“I think that there was a context in this election where you had two parties, Labour and the SNP, fighting essentially against the Tory Government in London… We did not sufficiently set out a compelling and clear alternative to what Alex Salmond is proposing for the future of Scotland. I think what he is proposing is dangerous in terms of separatism.”
And still they don’t get it. The above is a quote from Ed Milliband as he gave his considered opinion on the outcome of the Scottish General Election. It has been unkindly pointed out that every seat visited by Ed Milliband in Scotland was lost by Labour to the SNP. His analysis may have been that as perceived by a visitor but within Scotland, Labour ran its campaign at first fighting against the Tory Government in London then against their straw man construct of separatism.
But hadn’t Labour told us in the 2010 UK election that only Labour at Westminster could defend us from the Tories? Well Scotland did vote for that defence and fat lot of good it has done us. On the other hand the SNP fought the Scottish election on what they would do by themselves in Scotland to improve the ordinary Scottish citizen’s lot whilst arguing for technical improvements to our economic relationship with the rest of the UK. Albeit with the precocious confidence to reserve the UN right of self determination as a legitimate basis to put to the people of Scotland in a referendum should they feel hampered by the British establishment in achieving their goals.
However Milliband can perhaps be understood better when we locate him at the centre of a metropolitan elite, the infamous Westminster bubble. But how can we excuse Ken MacIntosh MSP who is quoted in the Herald as saying “In most Holyrood debates the intellectual argument was nearly always won by Labour – but the public didn’t get the message”. This is tantamount to calling the electorate thick. The problem for the Labour Party was that the public got the message loud and clear. This was the party that once committed itself to secure for ordinary people the full fruits of their labour, its equitable distribution and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service. Now it is the party of PFI and lax banking legislation giving bonuses to bankers and the sack to ordinary workers. It is a party of warmongering whose ministers have been reduced to travelling salespersons for arms dealers. Where’s the intellectual argument for these?