Brace! Brace!

I have a friend who’s an airline captain and trains other pilots. He says it isn’t the technical side of flying you have to think about, but how you react to a problem. He was monitoring an experienced flyer who responded properly at the controls to sudden wind shear on descent and immediately pulled up for a go-round. But when he asked him what action he was going to take next, there was no reply. He looked over and his colleague staring ahead, dumbstruck through panic. That pilot will never be a captain as a result.


I am wondering if that is the fate of Labour’s pilot Murphy whose leadership tenure looks like a mission in trouble. Jim can definitely do the technical driving and in normal circumstances will be on cruise control. But here, he is trying to avert a dive to oblivion and he needs not Kezia Dugdale on the flight deck but Keir Hardie, Clem Attlee and Tony Blair – with Tom Johnston on navigation.

There is now that unpredictable feeling that something might go wrong every day. The pratfall of party official Robert McNeill is a seemingly unconnected localised fault  but it illuminated a warning red on the cockpit dash. Like an SOS at 30,000 feet, it was picked up and repeated by everyone.

It is, I think, indicative of a creeping turmoil that is infecting all parts of the Labour machine. People who have never had to break sweat to win now have to think – hard. They have work – hard. And it hurts. They start thrashing around for the safety lever. ‘I know, let’s show people where they can vote for other parties to beat the Nats. Lib Dem here, Tory there…etc’

Yeah, that should stabilise the flight. In a disciplined operation on election guard, every utterance from those on payroll or with office bearer status should on message, wasn’t that the Blair way? Clearly the message from Captain Jim, if there was one, didn’t reach the fax machine in Tranent. While the party says voting SNP delivers the Tories, their own man – on the policy forum – says, eh…Vote Tory.

Forbes Masson Alan Cumming

But why would a member of the Scottish Policy Forum who works closely with Ian Gray not know that the overriding message is Vote Nat, Get Tory? The McNeill tweet says in at least six seats, do the opposite and vote for the party that Margaret Curran claims Glasgow can’t afford for another five years. Keeping the message clear, this isn’t. And it leads to a deeper suspicion that since Labour worked in harmony with Tories in the indyref, maybe they aren’t so far removed. Are they closer than we think? Is stopping the SNP more important for them than stopping a Tory government?

Flight Officer McNeill first lost his stripes (he removed his official party accreditations) and then his Twitter account disappeared into the clouds.

I had expected efficiency and direction from Murphy and Better Together’s McDougall but there’s no denying now that Labour feels like parts are falling off. They’re still flying but really, you’d be more comfortable with Air Scotia’s Sebastian, Steve and Shona Spurtle from the High Life. Not so many laughs though…


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28 thoughts on “Brace! Brace!

  1. Disagree with you on the last point. There are at least as many laughs in Carry on Labouring as in The High Life.

  2. Steve Asaneilean

    Yup – freefall without a parachute just about sums it up at the moment. The problem is the cannon fodder are not on mesage because to my eyes there is no message beyond “Vote SNP, get Tory”.

    I have yet to see a positive, contructive, cooperative utterance from Labour in Scotland that would give any sensible person reason to vote for them. Rather it’s full throttle into mutually assured self-destruction.

  3. majormacbloodnok

    I was thinking it’s more like “Snakes on a Plane” crossed with “Airplane”…

  4. Bugger (the Panda)

    It doesn’t take a masters degree in organisational theory to realise that the management structure of Labout (North UK Branch) is a dysfuctional mess.

    When the indians are running about off-reservation, attacking all and sundry without understanding who are the targets and why they should be doing it in the first case, there is smell of despair in the air.

    Labour is bankrupt, morally, politically, intellectually and financially.

    Ed needs to cut Murphy loose and do an under that table deal to replace him with the SNP bloc.

    He would then stand a chance of getting into number 10. At present his biggest dead weight and restrictor is Murphy and his Scottish MPs.

    If Ed leaves it too late, his back will be to the wall and the price he will have to pay will go up whilst the SNP will be at the table with more cards than now.

    All going quite nicely.

  5. Bugger (the Panda)

    Maybe Jim Murphy should have finished that degree, qualified and become a real ambulance chaser.

  6. Labour ( north branch ) are now getting so bad I’m beginning to wonder if it’s deliberate, what if they’re just leading us in to a cul de sack for some sucker punch or are they really this inept !

