See You Jimmy Murphy

I’ve spent a lot of time laughing recently, first from looking at my bank account after Christmas and then from following Jim Murphy’s transformation from Bertie Wooster to Sawney Bean.

Having cultivated the impeccable British Unionist image and airily dismissing the SNP as ‘these people’ as if they were beneath him, he is now biting off the heads of the English with relish and spitting out the remains in the face of the Nationalists.

This is Anglophobic, redistributive, Tartan Army, mad-as-fuck McMurphy. He is bare-chested, tangle-haired and blood-smeared. ‘I’m See-You-Jimmy McMurphy, by the way.’

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In the shipyards of the Clyde, in the classrooms and hospital wards, a roar goes up to hail the hero who is a force of nature that no man can stop – without an army.

Sturgeon? Salmond? mere human skittles to be scattered at his approach…

You have to concede, as damascene conversion goes, this is an epic. Everything he stood for is turned upside down, inside out and put back on back-to-front. ‘Blairite? Me? No way – I’m all for redistribution and universal benefits. Unionist? Me? Forget it – I’m a Labour Scottish Nationalist fighting harder than the SNP. I want them to join our party.’

The sheer welter of discombobulating releases has me grabbing for the steering wheel as my understanding of what Murphy the Original stood for veers one way then the other. Scotland has become a film lot where every day a new myth is created, a new persona emerges, a new script is written and we watch on open-mouthed.

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He has even created a Scottish Labour constitution which is like the Arc of the Covenenant, a mythical artefact lurking only in the imagination of wistful old Labourites. He then went on to amend the non-existent document under the eyes of the media who are hypnotised by this daily welter of stories.

Murphy’s Game is already a triumph. Of its kind. It is entering the pantheon of publicity stunts to rival the Hitler Diaries and every sensate Scot knows it is a naked pitch for votes aimed at a narrow constituency identified by the polling. That in a way is the triumph – we are part of it like willing dupes watching a magician and relishing the trompe de l’oeil.

I don’t know how many people will be swayed by this and I doubt if many will want to own up to buying into it. But it seems to me that beyond the general election, the groundwork is being laid here for what we should have had all along – a real Labour Party. No, I don’t think Murphy believes a word of it and sees it merely as form of body grease which helps him slip sideways into Scottish politics. But, after the election, it makes it very hard to disown any of it and claim it was just a wee ruse for votes.

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What he is laying down is the policy foundation – or at least the patio base – for a left-of-centre party championing home rule with a clear mandate to differentiate itself from London Labour. Even if it is moderately successful – and holding only 20 seats would be taken as such – it cannot be jettisoned and will become the framework for the Scottish Party. If the unions believe it, they could re-engage and in theory at least, we could approach what many outside the political bubble see as the logical conclusion – Labour and the SNP working together on 90 per cent of policy and committed to Home Rule/Devo Max.

It isn’t my objective which will always be independence but since the Scots rejected that, I support the Salmond view that Home Rule is the short-term objective.

I understand how Nationalists can’t begin to imagine sitting down with Murphy but in pursuing a self-interested agenda he is, against his own instincts, preparing Labour for a massive shift in emphasis, despite himself. He will become hostage to his own rhetoric if Labour people like what they hear and demand more of the same. Indeed, it wont be long before they demand a different fiscal policy and more borrowing to fund investment to defeat Balls’ (and Osborne’s) austerity plan which is crippling recovery. It won’t take much longer for the Scottish members to demand an end to Trident either and that will have its own logic for a party of the Left used to making up its own mind. (It won’t change Labour policy but it will be a statement of principle).

Murphy is devising a Jekyll and Hyde pantomime to con the voters, but in so doing, he is charting a path back to real Labour – the one he himself rejected for Blairism. Many will warm to this for the Holyrood election if it can be seen to be honest and true rather than the cynical campaign he intends. Labour dissidents should bide their time…their moment may be approaching.

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35 thoughts on “See You Jimmy Murphy

  1. I agree with much of this. But (like the Vow) whatever unchallenged guff Murphy spouts in the next 5 months to get votes will be dumped promptly once the votes are cast. London will just say “No”. Murphy will say “Oh well, I tried”.

