You hear it all the time, don’t you? Neighbours, friends and relatives stare at their shoes, embarrassed, wishing the subject would go away. They mutter something indistinct about Ibiza, then try to change the subject, avoiding eye contact the whole time.
The quandary was an unusual one. A parliamentary colleague was about to head off for his annual summer cruise with his wife. On previous occasions he had enjoyed informing other holiday makers about his job as an Honourable Member of the House of Commons.
Labour, we are told, is descending into vicious in-fighting. Leadership candidates are being physically held back by their staff to prevent them from throwing punches at each other. Witnesses claim Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper had a Dynasty-like catfight at a recent hustings, with Liz being dragged away, making a threatening motion with her finger across her throat. Meanwhile, Andy Burnham gave Jeremy Corbyn a dead leg for nicking his eyeliner.
A few months before the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, I came up with a ripping wheeze. I decided I would write an article for a prominent daily newspaper calling on Labour to set aside its differences with the SNP. In the event of our becoming the largest party after that May’s elections, I would suggest, Labour should form a coalition with the nationalists based on the broad policy agreement which I knew already existed between Scotland’s two most dominant parties.
It says all you need to know about the desperate plight of Scottish Labour that the modest proposals for reform presented yesterday by Jim Murphy were, even for a second, the subject of controversy.
That there isn’t already a unanimous view that the absurd, outdated and undemocratic electoral college used (too often) for electing its leader should be consigned to history is a pretty damning indictment of a once invincible party. Continue reading
To the interested observer, Scotland’s general election results had them reaching for the thesaurus. “Remarkable” didn’t cut it at all. “Unprecedented” is factually correct, yet somehow didn’t adequately express the magnitude of what happened. “Earth-shattering”? Well, now we’re getting close.
Representing Glasgow Cathcart, and then Glasgow South, at Westminster has been the greatest privilege of my political life.