Closer to home, there is a puzzlement of how this can be. That despite winning the referendum, Scottish Labour are set to be wiped out north of the border, virtually eliminating any chance of forming a majority government following 7 May.
You can almost hear them at John Smith House, mutter in bemusement. How has this happened? It wasn’t supposed to be this way! Even after the fallout of the referendum, after the huge influx of new members to pro independence parties, there was a feeling of wait and it will all return to normal.
I have to confess that I myself felt the SNP numbers would drop once the attention fell on Westminster issues, when smaller parties get squeezed out of the picture. Credit must go to the Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru for gaining public support for their inclusion, although this support is more likely to have been outrage due to the media’s obsession with UKIP, leaving them little choice but to include other political parties with greater representation.
The SNP has also played an attacking game, very different from their often too defensive position in the referendum, they have attacked the anti-austerity politics of the main Westminster parties and created a clear distinction with their stance on Trident, welfare and the economy, even dropping the dead weight of reducing corporation tax. You would have to wonder if they had been so forthright in the independence campaign then perhaps we would not still be part of the UK.
For Labour in Scotland, their confusion stems from their own ignorance. How can traditional Labour voters not vote Labour? Why are we potentially losing our jobs? Why do they no longer believe the Daily Record? But the most prominent question is, why aren’t they in love with Jim Murphy as much as we are?
Many within my former party are dismayed at the election of the arch Blairite Murphy, while others genuinely believe that his appointment would lead to the resurgence of Labour in Scotland. The truth of the matter is that Jim Murphy represents everything that is wrong with the party today and every reason why Labour voters are leaving the party in their droves. Look at his record before he took over as leader.
Since taking on the job as Leader, Jim has had the media giving him a glowing report card, he has been getting to the very heart of issues affecting the people of Scotland. Forget unemployment, fuel poverty and food banks, drinking at football grounds, that is the real issue.
Labour as a whole have been no better, introducing their big pink bus to meet with women in their ‘own environment’ to discuss ‘women’s issues.’ How incredibly patronising! The problem for Murphy and the Labour Party as a whole is that they don’t get why they are so far off message. They don’t understand why those whose ‘mither and faither always voted Labour so I’m voting fir them too…’ are now joining the SNP, SSP or Greens.
Regardless of the referendum result, the political landscape in Scotland has changed, the public are better informed, more confident in their understanding of the issues affecting us all. Thankfully we now also have groups like Women for Independence ensuring that women are no longer confined to ‘women’s issues’.
Until Murphy and Labour understand that the lay of the land has changed, then they are heading for the abyss. The problem is they are probably to arrogant to notice.
MURPHY’S PRE-LEADERSHIP RECORD
• Since 2001, Murphy has claimed over £1million in expenses
• Murphy voted to cap benefits in March 2014
• Murphy failed to show up to vote against the Bedroom Tax
• Murphy voted for tuition fees despite being NUS president
• Murphy went on 100 day tour of Scotland campaigning for a
‘No’ vote, which meant leaving his Eastwood constituency
without an MP for almost a third of a year. Yet he still claimed
over £200,000 in Westminster expenses
• Murphy is a major figure in Labour Friends of Israel, who
refuse to recognise of the state of Palestine
• Murphy strongly supported the illegal invasion of Iraq
• Murphy has never rebelled against the Westminster party line