Sunday, 19 October 2014

New Labour pressure group launches with pledge to listen to voters

JOHANN Lamont’s woes as Scottish Labour leader deepened yesterday with the launch of a new internal pressure group that wants the party to be far more radical than she does.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The problem with all this talk about listening to voters is that we’ve heard it all before. We heard it after the 2007 Holyrood elections, and again in the wake of the SNP’s massive win in 2011. But has anybody actually seen any evidence of this listening? Is there the slightest indication that British Labour in Scotland is even capable of responding to the voice of its own members and supporters, never mind the wider electorate. I don’t think so.

If British Labour in Scotland had been listening to the people it would never have entered into that unholy alliance with the Tories. If it had been at all interested in listening it would have consulted party members in Scotland before opting to oppose independence. Instead, we now have Maggie Curran doing a tour of {former) British Labour strongholds in Scotland telling Labour Yes voters that they were wrong and that they should re-affirm an unthinking allegiance to the party.

The reality is that British Labour in Scotland long since lost any capacity it might once have had for listening to the concerns and aspirations of Scotland’s people. The party elite are so absolutely convinced of their entitlement to power; so utterly persuaded that the interests of the party are synonymous with the interests of the nation that they are quite literally deaf to anything that challenges that world-view.

Lamont, Curran, Murphy and the rest demand a trust that they have abysmally failed to earn. And when that trust is not forthcoming, they insist that it is the voters who have got it wrong.

When British Labour politicians in Scotland talk about listening, what they are actually referring to is an exercise in trying to find a form of words sufficient to persuade people that they are sincere in their intention to reform whilst they get on with the business of preserving the existing structures of power and privilege within which they are embedded.

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