Nurse! Nurse!

I’ve got Corbynitis from the bug that’s been sweeping the country and I’m getting inoculated with a Sturgeon serum. It doesn’t eradicate it but it confuses the genes so they don’t know which parts of the immune system to attack.

I find it gratifying that an old campaigner from the 80’s can still be relevant today – something I like to think he and I share! And how old Jeremy in his Dave Spart jackets is tearing up the self-serving middle class agenda of the Labour careerists who are suddenly reminded of why they were supposed to have joined up in the first place – left-wing politics like diverting funds to the poor, ending the arms race and international solidarity. You imagine them swiping through their ipads looking up Disarmament…

But the ageing Leftie has even moved that monolithic Labour establishment loudhailer the Daily Record to support him which, in its own way, is a genuine triumph. It is another sign of the re-alignment of political culture in which the configuration of the planets is changing. Where once there was certainty, now there is flux and every commitment is a gamble with unknown consequences. If Labour members do elect Corbyn, what then? And will the shockwaves hit the SNP’s previously predictable orbit?

Well, they’re bound to, aren’t they? Like a comet shooting over the night sky (a metaphor Jeremy would surely never have expected) Corbynmania has everyone looking up and gasping. What a sign of hope for those beleaguered Labour folk crying out for a real Left revival and who have stayed loyal as friends defected to the SNP. Even just having a new language to use about ending Trident, truly opposing the Tories and standing up for the unemployed would be a relief. Embarrassment at what their party has become would be over. They could look Nats in the eye again.

And among the 70,000 who signed up after the referendum there must be a measurable proportion who would contrive a tipping point in SNP policy to justify a return to a real people’s party, especially if a believable plan for Holyrood powers was a Labour priority. The suspicion is many of them aren’t Scotland-first Nationalists anyway and have simply despaired, as I have, of any meaningful reform in constitutional or social affairs under Westminster.

Contrary to the story being told in hushed tones of horror down south, I think Jeremy can detoxify the Labour brand here and return some pride to the stalled movement. How much more credibility did he earn just by suffering a Tony Blair attack?

That’s a long way from damaging the SNP of course. I still believe the only way that can happen in the short to medium term is through self-harm. If discipline falters or some senior figures go rogue – unlikely even in a dogfight for seats – fissures could be exposed and public faith lost. Remember just how quickly both the SNP success and now Corbyn have changed events.

But Corbyn does offer for the first time a credible alternative voice to Sturgeon’s which could recalibrate the level of adoration the FM receives, much to the relief of me and others. It could also produce what the current feeble Labour crop daren’t and that’s a united anti-Tory front at Westminster but only if Jeremy can command the PLP. And this seems unlikely to me given the nature of the beast. Labour long ago gave up oppositionist politics in favour of ameliorating Tory excesses and having scoffed at Islington Trots for decades, they are unlikely to accept him as rightful leader now. Jeremy’s main opponents will be his own party.

Any influence he has over Scottish opinion of course must surmount another obstacle – a Scottish leadership of doubtful talent and questionable allegiance to his radical ethos. I still have no idea what Kezia stands for – ‘except not the past’. I can guess however, since her influences include the NUS and George Foulkes. I do want to give her time to work her way into the job rather than write her off peremptorily but I see no sign that she will be capable of assuming the role of cipher to Corbyn. She will not have the reputation or respect needed to interpret him for a Scottish audience. There will be little patience for speeches declaring: I know what Jeremy said but what he really meant for Scotland is this…

So there may be some fall-out for the SNP from the Corbyn bug but the real victims are more likely among his own party – disaffected MPs and an out-of-kilter Scottish leadership.

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27 thoughts on “Nurse! Nurse!

  1. If Corbyn wins we can expect many Labour MPs to “go rogue”. If Corbyn loses we can expect many Labour supporters to “go rogue”. Either way, the Labour party will split.

  2. And we have Kezia first of all dissing Corbyn by basically saying how could she vote for someone who had no chance of becoming Prime Minister (as if that was all that mattered) and now saying she has supported Corbyn all along (now that she has seen which way the wind is blowing).

