Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Scottish Labour's entire election strategy, RIP

Jim Murphy is a mumbler, so correct me if I misheard him, but I'm pretty sure that he promised at the end of the STV debate that Labour would vote against a Tory Queen's Speech.  If we can take him at his word, then it means that Nicola Sturgeon has been right all along when she's said this -

"If there are more SNP and Labour MPs than there are Tory MPs, we can lock the Tories out of power even if they're the largest single party."

And it means that Jim Murphy has been plain wrong all along when he's said this -

"The largest party gets to form the government."

End of story.  Scottish Labour have just destroyed their whole election strategy, but in truth they had no choice.  The contradiction at the heart of it was so laughably obvious that it just wasn't sustainable - not even with the help of a lovestruck press who think Murphy is the Messiah.

And judging from Bernard Ponsonby's bizarre summary of the press room's verdict on the debate, they really do still think he's the Messiah - in defiance of all the evidence.  Murphy didn't have a meltdown, but he was clearly third-best out of four tonight - and with all due respect, that's not the place where you expect to find a Messiah.

Bottom of the heap was of course Willie Rennie, but he can at least console himself by reflecting on his unintentional comic genius.  He told a member of the audience that the Lib Dems' achievement in government was mainly to stop the Tories being quite as evil as they otherwise would have been (wouldn't it have been a better idea not to put them in power in the first place?) - plus of course "all the other great things" that the coalition have done.  I'm sure we can all agree that those great things are so obvious he didn't even need to waste our time by naming them - and thankfully he didn't.

Above all else, let's not forget his gaffe of the century at the very end...

"Vote for everything.  Vote Lib Dem."


  1. Most people won't notice, even among that minority of the population that actually watched the debate. You can tell everyone that black is white and up is down and as long as you do it in the correct tone, most people won't contradict you and will quickly forget about the whole thing.

    1. I don't agree with that, but I'll tell you one sense in which debates really do matter - if you're not even involved in them, you're going to suffer. The SNP's involvement last week makes a huge difference, and the fact that Nicola Sturgeon has been more of less acknowledged as the winner of that debate is obviously a massive bonus.

    2. As for "most people won't contradict you" and "will quickly forget", wrong. The SNP now have a readymade comeback from Murphy's own lips whenever the "largest party" drivel is trotted out.

    3. I agree with your point about absence from the debates. Cameron really fucked up with his short sighted behaviour. Everything would have been just fine and dandy if he behaved like a good little boy and agreed to the original four way debates that were proposed, but he had to start flapping his gums and drag the other parties into it. Then we end up with SNP. Fucking arsehole.

  2. To be a little contrary, including the opinions on Scotland Tonight which said it wasn;t a game-changer for Murphy, well it wasn't. But I think perhaps they miss the point that it couldn't have been a game changer either, and I doubt that's what Murphy was looking for.

    Labour are 17 % points behind the SNP. Now, if it was level, 2 points even 5 or 10 behind the SNP, then a game changer is on the cards. But 17 points? No chance. What Murphy said way back is that he was looking for progress, to put Labour back, to reform it, and so on. That's looking for steady progress, I think that's what he was looking for tonight, not a game changer at all.

    Did he make progress? Well, to be contrary yet again, I think yes he did. He was humorous, had most of the audience laughing with him (not at him), and humour gets past the first line of defence, YES demonstrated that one in the IndyRef, against the anger of NO. He also showed via that, that he has charm. He might not to "us", but he did it seemed to me, to the audience. He engaged them, even while never giving one straight answert to any question from anybody.

    So I say, as I've said before, don't underestimate him.

    1. Oh, I think he did have charm to the audience, but that's mostly because there were a hell of a lot of outright Labour partisans in that audience. I had a strong sense of deja vu tonight - I can remember the audiences in 2010 falling dutifully into hysterics at all of Jim's little "jokes".

    2. Pass on the audience. At most, fairly, it would be 45% SNP, not counting the so-called undecideds, some of whom probably were, one who probably wasn't! At worst it would be around 20% if they took the 2010 election split.

      At the end though, Sturgeon got the biggest applause which goes against the bias theory, and I personally don't think STV is generally biased. I do think Murphy has a good humour though, something I appreciate :-)

      Actually, one point about his humour is that if Labour were closer in the polls it would be inappropriate, as he'd be expected to be more serious about the future of Scotland. He can get away with it because he's playing the role of the underdog, and he plays it well. I doubt many fellow SNP members would agree though, I try hard to look impartially.

    3. I'm not suggesting there were only Labour supporters in the audience. I'm suggesting that the Labour people who were there were very strong partisans (as was the case in both the STV and BBC debates in 2010). That was not an audience comprised of "ordinary people".

      I'll be honest - I don't find Jim Murphy remotely funny or charming, and I struggle to understand how anyone could. (That's not a partisan point - I liked both Donald Dewar and Henry McLeish when they were in office, albeit I thought McLeish was irritating in FMQs.) But I do appreciate that such people do exist, as you've proved.

    4. Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish, Jack McConnell and David McLetchie, Annabel Goldie and Ruth Davidson are/were all more likeable and have/had a better sense of humour than Jim Murphy. Even Ed Milliband comes across better than Jim Murphy.

  3. Jim Murphy, Defender of Trident, Torture, Apartheid, Israeli chemical weapon attacks on children, Industrial scale child abuse and a self-confessed war criminal.

    He was loathsome. A humanoid lizard. Creepy pervert voice and a face full of hatred at being questioned by a Scottish woman!

