I listened to the BBC dredge up the satirical ‘quisling’ quotes in Nicola Sturgeon’s interview this morning and imagined the Labour spinners smiling with satisfaction. And so did I. There could be no clearer sign – that’s all they’ve got.
As the despairing Big Two throw out uncosted, out-of-the-blue policies like dinosaurs clubbing each other to death, the SNP sails on regardless. The attacks when they come are contrived and threadbare like the ghost policy of Full Fiscal Autonomy – a faraway prospect – and a long-forgotten jibe made under a silly Twitter handle before candidate selection to a satirical site. Is that all they’ve got?
Dear Uncle Jim Naughtie harrumphed and noisily drew breath during answers on Radio Four to cover his failure to produce the killer line and was most animated during the discredited schoolboy game of ‘your candidate called No voters quislings’. It showed how low this election has sunk and how poor the quality of BBC journalism that they clung to the old ruse of searching through old tweets to find something – anything – that might hurt. It’s the hallmark of Labour spivs and spads, their equivalent of rummaging through the dustbins and, no doubt – if you can stand the imagery – McDougall and McTernan would hug themselves with satisfaction that the usual piss poor media would do the rest. But it leaves the question: Is that all they’ve got?
As a matter of fact, it is because over on Radio Scotland I heard Mhairi Black being given the same low-grade routine on GMS when Gary Robertson asked her three different questions about a quote she made relating to ‘gullible’ No voters. I couldn’t for the life of me see how that was a point of attack. After all, even Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown indicated as much the minute Cameron appeared at 7am on September 19 to announce EVEL. They had been duped, said Brown. Betrayed. That is a common Labour line in the campaign. Can there be any doubt that many No voters were lulled into it in the belief of benefits to come only to find their votes won’t count at Westminster? To say, as Black did, that ‘some’ No voters were gullible is an understatement. But, whoever dug it up, it was deemed a killer line of attack on GMS which she easily defended and another limp attempt at downing the Nats crashed and burned. It’s all they’ve got.
When you read of the tensions in Labour bursting into the open it rather confirms their failure, doesn’t it? Murphy hinting strongly that before he arrived Labour went to sleep is a straight pointer at Lamont but ignores the hard truth – Labour has lost ground since he took over. The doubts of nationalists and the unions are being confirmed day by day proving that Murphy was a mistake as he never had the popular or even internal support he liked to claim when he saw himself swimming as a big fish in the wee pond. This is not a temporary, localised problem but an historic failure which Scots have watched like a slow motion train crash. Still Labour don’t get it. Jack McConnell is laughably disconnected when he says the SNP rise is a protest vote since it turned into a tide under his leadership. Remember he was general secretary when Blairism was adopted by the Scottish party, he was instrumental in everything that happened when disillusion set in in the nineties and it was in direct opposition to his appeasement of London as First Minister that Scots voted, not for independence, but for a party that would stand up for Scotland. Labour’s failure has McConnell’s fingerprints all over it. His attitude is confirmation of a suicidal myopia that cannot accept repeated defeats as anything other than a short-term problem – a problem of the electorate, not Labour. ‘When will the people wake up and vote for us again?’
I don’t know how many seats will fall to the SNP, not as many as the polls say I doubt, but to me two dozen is a four times increase and anything higher is seismic. They will deserve it because it’s been an inspirational, people-based advance which showed maturity in defeat, deft footwork by the leadership and a modern leader who is now the effective front of progressive politics in Britain – an amazing 51 per cent across the UK chose her as the best leader in a Sky News poll. When the Labour machine and the media is reduced to student politics for its questions, we have the answer to the question – Is that all they’ve got?by