Secret Formula

I’ll have to start taking my tablets at this rate or maybe go for a check-up – I find myself agreeing with both Peter Mandelson and Michael Forsyth…with qualifications. My condition is serious, nurse.

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Let me dispose of Forsyth first. When he says Scotland has undergone a revolution, he is right. When he calls for a white paper on a comprehensive devolution settlement, he is right. His tone strikes the right chord – one that Labour has notably failed to find – acknowledging that this is a catastrophe, not just for Unionist parties, but for Unionism and, unless it is met head on, its destruction draws nearer. The era of piecemeal powers is over…time now for the final play that has the best chance of avoiding Union disintegration. It’s the equivalent of conceding ground and materiel to the enemy in order to regroup further behind the lines – and hope he’s satisfied with his spoils enough to stop the pursuit.

It’s the first sensible thing he’s said in 18 years since he led the Tories to a worse debacle than even Murphy’s Mayhem when he lost every single Scottish Tory seat – and ended up in the Lords. Which is why I resent him being wheeled out by Jim Naughtie and others as some kind of sage on Scottish politics when he was a disastrous failure rejected by the electorate but rewarded by the Establishment. But then he has to be right once every generation…

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Mandelson reminds me of Kaa, the snake in Jungle Book (I have young kids!), his serpentine mind and hissing voice, calmly skewering opponents while slithering along studio sofas. He is the gatekeeper to the Legend of Blair and bestows the key to the chosen few – poor Chukka Ummuna with that hand creeping round his shoulder. The Mandelson mantra, repeated by David Miliband and most right wing and Labour voices so far, is that Ed didn’t build on New Labour. Instead he rolled back the years to tax-and-spend policies and anti-wealth rhetoric. That’s why he lost, the aspiring strivers left feeling ignored and disagreeing that bashing business was acceptable.

I think there was a lot more to it than that but I do agree that Miliband failed a basic test of having something to say to everyone. That was a Blair trick. He embodied radical youth for a new age emerging from Tory stagnation; he talked of caring for all people encompassing the stragglers; he courted business and wealth-creation and was tough on defence and security (maybe a little too tough at times…) The anoraks call it triangulation, adopting others’ policy positions or versions thereof placing you between different viewpoints in order to neutralise the opposition and insulate you from attack. In chess, it’s like castling. In marketing, it’s broadening appeal. In real life, it’s common sense. You’re trying to win as many votes as possible, right? Do you focus tightly on one group or do you expand your offer in the hope of capturing more votes?

And like Blair, the SNP has cracked this too. The secret of Blair’s electoral success is the same, more or less, as the SNP’s. They’ve captured the market. They started with a fundamental – Scotland. (Blair’s I think was modern social justice). It has to be something with a universal appeal, a powerful lure that is always associated with you and seems to underpin everything else you do. Nobody disagrees with Scotland (whatever that means to them). Nobody. With that central identity, you have the makings of success. Equally, this was an identity Labour previously held with distinctive Scottish polices, well known figures who also were big in the UK, strong-accented trade unionists, wholesale elected representation at all levels and a unrivalled place in working class history. Labour’s dream was the people’s dream, making the SNP look spindly and eccentric.

It’s often remarked how the SNP encapsulates different strands of opinion, some statist, some libertarian and even suggested that after independence it will split into factions – wishful thinking of Labour strategists like McTernan. But what is true is that it is simultaneously business-friendly and welfare-minded. It can reach the entrepreneur with a tax-cutting, less red tape approach and win the Left with fair pay and dignity level benefits. The SNP wins the shopkeeper in Forfar, the fund manger in Edinburgh, the binman in Glasgow. Look who the MPs are – a breast surgeon, a university professor, an international banker, a lawyer and actress, a trade union official, a female QC, a TV producer, a broadcaster, a business maverick, a former Labour official, a politics student.

This means compromise and trimming to meet all aspirations and not all of this hangs comfortably together but is sustained by the fundamental – Scotland first. When you add in believability (I prefer plausibility in the case of Blair) and professionalism, the winning formula is complete.