    Just fuck the fuck off with your concern trolling. The only way labour can save themselves in this election is by their usual massive postal vote fraud. They are dead as a party and if I had anything to do with it they'd be corpses in reality too. Evil evil evil creatures of pure evil. And you vote for them.

    1. Yesindyref2 isn't a concern troll. We've had plenty of concern trolls on this blog, but he/she isn't one of them.

    2. "They are dead as a party and if I had anything to do with it they'd be corpses in reality too."

      It's always lovely to hear from an eloquent and not in the slightest bit psychotic Scottish nationalist. Do come on here more often.

    3. Actually brave anonymous, I think you should absent yourself from this site. You'd like to make corpses of your political opponents would you? I wouldn't. Just want to beat them democratically. Keep your hate speech to yourself.

    4. @Anonynous. You sound just like the sort of person the BBC likes to class as a "cybernat" and tar us all with the same brush whereas you are, thank goodness, in a small but not small enough, minority.

      @James. Thanks for that. Posting (PP) on the H I try to be fair and reasonable, criticising the SNP (or YES) at times. Part of that is that I'd really like the media to do the same. Regular posters there know what I'm like so it's OK, but on other forums people think I'm a "troll" in its modern meaning as opposed to the old UseNet one (posting to elicit a response). C'est la vie as the French ambassador didn't say to the Scotland Office.

    5. Anon seems an almost perfect incarnation of the Unionist imaginings of 'cybernattery'. It's almost as if someone decided to post anonymously in the style of their preferred but imaginary opponent in the hope of giving those imaginings some sort of 'evidenced' form.

      Away'n shite anon. Do you think we are all as delusional as you ya idiot. (snigger)


  4. I wouldn't be surprised if anonymous weren't the same person questioning all the Scottish Labour MPs on their campaign pages about the paedophile scandal. Not entirely hinged.

  5. Murphy's attempts at humour fell flat with me. I just felt that he came across as creepy, ingratiating and fake: like that excruciating attempt at banter with the woman called Murphy, or the way he went all teary-eyed over the NHS and soldiers.

    Though her politics are diametrically opposed to mine, Davidson did a much better job of being personable while being reasonably straight with people about her positions.

  6. YG subsample
    SNP 43% Lab 33% Tor 12% UKIP 6% Lib 4% Grn 2%

    Unionist voting alliance in this small sample? Tory vote shirnking by 4- and Lab gaining 4%.

    Too small a sample, 125.

    1. Possibly of interest...

      As per Populus, the number of SNP (+PC) identifiers in Scotland in the unweighted base is the highest ever in yougov. From the weightings page, it looks like they've been weighted up (58 to 59). However, overall they are weighted down as the Scottish sample as a whole has been weighted up much more (125 to 145) which means an SNP down-weight.

    2. Also, 43% SNP in the subsample is an outlier low based on historical correlation of this (subsample SNP level) vs SNP(+PC) in the unweighted base. If it had been generally in line, you'd be looking at 50%+ SNP in the subsample.

  7. People who enjoy Murphy's "banter" baffle me almost as much as those who liked Blair because he "seemed genuine and honest." It's just the absolute opposite of what I see. His joshing with the woman called Murphy was painful to watch and his jokey "I'm laughing but in my head I'm stabbing you" voice just sounds so malicious and false.

    He did get a couple of good lines in. Pointing out that voting SNP in order to get a Labour government is a bit backward does kinda make sense, even if a lot of his reasoning is specious. But anyone who actually thinks him "likeable" or "decent" or "trustworthy" or "human"...well, I don't know what show they're watching.

  8. James

    I didn't think any of them did particularly well and STV just don't seem to get these debates. No Patrick Harvie smacked of bias as Nicola Sturgeon was 3 1 down from the start. Murphy and Davidson are neither funny or likeable, both are horrible in their politics with Murphy in particular being loathsome and that's being nice. The audience was bias but I never expected anything different. There was in my opinion no winners only losers with the biggest losers being the few who watched that crap. Also no sign of many Asian or Black people in the audience so serious questions for STV.


  9. There was a couple of things Murphy said, that the press haven't picked up on.

    He said the minimum wage would be £8.50, which is more than Labour had previously promised.

    He also contradicted Ed Milliband, when he said the claim by Nicola that Labour would be making cuts, wasn't true.

    She pointed out that it was Ed himself who had admitted on national TV that Labour would be making cuts, but again he denied this was the case.

    At this point Nicola asked him a couple of times if Ed Milliband was wrong, but by this time, he had turned around to shout at Ruth Davidson and ignored Nicola, something we saw him doing whenever people asked him awkward questions during his 100 crate tour.

    So I wonder how the right wing press in England will feel, if they find out that Jim Murphy, who has told us that he will decide the policies in Scotland and that the first time Ed Milliband and Ed Ball hear about them will be when they read them in the papers...

    Has told Scots that our minimum wage will be more than England's and that unlike England Scots will no longer be facing any cuts to our budget.

    Not sure if that will go down too well.

  10. Murphy is a slippery rat.
    Even when he contradicted himself on nuclear disarmament he got away with it. As much as I despise the man he deserves credit for being the one person on stage who treats the general public for what they are - idiots.
    I know that's harsh and isn't aimed at all, certainly not those who are politically engaged, but make no mistake about it, his tactic of not answering questions and throwing out soundbites instead (soundbites that his own actions contradict - see bedroom tax, WMDs, food banks/poverty, austerity comments he made last night despsite either abstaining or voting to the contrary on these issues in the past) was lapped up by the mindless masses. The young woman was a prime example.
    This, IMO, is what the NO campaign done so well. Played to the base levels of the general public rather than engage them on an intellectual level.