The New Tory Leader

For the small amount of time I spend on BBC news these days, I should qualify for a licence fee rebate…never see oor Sarah at night, miss GMS during the week and would rather date Katie Hopkins than watch Sunday Politics. (I’m also scared to watch it because Andrew Neil keeps sending me angry tweets). But I do, when able to locate the dial from under the duvet, turn on Radio Scotland on Sunday mornings mainly because by the seventh day I’m ready for a relaxed, discursive tone and since I don’t buy the papers, like to hear what I’m (not) missing.

BBC Pacific Quay (22)_JPG

Switched on sometime after nine today to hear what appeared to be a double-headed presentation of a programme called Good Morning Scotland although they were discussing the papers with two journalists as they used to when it was called…hang on, I’ll remember in a minute. Was it Crossfire? No…Headlines. Maybe…or was it What the Fuck Are We Doing to Sunday Mornings?

The managerial nincompoops at Pacific Quay have done more to screw up the Sabbath than Sunday opening at B and Q. Is it a plot to drive folk back to the kirk? (‘I’d rather sit on a hard pew sucking a pandrop than listen to this…’)

Why is it do you think that Radio Four, with whom we used to compare ourselves in the dim and distant days before the disastrous promotion of Jeff Zycinski to Head of Radio – still arguably the worst single appointment in Ken McQuarrie’s reign – come up with programme ideas and retain them, year after year, building an audience? What is the schizophrenic indecision of Zycinski doing to a once admired service that sounds as if it can’t make up its mind between couthy local radio shows and serious but accessible current affairs output?

I met an old friend from Scotland on Sunday yesterday at the SNP rally in Edinburgh who asked if I was glad I was out of newspapers. Yes, I replied, I escaped the madhouse. And I feel the same about Radio Scotland. I wonder how many others still inside share the sentiment. Good luck to them all, including the wise and witty Issy Fraser whose weekends are probably lying in ruins.


The story that has me gasping is the Miliband interview in the Observer in which Ed offers to be the champion of unhappy Tories. Now he’s clearly appealing for any votes he can muster and fair enough, but it’s the quoted identification of ‘moderate Tories’ that jars. Just think what that message says in Scotland…he might as well hang up a Surrender sign over the Murphy campaign. Having slapped Jim down over spending cuts, he now kicks him in the groin with his Tory appeal. If you’re a One Nation Tory, you can safely vote for me, he’s saying. I’m not really left wing, but safely in the centre.

The contradictions this illuminates are many. For instance, Labour’s attack on the SNP is that they pretend to be on the Left but aren’t really distributive and vote against living wage and ending zero hours contracts – oh, the irony. Didn’t Ed directly challenge Nicola about bringing in a Tory government in 1979 (or was it 1870, can’t remember.) I’m pretty sure Ed was part of the Better Together campaign which specifically brought together Labour and the Tories. His chosen Chancellor may also have sat beside Osborne and told the Scots the currency wasn’t theirs.

An appeal to Tories to let him be their champion is the clearest sign that the game is up in Scotland because even in East Renfrewshire where Murphy faces the drop, he has to pray for Tory support, bleat for it quietly on the doorstep, but can’t possibly admit it openly.

Britain's opposition Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband speaks at the London Business School in London

Vote Labour, Get Tory. Labour – the party for today’s moderate Tory. Tories – My name’s Ed and I’m your man.

You know what…I bet Murphy knew nothing about this in advance…hadn’t a clue he would be dumped in it again and landed with another headache just when the polling evidence confirms the Flood.

ed miliband

A Labour insider told me during the local elections in 2012 that an announcement by Balls that Labour would not reverse Tory cuts had come out of the blue without any warning because London hadn’t remembered Scotland was going to the polls. Luckily for Labour the tame Scottish media didn’t make the most of it but it was an example of what Lamont said: Scotland is a branch office. And here it is again…‘and I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that if you are a right wing voter horrified at Scots influencing the government and perhaps a teensy bit worried about an EU referendum, you can safely vote for Labour. You won’t see the difference. I say to Tories everywhere – I represent you and everything you stand for. I’m Ed, the Labour/Tory candidate…’

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29 thoughts on “The New Tory Leader

  1. I have heard that Murphy has been consulting party lawyers about his position of leader. Seems he is keen to know if he can keep the position if he loses his MP seat. I also suspect he is keen to know if he can get the tax payer to keep paying his wages and expenses despite not being an elected representative. I always felt the man was between a rock and a hard place. Being a serving MP under a Westminster whip damaged his credibility as being his own man. I always knew that at some point there would be a rebuke that would put him in his place. I didn’t expect such a public slap down but it seriously damaged his position and reinforced the image that Scottish labour is nothing more than a Branch of UK labour and the real leader of that party is Ed Miliband, not Jim Murphy,

