This is obviously a symptom of how detached the Scottish political scene has become from UK politics, but I realised something very odd today - that I had absolutely no idea what Liz Kendall's voice sounds like. I must have heard her being interviewed at some point, or perhaps seen her on Question Time, but it was so long ago that I had no clear recollection of it. So with a certain amount of trepidation (I was worried she might turn out to be a speaker of Messianic brilliance), I looked her up on YouTube, and then instantly relaxed. She's almost a made-to-measure vote-loser in Scotland - she's not only a Blairite, she's a deeply uninspiring Blairite.
So we've got nothing to fear from Kendall, and it goes without saying that all our Christmases will have come at once if they go for Tristram Hunt instead. If they're remotely interested in making up ground in Scotland, probably Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham would be their least worst options, but my guess is that there's nobody at all in the running who can truly connect with voters in these parts.
John Curtice has calculated that Labour will require an almost impossible 12-point lead over the Tories at the next election to win an overall majority, unless they can reverse their losses in Scotland. But how do they simultaneously pitch for left-wing voters who have defected to the SNP, and for "aspirational" voters in the south who went with the Tories last week? Answer : they can't. They just can't.
Realistically, if Labour are going to govern after 2020, it will be without an overall majority. They would be well-advised to resign themselves to that truth from the outset, rather than devising a fantasy strategy that attempts to fight against it. If they pick a Blairite leader to chase votes in the south, the most sensible thing to do would be to enter into a continental-style pre-election negotiation with the SNP. That wouldn't preclude them from putting up candidates against the SNP, although admittedly it would be a strong signal that they don't anticipate a huge amount of success. This approach would have two significant advantages - a) it would solve the 'legitimacy' problem, because it would clearly establish that Labour have a mandate to govern even if they are in second place, and b) it would prevent the Tories from whipping up hysteria about SNP influence, by demonstrating that the limits on that influence had already been settled.
It may seem inconceivable right at this moment that Labour would do any of that, but as their journey after 1983 demonstrates, parties eventually do whatever it takes to get back into power. I'm struggling to see an alternative path for them.