And just like that, it is finally over. The man who once I ‘affectionately’ referred to as the-soon-to-be-former Labour leader is now the former Labour leader. Goodbye Richard Leonard and hello to whichever inept, useless toady will replace him.
Currently the two most likely replacement candidates are Anas Sarwar and Monica Lennon. Though I’m never one to rule out the aspirations of the interim Scottish Labour leader, the one, the only Jackie Baillie. A woman whose election strategy is ‘look at me I’m over here, and here, look at me, LOOK AT ME’.
Scottish Labour is pretty much electorally defunct at this point. Anyone who likes left-leaning or social democratic policies will go to the Greens or the SNP, bastards will go to the tories, and bastards who don’t want to admit to being bastards vote Lib Dem. Which leaves Labour with pretty much nothing. They’re desperately trying to hold a position as the party of left-leaning policies which opposes independence, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the only route to securing left-leaning policies is with independence.
The English Tory power grab will drastically weaken the devolved governments meaning that the only reasonable way to defend against the callous and cruel policies of the UK’s current and successive administrations is to ‘take back control’ to our own parliament.
Consistent polling suggests that at least 40% of Labour supporters back independence for Scotland, and much of the SNP’s membership consists of disgruntled Labour voters so it is a wonder that their national executive insists on taking such a hard-line position against a policy which seems right up their street.
Neither of the two main contenders offer anything of substance to Scottish Labour or to Scottish politics. Anas Sarwar is a multi-millionaire Tory apologist – real man of the people there… And I had to google Monica Lennon.
Sarwar describes himself as a Brownite, meaning he is part of a right-leaning, elite and very exclusive club of morons who think Gordon Brown has a redeeming quality. If he is to win he will likely try to drag the fractured remains of Scottish Labour over to the centre-right and give Starmer their undying loyalty – until he’s ousted or gives up that is.
Lennon is somewhat to the left of the party, having supported Leonard’s leadership bid back in 2018 and going on to serve in his shadow cabinet with the brief for health.
They have both ruled out working with the Scottish Tories in May’s election choosing instead to grow a spine of some sort. Though both have made clear their ongoing opposition to Scottish independence, Lennon has notably touted devo-max as a solution to the constitutional question. This step forward onto the gangplank would be welcome, if the ship hadn’t set sail 6 years ago. If Lennon really thinks that promising us a few more powers is enough then she clearly has no idea what 58% of Scots want.
Sarwar, the bookies favourite, has an even more ridiculous idea. Claiming that the next 5 years should be devoted exclusively to Covid recovery and we should put all these silly notions of nationhood out of our heads and get back in our box.
The Covid crisis offers an opportunity to ‘build back better’, to start over and rebuild our lives and societal structures in a way which is better suited to 21st century life. In a way which brings more power to our parliament, to our councils, and to our people. And in such a way that the pressing issues of the time can be acted upon by our government with all of the policy levers needed to combat them – not just the ones London thinks we’ll settle for. Instead Sarwar has watched the same ineffectual and buffoonish pantomime as the rest of us and decided: ‘yeah, I want more of that’.
Neither Lennon nor Sarwar offer real substantial change for the Labour party, certainly not in the area where it is needed. Instead, this is simply Labour purging itself of the few remaining Corbynites in a desperate attempt to appeal to Tory voters and to lick the boot of Keir ‘I support the government’ Starmer. Not that many would waste their vote on Scottish Labour these days anyway.
Image: Wikimedia Commons