    I begin to understand now, why so many Scottish labour folk were so set against devolution. They knew such a construct would seriously undermine their own legitimacy in Scotland. But they thought PR would protect them in Holyrood and were content to eat heartily on anti-tory sentiment. In the end they became what american political pundits would call “A self licking Ice Cream”: a system that has no other purpose other than to perpetuate its own existence. They became a soundbite in a sharp suit and squandered many opportunities to make a difference. This of course was largely delusional. They were never really that safe and were hostages to fortune when the UK party started its shift to the right. The Scottish branch has never been its own master and has always marched to the beat of a Westminster drum. Their failure to understand the damage a rightwards shift would and could do their popularity was one of many missteps. The party seemed incapable of understanding the change that was happening and when engaging with the public, their tone was clumsy and counter productive. Lamont’s ill advised “something for nothing culture” speech was a truly cringe inducing experience. This was matched by Mr Sarwar’s equally absurd speech about cutting pensioners benefits, because some folk didn’t live long enough to get them. Translation: We should punish the living, because some folk are dying. There just aren’t the words to truly express how idiotic that is.

    Then came the referendum. Scottish labour were put in charge, because they are popular here. The truth is that were not as unpopular as the conservatives or the lib-dems. In hindsight it was a mistake to allow them to be at the front here. But it is safe to say the really should not have then stood on a platform with these parties. Attended tory and lib-dem party conventions. Gratefully receive and brag about tory party donors paying for the campaign. Used tory PR firms to set up astro-turf campaigns to make up for the lack of a real grassroots campaign.

    But the real error was to fight the indy-ref as if it were a general election. This has to count as the moment Scottish labour jumped the shark. They could not countenance that anyone who voted labour could possibly vote for independence, so they must have been SNP voters. Anyone with a functioning brain cell could see that this was giving the SNP a level of support that it had not enjoyed at this point. They gleefully set about monstering the SNP and then the “SNP” voters. Clearly no one considered the aftermath. Clearly no one thought about the general election that was going to take place after this. No one thought where such a large amount of support for independence would go if they the no side won.
    Clearly someone in Bettertogether thought that Scottish politics would reset and everyone would go back to labour…Despite the fact that labour had monstered these voters for four years, denying that they had ever been labour voters and were in fact SNP stooges, lunatics, morons, nazis, blackshirts, Cyber nats, evil separatists and a whole lot more.

    Having won (narrowly) they decided that screaming “you lost, get over it” Or “you’re British now, get over it” was an effective means of reconciliation. Why someone who was proud to be a scot but proud to be British, would then use britishness as a pejorative term to insult a fellow Scot, still baffles me.

    What happened is that the 45% went to the SNP. It may not have been enough to hold the day in a referendum, but in a general election it is enough to wipe the smiles off every unionist politician in Scotland. It seems that the tactic of chanting “We hate you, now vote for national unity” was never going to work.

    Lallands peat worrier summed up the problem for Scottish quite well in an article for the National. If you believe in red & bloody austerity, why would you ever vote for austerity light? If you believed that this is rebuilding the UK economy why ever consider a vote for labour at all. You would pitch your tent in the blue camp and go for the real deal. If you consider austerity to be counter productive and damaging to Scotland’s interests, why would you ever consider voting Scottish labour. It does not march to the beat of its own drum, it marches to ed milibands drum. And this neatly brings me to my final point. The last great mistake labour made during the indy-ref. It very recklessly blurred the lines between the three parties who supported union. It did this so completely, that it made it impossible for it to reach out the votes it lost or to ever campaign again as a party who can keep the Tories out. The other shoe is still to drop for Scottish labour, I suspect it won’t until May 8th.

    • Excellent analysis David, I could not have put it better myself.

      PS. I hadn’t come across the phrase “self licking ice cream” before but it’s very appropriate in this instance (and amusing).

      • But surely a self-licking ice cream can’t perpetuate its own existence…? Oh, never mind…

        • your thinking too literally ;o) – its a description for something self serving and having no other purpose than that. Didn’t come across the term myself until i started following american politics during iraq/afghanistan wars. It just seems to sum up the current state of Scottish labour quite beautifully.

    • Brilliant analysis of Labour’s woes. It has never bring clearer that Scotland and England are drifting apart – England becoming more right-wing at a rate of knots, Scotland staying on the left.

      Labour has taken Scotland’s votes for granted for long enough. The indyref has awakened Scotland politically and now when Labour itself moves to the right chasing the English vote – their voters in Scotland have nowhere else to go but the SNP.

    • Very well said David.

      To see the back of Liebour in may will be so sweet.

    • David,
      A brilliant follow-up to an excellent article. All of this needs to be widely spread!
      I simply hope we are able to maintain the momentum until 8th May….and am sure we will.
      This should be good.

    • Archie Maclean

      An excellent analysis of why the Labour Party in Scotland is in such dire straits.

