starting to turn their attention to 2016 and the "Big Comeback" of SLAB. But, is this even remotely possible.

    Consider this.

    In 2011, Labour got only 26% of the List vote. The PR portion gives the chance to vote Green, SSP, Solidarity to people who vote Labour on the FPTP seat. It is also very likely that SLAB will lose every single FPTP Constituency Seat they hold (they currently have 15).

    Now consider this.

    Labour have imploded and their List vote, at this point, can be predicted to be between 10% and 20% in each region. This means in 5 of the Regions they can only hope for 2 seats and in the other 3 regions 1 seat. The prediction for SLAB at Holyrood 2016 should be 13 seats.

    Finally consider this.

    There will be : -

    30 or so former MPs
    20 or so unsuccessful Westminster Candidates
    15 FPTP MSPs
    22 List MSPs
    10 or so senior councillors expecting elevation
    10 or so senior party hacks expecting a shot

    That's ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN greedy, ambitious, determined Labour Party careerists all scrambling over a position at the top of each list or second place in 5 of the lists.

    Imagine the level of infighting, backstabbing, smearing and all the other underhand tactics you can imagine with 107 cat's in a sack all fighting for their very existence. Then imagine how that will look to anyone else.

    Some people think that Holyrood's list system can save Scottish Labour. Think about all these details and ask yourself, are you sure?

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    1. I wonder if Ian Davidson still has his bayonet?

      It could come in quite handy in the run up to SE16 with all the labour careerists looking for a safe list seat.

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  5. "You know, it's a sad affair. We put the guy under tremendous strain. The fact is that Jim was a bit of a loose canon. He claimed there would be no cuts when, of course there was always going to be cuts. But we resolved that whole thing in 24 hours.

    As far as this other business goes, I won't lie to you, mistakes were made. Jim was running Scottish Labour and we didn't interfere. And he wasn't technically wrong.

    However we will be supportive of him in his hour of trial and disappointment. He's been through a lot and he's exhausted. You're going to have to give the man some space.

    I think I've answered everything and have to get on - we have a government to set-up and a country to run. No more questions."

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    1. ERRATUM: "The fact is that Jim was a bit of a loose canon"

      Though allegedly devout, Murphy never took holy orders - make that "cannon"

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  6. Simple then really - get rid of Jim Murphy and blame all those false promises on him.

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  7. How about:


    "Oh yes, Jim Murphy did say that, and he also said that Labour would not loose a single seat in Scotland. That's why we got rid of him!"

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  8. How about we just focus on winning this election just now and not get ahead of ourselves (touch wood)!

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    1. agree Anonymous.
      Actually I wonder if the Scots realise just what the impact of winning the election in Scotland will have on the rest of the UK.
      https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/wheres-the-uk-going-now-scotland-has-gone/
      I have the feeling it will be far more reaching than the referendum - so keep on canvassing and get the SNP supporters out to the polling stations on the day.Just do it!!

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  9. I try to avoid the notion of them chucking Murohy under the bus, simply because it's what I'd LIKE to see. But it's clearly the most efficient way off getting out of the little jam. "Local numpty nobody likes oversteps his authority and tells porky pies".
    It works both ways for Labour in London. Murphy was given a great deal of freedom because he was local leader for Scotland and they didn't like to interfere.
    The problem of Murphy losing his seat and getting back in through MSP list under Labour. Another Galloway .

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    1. If Murphy loses his Westminster seat, the only route into Holyrood before next year's election would be via a by-election - which would be a monumental risk unless Labour's fortunes change very quickly. There's no list route available until next year. Can he survive as leader for a whole year without a parliamentary seat?

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    2. He looks so much like Nosferatu I keep thinking he'll come back from the dead. Like the baddie in an American TV show. What would be the political equivalent of a stake thro the heart, silver chains, knotted rope and a stone in the mouth?

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  10. If a list SMP suddenly decides he is ill and has to retire, could he get in that way?

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    1. No, a list MSP can only be replaced by someone who stood on the same list in 2011. So for someone like Murphy who didn't even stand in 2011, the only route in would be via a constituency by-election.

