‘Jack’s Back’

‘Jack’s Back’ the Times tells us, with strong accidental Shining vibes …

Hovering above Edinburgh with a giant shiny face, channeling both the Wizard of Oz and the Teletubbies Sun-Baby, Jack is accompanied by the words ‘New Labour New Scotland New Britain‘ floating meaninglessly in the clouds. He is seen drinking (something, possibly Kool-Aid) with Tony Blair and having a laugh with the Queen (RIP Ma’am).

Labour’s return in Scotland – and elsewhere – risks descending into the hyper-banal. If Jack’s imminent return has the juices flowing of every orphaned centrist typing for The Times, how good is their reading of the room? Alistair Grant, the Scotsman’s Political Editor positively purred at the prospect of the return of Douglas Alexander:

“The SNP’s record in Westminster is “a study in impotence and failure”, according to Douglas Alexander, the New Labour grandee who is seeking to make a dramatic return to frontline politics in Scotland”

This is Scottish politics with recent history airbrushed out. But what does it say about the scribes and editors of the Times and the Scotsman that they are so excited about the return of such characters? What solutions to our present crises do they imagine Douglas Alexander or Jack McConnell have?

Can anyone remember any substantial ideas either contributed to Scottish politics?

‘Jack’s Back’ – but why? To do what?

It’s no just that – in the immortal words of Logan Roy ‘these are not serious people’ – it’s that they have no political project. The reason ‘New Labour New Scotland New Britain’ are floating free, pale and indistinct is that none of them have any meaning, nor do any of the individuals have anything to say about them.

The Manel on the left of the image is such an Old Guard it’s not funny. The Times beaming confident pitch is for the people who will lead and inspire the nation (‘New Scotland New Britain’) are Robin Cook, Jack McConnell, Donald Dewar, Gordon Brown, George Robertson and Tony Blair.

It’s 2023.

‘Jack’s Back’ – but where’s he been and what’s he been doing?

If both the Holyrood and Westminster governments look like tired administrations, the alternative we are told by the faithful commentariat, is Douglas Alexander and Jack McConnell. These are yesterday’s politicians but they act as a comfort blanket for their friends in the media perpetually disoriented by the arrival of the Gnasty Gnats. Now, everything will return to the good ole days. They don’t need to have political ideas, inspiration or energy, they just need the warm unchallenging familiarity of Scottish Labour.

It raises so many questions like: what would this Void actually do in office? And, how would the Scottish media who salivate over their return – and many of whom are personal friends – treat them once they were back? I mean most of the ‘top columnists’ make their living out of bashing the damned nationalists. Would their relentless ‘Everything is Shit’ narrative need to be adjusted to circumstances, if as we’re told, their pals were running the country? How would London Labour and Scottish Labour interact? What would they actually do?

The return of Jack & Co is to awaken from a dream (or a nightmare). The hope is we wake up in 2007 and pretend that none of the last sixteen years happened at all.


Comments (16)

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  1. raddledoldtart says:

    “Jack’s Back”?!? Now that he chose to cross the strikers’ picket line at Stirling Uni, two days running, because he wanted to dress up in a stupid outfit, dish out scrolls, and try to recapture his glory days (such as they were) – oh, now the Times are interested?! Get tae ****

  2. SleepingDog says:

    It is difficult to see exactly what Jack McConnell and Tony Blair are drinking, and the positioning of their glasses in the region of Elizabeth Windsor’s kidneys is confusing, but I suspect the elixir they’re quaffing is the distilled tears of Iraqi mothers.

    Although, what the laughing lord is doing here, I haven’t the faintest:

  3. Shaun says:

    Usual RESET politics of the Union

  4. Mark Stephens says:

    Telling that they kept their heads down until the wheels began to fall off the SNP. Only emerged when the going was good – or better, and safe to stick their heads above the parapet.

  5. William Whyte says:

    McConnell bought his peerage by giving back to WM over £1B and then rigged the voting system to make sure the Union could never be totally wiped out in an election.

    Another Scots unionist bought and sold for the Queen,s gold.

  6. Stewart Bremner says:

    How odd. The Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale is back from his cushy number in the House of Lords? Are they touting him to be the next governor-general for the UK Gov in Scotland? I guess a Tory twit being followed by a Labour lord makes sense. One Jack for another.

  7. ronald young says:

    a rather bitter and pointless article

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Have you had a chance to look back at Douglas Alexander’s ministerial track record?

    2. I thought it was kind of fun

    3. John says:

      As a former longtime Labour voter who is a scunnered not only by Labour in Scotland but by Labour’s increasing timidity nationally this struck a chord.
      Scottish Labour’s’ refusal to:
      support a second referendum when voted for by Holyrood via PR electoral system.
      stand up for Scottish electorate and reject Brexit and how it was implemented in Scotland.
      stand up for Holyrood and support extending devolved powers
      stand up for Holyrood from interference from Westminster
      to face down UK Labour’s continued turning away from social fairness commitments eg bedroom tax.

  8. Graeme Purves says:

    Spot on!

  9. florian albert says:

    Not for the first time, Mike Small starts his political analysis by examining the press. The real story looks to be – we will not know for certain for a few weeks – that many voters have;
    turned against the SNP after 16 years in which it has been utterly dominant electorally;
    chosen to vote Labour as the best available alternative.

    I share Mike Small’s low opinion of Jack McConnell but the fact that the main opposition to the SNP in September 2023 comes from unreformed, mediocre Labour is an indictment of the Scottish left’s abject failure over those past 16 years.

      1. Wullie says:

        The dirty dog returns to it’s vomit.

  10. Duncan Sutherland says:

    When Jack the Hack first set foot on the campus of Stirling University, he launched himself into Labour Party politics, having only recently quit the SNP, which did not at the time seem to offer opportunities that he was looking for. A natural manipulator and apparatchik, he had no difficulty in making himself sabbatical president of the Students Association for two years, establishing useful contacts and generally preparing the ground for a career in politics.

    At the same time he dug in at the uni and has never really left it, although he only earned a second-class degree, not counting the purely honorary doctorate that his chums at Stirling gave him for looking after their interests. Now chancellor, he is lord of all he surveys there. To move out from there to lord it over the whole of Scotland again in some Labour Party capacity would merely be a matter of retracing his steps at an opportune moment.

    The ignoble lord is a determined and resourceful politician. Underestimate him if you wish. You’ll make his day.

    1. John says:

      I have no time for Jack McConnell but nothing wrong with getting a second class honours degree.
      If you are going to cast aspiration on academic achievement you must front up and inform us what degree you achieved.

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