  2. ‘the patio base’ is usually laid on a bed of coarse sand.

    This is where ‘Murphys Law’ comes into play

  3. Derek I think you may be overstating the independence of the “Accounting Unit” which is British Labour in Scotland. Murphy has deployed his telegenic qualities in concert with a docile, compliant media to seek to present a different narrative of SLAB for Scottish voters.
    He has had to tackle the dire media profile of the party in Scotland created by the camera shy and bumbling Lamont. His domination of the media is testimony to some success . To deal with the branch office perception left in Lamont’s resignation speech, he then cooks up a drama in conjunction with his Better Together staffers. London Labour M.P.’s playing their scripted roles to perfection. The “outraged” London Tory press offering up their own crowd scene to Director Murphy.

    Today with his claim that the Labour Party should be a natural home of independence supporters is just over-reach. To be believable propaganda must contain a grain of truth and with this Murphy parts company with reality.
    Derek, you suggest this might be part of some kind of potential left wing / nationalist repositioning of Labour. I wonder if McDougall, Shorthouse and McGernan agree? Or have they and Ian Davidson taken a vow of silence to maximise the publicity effect Murphy seeks to create.

    Two final points.
    1. Murphy is relying on the short memories of voters and their fabled appetite for novelty. And he is novel wen compared to his dire predecessor.
    2. The acid test comes with the Labour manifesto in April. How will Murphy market a document he will not write, ever be asked his opinion regarding, but be told by his London bosses to sell. Titbits like Trident, austerity cuts agreed to 2020, dislike of immigration and Europe, support for fracking and very, very limited Devolution . This might be a tough sell for Murphy who is being permitted to play his games in Scotland to contain the SNP surge. But real policy autonomy not allowed in a Unitary Unionist party like Labour with one London leadership.

  4. The article suggests that new Labour Murphy will Innocently and inadvertently recreate old Labour– to be sure the numbers of Scottish old Labour will cling on to that life raft as it floats past. But surely, the rest of us have seen enough gross hypocrisy and deliberate deception from Labour in Scotland over the last few years to be not taken in by this latest overload of shameful spin. As soon as electoral victory was achieved, the left-wingery would disappear as fast as a Gordon Brown commitment to home rule for or an Alistair Darling assurance about federalism.

  5. We need more of this,so people never forget how the red Tories played their game., your not a monkey , your a thinker

  6. Derek, I cannot see where on earth you are getting the idea that Murphy will support proper Devo max from (unless I am interpreting you wrongly?). Remember that Labour watered down even the paltry offerings of the Smith Commission.

    Murphy is a British nationalist, and an ardent neo-Conservative at heart. He is clearly trying to make sure that SLAB achieve damage limitation in May. Andrew Reid is correct, Murphy’s commitment to left wing, universalist policies, and a pro Home Rule position, would dissolve the moment he found himself in office. This is because all that matters to Murphy is his self advancement. His behaviour over the years proves beyond any doubt in my mind that he has no other real objectives in politics. The guy is shallow, extremely manipulative, and simply cannot be trusted at all imo.

    • I agree wholeheratedly with that assessment of Murphy’s aim being simply self-advancement. He has no principles whatsoever except neocon ones. I do believe these are sincere.

    • I agree Muttley. Jim Murphy and his adviser John McTernan are simply trying to con Labour YES voters back into the Labour camp for the election. I hope their cunning plan fails.
      Like the Liberals, they have been promising Home Rule for over 100 years. They will never deliver.

  7. west_lothian_questioner

    SLAB may never revive until they find themselves fighting an actual Scottish General Election. If such a thing happens any time soon then I confidently predict that Mr. M. will be gone and out of sight in time to be forgotten. The alternative is the SNP have a landslide win to make 2011 look close. A focussed SLAB in an indy Scotland would either shape up or die out. Either way though, Indy or Devo, we need a decent opposition in Holyrood. Patrick Harvey can’t do it all on his own.

  8. Seeing that he doesn’t even want to be in Scotland (“at least it’s not Scotland”, when given the Europe Minister’s job) I just see Murphy as acting a part in a stage production. It’s a fantasy that he will ever make any radical changes to what Head Office says. He can say anything he likes, promise anything he likes, but it will not come to pass no matter how ye Mighty Murphy speaketh, apart from some little tweaks around the edges that don.’t really matter to Head Office but that Murphy will inflate with hot air to make them sound far more important than they really are.