Labour failed partly because it’s leaders weren’t believable while the SNP’s are. Ed was always going to struggle. When broadcasters say ‘image problem’, the voters say ‘goofy’. He didn’t fit their idea of a Prime Minister. Balls brought the failure of Brown’s government centre stage to add to his own belligerent, eyeballing bluster. Murphy was memorably compared by Andy Kerr to your dad dancing in a night club.

Without a direct personality-based appeal, people turn off. They stop hearing you and if they think you may have deceived them or let them down, heaven help you. Labour’s failures have accumulated into a perceived hellish betrayal. It’s notable how tame the SNP’s actual promise was for this election – a stronger voice for Scotland. That is utterly meaningless in itself but it makes it difficult to challenge whatever they achieve or whatever they don’t. It’s another way of making a broad appeal and avoiding complaint.

There is a time in this political game when it all catches up. Unless you constantly review and renew – and they’ve been good at this so far – decisions can go stale and policies turn in on themselves. A prime example is university tuition fees where students pay nothing for the education but still end up in debt because the maintenance grant is too low. Another is Full Fiscal Autonomy where they sound querulous and unconvincing because of the deficit when I don’t think they need to at all.

But it remains important to stick to principles. Being anti nuclear is a no brainer and an absolute. Refusing to buy the British fetish of anti austerity budgeting is another. People will respect a dogged position even if they don’t agree with it and will give credit for clarity – the very opposite of Murphy’s scattergun strategy.

The problem now is that the SNP is so ascendant that an opposition is keenly needed. This is quite different from the howl of the bemused Unionists that we have become a one-party state. This argument fails because it was a free vote (are they saying it was rigged as in Uzbekistan?) There is no stifling of opposition. There are 58, I think, non-SNP members of the Scottish Parliament, 23 councils have no overall control, only two out of six MEPs are SNP. Oh, and we’re not a state.

But where is the opposition? Labour looks incapable of conducting the kind of fundamental reappraisal needed and simply can’t do that while Murphy and McTernan remain. There are risible kites flown by the loopy – among them Professor Neil Ferguson – that there will soon follow a Tory revival. I could wallpaper the bedroom with cuttings on that one. To be clear – No There Won’t.

Real opposition could soon emerge though from within the Yes movement if there is an alliance of Socialists, Radical Independence and Common Weal that could outflank the SNP on the left. Indeed, I suspect there will be a huge upsurge in Green votes for second preference. They could supplant Labour as the real opposition of the Left. The outcome could easily in the current mood mean that Labour drops off the radar for many voters as it struggles to redefine itself. And what if the party in the south follows Mandelson’s advice and returns to New Labour ideology with knobs on? What then for the raddled Scottish branch office? The comparison with the thriving and competent SNP with its all-people appeal is stark. This is the period of maximum danger for Labour when its remaining strength gets drawn down the plughole no matter what it does. Real leadership is needed to bring together the old heads who have deserted or gone into abeyance – Charlie Gray, John Mulvey, Alex Mosson, McLeish, McConnell and the unions with Labour academics and a huge public meeting and online consultation with the members. Question One: Do we need a Labour Party? If Yes, who’s it for and what does it do?

Only then can they begin finding the ideas and the language to re-engage with the Scots. And that won’t happen before next May.

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61 thoughts on “Secret Formula

  1. David Houldsworth

    Great piece- you are setting the bar awfy high for yourself

    • Just going to point out a mistake here:

      In Scotland, Labour won’t be the opposition on the Left, they’ll be the opposition on the Right.

  2. Do we need a Labour Party? No would be my answer.

    I have heard quite a few people say post this election that in the Scottish elections they intend to vote SNP in the constituency and Greens in the list.

    That could effectively drive Labour out their old heartlands for good.

    • No No No! – mark your cross in every SNP box. After Indy is achieved, then indulge yourself with this, that or the other.

      • The problem with that opinion is that the SNP need an effective opposition, as without one they will get arrogant and complacent, like SLAB did over the decades.