  7. ronald alexander mcdonald

    Well, maybe it’s just the natural reaction of monkeys when they feel threatened.

  8. When monkeys feel threatened, don’t they tend to THROW shit at their perceived enemies? Labour’s red rosette wearing monkeys just TALK shit!

  9. There was a time when folks just kept voting for Labour hoping somehow Labour would make everything OK.
    Unfortunately we now have Labour voters who think if they keep voting for them it will somehow make Labour OK.

  10. Never thought I’d see the day Derek, but Labour backing Conservatives to win seats whilst trying to sell the old vote SNP get Tory guff.

    Not content with guaranteeing future Tory governments for Scotland through their referendum campaigning, they are now actively encouraging a vote for Conservative candidates.

    Simply unbelievable.

  11. This is the problem when you feel invincible and you suddenly discover you are not. Too many chums of members or family of members with very little to recommend them and this is what you get.
    Mind a good laugh for the rest of us.

  12. I must be more pessimistic that my fellow commentators. Just how many if these monumental gaffs Labour are making will reach the general public through the mainstream media? If any do they’re usually relegated to a small column somewhere deep inside some unionist rag.

    Imagine if the SNP made equivalent gaffs? You can bet your house that they’d be front page news for a week, and therein lies the problem. Labour know they can state any lies because the compliant unionist media will do very little to either investigate the truth, or report it once someone else has done their job for them (take a bow Rev Stu).

    Ask yourself this – if Labour are looking worse and worse every day, why isn’t the SNP share increasing above the % who voted Yes? Why does it stubbornly remain pretty much at 45% even when 62% believe a strong SNP presence would be good for Scotland? Who are those idiotic 17% who don’t appear to want Scotland to have a strong presence at Westminster?

  13. dennis mclaughlin


    “Ask yourself this – if Labour are looking worse and worse every day, why isn’t the SNP share increasing above the % who voted Yes? Why does it stubbornly remain pretty much at 45% even when 62% believe a strong SNP presence would be good for Scotland? Who are those idiotic 17% who don’t appear to want Scotland to have a strong presence at Westminster?”

    i think when it comes to putting the X on the paper Scottish voters will be so scunnered by Murphy’s Marauders that the SNP will harvest all these disenfranchised ex Labour/ConDem voters.

    the way things are being handled by the Better Together team is very revealing,it seems they are now adopting Joseph Stalin’s retreating scorched earth policy and run like hell for the Ochils.

    • Dennis, while I completely agree with you and Derek’s article, I just don’t believe the majority in Scotland see these things in the same way we do, since the reality is we only get the truth through websites like Wings Over Scotland, Derek Bateman’s, Bella Caledonia, etc. I don’t think even the National puts Labour under the same scrutiny as those websites do and certainly not as frequently, given Labour provides WoS with enough material for at least 2 articles every day.

      The problem I see, and it was what lost the referendum, is getting the truth out to the general population, against the near-complete coverage of the unionist media.

      • Against that, I think a lot of low information Labour voters who were terrorised into voting No, will simply not bother turning out to vote. I don’t think we will reach levels like 85% at GE15.

        But a high proportion of the 1.6 million Yessers will turn out, because they are awake.

      • +1 from me. I remember the blithe over-confidence pre-Referendum when we were sure that because the cause was just, it could only result in a stonking ‘Yes’.

        As one who has knocked on doors in Glasgow’s traditional Labour heartland, please don’t underestimate the fear of Labour supporters in exploring something new. It’s a natural human reaction to revert to type when faced with something unfamiliar, even if logical.

        ‘Getting the truth out’ is only half the battle

        • There’s only one thing overcomes fear in these circumstances – anger. Not mindless raging anger, which is of no use use to anyone, but a slow burn that breeds the determination to change things.

          They need to get the information first and foremost, digest it and determine to do something about it at the ballot. They need to get good and mad at how they have been used and abused, then stay mad till they have the change they desire. These people also need to know that others feel the same way and that they have support, that change isn’t just possible, but certain if we’re all of the same mind.

          Ten years ago few would have credited the possibility of an SG that could bring a referendum to the Scottish electorate. Four years ago no one would have believed a majority government possible in Holyrood. Two years ago few would have believed that with independence sitting at around 22-24%, BT would haemorrhage 20+% of its support.