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  11. I was told if ALL the members on 2011 list all decided at once to spend more time with their family Murphy could get in

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    1. No, that's wrong. If there's no-one left on the list, the seat remains vacant until 2016 (in the same way that Margo MacDonald's seat is remaining vacant - she was effectively on a list of one).

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  12. As to getting out of their biggest party dilemma. easy peasy .
    Blame it all on the SNP ,they do with everything else and BBC say nothing ,ask nothing difficult.
    Just deny they ever said it at all and depend on BBC and STV to lose all tapes and all videos of them saying anything.

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    Replies
    1. Newspeak 1984 change the past in line with current political needs. Like V said there's something very wrong with that country.

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  13. Labour politicians being what they mostly are, they'll say something like:
    "The point that we were making was that the best way to get a Labour government is to vote Labour. Now the people have spoken and our job is to respect their decision and put forward a responsible programme for government. What the SNP do is up to them". In other words, they won't answer the question.

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  14. "It's politics, these things happen"...to coin a phrase.

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  15. To be honest James. if the London Press tried to quote Murphy as any sort of official Labour spokesperson, or Scottish campaign literature, they'd be laughed out of the Fleet Street pubs. He's irrelevant to UK Labour policy. The same argument "we" use about Scottish Labour being just a branch office, applies to their side too. They might as well quote Tony Blair or Gordon Brown as an "official spokesperson".

    And Miliband has been careful just to shake his head or say "no thanks".

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    1. At the time he was made Scottish manager/leader/blackboard monitor/teaboy, he was portrayed as a Premier Division politician who'd sort things out. Like everyone in Scotland was three feet tall and a six foot Murphy would shoo them all back into line or down their Hobbit holes. A brief storm had passed and everyone had got concerned for nothing, Jim would just put every thing back in it proper place.
      He was THEIR little man.
      I'm sure they're all a bit shocked he acheived nothing with all the media resources at his disposal.

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  16. Seems like a pretty easy one. For this to happen, you need two things :

    1 - Labour are not the largest party
    2 - Labour are still in a position to form a government (i.e. They have SNP support on a Queens Speech).

    If those 2 things come to pass, then presumably the SNP are actually getting the outcome they want, so they're not going to kick up a fuss (excepting a few fringe nutters who hate Labour so much they'd rather not do a deal at all), and considering nobody else really cares, what's the issue?

    Unless of course Labour get close enough to do this with the Lib Dems instead of the SNP, and I can't see that one happening on the current polls. You'll get to point at Jim Murphy and call him a liar I suppose, but anyone who cares enough to listen will presumably be educated enough to know his 'biggest party' position was a load of bollocks in the first place.

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    1. No, I'm not suggesting the SNP will "kick up a fuss". I'm suggesting that the London media will use Murphy's quotes to paint any Labour-led government as illegitimate. That will be a problem for Labour, and not a small one.

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    2. I suppose they could try. Given it's obvious horse manure and a great many lawyers, constitutional experts and others will be more than happy to say so both in print and on TV, I wouldn't expect it to get far.

      Especially when the pro-Labour media will be more than happy to take an opportunity for a free kick at their rivals with no possibility of legal comeback.

      And if they push it too hard (in print, in the UK) and we may get the shortest but most entertaining libel case in recent years as a Brucie Bonus.

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    3. James, in all fairness, there were a lot of people in Scotland didn't know who Lamont was, there will be a good few still don't know who Murphy is.

      In the rest of the UK I doubt there's as many as 1% who have a clue who Murphy is. A quote from him would cause the eyes to go to the next news item, on TV it would be a chance to make a cup of tea. Nobody knows him.

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  17. "Look, Look, I will answer that question directly...what Jim Murphy 'meant to say' was yadayadayada!

    Margaret Curran was reported in the Telegraph on-line politics section, yesterday (Friday) as saying that Labour would do some kind of deal with the SNP to oust Cameron, I think the term 'let the cat out the bag' was used by the Telegraph, but let's be honest, if Ed Miliband rejected Nicola's offer to block Cameron and allowed the Tories to govern, he would have ham-strung his own party.

    The Tories would be able to do whatever they wanted and if Labour complained the retort would be 'but it was you who let them in'

    Labour would be blamed even more for painful Tory policies being implemented, than the LibDems, because the Libs at least have the 'we stopped it being even worse' nonsense, something Labour wouldn't have!