    We know what he’s like. He’s desperate to be in charge – he LIKES being in charge. He tells people he’s in charge. He’ll be patted on the head by HQ until we get nearer to the election, and then the restraining straps will be applied.

    What IS true though is that Labour has to find their way again. They’re stumbling around in a howling wilderness at the moment, torn between the four points of the compass: this way, middle England. That way: old socialists. This other way, big business and the people with lots of money. Over there, the Islington set. They’ve tried to appeal to so many people in so many social strata that they’re now completely lost and not a map in sight. If they weren’t so white-knuckle-desperate to cling on to power, they could take their time, regroup around a definite set of principles and goals, and then come back to the electorate, ready for action. But they won’t, of course.

  9. smiling vulture

    mad-as-fuck McMurphy.

    His day-pass to Scottish Parliament is diff league p^sstake

  10. I don’t agree that there will be changes to Labour policy on Scotland. Murphy can and will say what ever pleases him. Say the opposite of what he’s said in the past contradict everything the Labour Party manifesto says and NEVER be questioned or exposed by the media. After the election any promises or claims will be meaningless. He’ll sell the voters a car then hand them a plank of wood. It’s the frog and the scorpion. For these politician can not change their nature.
    To suggest there is some movement unwilling or unintended is wishfull thinking. They have only one future they intent for Scotland that is eradication. The Labour Party’s people in Scotland actively hate this country and deeply regret being tied to the place. Their MPs see us and even those of us who vote for them as their enemies. To be crush into obedience as dull grey spiritless serfs.

    There is a feudal hierarchy here, labour MP’s at the top down to family members and friends at the bottom. 5 million to serve the financial interests of a couple of thousand once you take in business supporters. So never forget we are trying to achieve real freedom not some little standard of living gain.

    Look at all those who have left Scotland. They did so with regret for family friends and the place they knew. Like an animal brought up in a cage too scared leave even with the gate open. Once they had they breathed free for the first time and the weight laid on them all their lives was raised from their backs. And you wonder why they are so frequently successful.

    At this time half the population has been too frightened to leave the cage and Murphy et al, are trying to herd the rest of us back in before we become established and central to Scottish politics.

    • Like an animal brought up in a cage too scared to leave even with the gate open.’
      Accurate, clear, sharp.
      Tragic.

    • You have no idea how sad your comments made me Tamas, because I knew I was looking in a mirror,
      We are a neutered race who still cant believe that big world out there is ours to take,its not ours because we’re not worthy, we don’t deserve better, we have an institutionalized streak a mile wide,
      I didn’t know where to begin responding to Derek’s post because all the witty erudite analogies had been used.

      But when you read something so simple, so self evident, so disturbing, you forget trying to be clever, and just let the pain pour out,

      Im sorry to be such a weary willie but if we don’t get our independence soon there wont be a country to gain, we’ll become an homogenized region of greater England where the only way is out.
      FOR GODS SAKE LET MY PEOPLE GO!

  11. I don’t think this is a damascene conversion as very contrived attempt to woo back labour voters who voted yes. I sense the hand of McTernan in this. In that mans head, he has decided that any labour voter who voted against Union, did so because they are parochial, bigoted and anti English racists.

    So in a bizarre turn about, Murphy intends to play the bigot to appeal to the bigots. The man who decried anyone who wanted “independence” as a SNP supporter, is now going to the same people he smeared and say “See me? I’m just like you. I hate the English too!” I suspect that a lot of those voters and I include myself in this, will be repelled by the insinuation. But that’s not the real issue here. The real issue is that Miliband is Murphy’s boss. Milibands plan is to fleece Scotland of money to mitigate Austerity in England by cutting Barnett to the almost the same levels as Cameron. Every Scottish labour MP; which includes Mr Murphy, will be expected to toe the line. By the time 2016 comes around the MP that is Murphy must resign and become an MSP. A daunting prospect with a campaign built around a narrative fallacy.

