2007 - 2021

Black Labour


It’s six months before the general election and Labor are toast.

We’ve had all hues and variations now, from the old Red, to Tony’s shiny New, to short-lived Brown and Maurice Glasman’s Blue. Tonight meet Black Labour. Black as in farce. Black as in death.

Having spent weeks undermining, ridiculing and baiting their own man, the People’s Party were championing Alan Johnson with media commentators joining in the mobs attempt to destabilise the hapless and beleaguered Labour leader.

Unfortunately for everybody involved Johnson issued a simple statement saying he has never stood for the leadership of his party and “regardless of the circumstances never will”.

Ah. Problem.

You’d have thought that whoever was behind his aggrandisement as Leader-In-Waiting would have checked-in with him first. Apparently not.

Now, all they have achieved is to utterly undermine their own fragile and helpless leader who seems paralysed by indecision, lack of vision and a distinct lack of purpose meaning or drive. He will no doubt now continue on until the general election where he will fail spectacularly.

B2IwGf5IMAAi0AKI don’t subscribe to the ad hominem attacks on Miliband for his facial expressions, meekness or whatever other personality defects he’s supposed to have. I couldn’t care less. I do however have a problem with a Labour leader that, in the face of a reactionary backlash of the right and the far right has little or nothing to say, bar a few contrived palliative words. I do have a problem with a leader who, twelve days before the referendum threatened us with the extraordinary idea of Border Guards. 

If the attempts to deal with ‘the Miliband problem’ focused on replacing the person not the politics, the same is to be said north of the border at the branch office, where there’s been talk of ‘re-branding’ and popularising the party to solve their woes.

Irn-Bru for the masses is the plan. Self-reflection is out.

But you can’t re-brand a product that is faulty, and Labour remains profoundly ill at ease with itself as its membership has haemorrhaged from the 30,000 we are told were members when Gordon Brown took charge.

The party which made it possible through securing a No vote victory for an extra £25bn-£30bn in public spending cuts, is about to crown Jim Murphy their saviour.

Of course the media fan club are jubilant. But an aggressive, divisive, arrogant, unreconstructed Blairite, with a side-line in fanatical Zionism may not be the winning ticket.

Reinvent himself and he’ll look shallow and false. Stick to his guns and he’ll stick out like a sore thumb, allowing a newly revived SNP to claim the social justice left.

Perhaps it is irrelevant.

Ed Miliband has slumped to his lowest ever poll rating and the Conservatives have a three-point lead over Labour, according to a new Ipsos Mori poll tonight.

The Ipsos research for the Evening Standard put the Conservatives on 32%, Labour on 29%, the Liberal Democrats on 9% and Ukip on 14%. Asked about Miliband as leader, the poll found just 13% of the public think he is ready to be prime minister and his approval rating is now lower than that of Nick Clegg.

As Neil Davidson writes in the New Left Review (‘A Scottish Watershed‘):

“Meanwhile Scottish Labour has collapsed into fratricidal strife after the resignation of its leader Johann Lamont, who accused Miliband and his claque of being ‘dinosaurs’, out of touch with how the Scottish political landscape had changed, and of treating the party north of the border as a ‘branch office’. Lamont’s long list of grievances included being elbowed aside during Miliband’s Beria-style takeover of the Falkirk selection process in 2013,having her general secretary sacked by London, and being told she must not open her mouth about the Coalition’s deeply unpopular Bedroom Tax until Miliband had made up his mind about it—a notoriously lengthy process. The many resignations from Scottish Labour include Allan Grogan, a convenor of the Labour for Independence group, widely derided by the leadership, who described the party as being ‘in deep decline, and I fear it may be permanent’.

This is Black Labour, desperate, clueless and turning in on itself in a desperate search for the means to survive. It’s likely now to be broken on the rocks of it’s own opportunism. We may be seeing the Labour Party going the way of other great British institutions: Woolies, the Post Office, Rangers, the News of the World – sold out or sold-off or simply past their sell by date.


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  1. All the “ad hominen” attacks on Miliband will do is make their supporters more defensive and likely to vote Labour in the upcoming General Election.

    That’s the feeling Labour try to foster in Scotland.

    Except, of course, here they are in a position of power without responsibility, looking as ridiculous as Farage complaining about the media ignoring UKIP.

