Last night was the night for Labour hustings (which Bella sadly missed), and it’s a subject which we’ve been all but silent on. Many of you might be wondering who we’d be backing? Might it be Kandidate Ken? Tom4Scotland or Johann, er, Lamont?
The Burdz’ generous offer to enable the debate amongst Labor candidates offered some scope for sharing of vision and the new positive outlook as advocated by Douglas Alexander. Unfortunately some of this seems to have gone awry.
Siobhan McMahon MSP – swinging right behind Johann Lamont writes that she rejects the idea that Lamont was a key part of Labour’s disastrous electoral team saying: “If we were to debar all those who bear a measure of responsibility for Labour’s past from participating in Labour’s future, we would be hard pressed to find anybody at all.” Which isn’t maaybe quite the endorsement that Johann was after.
Mind you it’s not as bad as the backing Tom4Something gets. Before that though Ian Smart (lifelong Labour) takes a few swipes at the other candidates: “Ken Macintosh has been in the Scottish Parliament since 1999. To quote another great Socialist thinker, Michael Caine: “not many people know that”. On Johann he writes: “Insofar as one can work out what criticisms she has of the 2011 Campaign, they appear to be the wrong criticisms. Not that we were insufficiently negative but rather that we were not negative enough.”
Ouch. So, what is it that attracts Ian Smart to back Tom?.
“I know this is going to sound kind of strange, but the main reason I am supporting Tom is that he has ideas that I don’t agree with. It is only strange, however, if you realise that for him to have ideas I don’t agree with, he must – as a predicate – have ideas at all. In that he is head and shoulders above either of the other candidates.”
So if the campaign hasn’t exactly lit up the world with ideas and vision, perhaps the arrival of the heavy-squad might offer some quality to Labour’s lacklustre leadership debate? In today’s Scotsman Brian Wilson took up the gauntlet of the the Claim of Right, only to get VERY confused.
In an extraordinary passage, describing Scotland’s democratically elected government Wilson writes: “I certainly do not accept the qualification of Mr Salmond to set the question. That is the way dictators run referendums, not democracies.”
Brian Wilson has always detested the devolution process, he voted against it in 1979 and has been an arch-Unionist ever since, so it’s no surprise he writes: “As one who has no particular loyalty to what exists at present, I believe this challenge should be taken up. It is the anti-separatists who should reaffirm the Claim of Right by listening to the people, in advance of a referendum.”
With no indication which of the three candiidates has his support Wilson continues with a strange sort of utopian-nihilist jive: “In order to defeat separatism, its opponents must offer some more attractive option than the one to which the status quo has been reduced. There must be respect for what the people of Scotland want as well as dire warnings about what might befall them.”
This is a common theme amongst Labour leaders: “we must seek a new positive voice”. Yet whether it’s the dripping negativity of nuclear-lobbyist Brian Wilson, or the self-mocking harsh truths of Ian Smart, or the anodyne utterances of Candidate Ken and Johann, there’s no sign yet of a flicker of policy initiative, or positive notions the way forward for Scottish Labour, never mind Scotland.