    That is ultimately what this is. John McTernan whose thoughts on Scotland are a matter of public record, has been allowed to set the tone of Murphy’s Law by using his hate filled stew as its foundations. McTernan will do to murphy and the labour party, what he did to Julia Gillard in Austrailia.

  12. I think it was Muhammed who said: ‘All war is deception’.

    That’s what Murphy is doing. It is all a huge con, a huge lie on an epic scale. I don’t believe a word of it, and I don’t think the Labour voters he is trying to woo back will believe it either. And far from him being held hostage to fortune in the aftermath if this deception is successful, I don’t believe that will happen either. Because they will find ways of managing expectations. They control the media, remember. Labour has been managing expectations in Scotland for decades. It is what they do, con people, to keep them in their place, throw them a crumb now and again, and talk the talk. They have been in power in Scotland for fifty years and what exactly have they achieved in reducing poverty, unemployment, multiple deprivation? This is because the central problem is systemic – the control of our resources by the British state abd our lack of autonomy from the British state, both fiscally and legislatively, so the best Labour can offer is a sticking plaster here and there.

    In fact I think this patriot strategy it will alienate the Britnats who support Labour. I predict they will defect to UKIP.

  13. No, there is no conversion and difficult or not, he would entirely disown anything he said in a campaign. For my evidence I present the recent Call Kaye debacle where the very thought that ‘home rule’ was promised by Mr Brown was denied to the nines.

    It didn’t happen apparently and so history was re written to disbelieving listeners. Labour can and will promise anything to win a vote. They will deliver nothing but misery, denial and projection.

    The only Scottish Labour party worth having is the one which will emerge in an independent Scotland. Until then I agree, the short term aim is FFA with or without the aid of the current Labour branch’s help. Show enough people what we can do with all the fiscal levers and the next logical step is self evident.

    The only way to ensure this course of events? Put as many SNP MPs in that commons chamber as humanly possible.

  14. Labour may be given another, and another, chance by the gullible repeat vacuous labour voters.
    But not so the overwhelming majority of the Scottish electorate.
    Traitors have no future in the land of their birth.
    After a brief appeal process, Labour will receive the death sentence.

  15. If Labour (and Murphy!) is the answer WTF is the question!

  16. No it’s no a football blog…bear with me

    The hard facts are that after 21 games Louis van Gaal’s side have picked up as many points as managed by David Moyes at the same stage last season.

    Context is everything and Champions League qualification is a minimum requirement for Van Gaal – just as it was for his predecessor.

    The reason why Utd seem better this time round is because the rest of the big boys are doing worse.

    Murphy might seem to be doing well because of all the media attention he gets, however his team are so far down the league any chance of hanging on to the tag of the party with most MP’s in Scotland is laughable.

    Jimbo will fail as the people he needs to convince are scunnered by Labour’s antics. They will NOT vote in their droves as apathy returns big time.

  17. Murphy’s approach to the GE 2015 reminds me of a scene in a movie where the inheritor of a French Chateau is slapping white wash on a decrepit plastered wall. It’s part of his desire to sell the property as quickly as possible to the highest bidder.

    “It will not last one month” bemoans the local French worker, only to be told that that is irrelevant to the objective of the exercise.

    Murphy is interested in winning a single prize. He is not remotely interested in sustainability or political change. He is very much New Labour aka same old Tories.

  18. Derek
    I don’t think for one minute that Murphy has any intention of sticking to any pre election utterances, that don’t suit his party post election. They’ve learned from the Referendum Vow, make it vague then kick it out to the long grass. Murphy and Co. will be thinking they can say anything and get away with it. So no, I don’t see him paving a way back to Real Labour, and to suggest as much is exactly what he wants to hear, and people to believe.

  19. Hi

    Except I don’t say that. I say that inadvertently he is preparing the way for progressives to catch on to his agenda irrespective of what Murphy does. He is laying out what they want and even if he doesn’t deliver, they can now use this and quote him when they demand Labour changes. He is a useful idiot, if you like for those trying to remake Labour in Scotland (notice how quiet they are)

  20. Murphy is now backing a move to make Flower of Scotland the national anthem of Scotland.

    Perhaps it was a spoof but seemed a real report.