    1. tony567052457 says:

      You will always get die hards, but those who said “yes” to independence on the premiss of reforming labour are lost to them.

      In Scotland, they stand to loose a lot, and rightly so as they are no different to the Tories, something Sandra Osbourn when challenged (a labour MP) about will actually directly insult you and be abusive.

      Quite frank, if thats labour, good riddance.

  2. muttley79 says:

    Mike, little error in the spelling of Labor in the first paragraph. Going all American on us!

  3. As for SLAB, well, you can put a jobby in a lovely box wrapped with lovely paper with a lovely ribbon on top, but it’s still a jobby.

  4. David Agnew says:

    I think Gerry Hassan is going to have to re-write the “not so strange death of Scottish labour”.
    Its a self inflicted wound. Blair placed himself to the right, but just to the left of the conservatives. Miliband is trying to do the same, problem is, the Conservatives are wise to this and just keep shifting rightwards. Partly their natural inclination but also to head off UKIP. Labour have done this because they think the left wing is secure as it has nowhere to go. In Scotland that’s already come undone as the SNP, SSP and the Greens are staying well to the left of all the unionist parties. In England, people are either disengaging from politics altogether or are shifting to UKIP.

    In Scotland, the Scottish branch of UK labour are in a pickle. They are expected to hold the party line, but know its political suicide. They have allowed the party to become hollowed out of any real talent. The Dilbert principle holds sway and they are fantastically swivel eyed and dishonest. They’ve dined out too long on anti-tory sentiment that they have become fat and lazy on it. Their belligerent imbecility is matched only by their quite staggering sense of entitlement to a Scottish vote. They keep talking about listening, but they have had 13 bloody years and still they have that defective tin ear. They promise the closest thing to federalism in the UK, then spend all their time saying that it is now a Tory trap. The height of stupidity came with Lamont’s resignation, saying that her party wasn’t independent from Westminster, after campaigning for a vote that would ensure that it would remain that way.

    You have to go back to the 19th century in America, with Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall to see something as corrupt, useless, lacking vision or direction and completely useless as Scottish labour. UK labour have allowed themselves to become hopelessly trapped by their unthinking attempts to triangulate a right wing vote in England.

    I always expected that Labour would have the most to lose in Scotland if there was a no vote. I just never dreamed they would fumble it quite so quickly. They have already given up on Scotland in 2016, and its clear they are making their excuses for losing in 2015. I think with that defeat, and another tory government will spell the end for their precious Union along with it.

    If they want someone to blame, I suggest they look in a mirror – the culprit will be staring right back at them.

  5. Lochside says:

    Labour are finished in England..Ukip will see to that! However, in Scotland, we still have a solid rump of Labour hardline supporters plus a cohort of ‘softies ‘ who, with the right amount of BBC and msms wall to wall coverage could still stymie an SNP wipe out of SLAB.

    So many of these people are like pavlov’ s dogs..slavering at the drop of a ‘old labour ‘ clichés.More importantly,in addition, we have to contend with the a significant politically savvy right wing tory, loyalist and aged sector of solid ‘NO’ s who do not want a SNP led road to Indy.

    We should remember that this ‘silent majority’ came out with a vengeance when its existence was threatened.
    Just as we want a united front…they are just as capable in playing that game. Despite some people’s opinion in the YES camp, these people are not stupid….just self-centred and scared.

    1. maxi kerr says:

      Well said Lochside, real valid points which nearly everyone can get their head around. This clear and concise laying out of the facts is the way to go instead of the”look at my clever worded post” brigade’s normal contribution.

    2. Absolutely Lochside. And the elephant in the room is as you mention the M.S.M, led by their cheerleader, the B.B.C. Anybody in our movement who thinks the Labour Party in Scotland is finished are deluding themselves, and the coming six months are going to be one heck of a fight, especially trying to overcome some of the massive majorities enjoyed by sitting Labour M.Ps.

    3. Willie Hogg says:

      You quote “silent majority” however I would rather we remember that they are a minority and that this Silent Minority may be less than 20%. They use the MSM to make the majority, who want change, feel isolated and powerless, because they can’t outvote the majority.

    4. Glen Dochart says:

      Well said. SNP should not get too carried away with the polls & predictions of SLAB wipe-out. I don’t buy it, we will have to fight very hard to win every seat. I’m fighting hard already, delivered 1700 leaflets this week.

