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17th August 2015

Is it just me?

Gordon Brown

Unless you live in a cave, have been out the country on holiday (well done you!)  or are particularly strong willed when the term “Labour” is mentioned on the news, it’s kind of hard to not be aware of the current turmoil going on in the Labour Party. For us in Scotland it seems to be nothing more than a cascade of the issues Labour became embroiled in when they sided with the Better Together and shared a platform with the then UK Government, led by the Tories and abetted by the LibDem’s ( remember them?).

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, they inserted new batteries and wheeled him out this weekend to talk at labour in a shouty voice.
By Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org), swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In essence what’s going on in Labour today is a direct result of the referendum fall out.  When “bitter together” began to panic that Yes might really pull this off with a week to go, they turned to Gordon Brown,  from whom spilled the now infamous “Vow”. The promise of “near federalism”. The impact of the speech is I suppose kind of hard to gauge scientifically, but for waverers, sitting on the fence but starting to lean to Yes, the promise of essentially “Devo to the Max”, without needing to tear up your old passport, must have been convincing enough for them to give the Union one more go.

The shenanigans that commenced on the morning of the 19th September with the first mention that any changes to Scottish devolution would be tied inextricably to EVEL ( English Votes for English Laws) will have sat like a weight in the pit of many a swayed No voter’s stomach that day I am sure. And the dawning in the cold light of our reaffirmed Union of who IS Gordon Brown anyway? What power DOES he wield, what say does he have in matters pertaining to the future of Scotland…..nada, zilch, nuffink, nowt!, NANE! It can’t have sat well with many and I am sure we all are now aware of many who say they voted No but now wished they hadn’t. Within weeks Scottish Labour’s Branch Office leader, Johann Lamont was gone in an acrimonious split with the national party, to be replaced with Jim Murphy. Brown however, having returned to the shadows from which he emerged was hailed as the man who saved the Union.

Kezia Dugdale

Kezia Dugdale, new leader of Scottish Labour branch office in Scotland

The event’s from then need little recounting ( but we will because its good!) , SNP swept Labour/Tory and LibDem out of all but one seat each in the Scottish seats at Westminster. Creepy Jim has been and gone, though he desperately tried to stay, and (not so Red) Ed fell on his sword before an inscribed wall fell on him like some slab over a tomb. What happened following Gordon Browns Speech pre Independence hasn’t at all been good for Labour, North or South of the border.

The branch office voted wee Kez into the top job this weekend ( lets not forget Dugdale is a list MSP, not a constituency MSP) , having already stated the front running national candidate  Jeremy Corbyn would leave them “carping on the sidelines”, should he become leader of the national party, but denying there should be any split between Labour North and South of the border.

So with the Labour leadership campaign today being ratcheted up a notch with the ballot papers being in the post, is it just me who finds it odd that once again over the weekend they stuck in fresh duracells™ , and wheel out Gordon Brown, the man who saved the Union, but lost Scotland, to talk to the Labour Party in a shouty voice on selecting their new leader?

This is a comment/opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Stirling SNP Branch or the SNP National Party