Great British Energy
‘Great British Energy’ is a great slogan and a great idea. Labour have had a good conference, though how they could do any other with the backdrop of the Tories trashing the economy seems difficult to imagine. Labour’s 17-point lead is amazing, but again, how could it be otherwise?
But the idea that this converts across to a gain or a gamechanger in Scotland is hugely wishful thinking.
Starmer’s ‘big rabbit’ that he pulled out at conference that – wait for it – we should have a national energy company – is such a blindingly obvious one that while it deserves plaudits it’s so ****** obvious and about thirty years late. The fact that Labour are saying they’d do something in the future that they should have done in the past and that the SNP said they’d do – then didn’t – isn’t so much a Gold Star for Sir Keir as a black mark for the entire political class.
The sense of euphoria that the media are reporting from the Labour conference could also be delusion.
Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray tells Labour conference there will be “no deals with the SNP. None. No, nay, never. The only deal we want to make is directly with the Scottish people.”
They have one MP. One.
The idea that Labour’s British nationalism is going to (re) connect them with “the Scottish people” is a (dark) fantasy.
The fact that Starmer has spent the last two years denouncing any public ownership at all and studiously abandoning the platform he stood for leadership on should be noted.
But the over-excitement of the suddenly uncritical Labour left – and the glee of the media at the prospect of a nice soft alternative to the Tory carnage means that all critical faculties are flung out the window qua Clinton qua Obama qua Blair.
But if poor Liz Truss is discovering that ‘not being Boris Johnson’ has less traction than Starmer’s ‘not being Jeremy Corbyn’ the enthusiasm and the narrative-building that Labour’s recent success means a breakthrough in Scotland is fanciful.
First what we saw of Gordon Brown’s (downloading soon!) constitutional review was more milquetoast and nowhere to be seen; second Scottish Labour don’t have a Ruth Davidson (or even a Kesia Dugdale) to articulate their non-message, they just have Ian Murray mouthing ‘Just Say No’ from his Red Morningside Heartlands like a latter-day Nancy Reagan. Third, and strangely missed in all of this, the economic case for the Union is now irreparably broken. Even die-hards like Kenny Farquharson admit it in The Times:
“I cannot help but feel that if the Union is doomed, history books will count this week as one of the milestone moments on the road to Britain’s break-up. A reliable argument against independence is reliable no more … the hard truth is this: Liz Truss and her chancellor have not only trashed Britain’s currency, they have also trashed one of the best guarantors of Britain’s continued future as a union of nations.”
This is historic stuff and time to put the boot in.
Labour are capitalising from the Tory breakdown, but why aren’t the SNP?
Because to do so we’d need an energised campaign for independence and a cancellation of the ridiculous Sterlingisation plan. The arrival of either (however late) could hasten the demise of the Union that even its most fervent supporters recognise is imminent.