    So yes, there will be some kind of arrangement in place, and yes, the SNP will use this to the benefit of Scotland, something Labour is desperate for Scots not to realise.

    The polls suggest we do :-)


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    1. This Curran story seems doubtful, Patrick. Wrecking Slab's central campaign message the day their manifesto (cough) is launched in her constituency? Surely she isn't that amateurish. Sounds more like Telegraph mischief.

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    2. She said something similar a few weeks back and this sounds consistent with that.

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    3. Yes, and let's be honest here, she is distancing herself from Jim Murphy by saying that, as she is old enough and experienced enough, to understand that Murphy has become toxic.

      She has a monumental scrap on her hand to retain her seat, and she can see that Murphy has a lot to do with Labours melt-down.

      You can bet your bottom dollar that a lot of people are telling her on the doorstep that they don't like Murphy (especially women)

      The more distance she can put between herself and Jim Murphy the better chance she has.

      Margaret Curran was quite prepared to stab her life long friend in the back, to support a man she didn't likes bid to become Labour Leader...

      So if it was necessary for her parliamentary self preservation, she would not hesitate to stab Jim in the back, in order to hold on to her Westminster privileges and handsome expenses account.

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  18. They will probably just let the Tories fail to pass a queen's speech. Then the countdown will begin and the UK will be looking at another election and the markets will go mental. Milliband will practically be dragged into No10 pretending not to want it like some antiquated appointment ceremony. Maybe the BoE will scare everyone with an interest rate rise to push things along.

    The papers will shut up about it and only begin their gripes after a year or two.

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  20. That's an easy one, with no hypnosis required. Murphy would simply deny ever saying any such thing.

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  21. Anyone heard anything about the Record's monthly Survation?

    Would have been out by now usually.

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    1. "Would have been out by now usually."

      Evidence that the results are very bad for Labour?

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    2. george m clarksonApril 18, 2015 at 8:22 PM

      could they be even worse than what we have seen already ????,now that would be staggering

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    3. Didn't want to start any rumours. Just was awaiting it but not heard anything. Survation had SNP increasing their lead possibly the last time they polled. That might tie in with TNS and Yougov. And, well Ashcroft too now.

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    4. I saw mention on Pie and Bovril thats its not out until Thurdsay. Don't know how reliable that is

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    5. That's possible, i.e. delaying it until closer to the election. Next Thursday would be a nice '2 weeks to go'.

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  22. Just did a poll for sky news (being a sky subscriber).

    Looks very much like a proper poll by a polling company run with a sky logo. Asked demographics at the end. Maybe Yougov, possibly comres.

    Didn't look to be Scotland only, but had some questions on whether I though Scotland would become independent in X timeframes, whether the election campaign had made me think that more likely etc. So, obviously fairly tailored.

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  23. In answer to your question James "It is all the fault of the SNP" like climate change and everything else wrong in the world SNP BAD is all that the red Torys understand or are capable of understanding.

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  24. Number 2 is the likely answer, if SNP is fortunate enough to hold the balance of power.

    That also means a mandate for more Scottish powers as a likely condition of a deal.

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  25. Why don't they just stick to the truth: it was the Scottish branch that was pushing the "biggest party" line, not the Labour Party in London, and everyone knows not to pay any attention to them Scots.

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  26. It wisnae supposed tae be like this. The dug ett oor postal votes.

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  27. Will there be exit polls for Scotland in the GE?

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    1. I would imagine there'll be the usual joint BBC/ITV exit poll for GB which will give a precise seats forecast for each party, including the SNP.

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  28. Two possibilities;

    1) Actually refuse any arrangement, go to the country in October. Risky but seen as preserving two party system.

    2) A de minimis deal with a nod and a wink. Perhaps 'forming closer ties' later in the parliament. It will be seen as SNPs decision to vote to put Labour in with Milliband 'showing his strength' by 'refusing to do a deal with the Scots'

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  29. Anyone but SNP seems to be Miliband's plan to help get him into Downing Street

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/18/ed-miliband-tories-labour-one-nation-conservatives-eu

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