STV's Stephen Daisley is a superb and frequently hilarious writer, and we've a lot to be grateful to him for - he's often been a constructive bridge between the mainstream media and alternative media such as Wings Over Scotland. But his unshakeable belief in Jim Murphy's brilliance as a leader in defiance of all the evidence is leading him to say some increasingly absurd things. He's penned an article today with the title "If Jim Murphy fails it will be because Labour is beyond saving". Really? I'm beginning to wonder if there is some kind of scientific law stating that nothing can ever be Jim Murphy's fault. The newest poll projects Labour to lose all 40 of their Scottish seats under Murphy's watch - so just how bad would things have to get before it's at least partly his own fault? If they're left with fewer than zero seats, would there then be an acknowledgement that Murphy isn't quite the Bill Clinton he was cracked up to be?
"And yet he presses on because what else is there to do. So he gets up on his Irn-Bru crate and tries to croak out the most radical platform the Labour Party has advanced in a generation above screeches of “traitor” and “Red Tories”."
Isn't it just possible, Stephen, that the problem with Murphy suddenly deciding to advance a red-blooded socialist manifesto is that even the dogs on the street know that he's spent his entire parliamentary career arguing against socialism, and in favour of the Blairite Third Way? Isn't the very first thing a brilliant leader has to judge is whether or not his words will be regarded by the public as remotely authentic or sincere?
"He bests Nicola Sturgeon in a string of debates and watches glumly as the polls swing further to, not against, her."
Er, excuse me? In what sense did he 'best' Nicola Sturgeon in a string of debates? Let's just refresh our memories of who won STV's own leaders' debate, according to the YouGov poll conducted over the two days immediately afterwards -
Which leader do you think came across the best in the FIRST debate? [Asked to respondents who saw the debate or saw clips or reports of it]
Nicola Sturgeon 56%
Ruth Davidson 14%
Jim Murphy 13%
Willie Rennie 1%
Generally you've only won a debate if the viewers think you've won it, rather than thinking you've come a distant third. This isn't a TV talent show where the 'expert judges' get to overrule the audience.
"The ritual humiliation to which he subjects himself every day at the hands of triumphalist Nationalists and a contemptuous media warrants something else. It has earned him the right to take a run at 2016. The fact that he may not be an MP in the next Parliament is an important detail but a detail nonetheless. There aren’t going to be very many Scottish Labour MPs at Westminster for the next five years."
The rule of thumb in modern politics is that what "earns" you the right to carry on as leader is electoral success, or failing that, the avoidance of total electoral annihilation. The idea that you've somehow earned the right to continue because you led your party to its worst defeat in living memory but kept shouting loudly while you were doing it is, shall we say, creative.
As for there not being very many Scottish Labour MPs after next week, so what? There will still be a respectable number of Labour MSPs at Holyrood, and it doesn't strike me as being entirely unreasonable that the Scottish Labour leader should ordinarily be someone who holds a seat in the Scottish Parliament, rather than someone who potentially doesn't hold a seat in any parliament at all, and who may have just contrived to throw away a majority of 10,420.
"But there is only one leader capable of making a decent fist of the Holyrood elections..."
Kezia Dugdale? Jenny Marra?
"...and to turf him out after half a year would be to hang a “do not resuscitate” sign on Labour’s life-support machine."
Oh, you're still talking about Murphy. I think some journalists are going to need a support group after next week.