I like Kezia Dugdale. I think she is trying her best in a bad situation – and getting less than no help. Anyone within Scottish Labour calling for her to go should look at the bench and see she is far and away the best option right now as leader.
On that no help thing – I should preface this whole thing, particularly for non-Scottish readers. Labour have been trying to come up with something distinct to say in the independence debate. The Tories under Ruth Davidson have effectively cornered the Unionist market, the SNP the Nationalist one. Kezia and her people have toiled away and come up with a federalist UK type idea. I mean, it isn’t that different from devo max plus ne ultra, or anything else that’s been proposed before, but it is something at least. No one has come up with anything better for Labour to say on the topic of independence.
And Jeremy Corbyn, in his speech to Scottish Labour, decided not to mention it. At all. In fact, his speech was pretty much the usual bag of Corbyn tricks and hadn’t been thought about for a Scottish audience in particular at all. With a few small alterations here and there, he could have given the speech in Wolverhampton.
This isn’t a minor thing either: Labour are in danger of losing Scotland forever, and by that I mean not even being the usual opposition party, having ceded this ground to the Tories. The shift, arguably, might already have happened. Perhaps that is why Corbyn could barely be arsed to think of something to say to Scotland this weekend. Yet I can’t help reminding myself about how Corbyn was supposed to be the guy who was going to turn it all around for Labour up there. Now he can’t even be bothered to give passing mention to Labour’s flagship policy in the area of most national importance in Scotland (in the shadow of an impending second independence referendum as well) in his speech to Scottish Labour conference.
If I were Kezia, I’d quit. Why bother throwing yourself at a decaying situation when your own party leader can’t be bothered in the slightest to help you?
To be fair, your comment that “Corbyn could barely be arsed to think of something to say” could have been made at any point in the last 40 years – it’s the sheer lack of intellectual heft or interest in ideas and policy beyond banal sound bites is what I find so breath-taking
Matt (Bristol) says
The other issue here is that if a ‘federalist UK type idea’ is Labour’s new defining position on the Scottish constitutional question, that may not immediately differentiate itself in the market place from the LibDem offer, which was in the same ballpark, roughly (on that question, anyway).