…Your time is up. I appreciate the world hasn’t exactly been straining for my judgment on the new Scottish leader of the Labour Party but nevertheless here it is, belated or not. You’re out of your depth, Kezia. The election is lost.
I don’t mean to be rude but I’ve waited since her elevation to give her some time to produce a new tone, an idea or, indeed a strategy…waited for her to hitch herself to the opening provided by the Corbyn phenomenon perhaps to position herself in the Scottish Left to reach a wide, young and working class constituency…waited for a wee twist in my gut that she might be turning folk back to Labour and building towards a revived showing next May. It’s like waiting for Godot.
She’s had a go, to be fair, by suggesting her party can, as individuals, embrace independence and by allowing nuclear subs to rise from the depths and surface at the Scottish conference as a debating issue. And while I have no problem with the Branch Office having distinct policies from the UK HQ, it’s surely self-defeating to have both ideas effectively crushed by the Corbynistas. The failure of the UK leadership even to get Trident on its own party agenda signals a fear of confronting a tricky question and, as Tim Reid of the BBC, pointed out, renewal was endorsed in an over-arching policy document adopted by conference. So a nuclear weapons upgrade is quietly supported while an open debate is stifled, leaving any decision either way in Scotland stillborn. Indeed, a vote against Trident in these circumstances could leave Scotland looking doubly impotent. A branch office.
As for Labour types openly campaigning for Yes, chance would be a fine thing. It looks the surest way to a quick suicide in a party whose real leader gives every impression of cleaving unquestioningly to Union, blinded by a failure to comprehend what the bloody Scots are on about. (Apologies: he doesn’t do nasty and personal). This is where Kezia comes in (not). Corbyn hasn’t a clue about Scotland except to grasp that things are different here, like all Labour leaders before him. The difference is that Kinnock, obviously Smith, and Miliband had a selection of senior party servants they could call like butlers in the state dining room for sage advice to be guided by. Poor old Jeremy has Ian Murray and Kezia, neither of whom would rise above the status of junior barista in Café Nero. There should be an immediate inquiry into who is furnishing Corbyn with his attack lines which have for days now been a source of online fun and parody. Forget Calmac and Scotrail – ask him about Whisky Galore and he’d blame the Nat’s maritime policy. This is where the local knowledge and voice of reason should come into play when the grave Scottish leader is asked for clarification. Dugdale needs to give the impression Jeremy is busy with other issues and is leaving Scotland to her…and here’s my definitive line.
While Kezia and Neil Findlay try to breathe progressive life into the Caledonian balloon, their party calmly votes to endorse the austerity charter of the most vicious right wing Chancellor engaged in a real class war. So much for attacking the Nats on the Left.
The trouble of course is that without a political conviction of her own – having been schooled by the idiotic Foulkes – Kezia doesn’t know which way to turn. She would just head Left, if she thought Jeremy was in front leading. But when he compromises and trims his ideas to suit the bulk of the payroll vote, she can’t be left stranded, so has to rein herself back – jerked this way and that. The unfortunate image is a puppet on string.
This is hapless, chaotic Labour still struggling to sort itself out before it has any chance of being trusted with the government of Scotland.