  21. I might have believed these fables from Murphy if he had resigned as a British Labour MP and put himself up as a SNP candidate for the May election.
    That would be putting Scotland first instead of Murphy (well maybe not in Scotland’s best interest when I think about it).
    As for his sovereign wealth fund,the only wealth fund he is concerned about is the one he has been amassing during his employment years at Westminster.
    This appears to be standard practice for Westminster employees.
    He is a representative of the British Labour party whose function in Scotland is simply to ensure we elect more of them but the question must be,for what purpose?
    Their track record,especially in post industrial Scotland,is poor and appear to have made little or no effort to rejuvenate the economies of these areas.
    I suspect that even if they wanted to do something about our urban deprivation,as part of a British state welded to the City of London,they couldn’t anyway so they make all the appropriate noises leading up to reselection and then bin it for another 4/5 years.
    The British Labour one party rule in Scotland over the last 50 years or so has not served Scotland well so time to pay the piper.
    Thanks Derek.

  22. Charles Kearney

    ‘I understand how Nationalists can’t begin to imagine sitting down with Murphy,’ indeed, Derek, and why would we sit down with The Monkey when the plan is to do a strictly limited amount of Business with The Organ Grinder?

    This ‘sudden’ Plan to set up a Socialist Labour Party in Scotland by a Man who was a Minister in, and advocate of, the Move to the Right, which was Blairism, and which, in turn, Destroyed the Labour Party, has nothing whatsoever to do with Scotland!

    Murphy will do his damnedest, use all the Tricks of Prestidigitation, “Look at this Pretty Shiny Policy, just like you used to believe in’ and will expect to be able to win back the Folks that he and his Party have walked all over in Company with the Tories and the LibDems, and The Right Wing Press and the BBC who Broadcast his every utterance as Scripture! To attribute any desirable outcomes originating from this Man, when you have even a cursory look at his record, is to fly in the face of credibility!

  23. Derek, you are SUCH an optimist. “He will become hostage to his own rhetoric…” He’ll be an optimist about as long as it takes him to deny he ever said it and for the media to go along with it just as they have with they “Brown never said ‘Home Rule'” nonsense.

  24. This is a reply re my complaint to the BBC about Kaye Adam saying on Morning Call that Gordon Brown had not used the words ‘Home Rule’ in his promise to Scottish voters if they voted No in the referendum.

    Dear Miss Galloway

    Reference CAS-3094324-D21TT4

    Thank you for getting in touch regarding Morning Call presented by Kaye Adams which was broadcast on Friday 9 January 2015, and posed the questions: Do you want Home Rule and does the price of oil make a difference?

    We have received a wide range of feedback on this matter so the response below strives to address the majority of those concerns raised but may not address all of the specific points you have mentioned.

    We forwarded your complaint to the Senior Producer of Morning Call, who has responded as follows:

    In no way did Kaye attempt to mislead the audience over Gordon Brown’s stance on Home Rule because either she or the BBC have a particular agenda.

    During the debate with our guests; Mark McDonald, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside and Lewis Macdonald MSP, Labour member for North East Scotland, Mark McDonald stated that home rule had been exactly what Gordon Brown had been promising with regards to ‘The Vow’ prior to the Referendum. Kaye at this point asks the question: “I don’t think he used the term Home Rule, did he?”

    Immediately jumping in, Lewis MacDonald says ‘No’ repeatedly, denying that this was said. Mark McDonald then says that what Mr Brown offered was a ‘new federalism’- effectively Home Rule – which again Mr MacDonald denies. The conversation then moves to the support for home rule and from there back to the listeners calling in.

    From listening back to this section it is quite clear that Kaye is probing to clarify and asking a question, which I concede could certainly have been phrased more clearly. Both politicians then give answers of yes, no and also a “version of federalism”. This is not Kaye lying about what was said, nor is it Kaye making a statement that Gordon Brown did not offer home rule. Lewis MacDonald is in fact the person throughout this section who denies it was ever said or offered by the former PM.

    Morning Call is a fast and fluid programme and on that day we received over 70 calls, 18 of which got on air. As ever, the listeners dictate where the conversation goes and as we moved on we discussed; oil price volatility, the continued fallout of the referendum and callers in favour and not of Home Rule.