  2. cynicalHighlander

    I see the BBC as biggest threat to democratic change in the whole of the UK as it is nothing more than a defender of the Establishment. Broadcasting needs to be devolved as a priority if the UK wants to still cling onto being classed as a democracy at all.

    • Couldnt agree more. This morning’s programme illustrated this very well.
      Why was Alister Campbell invited to give his views, when it is patently obvious that he know little and understand less of Scottish politics than Vladimir Putin?
      And as for Brewer on Politics Scotland this morning- dont get me started!

  3. Never thought I’d live to see a Labour leader offering to throw his arms round the “soft” Tory voters. Skinner must be ready to throw in the towel.

    • I wouldn’t shed any tears for that cardboard cut-out socialist. He was one of those Labour MP’s who voted for the Cunningham 40% rule in 1978.

  4. Antoine Bisset

    Could it be the case that the days of generation upon generation of automatic Labour support are now over? Have the voters of Easterhouse and Blackhill realised that better is possible but not with any of the unionist parties? Have the commuters of the central belt realised that roads should have smooth surfaces and should allow traffic to move briskly to its destination? Have the voters of Morningside and Newton Mearns realised that the conditions that require austerity measures are none of their making and they should not suffer for the reckless excesses of the South East of England?
    For surely all can see that this little country of ours has been enduring austerity measures for fifty years. While black gold was piped ashore, our shipyards closed, our vehicle factories closed, our steelworks closed, our aluminium smelters closed, our coal mines closed, our mills closed, our printers closed, our utilities were sold off and our power stations closed.

    • Caroline Crawford

      Absolutely right Antoine….but everyone must not forget that the real dirty tricks have still to happen as Westminster gets paranoid about oil again. They know they MUST keep control of it at all costs, so be prepared for a battle of slanderous and misguided comments on MSM

  5. The “one nation” unionist parties only get away with their lies and spin in Scotland because the “national” media have Scottish editions which through omission and spin try to hide reality from gullible Scots.
    We can see clearly now that Scottish politics is completely rooted in the constitutional question which will only ever be resolved by independence or acceptance by Scots that we are a region and not a country.
    The Westminster parties will always be viewed as not acting in Scotland’s interests but rather in self interest and at the behest of the British/English state.
    This is a double whammy for British Labour because they are also no longer seen by Scots as representing working class people but just another middle England Thatcher lite party who do whatever the right wing English press tell them to.
    A suicide mission for Murphy and co.
    Thanks Derek.

  6. Hopefully, you now see the point, Derek – “Labour” is not, and never has been, “left of centre” since the Attlee govt. post World War II. The “natural” constituency for New Labour in Scotland has, since 1997, been a safe Tory seat! Indeed, it became the “respectable” way for the “Morningside and Giffnock sets” to vote Tory; as even the “blue-rinse brigade” was embarrassed by the industrial desert that Thatcher made of Scotland. And, as I’ve mentioned before on your blog: BBC Scotland’s Sally Magnusson, made a documentary which asked – “Where have all the “natural” Scottish Tory voters gone?” as she, myopically, missed the Conservative trees for the New Labour forest! So, which “safe” Tory seats has New Labour in Scotland an outside hope of maintaining? – Precisely those “natural” Tory seats of “Darling” Alistair’s South Embra constituency, and that of East Renfrewshire’s extreme right-wing Blairite, Jim Murphy MP/MSP. So, let’s be clear, If both these seats remain Tory – sorry, New Labour – it’s because the Tory vote kept up and voted for Murphy & Co. whom they know are mere fraudsters posing as “Damascene Socialists”.
    So, just like the “Twa Eds” – “Red” and Balls – who are trying to convince the S.E. English electorate that they are every bit as driven to austerity as Tory “Chancer” George Osborne; so, Margaret Curran MP and her gaffer “Angry SMurphy” try to dupe the Scottish working-class that they give “a flying-ffff…..ig” about them – especially, in “Scum-Land” aka the East-End of Glasgow. So, to any fellow “Scummers” out there – gie’s a shout if you hear of any secret “public meetings” that New Labour intend to hold in the constituency. Strangely, I’ve only been told of such “events” the DAY AFTER they’ve been held – or, in a “mis-Reporting Scotland” feature, ALWAYS after the event! But, hey-ho – that’s UK democracy for you!

  7. Yep, mere days after Ed raised the spector of false political history past he completely about faces with nary a hint of irony and appeals to disaffected moderate conservatives. A new Labour or a new conservative party? I mean that’s what he’s looking to create here a one nation party, a party of left and right that is neither and both.

