Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Captain Curran and the colonials

I'm utterly baffled by the strategic thinking behind Labour's unveiling of 'Team Scotland' under the dubious stewardship of Captain Curran. It may have escaped Ed Miliband's notice (in fact it almost certainly has, given that he's seemingly unaware of Ken Macintosh's name), but the Scottish Labour Party is about to get its first-ever proper leader, who under the new rules can be either an MP or MSP. So if a Westminster politician is going to be designated as the person to 'take the fight to the SNP', surely they should be standing in the contest for party leader, rather than appointed to a role that can only undermine the leader when he or she is finally elected?

As leader of the whole Scottish party in both Westminster and Holyrood, that person could then have been free to appoint a Shadow Cabinet encompassing members of both parliaments, just as SNP Westminster MPs used to be Shadow Cabinet members with responsibility for reserved matters. But, no, Labour have gone down the road of ghettoisation again, treating their Holyrood parliamentarians as second-grade country cousins. In what reality is it preferable for Margaret Curran to hold the meaningless role of Shadow Scottish Secretary, rather than a leader's position that could have led to her becoming First Minister? Why, in the reality in which she is only interested in a stepping-stone to advancement and preferment at Westminster, of course, rather than in holding a Scottish leadership role for its own sake. That tells us all we need to know about the priority accorded to Scotland by members of the Westminster PLP.

Oh, and by the way - regardless of her job title, Curran isn't the person to take the fight to the SNP anyway. She really isn't.


  1. No place for Tom Harris in this little posse, James. So he's not even in the top 12 Scottish MPs in the Labour party, and yet he's still the best out of the three contenders for the post of Leader of Labour in Scotland.

    Wow. It's clearly going to take a kicking of the magnitude the Tories got from the Scottish voters in 1997 before Labour begin to understand what the electorate are trying to tell them. Even then, I suspect they'll go on about the SNP and their "separatist obsession".

    Incidentally, these people were all elected in the 2010 election, where the proposed enemy was the Tories. Hasn't taken them wrong to ditch that idea and revert back to their anti-SNP obsession.

  2. As leader of the whole Scottish party in both Westminster and Holyrood...

    Are you sure James? I haven't seen the changes to the Labour rule book but I thought what they were getting was just some kind of regional campaign and policy manager for Scotland who had authority over the MSP's and maybe the councillors.

    As far as I was aware the Labour MP's and MEP's were outside the loop.

  3. Margaret Curran's appointment is another own goal by "Scottish" Labour-hurrah!

    If the lady was remotely charismatic, or had the political skills of Murphy(limited-see failure to get his Fox in the Commons debate), she would never have experienced a 22% swing against her in the Glasgow East by-election.

    The next Westminster election should (whatever else) see a Scottish leader's debate in which Salmond will take old Mags to pieces, I warrant.

  4. I met Margaret Curren a few years ago when I was involved in her visit to Dundee. She was Senior Minister for Social Justice at the time and I found her pleasant, and interested in what she was being told. The visit resulted in action once she was back in Edinburgh. Success from our point of view.

    That said, it seems that in opposition she, like so many of her compatriots, has been eaten away by bitterness towards the SNP.

    Bitterness in her case has made her shrill and unreasonable.

    She, like so many other Labour MPs, seems to oblivious to the devastation being wreaked by the Tories, and totally focussed on the SNP's SNP which is following a left of centre agenda, fighting against the Tory cuts for Scotland.

    Any half decent Scottish Labour Party would be working with the SNP to stop some of the horrors that are waiting round the corner for us... rather as Jackie Bailey did last week over the changes to welfare.

    The fuss about independence and the referendum originates with Labour, not the SNP which, having said that it will let the people decide, is getting on with the business of running the country and protecting us from the worst effects of London's incompetent and idiotic, counter-productive cuts.

    I suspect that Ms Curren will make much of herself as Shadow SoS, most of it directed at the SNP. She will want to be seen as a big hitter, with a "proper" role in a future Labour government, rather than the First Minister of Scotland.

    But she may very well find herself begging for a constituency in the new independent Scottish Parliament, once she no longer qualifies for a seat on the gravy train that is Westminster.

    Let's hope so.

  5. tris has nailed Margaret Curran, if I might put it that way. Like many of her Labour colleagues I venture that she has a sense of social justice and some genuine desire to improve our society.

    But weirdly she thinks that that means nobody else can possibly think that way. Everyone else, and in particular the evil SNP, are shysters and charlatans, only interested in tricking the electorate and hell-bent on making everything worse. And the electorate, poor gullible fools, swallow Salmond's snake oil again and again. What idiots we Scots are, eh Margaret?

    Or could it be that actually the SNP are rightly seen as decent folk that want to improve the country, with the difference being that they think the best way to do so would be to take full control of our affairs rather than Calman-style devolution+? It's like chimps and humans sharing 95% of their DNA. I'll leave you to judge which role Labour plays in that analogy.

  6. forfar-loon:

    But weirdly she thinks that that means nobody else can possibly think that way.

    But that is the way that all Labour think not just Margaret Curran. If you're not Labour then obviously you are against social justice and a fair society.

    It's pretty much the reason that Labour are convinced that the SNP are, "Tartan Tories", and are at heart racist with a tendency towards fascism despite the evidence being exactly the opposite.

    Labour are the Jedi Knights and if you're not with them then you're on the Dark Side.

  7. "tris has nailed Margaret Curran"

    Tris, you have my condolences.

  8. LOL @ Doug Daniel.

    "Au Secour", shouts Tris as he disappears forever...


  10. "Labour are the Jedi Knights and if you're not with them then you're on the Dark Side."

    That explains why the Bush/Blair relationship was such a meeting of hearts and minds...