        • Possibly but only in their first term, and I don’t think they’re daft enough not to realise that !

          • If the SNP win next year, that will be a third term!
            And all parties get arrogant with continuing unchallenged power; show me evidence to the contrary.

          • Bugger (the Panda)

            I would guess that would be their last term as a broad church party and a number of small groups would emerge to join with new outsiders and new parties. I would hope for a mosaic of them, like the Scandinavian countries with coalitions bringing smaller parties into government whether their numbers were needed or not. The Punch and Judy style of parly democracy has to stop.

            As, I am thinking, the splinter groups would know people in the rump SNP, I think they would be able to set up links and understandings with a core value of respect.

          • I would like that

          • Bugger (the Panda)

            So want I

    • What would be the implications for democracy if the same voters elect both the government and opposition by voting SNP in the constituencies and Green on the lists?

    • I stupidly watched that Scotland 2015 thing on the Beeb last night and watched astonished as Labour voices spoke in terms of not asking should Labour exist but asserting that it has to exist, as though it were some force of nature.

      Where are the Whigs now? Where is the Liberal National Party? the Unionist Party which used to bestride Scotland? The Temperance League used to be huge and strong, where are they now? No, sorry Labour you have no right to continue to receive support. You have to earn it and take people with you and show real humility. I’m not sure Labour has the sort of people they need to do that. They drove them away, first by Blairism and his warmongering, then the referendum and other things in between. All that’s left are the careerists. The answer to why should Labour exist for them is simply to get them into jobs at the public’s expense.

    • Recommend you read what James Kelly (Scot goes Pop!) has to say about this notion – there is some useful discussion of this after his post on Tuesday 12/5.

  3. It isn’t failure of getting the right policies. The last three years has shown a Labour that is corrupt and self serving, with no respect for the voters.
    Everything now would sound to me like, “we tried bullying and fear to get your votes”, now “give us a bit of time to find some new tactics to get your votes, and in the meantime here’s Jim Murphy, Dugdale and Baillie to keep up the smear and fear”.

  4. Once again Derek a brilliant summing up of the state of play.

    It’s clear that if (Not) Labour don’t do something radically different and soon they are dead in the water and Scotland will move on without them.

    After all they have no right to exist just because they’ve been around for 100 years. Extinction is perfectly normal and natural in the real world that you and I inhabit.

  5. Great article Derek.

    Labour in Scotland are toxic. McTernan and Murphy the puppet masters are still there. Until they dump these guys no one will ever trust them with a vote.

    As for opposition we have all the unionist parties UK wide . I hope to see a large Green and SSP show at the SE2015 . Labour will never be trusted unless they clear out the lot. I’ll never vote for them again . I hate everything they have stood for and will never forget the disgraceful tactics during the ref.

    They were the tory’s rabid dog. Smug photoshoots outside ASDA and BQ threatening price rises or moving out if Scotland chose YES. I feel ashamed for them.

    I said last year that there would be a reckoning and it’s came about because folk are looking elsewhere for their news. The scare tactic and project fear2 went down like a cheap firework in a monsoon.

    We are awake. We are NOT fearty’s anymore.

    We have given the SNP a mandate for much more powers. Any mucking about will only hasten the inevitable .

    56 SNP MP’s I still canny get my head round it all.

    Well done Scotland . So proud.

  6. Consider the allegiance of Blair’s empathy (but not simulated) with Michael Foot’s integrity (but less dismissive of image) = Nicola. Feel the power!

  7. Bugger (the Panda)

    Do we need a Labour Party

    No, not this one and not these people who now run it, for themselves.

    When the French have had enough, they rise up, pull the old down and start anew with another Republic. Lessons to be learned.

  8. It’s often remarked how the SNP encapsulates different strands of opinion, some statist, some libertarian and even suggested that after independence it will split into factions – wishful thinking of Labour strategists like McTernan.

