The former Labour spinners turned commentators are emboldened, having glimpsed a false dawn in Tom Harris, stalking horse turned into contender. John McTernan has taken to flaunting his Blairism at every opportunity, on Twitter and elsewhere, and on Sunday, Lorraine Davidson made one of her periodic guest appearances in Oor Wullie land, flogging the horse that is not only dead, but embarrassingly smelly – the ‘What Labour Must Do …’ genre, the Mills & Boon of political commentary.
Lorraine’s belated and not entirely original topic, one that has been done to death for a week on the media, is titled Labour need to widen the search for a new Scottish leader, which translated, means that they must stop fishing in the pool of mediocrity that is Scottish Labour and cast their net into the stagnant, polluted, but larger pool that is Westminster.
But Lorraine has moved quite a bit from her McConnell spin doctor persona since she has been with The Times – one might say she has moved with the Times – and she has some good lines.
“Labour in Holyrood, with a few notable exceptions, appear to measure their every move against how it will be countered by the SNP, to the point they are allowing themselves to be defined by their opposition.”
How true – and they didn’t have a Stephen Noon to protect them from this folly during their woeful election campaign.
“They appear to think that if they credit Mr Salmond with extraordinary powers that will somehow absolve them of responsibility for their failure.”
Gaun yersel, Lorraine – this is good journalism! More! More!
But, alas, the auld Lorraine appears again, the objectivity cloak slips off, and we slide into familiar territory. She points up three areas where she thought the First Minister was vulnerable – delaying the implementation of the anti-sectarian legislation, the UK Supreme Court row and the comment on the English riots – and observes that Scottish Labour didn’t lay a glove on Oor Eck. Lorraine, however, doesn’t understand that on all of these, Alex Salmond perfectly judged the mood of Scots, and that Labour’s failure lay in their decision to pick a fight in these areas.
And Lorraine concludes with a message of desperation (“I’m desperate, Dan!” YOSSER, in The Boys from the Blackstuff trilogy) – search everywhere, anywhere: among MPs, peers and every other party member – in the dosshouses, the flophouse, the gutters of the Union – anywhere but among Scottish MSPs.
The Scotsman, BILL JAMIESON and NIALL FERGUSON
Today, Bill Jamieson, in his comment column, quotes Niall Ferguson, who has been around the Book Festival, on one of his mercifully brief visits to Scotland. Bill Jamieson lauds Ferguson extravagantly, but what it all comes down to is the old Union song in the last paragraph, asking, po-faced, the question “And how might a small, independent country such as Scotland fare in this global shift?”.
The Fergusonian answer is entirely predictable. A re-hash of the tired arc of prosperity accusation, and a reference to the Queen Mary that reveals the aching nostalgia Ferguson entertains for the supposed glory days of empire that he never witnessed. I did, in the latter stages – they were anything but glorious.
In summary, his message to Scots – I won’t call them his fellow Scots – is “Be feart, and get in a big boat quick”, i.e. the UK. My message to Niall Ferguson is that when you’re on the Titantic, get aff intae a wee boat, and fast. But keep good relations with other big and wee boats close by that are not about to slide beneath the waves that Britannia once ruled.
You can find my July 1st 2010 thoughts on Niall Ferguson and his ilk here 1707 and a' that
Niall Ferguson departed from Scotland a long time ago in a tirade of bitterness against the land of his birth. He came back recently under the auspice of Michael Gove to influence how history was taught in British schools, only to leave yet again in the huff at the failure of Britain to recognise his sterling Empire values.
But this time, he’ll have Bill Jamieson to wave him goodbye. One day soon he’ll return to find himself in an independent Scotland, with the UK a memory and the British Empire an ancient and discredited myth.
I cannae sing “For your no’ awa’ tae bide awa ” to you, Niall, because I fervently hope you are ..
Alex and the Trams Fiasco
The unionists are casting about frenziedly trying to find a way to implicate the SNP in the great disaster movie of the East – The Trams that ate a city’s budget. The latest ploy is demanding that the First Minister step in personally to rescue Labour, the Tories and the LibDems, aka the unionist parties, from their folly. The FM has already called for an inquiry to be set up. The danger now for the unionist block is what that enquiry will do when it gets the answer to the question – How did so many people make so much money, in salaries, bonuses, final settlements, consultancy fees etc. in the midst of such staggering failure and incompetence?.
“Simples!” says the Scottish meerkat, “Show me incompetence in public service projects (e.g. the M.O.D.) and I will show you its eternal companion – corruption, active or passive.” To be corrupt, of course, you don’t have to actually commit a criminal offence – just be rotten enough to accept personal rewards for failure and endangering the lives and/or social welfare of the people. It’s sometimes called contractual obligations. Parasites are not corrupt, they’re just acting in accordance with their natures – sucking the life blood from the host body.
But sadly, there are many who are part of this mess, perhaps a majority, who are not profiting from it, have not profited from it, whose reputations are now in ruins, upright and honourable people, wondering how they can make amends.
Simples! Resign, resign, resign! Doing the honourable thing is the honourable thing to do.