    As for the Daily Record – if they support Corbyn then presumably they now support no renewal of Trident and nuclear disarmament, renationalisation of public utilities, quantitative easing to fund public projects, etc.

    If not how can they say they support Corbyn? In reality they too have sensed which way the wind is blowing and want to come out on top.

    But who is buying it? Indeed who does actually buy the Daily Record these days?

    It all looks, sounds and feels like desperate hollow opportunism from both Kezia and the DR who frankly have nowhere left (pun intended) to go.

  3. Stick to the astrology, Derek: biology doesn’t appear to be your strong point.

  4. Dave McEwan Hill

    Gordon Wilson seems more determined to damage the SNP than anybody else does.
    The deification of Nicola Sturgeon is dangerous. Actually makes the inevitable demonisation of her much easier as disappointment is easier to manufacture

    • Gordon Wlison has always been like that. Just like Jim Sillars. Nicola sturgeon is already demonised; doesn’t seem to do much harm.

    • I am inclined to wince when Gordon Wilson enters the fray these days, but what he is saying about the need to federalise Police Scotland in order to make it regionally accountable is very sensible. Wilson’s proposals offer a way of repairing damage and restoring confidence. Scottish Ministers would do well to listen.

      • You might ask the people of Rotherham about regionalized forces. Ditto the folks from Hillsboro, or maybe you could ask the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes.

        As for politicizing the police, you might note that the turnout for the last Police Commissioner by-election was a stunning 10.3%. I guess folks are really impressed with the system. It is so wonderful.

      • Dave McEwan Hill

        The Scottish Police Force has retained a regional command structure as it is in four different operational areas. It is our enemies who continue to misrepresent this position

  5. Corbyns problem is that the careerist room meat that is new labour is not going to go quietly and I expect them to do something truly idiotic and split the party. As for detoxifying the party north of the border…the main stumbling block to that is Scottish labour itself. They took a sledgehammer to their credibility in Scotland. It is doubtful that in the short term Corbyn could no more than simply hold onto what’s left. The toxic mix of the “Murphy/McTernan & McDougall” inspired frothing stupidity to the SNP plus the UK parties abject cowardice in the face of Tory austerity, is going to harder to deal with. The future depends very much on how Corbyn-mania plays down south and if he can carry the party with him. What we can be sure of is that Scottish labour will be of no assistance to him whatsoever, as it is now so dysfunctional it’s nothing more than a parody of a party.

  6. Mr Corbyn may well be an 80s Islington socialist, but he’s still Westminster politics first, pure and simple. He sees no reason to do anything other than ‘tweak’ the Barnett Formula, has ruled out entirely the idea of Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland and needless to say has ruled out any further need for a second referendum. THAT is where Mr Corbyn stands on the constitutional issues. THAT is how much consideration was spared the Scottish electorate in his recent visit. All this in a single interview.

    So just to be clear to devolutionists hoping for that near mythical federal solution, no devo max, no home rule, just a tweak here and there.

    I’m sure as progressives go, Mr Corbyn can and indeed would be approachable by Scotland’s representation at Westminster where common ground can be found in terms of anti austerity and Trident, but Scottish self determination, home rule? That is where Mr Corbyn and Scotland’s representation part company. He’s not interested in what the Scottish people have to say on these issues and to be fair why should he? Frankly he’s going to have enough on his plate in the months to come should he win the leadership battle. Somehow I doubt the problems of nation partners will be top of his to list.

    • But as we’re unfortunately still part of the union, and were more than delighted to return 56 SNP MPs I think we can at least assume the Corbyn’s leadership would address the austerity issue, which is not just Scotland’s problem. If nothing else, Corbyn could be one response to Mhairi Black’s question about support from the labour part as a proper party of opposition, from her extraordinary maiden speech. Puzzling how quickly some people are so eager to write him off as a threat. Don’t forget that the london media were barely aware that there was a referendum taking place until it almost seemed that we could win it. At least give the guy the benefit of the doubt…..he may yet play catch up with Scottish politics.

      • “he may yet play catch up with Scottish politics”

        Possibly, but I doubt it.

        As I said above though, anti austerity and Trident are areas where our representation could work with Mr Corbyn in Westminster. I think he is very approachable on these areas. On the constitution though? I don’t think he’ll change his opinion any time soon and it was his opinion.

