Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour Party’
Scotland isn’t Mad, but Animated and Engaged
Sunday Mail, April 12th 2015
The election has definitely taken off this week.
There were the two Scottish leader debates. The Tories getting personal with Ed Miliband. Labour daring to talk about tax.
Scotland is in a different place. Some once thoughtful pro-union commentators have scratched their heads and come to the conclusion – ‘Scotland has gone mad’ and talked of ‘the madness of Scottish politics’.
It is never good to start citing ‘madness’ and nearly always reflects back on who said it. The fact that pro-union commentators think this demonstrates the degree of their disenchantment and alienation from the state of modern Scotland.
The Scottish election feels very different from any others in my lifetime. This is more than the SNP surge, or the condition of Scottish Labour. Read the rest of this entry »
Are the Days of Scottish Labour Over?
Scottish Review, April 8th 2015
The official general election campaign kicked off last week. But in reality it has been running since the turn of the year, with all parties and observers knowing in advance that polling day would be May 7th.
Scotland has witnessed a palpable air of perma-campaigning for the last two or three years with the experience of the referendum. But there has been an air of excitement and expectation for some about the coming general election, since the aftermath of the indyref, and when the first polls put the SNP ahead of Labour.
One defining theme these last few months, in light of the polls, has been the slow demise of the once seemingly impregnable Scottish Labour Party. The party knew it had to do something; Johann Lamont resigned saying the Westminster leadership treated the party as a ‘London branch’ and Jim Murphy was elected leader – the seventh party leader in fifteen years.
Murphy has been hyperactive – even without his Irn Bru crates – and has criss-crossed the nation, making speeches and policy announcements and talking endlessly about his love of football. He has done all this, undertaken dozens of TV and radio interviews, employed new staff, adopted the things you are meant to have like a campaign grid, but all of this has had, to the initial surprise of many, absolutely no effect at all. Read the rest of this entry »
A Watershed Moment for Scottish Labour, Scotland and the UK
Sunday Mail, March 8th 2015
Scottish Labour’s predicament and condition is centre stage in British politics. It has become one of the major factors which will determine the fate of the next UK election and government.
Jim Murphy’s leadership, with its constant announcements and hyper-activity, whilst not having created the fundamental problems the party faces, seems to offer no real solution so far.
Underneath all this Scottish Labour does not understand the position it finds itself in and how to get out of it. Fundamentally the party does not comprehend the state of post-referendum Scotland it faces.
Its problems have been a long time coming: the morphing of the party into the political establishment, its lack of imagination and purpose about what devolution was for, and finally, its lack of a progressive case for the union in the referendum, combined with their alliance with the Tories in ‘Better Together’. Read the rest of this entry »
Scottish Labour and how the World As We Know It Turned Upside Down
Sunday Mail, February 8th 2015
The Scotland we have known has been turned upside down.
Once Scottish politics followed certain, predictable lines. Scottish Labour had become the dominant party of the land. It sent 40-50 MPs to Westminster, ran most of local government, and in huge swathes of Scotland no real opposition existed.
All empires come to an end. And so it has proven with Scottish Labour.
The party which was on the winning side of the independence referendum now finds itself facing electoral Armageddon in a few months in the forthcoming UK general election. That has been the consistent picture of national polls since last September, and now Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polls paint a bleak scenario of what once were Labour heartlands.
How has it come to this? The immediate background and explanation put by many is only part of the story. This states that Labour fought a politically inept, ill-advised campaign in the referendum. Most seriously, it is argued that it made the strategic mistake of aligning with the toxic Tories in Better Together and is now paying a heavy price. Read the rest of this entry »
The Myth of ‘Glasgow Man’
Sunday Mail, February 1st 2015
‘Glasgow man’ is expected to be a critical factor in the forthcoming general election contest in Scotland.
He, or it, is central to Jim Murphy’s attempt to save Scottish Labour and win back 200,000 Labour supporters who voted Yes in the referendum. It is also pivotal to the SNP’s attempt to breakthrough in traditional Labour seats.
Glasgow man is shorthand for a certain political demographic – the equivalent of ‘Basildon man’ who supposedly won it for Thatcher, and of ‘Mondeo man’ who contributed to Blair’s three election victories.
Glasgow man is meant to represent men in the city, and in North and South Lanarkshire, aged between 25-40 years, who voted Labour in the 2010 Westminster election and didn’t in the 2011 Scottish Parliament contest, and who voted Yes in the referendum.
Glasgow man implies a certain outlook: masculinist, certain and sure of their views, and reflecting the city, its politics and culture. Underneath there is a definite whiff of caricatures of working class men – of football, drink and tobacco, and more subtlely, of a sepia tinged radicalism and potent nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry »