Delete as Applicable

I suppose it’s called democracy. Politician totally changes position on policy in light of voters’ opinions. Or is it cynicism, self-preservation and manipulation…


Today, according to the briefings swallowed whole by the media from Jim Murphy’s campaign team, he will indicate his support for full devolution of tax powers (or at least he will mangle the language to hint his lack of concern should Smith suggest it).

‘Even before the Smith Commission reports, we should agree to the full devolution of income tax to Scotland, if that is what emerges,’ is his quote.

Yet only three weeks ago, this was reported in the Times: ‘Jim Murphy took a major gamble in his attempt to become Scottish Labour leader by rejecting the prospect of full devolution of income tax yesterday, despite the majority of voters calling for the power to go to Holyrood. The MP said that by voting No in the independence referendum, Scots had endorsed the Union and the cross-border tax system. His concerns about more powers echo those expressed by Gordon Brown — that full devolution of income tax would drive a wedge between Scotland and England.’

Right. So, that’s clear…Murphy is first AGAINST tax devo and now he’s FOR it…just weeks apart. Why?

Perhaps one reason is a sidebar story in the same edition which reads: ‘Labour faces near wipeout in Scotland next May in a setback that could cost Ed Miliband the general election, according to a new poll for the Times. Mr Miliband’s personal ratings have also plunged since the referendum seven weeks ago…’


Polls showing the SNP anything from low 40 per cent to over 50 per cent have terrified the life out of the Branch Office, just as polling did two weeks before voting in the referendum and panic has set in. Panic on a level that all common sense and patience can be jettisoned as behind the scenes the party hacks seek a Houdini escape from the electoral fish tank. How to get free from this straightjacket…perhaps if we just agree to anything like we did on the referendum, the Scots will cut us some slack.

So Jim, notably not the other candidates, is given the script to read which will sound like he is the true champion of Home Rule while the pragmatists are left floundering because they realise the potential bear trap of Scotland supported mainly by a single tax power, piling the eggs into one leaky basket. (This is precisely why independence is the answer – control over all the levers of the taxation and economic system, permit policy to be tailored to national need).

It is a reminder of another Labour leader whose U-turn was more of a backward flip with twist and double pike.

This from Iain Mcwhirter in the Herald, March 2011.

‘The SNP are particularly peeved about Iain Gray’s dramatic U-turn last week on tuition fees. The Labour leader cheekily challenged Mr Salmond at the weekend to back Labour’s commitment to free higher education. Yet only a few months ago, Labour were saying the present system of tax payer-funded higher education was not sustainable and that a financial contribution from graduates was inevitable. Not any more. Labour realised that losing a couple of hundred thousand student votes in May was even less sustainable. They have now declared themselves the belated champions of the democratic intellect by ruling out any price tag on learning for the duration of the next parliament.’

You see, when the politician’s mind is focused by the prospect of losing votes, anything becomes possible, even eye-watering reversals of policy with nary a backward glance.

Which raises further intriguing questions. What happens if Trident truly emerges as a keynote issue as some left-leaning Labour types might decide to make it…the polling evidence is clear. Within the Union, a poll last year had opposition to nuclear weapons at 66 per cent with only 15 in favour. Both Boyack and Findlay, as nuke objectors – in principle at least – can outflank Murphy on the Left which is not what his campaign message is supposed to be as he ingratiates himself with the Scottish core vote.

Therefore – you see where I’m going – is it conceivable that Murphy, Labour’s Dr Strangelove, could abandon not just a Westminster career but a dogmatic adherence to the nuclear deterrent? If it meant the difference between winning and losing in what is the gamble of his political life, I am convinced he would denounce Trident. Or he may renege on its replacement in the biggest boomerang of a U-turn so far.

All it requires is for someone to turn the heat up…Unknown

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30 thoughts on “Delete as Applicable

  1. Well unless The National does it, we will not be seeing the heat on Mr Murphy any time soon. He is covered in roses as per the London Labour and he is not requiring of the manure for fertilizer.

  2. Am I a lone wolf?

    disappointed with the National

    needs to be more tabloid(record/sun)to make in roads as a daily newspaper

    sport/horse racing non existent news/short clips is good/scotland pic of day is good

    • Give it time!

    • Well, it could have done that and good luck to it but I wouldn’t have bought it. So I’m not exactly complaining.

      It was always unlikely the editor of the SH would produce a red-top though.

    • totally disagree. Tabloid, and I’m not buying it. Sport is not news, it’s sport. Nothing wrong with sport, but it’s a past-time, not politics. Plenty of sports rags you can buy.

    • I too am disappointed in the National as it seems rather like a Trojan Horse to recapture escaped Labour voters!
      It seems to me that Jim Murphy is an establishment placeman who has been instructed to reestablish there control over the Scottish working class and that if it requires him to become a fervant devolutionist in voters eyes that’s what he will work towards, with the help of the establishments running dogs in the SMS. If Labour can’t live with 100% devolved income tax the establishment will seek to take Scottish Labour out of Labour and Jim is just the man to do it.

  3. If Murphy gets to lead the Scottish Labour branch, he knows it makes no difference to Labour in the UK if he decides to campaign against Trident, but will help them in Scotland. Scottish Labour MP’s when they get to Westminster will abide by the Labour Whip. No-one anywhere talks about a federated ‘whip’ hence there is only ever one overall party line at Westminster. Supposedly the Liberals have a federal party structure, but they too have a single Whip meaning all the well meaning discussions within the Scottish Party are ignored.

  4. Well, who’da thunk it? Labour cynically pulling U turns to garner votes. 🙂

    I suspect, like all Labour policy releases, it’ll change as soon as the weather does. Which in our neck of the woods is approximately every twenty minutes or so. 😀

  5. I think The National can be the Scots i. A daily that lies between the tabloids and the “heavies”.

  6. remarkable-Murphy dancing to the tune of electoral expediency which sounds a lot like the funeral march from Gotterdammerung 😀

  7. Not sure how turning on Trident would help Murphy, the Tory press would use it against Labour in England, where the big votes are.

  8. I’m afraid it’s all panic, DB. No wonder. Modern Labour has single-handedly destroyed a party that took a hundred years or more to establish. A party that brought a decent standard of living to poor people for the first time in history. A party that established the NHS and provided free higher education for the children of the poor for the first time in history. I could go on, but I find it interesting when I hear folk like Kezia Dugdale and Ed Milliband both saying at separate times that they have to ‘convince people of our cause.’ I think that explains what’s gone wrong. The cause was well explained fifty years ago. It’s Labour that has forgotten what it is.

  9. Apart from being an unprincipled opportunist,I am beginning to think that Murphy must have spent some time in the Middle East where “for ever” is usually around 6 weeks.
    How could anyone believe anything he says?

  10. “I find it interesting when I hear folk like Kezia Dugdale and Ed Milliband both saying at separate times that they have to ‘convince people of our cause.’ I think that explains what’s gone wrong. The cause was well explained fifty years ago. It’s Labour that has forgotten what it is.”

    That’s exactly it, Vikingsdottir. They can’t even agree among themselves what “their cause” is so how the electorate is supposed to understand I really don’t know.

    Are they Labour UK-wide? London Labour and Scottish Labour as two separate entities? London Labour and the branch office? They don’t know. WE know, which is why it’s so entertaining watching them race about trying to create order out of a vast tangled nest of wires, bits of string and elastic bands all knotted together.

    Plus, the more they spin like tops and flail around for voter-friendly hooks to grab, the less credible they are to Labour voters. If you’re a Labour voter in Scotland, does integrity matter or are you determined to keep the Labour flag flying whatever it signifies and at whatever cost? It’s all very well their saying “we’re listening and this is what you want to hear” when their voters are are a mix of various Labour guises: Blairites and the Islington set, socialists, hard-core socialists, I-vote-Labour-because-my-father-and-grandfather-did and those who vote Labour because they can’t stand the Tories. You cannot please all Labour voters because they’re now a hugely diverse group, and if the Labour party doesn’t have core principles that clearly identify their basic values they’ll be perceived as a party that is more interested in power for its own sake than actually representing the people who vote for them. So it’s not a Labour party as such, in the sense in which it was founded, but it’s become a party that happens to be called Labour.

    They’re going to have a tough job on the doorstep, because the Scottish electorate wants answers.

  11. I think Jim Murphy thinks he is so clever and the people in Scotland are so dumb we wont catch on ,
    the man is a despicable rogue. He is lower than a snakes belle

  12. sad though, when a man like murphy shows no principles or morals, can get people to vote for him just cos he says he is labour, or do his suppporters get supplied with blinkers,and ear muffs

  13. The National today reports that the MOD will move all UK submarines to Faslane by 2020. Thousands of jobs will materialise. Can anyone really see a Labour politician opposing this policy?
    Nuclear subs, dumping nuclear waste and fracking the Central belt. Jobs galore!

  14. Steve Asaneilean

    Knows no shame.

  15. Steve Asaneilean

    As for the National – I kinda like it – particularly a decent “world” section.

  16. Timing is everything!
    Presentation will take care of the rest and that’s what Magical Murphy is hoping that he’s mastered.

    Take Nigel Farage (please, someone please). A bloke who blundered into the political void vacated by the Libdems as the protest party option. Plenty airtime from the media has made him the Darling of the English disenfranchised. His party will gain plenty votes and seats. Does anyone really know what their policies are, as they change on a day to day basis? So chopping and changing winna harm Jim as long as he blurts oot the right thing at the right time. He can always say something different the next time he’s asked.

    Oor Jimmy has gained his battle scars in the famous skirmishes against the vile Nationalist mobs armed only with a can o irn bru. A man o the people fighting for the wee guy by standing on a irn bru crate and trumpeting oot his version o the TRUTH. Watch the Daily Record for updates!!

    A fitting outcome would be for the good people of East Renfrewshire to consign Jim to the political history books along with the rest of the sorry Labour party in Scotland

  17. Murphy can say that full income tax powers is acceptable if Smith recommends it. If he knows it’s not coming out of the commission, he can then pretend that he’s surprised and manoeuvre himself into a position where he looks like he really wanted it when, in reality we all know he didn’t.

  18. Does it really matter what he thinks? All the papers making such a big thing about what Jim Murphy thinks – he’ll do what HO tells him. He doesn’t get a say in what the next UK gov decides.

  19. My wife told me that one of the reasons she fancied me was seeing me open a newspaper, remove the sports section, and throw it in the bin. Sexy or what!

  20. Nothing unusual here. We saw this “dithering” with bedroom tax. It’s just Scottish labour hopelessly chasing its tail, while it waits for its uk party to tell it what to think. What is interesting is to see, is the msm writing cheques Scottish labour can’t cash

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