    5. Nigel says:

      We should remember that this ‘silent majority’ came out with a vengeance when its existence was threatened.
      Just as we want a united front…they are just as capable in playing that game. Despite some people’s opinion in the YES camp, these people are not stupid….just self-centred and scared.

      Spot on, Lochside! The fear is that, for evermore, whenever the more enlightened Scots believe we have our masters on the ropes, these same cretins will scuttle to the polling booths, then scuttle away back behind their chintzy curtains and remain silent once again, till they are once again called upon to save their beloved union!

      I do not know the answer to this conundrum, believing that they are long past redemption, and can only hope that our salvation will be the younger generation, whom we must “indoctrinate” towards a more anti union mindset.

    6. Nobby Power says:

      Absolutely agreed. I’m sitting here in Mr Brown’s constituency, wondering how to overcome a 25k majority. An awful lot of which comes from your Pavlovian Dogs, and many who are far from silent.
      The potential is there to do anything from denting SLab, to wiping them off the map; but to assume the numbers are there, behind the will, is dangerous complacency.

      1. dasoulsby says:

        If you live in Mr Browns constituency
        You need to start asking him and his thieving friends why he thought it was ok,
        As an elected representative of the people of this nation,
        To sell off over half of OUR ” THATS YOURS AND MY” Gold reserves, at a knock down price to bail out his friends in a corrupt private American Bank!!
        All brokered by Mr Blairs now employers, Goldman Sacks!!
        This action not only beggars believe but in my opinion is TREASON against the people of the UK

        For which he should be tried and held accountable for.

  6. AnnaMac says:

    It is tempting to think that Labour (head office and branch offices) are ‘doing it deliberately’ – ie they do NOT seriously want win the GE15.
    They have no credible policies, no clear idea of how to act if they did win power and life is so much easier when in opposition [providing you keep your seat and stay on the gravy train].

    1. Steven Kelly says:

      Sad, but hard to argue against your logic. Not sad about the decline of Labour in Scotland; SNP fulfill that role admirably. Just sad.

    2. tartanfever says:

      Good point Anna. Worth remembering just how easily Brown gave up in 2010 following the close result in the GE when all the coalition options were being discussed.

      The natural partners to form a government would have been the Lib Dems and Labour, but because of Brown’s awkwardness, ego and frankly, barmy behaviour, Nick Clegg said he could not work with him.

      Labour were happy to walk out of government then, relishing taking up their opposition benches where life is easy.

  7. Clootie says:

    We have a solid lump of socialists in Scotland who still vote Labour. They remain loyal to the founding principles of the Party.

    I remain hopeful that they will come to realise that the Labour Party no longer shares their values and join the rest of us who judge by deed and not Party Logo.

    Look at the voting record of your “Scottish Labour” MP. This records hard facts on War / Austerity Cuts etc.

    Murphy is the best example of a Red Tory in this regard. He remains a confirmed Blairite and has little interest in his fellow Scots….apart from their vote!

  8. Steven Kelly says:

    I can only see one way forward for Scotland. It’s not Labour. Democracy is not best served by single party politics but when there is only one party that gives a damn…

  9. macart763 says:

    I have a problem with a Labour party that manipulates people using unfounded fear and smear to achieve tribal party political gain in the middle of a constitutional debate, only to desert them when their vote is no longer required. I see no difference between them, or the other two ermine addicted parties. In fact they all appear to be one party with a colourful tie rack.

  10. Fay Kennedy. says:

    Hard to think it could get any blacker. The black tie brigade.

  11. Will McEwan says:

    I have believed for some time that we will never see another UK Labour Government. It’s a historical process. Labour’s major aims were achieved by the 1950s and they have since been absorbed into the establishment becoming an organisation that exists not to effect change but merely to try to achieve power. The threat to the Tories will come increasingly from the right

  12. Brian Fleming says:

    Mike, what’s with the “newly revived SNP”. The SNP were not comatose or otherwise in need of revival, so why “revived”? Reinvigorated or rejuvenated OK, But revived? Hardly.

