Because we took a short break over the weekend, we sadly missed Labour’s solemn commemorations of the 1979 confidence vote, and as a result we don’t know if anyone actually did don a black armband or lay a wreath to remember the miners that Labour didn’t support when they went on strike a few years later.
But an alert reader did find this for us.
It’s an extract from BBC reporter John Sergeant’s book “Maggie: Margaret Thatcher – Her Fatal Legacy” and you can read more of it below.
We’re going to compile all of these onto a single page soon, because as you can see, Scottish Labour just can’t seem to stop telling this lie.
Today’s expert saying “Does it, aye?” (and the latest in a long and distinguished line) is Peter Riddell from the Institute For Government, speaking on Radio 4’s “World At One” this afternoon (from 35m).
Listeners to today’s “Good Morning Scotland” were treated (from 2h 7m at that link) to a consummate masterclass in the art of evasion from Labour’s Scottish branch-office manager Jim Murphy. The bulk of a 13-minute segment was devoted to Murphy’s claim that a Labour vote in this May’s general election would bring about an end to foodbanks in Scotland, although the pledge steadily degraded as interviewer Gary Robertson pressed fruitlessly for detail.
(Murphy refused to say if or when any money generated by a Labour UK government would be given to the Scottish Government, wouldn’t be drawn on when the need for foodbanks would be eradicated, shot down a straw man on benefit sanctions and eventually conceded that in fact there would always be foodbanks, by way of a brief diversion to “I do a lot of work for charity but I don’t like to talk about it”.)
Towards the end, though, Robertson asked Murphy the question Scottish Labour really don’t want to answer, and this time he almost landed a knockout blow.
Hi, I’m Lauren. Some of you might know me – during the referendum I wrote a letter to the Wee Ginger Dug about my journey from No to Yes. I’m a true convert, and once I crossed over I got busy – I leafleted and canvassed and worked my socks off as most activists do. I never joined the SNP because on the doorsteps I liked being able to say “it’s not all about the SNP, I’m not a member”.
But after the referendum I did join. I joined because I knew that I could still be actively involved in campaigning for independence. Within a few months I was chosen to be Branch Organiser in my hometown of Bathgate. Every time a new leaflet came out I counted 10,000 leaflets into their individual runs and delivered them to volunteers and I delivered the ones that that no one else wanted to do after I’d done my own.
I organised training days and visited new members, encouraging them to get involved. Wednesday nights and Friday afternoons were spent on canvassing sessions. For the by-election in nearby Armadale I’d get up on a Saturday morning, leave the kids with my partner and chap doors. On other Saturdays I manned street stalls.
Monday and Tuesday were spent building the constituency website where each of the branches could have space to communicate outside the confines of internal emails but in private. I went to constituency meetings and was also made Political Education Officer. I was actively campaigning full-time while having a job, four young children and a house to run.
I didn’t mind that I had very little time to see my friends, I didn’t mind that I had to give up our family time at the weekends, I didn’t mind that my petrol budget doubled, I didn’t mind that I missed my wee girl singing solo at a school opening ceremony because I was out canvassing. It was all for the cause, for a better Scotland
Yesterday I resigned from the SNP because the party told me I was second-class.
From an editorial leader in this week’s London Evening Standard:
“The man likely to lead the SNP in Westminster, former party leader Alex Salmond, has made it clear that he is contemplating keeping a minority Labour government in power on a case by case basis. ‘If you hold the balance, then you hold the power,’ he said yesterday.
Seems to sum it up pretty well.
As readers will know, when professional broadcast journalists can’t or won’t do their jobs properly, we’re not above jumping in ourselves.
So when someone tweeted to tell us that Jim Murphy had just started a phone-in on London station LBC, it seemed an ideal opportunity to quickly ring up and try directly asking him the question that Scottish Labour really, really don’t want to answer.
Here’s what happened.
The population of the UK, according to the 2011 census, is 63,128,000. Shapps just told us he only cares about 11,200 of them (or 0.018%), because apparently those are all the votes the Tories need to turn round to secure an absolute majority in May’s general election. We very much doubt that any of the 23 target constituences he mentions, across which the required 11,200 votes are spread, are in Scotland.
And that, readers, is what the Tories (and, for that matter, Labour) really think of “the democratic will of the British people”. You may want to keep it in mind when you vote.
We’ve just had a fascinating email from Scottish Labour forwarded to us, from a concerned reader who’d written to them to ask if Labour would really refuse to form a government if they weren’t the largest party. The answer might not be the one anyone who’s seen the party’s election literature (below) would be expecting.
Because almost nobody in Westminster, whether they’re politicians or the media, ever pays any attention to anything outside SW1A, Alex Salmond’s comment in London yesterday that the SNP would vote against any Tory government in the event of a hung Parliament – which to any Scottish person was news as surprising as a weather forecast for rain – has been greeted with seemingly-genuine shock and horror.
Reporter after reporter has treated the non-revelations (which have been official SNP policy for as long as we can remember, and were stated explicitly by Nicola Sturgeon in November) as a stunning bolt from the blue, and Tory politicians and the right-wing media alike have burst into frothing, spluttering rage, based on the fact that apparently none of them grasps how either the UK electoral system or basic arithmetic work.