    I think McTernan is right on this. If Scotland becomes independent then the SNP will have lost its main goal, and reason for being. Sure they can carry on for maybe a term or two, but I really cannot see how they would survive in the long term. What would the SNP’s selling point with the electorate after independence? A mild form of social democracy, and stability in government is just not going to cut it in the medium to longer term imo.

    I know this is not going to be popular, and in some ways may seem nuts given the result last week, but I have some concerns about Nicola Sturgeon. Now I am not saying she should not continue as leader of the SNP and FM of Scotland. Sturgeon has a vital role to play in the next decade, if not longer. But there is a limit to how many photos of her with babies, and selfies with star struck fans you can get away with. There will now be real pressure on her to deliver further progress towards independence. I am getting concerned that there is a cult of personality developing around her, and frankly I do not see her as a compelling character that say Alex Salmond and Margo Macdonald were. There are aspects of her leadership that I find concerning. If the SNP try to downplay Salmond’s contribution, then that is going to be another area of difficulty imo.

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      Qualified agreement.

      • Me too. She is an excellent person and as incorruptible as it is possible for a decent human being with integrity to be. But absolute power does corrupt, in the end. I hope that the SSP and Greens get more seats in Holyrood next year for that reason, plus for the fact that they backed indy so staunchly and deserve a greater voice. I’ll be backing them on the list.

      • @Bugger

        Do you think I was being to harsh?

        • I’m not sure what your reservations are – I think we can have reservations about most people, but whether their “flaws” are significant is another matter. Certainly Salmond re-energised the SNP and took them almost to Independence – a magnificent achievement by any measure, but I feel Sturgeon has brought other qualities, dare I say it, qualities more associated with females – seemingly more consensual, less confrontational, less arrogant, more willing to listen, more likely to meet half-way yet resolute in what she believes – and, perhaps, more left wing and less stridently nationalist in front of the media.

          • My reservations include the fact that since Nicola Sturgeon has only been in charge for just over 6 months, we have already seen the start of a personality cult developing around her. This takes some doing. I have had messages from the SNP asking me to come along, and have selfies taken with her. The job of the SNP is to achieve independence, it is not to promote a manipulative saint Nicola cult.

            I know fine well she is a politician, and has been ruthless in getting to the top. You just need to cite the case of her and Roseanna Cunningham. There is also the issue of the amount of power she and her husband hold. When questioned about it, Sturgeon said that Derek Mackay would handle any complaints. This is really disingenuous, why would a developing talent in the party challenge Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, particularly after the landslide election victory last week? He or others surely would not do so.

            Nicola Sturgeon has been portrayed as a consensual politician. To an extent this is correct. However, if you watch Brian Taylor’s documentary on Alex Salmond, when Salmond was tearing into Nichol Stephen, Sturgeon was sitting on the front bench loudly applauding him. Christ, Salmond was savaging him at the time! I really do not take kindly to manipulation.

            I did not join the SNP after the referendum to become a member of a Nicola Sturgeon fan club, nor to participate in a cult of personality. I joined partly because of Alex Salmond’s outstanding contribution to the SNP, in taking us to the verge of independence from the virtual wilderness and margins of Scottish politics. Sturgeon and co would do well to remember Salmond’s role. Any marginalisation of Alex Samond’s contribution should be fully resisted, not least because it would make a mockery and travesty of history and the truth.

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          Not harsh but voiced a genuine concern that some have but will not say. She is young, charismatic and a woman. As for all new leaders, e should all reserve any negativity, as the MSM are waiting to find an attack point.

          Let us not give them one. It will be their manifold attack point.

          • Bugger, fair enough. I think Nicola Sturgeon is a very good politician, potentially one of the best in the history of the SNP. For that reason I support her as FM and leader of the SNP.

            One of the difficulties I have with her is that while I did not know Margo Macdonald and Alex Salmond, I kind of felt I knew them, if that makes any sense. With Sturgeon? mmmmm….

            I think MM may have had Sturgeon sussed as a person. If we achieve independence through the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, I think it will be done in a professional and calculated manner.

