Iain, our present Labour MSP leader in Scotland has given his last speech in the position. In doing so he has underlined the reasons why the Labour Party in Scotland finds itself in a position that they could never have contemplated. Their support is disappearing quicker than “snaw oaf a dyke” and they have scraped the bottom of the barrel for political talent and come up wanting.
That their fall from grace should be so fast and so absolute is no surprise. For years they have treated Scotland and the Scottish people as theirs. They have used Scotland as a means of shoring up their Westminster presence. They have said they represent “the working man” and yet they have failed over and over again to address the real needs of Scotland.
They have failed to manage the change form heavy industry and the more traditional trades which had provided jobs for the Scottish people. The new jobs they chased were transient, low skill and even worse public sector. Labour also have to shoulder their share of the blame for squandering the oil “bonanza”. Shame on them.
Can we trust Labour? No matter what they say they are a Unionist party. Westminster draws the best Scottish Labour talent, it’s a bigger stage for them but they then become more anti-Scottish than any non-Scot. Just look at the treatment of RBofS and BofS and the Dunfermline Building Society. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling couldn’t get them sold off quick enough. No thought about the impact this might have on Scotland. You would really expect more from Scots with a pride in being Scottish.
This isn’t an anti-Labour whinge. It’s an anti-Labour as they have become whinge.
It looks like Labour are heading up a dead end. They might rally a bit but they are looking tired and the three leadership candidates? None of them look like good long-term propositions.
The reality of course is that this is actually bad thing. The Tories are nowhere and the next election will wipe the LibDems from the political map. Where is the opposition going to come from? Not the aggressive, negative and grey of Mr Gray. The confident, well informed and challenging opposition which will ask hard questions of the SNP and most importantly keep them honest.
History will judge failure to take full advantage of the present drive towards independence very harshly. This is the time for all MSPs to put Scotland first. Nothing else will do.