Thursday, 30 October 2014

Jim Murphy is Scottish Labour's only hope - Spectator Blogs


At the risk of intruding into someone else’s calamity, if you can’t enjoy this what can you enjoy? By this I mean, of course, Scottish Labour’s meltdown. (Suggestions the party…

Peter A Bell's insight:

I was wondering if Alex Massie was genuinely so appallingly shallow as to suppose that Jim Murphy might be the saviour of British Labour in Scotland. Then I got to the update at the end of the article where Massie makes a direct comparison between Alex Salmond’s situation when he was both MP and party leader and the putative situation that Jim Murphy MP would be in were he to become leader of the entirely mythical “Scottish Labour Party”. At this point I realised that I had gravely underestimated Mr Massie’s shallowness.

Clearly, Alex Massie totally fails to understand that “Scottish” Labour’s problem is not, as he seems to suppose, finding somebody with a sufficiently mindless hatred of the SNP. Their problem is the tensions arising from the fact that they are trying to pretend to the people of Scotland that they are a genuine Scottish party while their bosses in London insist that they are no more than an offshoot of British Labour.

Few people represent this London dominance of “Scottish” Labour more than the odious Jim Murphy MP. Appointing him as leader would almost certainly add to “Scottish” Labour’s problems. There is not the vaguest possibility that it would resolve them.

Salmond did not have the problem of theses tensions. There was never any doubt in anybody’s mind (with the possible exception of Mr Massie) that the SNP was an entirely Scottish political party even if it’s leader was at Westminster.

Salmond also had a very capable deputy at Holyrood. Murphy’s deputy would be Anas Sarwar. Another MP almost as widely despised in Scotland as Murphy. And even if Sarwar was persuaded (read “bribed”) to quit as deputy to make way for an MSP, this would still be seen as a stitch-up.

Massie is just about as wrong as he can be. Murphy is not a plausible candidate for the leadership of “Scottish” Labour. What “Scottish” Labour needs is somebody who can remove those quotes from “Scottish”.

The rest of us should be asking ourselves why it appears to suit the British media - which, we must remember, is the voice of the British establishment - that Jim Murphy should be anointed as Lamont’s replacement. We hardly need to ask ourselves whether the interests of the British establishment are likely to be compatible with those of the people of Scotland.

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