          When people are mad enough and pulling in the same direction, you can shift mountains.

  14. The operation was a success but the patient is dead. The problem is that because they’ve never actually had to campaign, they don’t know how. They want to do what they did in the referendum, ie grabbing the electorate by the throat and punch it into submission..

  15. Derek, it’s like they are using fly-by-wire technology to pilot the mother ship in harmony with the voters, but they haven’t job the money to buy (or wit to install) the electronic bits.


    Tories are only targetting three seats in Scotland with many voters prepared to vote tactically to keep the SNP out, which means voting Labour, in most cases!

    So Labour is getting support from Tory voters and probably LD as well. A Tory-Labour anti-SNP grand coalition isn’t so far fetched.

  17. I feel sure that this comical policy recommendation will get very little oxygen from BBC Scotland or our print media with their rigid attachment to the unionist cause. I’ll set my alarm to hear GMS from its start tomorrow but If this crops up I will consider paying my licence fee – in truth, I am kidding, as I now qualify for a licence free pass.
    If it appears anywhere in the Scottish papers other than in The National I will consider buying a newspaper although I think I am safe enough. The tweet has been “disappeared” so, in the minds of SLAB, it has ceased to exist

  18. Come to think of it Murphy does look a bit like Otto…

    Don’t call me Shirley!

  19. You expected efficiency and direction from two clowns that had to rely completely on a full-tilt BBC bias campaign and the whole of London news media to thwart democracy and set aside a real referendum? They can’t put their pants on without help – and THAT is what is coming to an end… People have seen the skidmarks. And they aren’t on any runway.

  20. Cracker again Derek.

    Watching this shower fall apart almost makes up for the loss of the ref.

    That was a referendum. playing on the fears of our older voters. This is an election. Everything is different now.

    Look back to the last two occasions Scotland has voted. The Labour Party has lost thousands of voters. The referendum brought our young folk into politics and the were magnificent.

    The hard core labour voter is almost dead. This is an election where , bus passes, free care and NHS are the big deals to the older voters. The young have a different view wanting free education etc. Voters know Lab/Con/Libs are bringing in more cuts.

    SNP are a party on the rise with a good record so far. How many governments do you know that have the faith of their voters after 8 years ??

    By now the SNP should be sitting ducks.

    Stop worrying about Labour fooling Scots. We are awake. We are wiser and have a fantastic network online and at grassroots level. These folk will vote SNP in huge numbers, Independence was a step too far , at the time.

    Not so for voting this time.

  21. What on earth can we do to arrest the continuous drip drip of negative anti Scottish Government news presentation from Pacific Quay? There is an angle to every story the most extreme offender being the Pro Lab Health Reporter Eleanor Bradford, so consistently hostile to Scottish Government performance that she is a heath hazard to me! Tonight we were headlined with a detailed report, backed up by stats of “waiting times problems” and “poorest performance in years” with, almost as an afterthought, a grudging concession that the figures in England were actually poorer.

    Complaint is absolutely futile as the BBC treats subscribers with barely concealed contempt as was demonstrated during the referendum. We know and expect that the printed media can legitimately promote a political point of view and we can expect that every newspaper but one makes little concession to those of us, a considerable proportion of the electorate, who seek fairness and balance. Their approach will be reflected in their circulation figures. The BBC is supposed to be different as it is a public service vehicle wholly subsidised by the public -all of them.

    • We do what we did during the ref ken.

      We talk. Constantly. Always highlighting the lies and spin. We are very good at this now. When spring arrives we canvass and talk and we will win a huge chunk of Scotland’s vote.

      Don’t fall for the drivel.

      They want you to feel hopeless. APATHY . The magic potion that keeps everyone in place.

      keep faith ken. It drives us all mad but……

      Think of the joy to see 40 plus SNP.
      The look of defeat in the faces of these liars, unemployed liars.
      The horrific scares from WM knowing wee Ecks back.
      The mad rush for ex SLAB MP’s begging for a job with anyone else but Labour.

      Revenge ?? YES too bloody right. And satisfaction of knowing that your faith in fellow Scots is not misplaced.

      Ken . the louder they shout the more they look desperate. The more we expose them.

      We’ve not started yet. Remember that. SNP always have something up their sleeves. they know how to play the game.

      AND SO DO WE 🙂

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