    • Hmmm……could be.
      But I am hopeful that something different lies in store.
      I think Sturgeon has a well defined role in encouraging more people towards ‘yes’. Winning soft no voters to yes, greater appeal to women encouraging them towards ‘yes’. I am a big fan of AS who has my deep admiration but I think NS can offer a softer tone with wider appeal. AS did put some folk off (not me, not you). For me his cheeky combative tone was absolutely crucial to take us to this point, but now something different is needed for the final push (i.e. NS). Like the master that he is, AS chose exactly the right time to step aside.

    • robert graham

      yeh yer right it isn’t popular with me anyway just how long do you suppose she has been leader get a grip been in charge for five minutes and the sniping starts she and her leadership gave us a result that most people if they had voiced it on the 6th would have been given a pat on the head and told to keep taking the pills this is why the far left will never be elected they bicker snipe then fall out every time that’s what the right wing in this country depend on and are usually right

      • @Robert Graham

        I never questioned Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership. If you read my post I said that in my opinion she has a key role to play in the next decade or even longer. I have waited till now to make these comments because I wanted to wait until after the election was over to make them. I am not a member of a far left party, as you said in your post. I have a right to my opinion. Nicola Sturgeon has done very well, but there are aspects that I find concerning.

        I have some concerns about Nicola Sturgeon, the developing cult of personality around her, the amount of power her and husband wield at the very top of the SNP, for which I think they are largely unaccountable for. I also detect more than a degree of manipulation in the development of her image and the PR around her. I don’t think projecting Nicola Sturgeon as some kind of a saint is going to be very helpful at all. If you go down this route then you are asking for trouble imo.

        I did not become a SNP member to be a cheerleader for, or a member of Nicola Sturgeon’s fan club. I am also not impressed at all at the apparent side-lining of Alex Salmond at Westminster. The truth is when Sturgeon became FM, and leader of the SNP, there was already at least 80,000 SNP members, and support for independence had reached an all time high. The challenge for her is to make real progress towards independence. Her selfies with her adoring fans, her holding babies does not interest me one bit.

        In terms of Sturgeon’s debating skills, her policies, her core political values and beliefs, I have no problem whatsoever with these. They are very good. I want to be clear here, I am very happy that she is FM, and leader of the SNP, but I am concerned about aspects of her leadership and style.

        • I think you have raised legitimate concerns, particularly about the husband/wife oligopoly at the top, and you have confirmed your regard for her as a politician. However, as you say, the “beatification” of her during the election may have gone too far. On the other hand an election is a one-off unique event. Maybe we just need to be vigilant.

        • lastchancetoshine

          ” I am also not impressed at all at the apparent side-lining of Alex Salmond at Westminster.”

          After a week? nothing has happened as yet. what can you possibly base that on?

          It seems to me the low profile was quite a deliberate, intentional tactic, probably a strategy designed by himself in order to mitigate the “I don’t like that Alex Salmond” attitude/excuse we are so familiar with and it may wel have been a factor in tipping quite a few seats.

      • Exactly, Robert. Be loyal and appreciative of all our leading members. So far we’re nearer our goal than we could ever have imagined a couple of years ago. Don’t give the opposition an opening. Don’t denigrate our amazingly successful political position. Keep moving forward!!

        BtP, I agree with you – re Labour and the French – but we can allow them to retain a head on their shoulders.

        Great piece, Derek.

  9. Great article Derek.

    1. I wouldn’t worry too much about agreeing with the Conservatives on constitutional matters when Scotland’s tail is up. They have consistently met the challenge posed by the desire for greater Scottish autonomy positively. It was they who set up the Scottish Office (albeit, in London) in the 1880s. And agreed to its eventual shift to Edinburgh in the 1930s. And set up the Scottish Grand Committee. Churchill appointed the very able Tom Johnstone as Scottish Secretary of State during the war years, and supported his hydro schemes. It was Ted Heath who noticed the importance of Winnie Ewing’s Hamilton by-election win in 1967 and suggested a commission to look into the issue of Scotland’s constitutional position – much to the astonishment and chagrin of Willie Ross. At the end of the day, Conservatives tend to take a statesmanlike view, whereas Labour take a visceral, tribalistic, negative view of Scottish aspirations.