  7. Whether Mr Corbyn does well or not is neither here nor there, he will only be allowed to get as far as the party lets him then supporters of that party will find themselves once again choosing between another couple of indistinguishable nobodys like Cooper or Burnham or more likely once the dust has settled, in will sweep brother David Miliband on his white horse to save the day, everybody sighs with relief because the real leader’s back and it’s Tory Lite time again

    SNP what’s in a name? Well it seems to some hard of understanding folk, a lot, we hear nonsense about after Independence the SNP wont be needed and we’ll just have something else, and many names are bandied about, all with Socialisty Laboury sounding names as if that will make it more acceptable to the masses

    Anybody can come up with an idea, that’s not difficult, anybody can oppose an idea, that’s also not difficult, the Labour party used to do that, Liberal Democrats oppose everything until they agree with everything they oppose if there’s something in it for them, The Greens have turned into an opportunistic protest gathering, as for all the others they are very shouty and then fall out with each other split into other factions and in the end pin themselves to the SNP WHY?

    Competence Efficiency Discipline Solidarity of Purpose and for the big finish Ethics

    But, what’s in a name eh

  8. Most of the defectors from Labour to SNP in Scotland. Were yes supporters! That’s why they couldn’t stay in the Labour party. You cannot assume that a unionist Labour party would just get these people back because they have a cuddly leader.

    The truth is left wing Labour is unelectable in England ,but electable in Scotland. In order to a achieve a progressive left , Scotland needs to leave the UK. Corbyn/ Scotland and the UK are incompatible.

    As for many not being Scotland first Yessers. I disagree. Most folk were changed by the referendum and realised that their loyalties had to be with Scotland first. A very small amount will go back to Labour. But why would they vote for them at Holyrood with Kezia in charge.

    Labour are not coming back in Scotland they are shrinking and then they will eventually fragment.

  9. The Daily Record is trumpeting undying allegiance to Corbyn because their sales have fallen through the floor and he is a useful peg on which to hang an attempted revival. As you say, Derek, does their support not then signify an alignment with Corbyn’s policies on Trident, welfare and the unemployed? If not then all they’re doing is hanging on to his coat tails. We shall see.

    As for a revival of Labour in Scotland, it will only work if Corbyn manages to turn the Labour round and gets his party backing him all the way. That ain’t gonna happen with the Blairites crouching over him like vultures.

  10. Wouldn’t trust anyone in the Labour Party. He says he is a socialist, not a unionist and it is up to the Scottish people to decide on Independence. How many times have we heard that from the Brit left, who rant against independence in the next breath? As for Dugtail and her Murphy cabinet? Who can take any Unionist seriously who says eh is “anti establishment”

  11. The idea that Corbyn is the saviour of the Labour Party, is pie in the sky politics at its worst. If anything, it only represents how low Labour have plummeted that a throwback to the 1980s is riding the crest of such a wave.

    The Labour Party died in 1983, what we have is a hollowed out shell out a party, a zombie, trying to connect with a Britain that no longer exists. Corbyn can’t bring back the Welsh coal fields, or the Clyde shipyards, or the powerful unions of the past.

    Instead, the buzzwords of anti-austerity, nationalization etc etc are bandied about.

    But why should we trust Labour to do any of these. They had 60+ years of ruling Scotland, and Glasgow still has some of the most deprived areas in the UK.

    When we had Wilson backed up by powerful unions, why didn’t Labour push for radical change to really better the UK. Why didn’t we have a minimum wage back then?

    The answer is obvious: the Labour party has been nothing but a millstone around the neck of progressive change – they have thwarted it at every turn, and they are no friend of Scotland.

    Corbyn will do the square root of bugger all for Scotland in regard to home rule or extra powers. And even if he wanted to, the SNP are on course for another landlislde in 2016, and I doubt he will even make it to 2020. The Blairites in his own party will be leaking to the right wing press like there’s no tomorrow.

  12. There is the old statement “a week is a long time in politics”. Corbyn is quite literally a dark horse, a black swan moment for the labour party.

