Monday, December 19, 2011

Mr Popular

Nobody does unintentional comedy quite like the Guardian these days...

"The least well-known Scottish leader in its history, Lamont defeated another lesser-known backbencher, Ken McIntosh, and popular Westminster backbencher Tom Harris, the MP for Glasgow South, to win. McIntosh won 40.3% and Harris 7.95% of the vote."

Call me peculiar, but I always thought elections were a rather good test of popularity. So let's recap : Tom Harris is "popular", but he's just taken a gubbing at the hands of "the least well-known Scottish Labour leader in history" and "another lesser-known backbencher". Heaven only knows what would have happened to him if he'd been unpopular.

Ah well. Scottish Labour's gain is the blogosphere's loss. Or something like that.

And I really do think the Guardian are grossly overstating the scale of the challenge facing Johann Lamont as leader. Surely it's high time the press picked up on the inspiring message of hope and renewal that Labour's electoral college has just decisively delivered, ie. "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".


  1. Jim'll never fix it now.

  2. Of all the options that I’m sure have been addressed in ‘Scottish’ Labour’s policy review, I’m equally sure that the one option that ought to have been considered hasn’t been on anyone’s agenda. That is, why don’t they just drop all this ‘Scottish’ Labour kaboodle and just call themselves what they are, the British Labour Party?

    Even their (adopted) name is part of their problem. You can appreciate why many voters are confused. A party that claims to be against ‘separation’, separates itself from the British Labour Party! What kind of message does that send out to voters, who can be forgiven for asking themselves: how does that work then? And wouldn’t this be more consistent (not to mention more honest) with Grunhilda’s declaration that she will make the “strongest case possible to keep Scotland in the union”?

    I see that defeated candidate Tom Harris, today, reiterates his belief that Scottish Labour now has a “less than 50 per cent chance of survival”. That’s Bomber Harris for you, even in defeat, ever the optimist.

  3. Anon

    I think that Tom Harris is being very over optimistic, less than 50% chance of survival is their survival chances really that high?

    MS Lamont said all the expected warm words on Saturday, then on Monday came the reality. The "new shadow cabinet" where is the new?

    Over on Labour Hame there are a lot of former Labour voters who are looking for reasons to return to Labour. At present no one on Labour Hame has given them any reason to return, neither will this new cabinet.

    Will the new Labour slogan be "we will do less even worse than before" apologies to wee Jack now enjoying a well earned rest on the Ermine.

  4. Dubbieside,


    Regarding Tom Harris, I agree, my last sentence was meant to be taken literally.

    ‘Scottish’ Labour’s dilemma is the same as it always was. Even if the political will existed for it, they can’t shift to the left, as that would make political life intolerable for Miliband at Westminster (the Tories in England would have a field day with it). Equally, they can’t move any further to the right than they already have. So they’re stuck in this peculiar post-New Labour twilight zone that they’ve been in since 1999.

    Equally, they can’t campaign for full fiscal autonomy because, on the one hand, that gives succour to the SNP and would put ‘Scottish’ Labour in the place they’ve always feared most - on the precipice of the ‘slippery slope’ to independence. This would also create huge problems within the UK. Again, this would be intolerable to both Labour and Tories in England and would only heighten the contradictions and tensions that already exist in the Disunited Kingdom, even with the current devolution settlement.

    This is why there won’t be any surprises under Lamont but, to be fair, the same could be said of the other candidates – a Harris victory would only have accelerated the decline of Scottish Labour and a Macintosh victory might have prolonged its life a little longer.

    And so we come full circle back to Lamont’s position. Candyfloss politics, nothing of substance until after the referendum campaign, in the hope that this latter will yield a No vote, not because ‘Scottish’ Labour has won any debate but on the basis that, along with their Tory chums, they might be able to spread enough fear and doubt to do just enough damage to the independence campaign.

    Plus ca change and all that. Still though, in one breath, ‘Scottish’ Labour will continue to tell us how awful the Tories are, how nasty their policies are and how much damage the Tories will do to Scotland. And in the other breath, ‘Scottish’ Labour will shamelessly tell us how we’re stronger together weaker apart. While ‘old’ Labour existed, ‘Scottish’ Labour got away with this deceit during the eighteen years of Tory governments between 1979-97. Now that ‘old’ Labour is truly dead, this deceit is being cruelly exposed and I think that even the declining membership of ‘Scottish’ Labour now realise that the game is up.

    For anyone looking for answers at Labour Hame, I’d just like to say, good luck with that one.

  5. Ezio Auditore da Firenze - Prince of NaplesDecember 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    I think Thomas is certainly popular amongst the small, right-wing, Blairite/Tory, Westminster Village, commentariat/twitterati clique (see Iain Dale, etc).

    Thankfully, this makes him automatically unpopular in the rest of the world. Sanity prevails!

  6. I see that some in Labour are up to their old tricks again - selective amnesia masquerading as political principle - trying to make political capital out of Richard Branson being a “union buster” in the US.

    That would be the same Sir Richard Branson knighted by a Labour government in 1999 and who announced to the BBC in 2005 that there wasn’t much difference between a Labour and a Tory government. That “union-busting” Richard Branson?