    2. Yes we need an opposition but Labour are finished in Scotland. They don’t have the talent, the resources, or the will, in combination. Ian Murray for instance is a very able individual but has ruled out forming a breakaway Scottish party. His colours are nailed firmly to the Unionist mast, and he will sadly go down with that ship. Neil Findlay has the will to break away, but not the talent or leadership potential to form a new party. Kezia Dugdale is a child. Jackie Baillie is a joke. Johann Lamont gave up.

    3. Opposition will come from the Greens in the Scottish Parliament and whatever emerges further left. I fully expect Colin Fox to be re-elected and perhaps RIC will form a party and gain some seats. But this will be a different kind of opposition – an opposition based on mutual respect and comradeship, which suggests more radical alternatives and assesses more critically, but in a constructive way, the flaws in SNP performance and legislation. And not the kind of vituperative snipey politics that Labour have always engaged in and sadly brought to the Scottish Parliament.

  10. In opposition SLAB were a one trick pony – SNP bad. That’s all they had to say. In the UK their record spoke for itself, helped set up the financial crisis, ladled oodles of money into the pockets of bankers without any strings, failed to create social justice…. and so on.

  11. I reckon opposition to the SNP will come from the Greens and the SSP on the pro-independence side, and the Tories will likely remain on around the 15 per cent mark, while I think the Liberals may recover a bit now that they are no longer in coalition with the Tories at Westminster. Who knows what is going to happen to SLAB now? Rowley and Findlay have rebelled and called for an independent Labour Party in Scotland. I expect the Greens to do well next year, and the SSP to return to Holyrood with an MSP or two. The Greens have the potential to get 10 MSPs or thereabouts.

  12. The SNP have captured and fully occupy the centre left political stage in Scotland.
    With British Labour trying to decide how far right they can go without appearing to be Tory,that leaves the party organisation in Scotland with a major problem.
    Perhaps they can reinvent themselves as some sort of Liberal party who will swing whichever way,depending on the political change of winds but their days as being a pretendy socialist party are over.
    For the Scottish contingent,it is either leave the party or embrace the Tory lite policies of their London masters.
    Shouldn’t be a problem for the Murphys of this world who have nowhere else to go and were Tory lite anyway but for many it will probably be the exit door.
    Thanks Derek.

  13. kailyard rules

    The “old guard” mentioned (Gray through to Lord McConnell et al) are all yesterday’s men with yesterday’s spoiled baggage .Political zimmermen.What Labour needs is a phoenix phalanx armed with “maoist brooms” to sweep all of the clinging toxic failure into the hole of history.Then to rise untainted.

    Maybe the unions will provide the sweepers.

  14. Do we need a Labour Party?
    Look to the future, and ask ‘Do we need a Unionist party – in an Independent Scotland?

    I will never vote for a Unionist.
    I will only support those who want Independence.

  15. Responding to Malcolm in the second posting, I too would go for an SNP/Green ticket, but my only reservation would be that we need an independence majority in the event of needing to go for a second referendum. So my vote for the Greens would be conditional on their explicit support for Indyref 2.

  16. Gavin C Barrie

    Muttley79 – are you really bracketing Nicola Sturgeon with the manipulative political photo-op behaviour of the likes of Blair? Or the deceitful words and behaviour of Murphy? Have you followed FMQ’s where Nicola started off proposing a consensual approach to Scottish politics, and within a few weeks realised that the opposition had declined the offer, and what else but Alex Salmond style responses to the numpties was necessary?

    The SNP are not a one-person show, there are many smart SNP MSPs and now MPs from career backgrounds, as Derek has referenced above, and they will bring their collective ability and experience to bear. Nicola Sturgeon’s brief is to harness that talent for the defined objective – the benefit of Scotland.