    In fact what Ed is doing is bringing to the fore the reality most of us have mooted for some time. That there is no Labour, no conservative party (the ideological difference being negligible anyway), but the Westminster party, the political establishment theory made flesh. Metrocentric, London based, elitist and whose politics suffers no radical or progressive thought which would rock the boat. Certainly no opinion from north of the home counties. Mr Murphy has to all intents and purposes been literally and figuratively cut off well below the border. That’ll leave a mark.

    I never want to hear that bullshit myth of the SNP ushering in the Thatcher years ever again. Labour have betrayed their founding ideology. They have betrayed those who gave them their position. In Scotland Labour betrayed their own constituents during the referendum and worked hand in glove with a party who betrayed them at the first opportunity post referendum and why?

    For power, for electoral advantage, for career, for a system that has been oh so very good to them. Labour peers FFS. If ever there was two words which should not exist in the same sentence… Labour Peer. For the electorate of Scotland there was and is only one option, eventual independence. Labour have abandoned the electorate of Scotland long since, our votes only good for electoral currency on the Commons floor. The Conservatives? We showed them the door many years ago for their sins and the Liberal Democrats are guilty simply by association and complicity in the political machinations of their larger partners. They became enablers for both and by their actions they have brought about untold hardship for many.

    Scotland’s option in this post referendum period in the face of these developments? Ensure that those we elect to represent our interests at Westminster are truly representative of our needs and wishes. Ensure that this representation is there to protect our people and their interests for as long as this partnership lasts. Last but by no means least this representation must hold all Westminster parties to account for the pledges and statements made during the referendum. As yet absolutely nothing has been delivered that was promised. Remember a near federal state, home rule, devo max and a parliament whose permanency is enshrined in law.

    We got? Rampant Scotophobia in the media. The watered down Smith agreement which has now been questioned by the Lords. The Scottish parliaments permanency WILL NOT be enshrined in law and of course EVEL and the threat of exclusion from UK budgetary considerations.

    THAT is the reality of post referendum Scotland.

  8. Bunker down the bomb’s of divisive politics are upon us once more but, dont worry it’s only NOISE nothing we are hearing, can remove us from our political high ground. Defence and, defience is the call of the day.

  9. smiling vulture

    I think that egg moment during referendum is the the day Jim lost credibility in Scotland,using MSM

    Suspended his Scotland-wide referendum tour, claiming

    “Yes Scotland was orchestrating a campaign of intimidation by sending mobs of protesters to disrupt it.”

    “But in a dark corner of Scotland lives an aggressive nationalism that has been unlocked by this process.”

    ” Element of the Yes campaign was getting more aggressive the closer September 18 gets.”

    BBC—Labour MP Jim Murphy has suspended his Scotland-wide tour ahead of the independence referendum, citing “co-ordinated abuse” from “Yes” voters.

  10. The Labour party appear to keep saying that if they losing a large swathe of seats in May that it will be the fault of the SNP while, in reality, it will be the fault (if that’s the right word) of Scottish voters and, more importantly, the fault of the Labour party in Scotland for consistently failing people of Scotland.

  11. I think Jim’s credibility was lost by being part of and supporting a New Labour Government and all that that produced from illegal war, to robbing public workers of their pensions, to letting the bankers run amok and walk away without punishment or loss, to presiding over the largest levels of income inequalities seen in the UK since the 1930s.

  12. I’ve just been on Wings – the level of abuse from the msm and assorted right-wingers like Bo-Jo on Twitter etc is unbelievable – the usual Nazi/fascist slanders/slurs. Is there nothing we can do about it?

  13. Antoine Bisset

    Look at the comments under an article in the online Telegraph on, say, Ms Sturgeon.
    Now replace “Scots” with “Muslims” and the comments section would be closed down in a minute and the police would be investigating.
    It’s nice to be liked…

  14. How many people saw this speech by David Cameron on Monday, where he set out the Tories plans for the “Carlisle Principle” test? It wasn’t mentioned on either the BBC News at 6pm or Reporting Scotland at 6:30pm or 10:30pm. It’s as though the BBC are trying to cover up the story for fear of driving even more voters to the SNP.

    This interview proves that the “Vow” is being watered down to such an extent that it is, to all intents and purposes, completely worthless. Every measure that the Scottish Parliament might want to introduce is likely to fail the “Carlisle Principle” test and would therefore be overturned by Westminster. Worse still, if this test is extended to the existing powers of the Scottish Government (and Cameron’s words do more than imply that it will) then many, perhaps most, Scottish policies that are currently different from the rest of the UK could also be overturned by Westminster.

    I predicted last year that Labour’s “One Nation” policy (standardising public services across the UK) would result in Devo Negative and could leave the Scottish Parliament powerless. The “Carlisle Principle” test will have the same effect.

    It is becoming clear that Westminster wants to effectively abolish Scottish Devolution through the back door by progressively stripping powers away from the Scottish Parliament. The process is already underway. Powers over some renewables were stripped from the Scottish Parliament in December 2013.

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