Monday, June 14, 2010

Iain's freedom to snarl

Are we finally seeing some glimmers of understanding in the top reaches of London Labour for the basic principles of the devolution settlement their own government introduced? Leadership candidate Ed Miliband has declared that it's time to "lighten up", and allow the Scottish party to run its own campaigns in future and develop its own independent policy platform. Not before time - I still wince when I think of the "all together now" campaign in the Holyrood election of 1999, in which the "together" bit was code for Donald Dewar continuing to treat Blair as his overlord in exactly the same way as he had as Secretary of State for Scotland.

The only snag with Ed Miliband's approach is of course that it leaves Scottish Labour's immediate fate entirely in the hands of Iain "the Snarl" Gray. But then it would hardly be the first time an absolutely correct principle has thrown up significant problems in its practical application.


  1. allow the Scottish party to run its own campaigns in future and develop its own independent policy platform

    all very well, but the labour mob in Scotland will still receive huge handouts of money from London and like the tories they will outspend the SNP big time, plus of course they have the Scottish media on side to pour out unlimited porkies.
    No, nothing will change just look how well the English vote held up in west central Scotland

  2. Well James, up to now they have hardly needed a proper leader, with all decisions being made by the real leader in London.

    If they were to receive some sort of autonomy then they would have to elect a manager, instead of an overseer. That would surely not be Gray.

    But who the hell would it be?

  3. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Step forward, George Foulkes.

    Less facetiously, Wendy Alexander may have been just about the best they have on offer as a kind of 'blue skies thinker', but unfortunately her day-to-day political craft was poor (ie. she was very impulsive) and she came across badly on television.

  4. Yes, there's George of course... that errr goes without saying (so best not to say it).

    Yes, I once joked that when they said Wendy had a brain the size of a small 'planet' they probably mis-typed and it was 'plant' they meant... but she was clever by comparison to most of the rest of them.

    However, as well as bad public image and impulsiveness, she also had a temper like Gordon Brown's and the staff hated her, and I suspect many of the MSPs.

    Anyway, she kinda blew it with the money from Jersey and all.

    What do you think of Ms Baillie?

  5. I don't think she's overly impressive, but she'd probably be an improvement on Gray. She's more likeable, and not as pointlessly belligerent.

  6. Yep... I guess that's more or less my feelings about her. I didn't used to like her, but the more I hear her, the more I think she talks sense. I simply can't see anyone else (with the exception of the Good Lard), who has even a modicum of talent.

    I suppose that it's possible that after the next election at least some of the lists will be ex MPs, but I don't see any of them as having any particular talent for leadership.

    But surely Iain Gray is a disaster.