    My own personal experience and motivation are the words of the breast surgeon, Dr Philippa Whiteford –
    ” As a surgeon I can treat one patient in theatre, but the problems I faced as a surgeon starts at childhood, diet, poverty, living conditions. I hope to be able to address these problems as an MP”.

    Apologies Philippa if my quote isn’t verbatim, hoping for your every success.

    • @Gavin C Barrie,

      Muttley79 – are you really bracketing Nicola Sturgeon with the manipulative political photo-op behaviour of the likes of Blair? Or the deceitful words and behaviour of Murphy? Have you followed FMQ’s where Nicola started off proposing a consensual approach to Scottish politics, and within a few weeks realised that the opposition had declined the offer, and what else but Alex Salmond style responses to the numpties was necessary?

      My answers to your questions are all no. I believe Sturgeon is a far, far more moral politician than Blair and Murphy. I believe she genuinely tries to be honest, and tries to answer the questions put to here. However, I do think Nicola Sturgeon is far more calculating and manipulative than those who idolise her make out, or would even be willing to acknowledge. I think she is ruthless, and if you got in her way you would soon know about it to your cost, a la Roseanna Cunningham. I am not sure how likeable she is, I believe she is not the saintly figure that her fans would have you believe.

      I think Bugger (the Panda) is right about not saying too much. I think I have said enough for the moment. Things are looking very good politically, and it was a great result last week, not least due to Nicola Sturgeon!

  17. If half the SNP voters vote Green in the regional ballot, the Greens will gain a virtual clean sweep of the list seats.

  18. Gavin C Barrie

    Mandelson reminds me of Kaa in Jungle Book ( I have young kids).

    Great stuff Derek, so apt. And well done in Troon, just wish I could recall your can’t joke!

  19. They are still in denial.

    Catherine MacLeoad and Lance Price on Radio Scotland this morning. Both denying that it was an issue of (Not) Labour having to be more right wing to win in England (what they referred to as “the centre ground”) and more left wing to win in Scotland.

    Also both denying that (Not) Labour’s problems in Scotland (or, indeed, at Westminster) are anything to do with leadership.

    Hey ho.

    • I heard that too – could hardly believe it. It’s a bit like scientists who have invested their lives in a particular paradigm and then when presented with contrary evidence are unable to change as it would mean admitting their life’s work was completely false.

  20. I agree. Murphy had nothing to say and said it badly. Labour treated the electorate like they were stupid and the former Labour MPs interviewed said as much.

    The Tories are in denial but are prepared to use hate..

  21. I see there are already a few notable folk comparing the Nicola phenomenon with the likes of Billy Graham in the mid to late 50’s and Ally McLeod in 1979.
    The claim is that then as now a sizable proportion of the population took collective leave of their senses for a very short time.
    While that position doesn’t stand up to even basic scrutiny there is a nugget of truth in it – the fact that Nicola’s popularity could in a short space of time reach ‘Messiah’ proportions.
    Will she be capable of resisting taking advantage of this?

  22. Just sit back and enjoy the moment. We have many skilful members now to carry the SNP to our final victory. Independence!

  23. Regarding Labour, certainly in Scotland, but maybe in the UK too … There are strong parallels to the natural world. Evolution by natural selection is driven by adaptation to changing environments. Those that can’t adapt, die out. Since Labour refuses, and I think is also unable, to adapt then it faces certain extinction. No species or political party gets a free pass exception from the laws of nature!

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      Darwinism teaches us that species don’t just die suddenly unless their is a cataclysmic extraordinary even. They just shrink in numbers to be genetically unsustainably.

      Perfect storm happening now to Labour. Can’t be long but, it will happen.

  24. I don’t see any reference to what, for me, is the greatest achievement that SNP has made. They are bringing competence to our government.

    No vast changes based on ideology either left or right, just careful considered incremental changes with a constant eye on value for money.

    The MSM don’t like it because it doesn’t provide screaming headlines to sell newspapers. Those of us who follow such things are pretty pleased with what they have achieved so far.

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