    What does it hold for the UK and by implication us? What we do know is he is a socialist and one with principles as his voting record will attest. We know he is a unionist and that he feels the status quo for Scotland as it stands now is ginger peachy. We know that he has held no great office since becoming an MP. We know the Blairite wing loathes everything he stands for. We know there is already talk of sedition in the ranks.

    What we cannot guess is the shape of the front bench, This is important because blairites are career politicians can they resist the lure of power even if it is in opposition. More importantly for
    Corbyn can he use his patronage to stich the two wings of the party together again, or will he be creating his own “fifth column” within.

    Back to the careerist blairites, if Corbyn manages to poll well, if they get smell of success they will I think all suffer from a Damascine moment and become , born again socialist. The prospect of government and ministerial perks is a powerful carrot and one that will work.

    To summerise, I think he has a chance but he must poll well the papers must generally be kind but above all he has to hit the ground running and choose his Shadow Cabinet well. If he does not then time will erode the good will and as his figures drop his minimal support in the parliamentary labout party will fall away.

    The tea leaves are not telling me anything of note but at present, I feel that it is 50/50 that he survives a year. But the real leaves to read are the poeple and the polling data. On that he will rise and fall. I expect a 4-5 point rise initially, it is from that point he will be judged.

  13. Kezia reminded us recently that she remains a “multilateralist”, whatever that means in practice.

    That said, the SNP should be alert to the potential threat posed by Corbynitis in Scotland. Backsliding on land reform is one move which they would do well to reconsider.

  14. Daily Record is backing CORBYN only to revive Labour in Scotland. By that I mean, the EX Labour voters who now vote for the SNP, will once again back the donkeys up here, in the belief that all will be well if Labour get back into government with CORBYN. As if…..

  15. I’m interested to hear more of your thoughts, Derek, on how Labour will handle Corbyn’s election. Blairites have already suggested in the press that Corbyn be immediately deposed. Is a right-leaning group going to spin out of, or be forced out of, Labour, like the old Social Democrats? Is a Corbyn-led left-wing faction going to separate?

  16. Will people so quickly forget the daily Record was supporting ED Milliband and Gordon Brown just a short while ago. They were the saviours of Labour i Scotland and the Union.
    There is a proportion of voters in Scotland who seem to determined to piss away an advantage. They did it in the Referendum and we see what theTories are doing now.
    Corbyn isn’t a President, no matter who good he makes people feel they can’t vote for him except in his own constituency. There would need to be a huge change in Labour candidates in England then take the chance that they would win, and win a majority.
    In Sturgeon we have a proven leader, with the whole party behind her, and the majority of the country find her popular and electable; now, not maybe.
    There are the Tories in Westminster, now and inevitably again and again in the future. There are many in the Labour left in Scotland who behave as if we are Independent and they can just shut their minds to that reality.
    Or it is, this time it will be OK, this time promises will be kept, no matter how often they were discarded in the past.
    But why would people vote Labour, what for?
    Again I don’t underestimate the ability of many Scots to throw away an advantage. I can hear that willingness among some of the commentariat.
    To some one bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.

  17. Derek, as far as Scotland and Jeremy Corbyn is concerned, he’s just another Toom Tabard.

  18. “Kezia states that she is a multilateralist”. it is her Nuke weapons comfort blanket postion. If she truly believes multilateral disarmament can happen then she likely also believes an omelette can be changed back to a shelled egg.

    The Establishment enfeebling, and thus dependency strategy for Scotland is in process, – renewables industry, armed forces, Longannet closure due to biased distribution charges,UK gov’t in cahoots with Grimsby tabling cash to entice the Youngs fish processing plant from Peterhead to Grimsby, and etc.

    Note as Longannet closes, massive financial profits are promised to EDF to operate the proposed Hinckly Point nuclear station that will be joint financed by…China! Scotland could move from being, as present, a net exporter of power to importer. Another enfeebling/dependency strategy. Check out the power interconnections to Europe, existing and proposed.

    Whether SNP or Labour members, this enfeebling/dependency process is the message to take to the electorate.

    Wakey wakey time.

  19. Once I get my head around the idea of genes attacking the immune system I’ll read the rest.

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