    Some 40 minutes and five calls later, caller Chris took the opportunity on air to go back to what Lewis MacDonald had said and told Kaye that he was certain that Gordon Brown had used the term, to which Kaye replied that she had found it difficult to get an absolute on it, but that she accepted that was what Chris recalled.

    We fully accept that in the lead up to the referendum, Gordon Brown said of proposed additional powers: “These proposals are radical. And we are putting them forward as a Labour Party. They change not just Scotland, but they change Britain. They move us closer, or as close as possible to Federalism as you can, in a country where 85% of it is one nation; England. They are equivalent of what Keir Hardie was asking for when he called for Home Rule for Scotland. Home Rule for Scotland within the United Kingdom, where we have powers over own affairs in these areas but still we recognise the benefit of pensions, health care, economic decision making, defence and security as part of the United Kingdom.”

    However, as stated above, it is our opinion, that Kaye is not attempting to mislead listeners within this debate. Any indications of bias on the part of Kaye, the programme itself or the BBC due to a particular agenda, are also without substance. That said, we acknowledge you felt differently and your observations have been noted.

    I hope that this goes some way to explaining the situation and that you will continue listening in the future.

    Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

    Kind regards

    Jannine Matthews

    BBC Complaints

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

  25. “Murphy is interested in winning a single prize. He is not remotely interested in sustainability or political change. He is very much New Labour aka same old Tories.”

    Totally agree with you murray, Murphy is in the job to save as much of native labour as he can, then get out before the posse catch up with him. He obviously has a lucrative position lined up.

    Mc Teirnan is probably training and coaching Murphy’s successor at this very moment. O the twisted web….

  26. I have a theory as to why Murphy is here in Scotland and I think it could be at least one of the answers. Jim sees the writing on the wall for Scots in Westmnster, and he does not want to become a second stringer. So Jim has done the chicken run in the opposite direction and this way he can become the power and the one to whom all the rest must bow and scrape for a job. Perhaps he sees that an Independent Scotland is not that far away, the result of private polling perhaps. Only one of the many theories but as credible as the rest.

  27. Face it Derek the growing litany of failings at BBC Scotland can’t be due to incompetence or a lack of resources because over a period of time there would equal amounts of complaints from both sides of an argument. When you have discounted everything else the only thing left is bias.

  28. johnny come lately

    Not sure about the jist of this argument/article, but there can never be a true Scottish Labour party if Murphy and the likes are allowed anywhere near it.
    Murphy is part of the problem not the solution. Anything Murphy gets involved in is for Jim Murphy first, party second and voters a poor third. That is the politics of yesterday in Scotland.

  29. I read this twice Derek.

    I get it now. Your saying Murphy is digging a hole for Slab (Branch office North) that will force them to be more like the Labour of old. YES ?

    I don’t believe that anymore. We are lied to continually day after day by a pack of self serving rats. The contradictions each day are a tactic to encourage apathy. Folk give up because they don’t believe anything anyone says anymore.

    this would suit labour to a tea. Folk being put off voting except the pensioners who usually turn out in big numbers. And they are stuck in the Labour timewarp through fear and spin.

    We are continually told how ” aware” we Scots are politically since the ref. I doubt many YES supporters will forgive the Labour party. I doubt their own supporters recognise them anymore. They cannot interact with us because we know more than them. And instead of trying they resort to empty promises and spin.

    I say Labour should die in Scotland. The land of it;s birth. Even the name makes me want to spit.

    A new party can then be formed with a left lean and maybe then and it;s a slim one , they can get back into politics Scotland. But if the word Labour is in it i will avoid it like the plague.

    No one trusts them Derek. Not one . Name me a good labour Mp and i will give you tonnes of info on their acts against the Scottish people.

    I would vote for Hitler or Stalin before any of these lot. At least you know what your getting.

    next year during the Scottish elections, the troughers will be out in force dissing the SNP and telling everyone anything to keep them in a job as most will be gone in May.

    R.I.P Labour in Scotland. You have failed us . You will never be given the chance to do so again.

    Scots ARE “Awake” and boy will we make you pay.

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