  13. Gordon McAllan says:

    Big Bad Jim is going to stroll into town and sort out the branch office. He’s 100% committed to that (he must be – he told us so). Bad timing, Jim. “Events, Dear Boy”. Miliband Minor will soon be asked to vacate his office – the very billet that our aspirant branch manager must have dreamt of in the fastness of his Westminster party-caucus nights. No way back, Jim. Sorry.

  14. Clarinda says:

    David Agnew – above

    When it appears that the Labour Party only have ‘Dilberts’ – what choice do they have? I think I’m right in citing Mr Salmond when asked yesterday about the hapless E Miliband, he considered Iain Gray, in comparison, was “pretty competent” – enough said.

  15. When I look at that bar chart, it’s not black Labour that bothers me, it’s Red Thatcher… which is a fairly terrifying concept no matter which party you belong to!

  16. dasoulsby says:

    I have held onto the Idea that the Labour Party would wake up and become once again, the party of the people, who’s only collateral is there Labour! IE. the WORKING MAN & WOMAN.
    That they would somehow wake up to the betrayal of Blair, Mandelson, Brown and Co.
    After 3, no 4 generations now, of my families support since its inception in the early part of the last century,
    I can now say that I have lost all hope!
    The feeling of betrayal is palpable, I have 3 young adult children who I have always educated and informed of the NEED for the Labour Party and a working socialist voice.
    For the NEED for publicly owned utilities.
    A NEED for a welfare state.
    A NEED for the NHS.
    A NEED for compassion in politics.

    I now intend to turn all of that energy, faith and trust that the Labour party has had from my family over the years.
    To working to stop them.
    I joined the Scottish Socialist Party.

    1. IAB says:

      I supported the Labour Party for years but not since the death of John Smith. I’m still saddened at their betrayal of the working class and I will do everything I can to destroy them

  17. Fed up with the lies and propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    ”We may be seeing the Labour Party going the way of other great British institutions: Woolies, the Post Office.”

    Big difference, Woolworths and the Post Office are useful while the Red Tories aren’t.

  18. leginge says:

    15% – thats the percentage of Scots NO voters required to shift their view to vote yes in a future referendum. I say ‘Scots’ as I am of the view that it is unlikely that we can convince a significant percent of the 400,000 non-scots immigrants to vote against the UK union, although I may be being too cynical. But over the next few years the 15% shift is well within reach if the scottish parliament is increasingly a majority of Independence MSP’s – thats why the 2016 scottish elections are IMO more important than the WM elections. Also, the red tories will not be beaten until our movement has a mass circulation newspaper and a tv channel to counteract the state misinformation outlets that are the scottish newspapers and bbc.

    1. tartanfever says:

      With the result being 55/45, surely you mean persuading 5% (plus 1) of No voters to shift to Yes, not 15% ?

      1. Ferdia says:

        Leginge would have the right of it, except perhaps it’s closer to 10% of NO voters (5.5% of total voters) That’s just a 1 in 10 shift…I’d be interested to hear your experiences of any disillusioned NO voters given the events of the past few weeks with regard to Oil, the Vow, MoD contracts for shipbuilding etc….you could find the 1 in 10 has already happened.

    2. IAB says:

      100% agree that TV and print newspaper is essential – the social media battle is won with sites like this

  19. arthur thomson says:

    SLAB is far from finished but it is no longer the force it was if the opinion polls reflect any truth. I have to disagree with Clootie that any socialist now votes for them. There will be many in their ranks who claim to be socialists but their actions betray their words. It is the conservatism (with a small c) of SLAB that sustains it. It is also the fact that many years ago SLAB became the home of the working class Conservative (with a capital C). We must not lose hope that some of them will face up to their irresponsibility and change how they vote but nor must we set ourselves up for damaging disappointment in 2015. Any improvement in genuine Scottish representation at Westminster will keep the tide moving in the right direction. We also need to avoid disillusionment arising out of our increased awareness of just how twisted the unionist parties are and how gullible/self-centred some Scots are.

  20. Political Tourist says:

    Labour’s only hope is the unionist vote comes out to save them.
    If the unionist vote splits then Labour is finished even in places like East Renfrewshire.
    The SNP should be out to connect with the 1.6 million YES voters.
    Get them out and you’ve wiped out Labour.

  21. Craig P says:

    One way of countering the mainstream media is to teach propaganda techniques (and how to recognise them) in schools. That would be a long road though.

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