Not sure whether to laugh or cry? Perplexed? Wondering if all the noise is having an effect? I too have been weighing the evidence of the Labour propaganda and trying to gauge its impact on the voting public with an election imminent.
My conclusion is worse than I thought. At first I was convinced the Murphy machine was on the right track by emphasising pro-Scottish language. I put myself in their position and it didn’t take more than a moment or two to realise that Labour had been afraid to be ‘Scottish’. They had effectively ceded the ground to the SNP, flag and all, and were left trying to belittle national aspiration as petty nationalism kicking against the Great British Benefactor.
The people had been trying to tell them but Labour had gone from cloth cap to cloth ear. They knew best. They had adopted the patrician Tory mode of patting voters on the head and reminding them who was boss.
So all appeals to a vague Caledonian sentiment were broadly aimed in the right direction, corny as they were. And then a touch of old style socialism would also help by appealing to the very working class traditions Blairism had abandoned as passé.
I got all of that. I saw it was artificial and opportunistic but if that’s a losing hand in politics, most post-war governments would have been stillborn.
So I was concerned at the prospect of a revived Labour effort, not because I don’t want a rejuvenated Labour in Scotland, but because right now we need to ride the Yes momentum wave to drench Westminster with demands and entreaties.
But I needn’t have worried. The Murphy effect has become a trending joke, an overstated contradiction of everything he stands for, a herculean push that has become a parody of itself. In French, it is debile (translation – something so stupid, weak and feeble, it verges on retarded).
So is he doomed to fail and everything’s OK? I don’t think so. It’s true that the main victim here is the credibility of Murphy and the damage done is to Labour but I think we are now entering a period when our politics is changing to such an extent that the fall-out will affect us all.
The Murphy machine is corrupting debate, debasing politics and alienating the people. I now see and hear regularly what I can only truthfully describe as out-and-out lies from Murphy’s mob. I have been schooled over many years in decyphering political encryption, that is translating statements into what they really mean like a kind of BBC Enigma Machine. Hours in studio listening closely to answers (and watching facial and body language) turn you into a spycatcher, evaluating phrases and words which can have double meaning and waiting for the giveaway line that reveals the truth behind the screed of chaff.
To be fair, many of you are expert at this today too. It’s what happens when politics becomes important to you. You listen. So like me you will hear the little half-truths and the studied omissions that subtly change the message. (They all do it).
But what we are now getting is something quite different. I have witnessed Labour old-timers who know exactly what the game is deliberately misleading voters in the most naked and unrepentant way. Lewis Macdonald repeatedly and emphatically denying that Gordon Brown used the term Home Rule and Margaret Curran tweeting that she voted to stop to fracking…both out and out falsehoods designed to deceive and to fabricate the opposite impression from the truth.
Call me naïve but I have been taken aback at the wilful misrepresentation becoming common in Murphy’s team – the appropriation of the women’s prison campaign from Women for Independence, the jaunty letters to Nicola claiming that ‘You followed us on the prison, now will you back us on fracking…’
Now again, some chutzpah is needed when you’re fighting on the street which is where Labour is right now as a kind of dissident gang prosecuting its last throw of the dice. But I’m detecting a new and cynical approach which sets its face against truth and transparency and simply reorders reality to suit itself. It does so in the knowledge that virtually everyone from their own side, their opponents, the media and every intelligent voters is aware that they are lying but that doesn’t matter – as it used to do.
No, this welter of falsehood and fabrication is aimed squarely at the few tens of thousands who hold the future of Labour backbenchers in their pocket. And it seems clear to me that Labour regards these Scots as so ill-informed and dense that they will believe anything. Labour’s contempt for its own people is manifest in every trick statement and cod claim. It isn’t Glasgow Man Murphy is after, it’s Thicko Man. He believes, as have generations of low-grade apologists for socialist MPs, that if Labour say it, what he regards as the council house hoards with vegetables for brains will read it in the Record and vote accordingly.
In truth, there is form for this. Communities in grubby schemes without shops, transport, police or jobs have been fodder for calculating Labour careerists all my life. Check the map for the places with the worst social conditions and see which party has represented them for how long. Then see where the John McFalls, Irene Adams, George Foulkes and Tommy McAvoys and John Reids end their careers – in the comfort of the Lords.
Macdonald and Curran are only two of the gang who definitely do know better than to make up distortions but who are now goggle-eyed adherents of the Murphy doctrine of lie, lie and lie again.
And no wonder. Behind the chameleon Murphy is the man who wove hyperbole, fear and untruth into the fabric of Unionism as head of the No campaign, Blair McDougall. He is aided by the rat-like cunning of the truth-twisting McTernan, both men congratulated publicly on their jobs by the political editor of the Daily Record (to make sure he curries their favour).
I haven’t known a time when the telling of lies, as opposed to the massaging of the truth, has been so blatant. It has the potential to corrode our debate and repel voters.
And yet…the signs are that even those Labour regard as willing dolts have wakened up to the way they are treated. The indyref has set off the siren and the warning has been noted. They voted Yes for independence and SNP for Holyrood and must decide if they turn back now or follow through for Westminster and for the first time, shake off the shadow of Labour failure and compromise.
I believe the Scots of the West of Scotland are part of the pride in change that the whole country has undergone and I credit them with the insight and sense not to be fooled again by Labour lies. They couldn’t deliver independence but maybe Home Rule is what they really wanted all along and look – here it is.