Tomorrow the Scottish electorate will stand in front of the party who once ruled this country.
Many of us will have knives in our hands, with the explicit intention of stabbing in the heart a party that once meant everything to us. For them, it will be a personal pain, as though we’re stabbing ourselves.
Because we loved Labour once. No more.
Kezia Dugdale will survive the night. She might not survive the following day. I don’t expect an Ed Miliband style resignation. She says she’s in it for the long haul. Realistically, she can’t survive the catastrophe that looks certain. She was supposed to rebuild the party and its shattered, tattered reputation but that’s a task far beyond her capabilities.
I don’t know that Keir Hardie himself could make Labour electable in Scotland again. The brand is tainted, toxic, and radioactive to anyone wearing a red rosette. Where once ambitious people joined to get a foothold on the electoral ladder, now they run in the other direction.
They used to have seats for life.
Now each and every one that’s left is an electric chair, waiting to fry the person in it to a crisp. Some councillors won’t even run again next year; like Gordon Brown, Ann McGuire and a slew of other MP’s who jumped ship last year before the SNP washed them away, they can see the writing on the wall and their fragile sense of self is such they’d rather jump before they’re pushed.
Change is going to sweep over them. The old order is crumbling like a sandcastle on a beach at high tide. Last year the elected MP’s were hammered into near extinction. This year it’s the turn of their MSP’s. Next year the council seats are going to go in huge swathes. We’re not watching a party on the wane; we’re watching one teetering on the brink of complete irrelevance. By this time next year little more than a husk will remain.
The electoral carnage will be complete.
Labour, as a political force in Scotland, will have virtually ceased to exist.
Two things dawn on me; how inevitable all this is and how necessary. Inevitable because this is what happens when you strip a party’s ideology from it and ape all the worst traits of its deadly enemies, in a presumption that people will vote for it anyway. I once heard Peter Mandelson refer to Labour voters as “our traditional customers” and nothing more clearly encapsulates what went wrong than that does. You strip something of its heart and soul, its reason for existing, and treat those who depended on it and supported it like people shopping around for a brand and what do you get once they realise that all the old bonds are cut?
You turn them into exactly that; customers. And customers have a choice where they shop and what they buy, and who they buy it from. It’s a matter of time before someone with a better grasp on what the market will bear makes them a better offer.
What’s worse is when you associate your “brand” with betrayal, with sell-out, and stop looking for the real reasons people turned away and start going for box office appeals based on personalities and celebrity, instead of focussing on ideas and policies and things that actually matter. Even when you turn back to those things, and start to tailor your message to what people care about, it doesn’t work because you’re tainted and people know you don’t mean a word of it, that it’s all about getting their vote, that it’s fake and put on and an act of self-interest.
I watched all this happen. I watched from the inside as Labour started to groom an entire generation of wannabes, obsessed only with what power could do for them, rather than what the attainment of it meant for millions of people.
I watched as folk who started out on the left drifted steadily, inexorably, right because you had to if you wanted a future in the organisation, and I watch those same people now, those who cosied up to Comrade Murphy, who are now tacking left again because they see that’s the way to move up … and I know you can’t trust such people at all.
Not every voter understands these things the way I do, from a front row seat, having seen these people up close, for myself … but a lot of people get it, by instinct. And Labour will never get their votes again because of that.
Because I know what these people are, and what these people did, I know too that no matter how my soul may ache from what I have to do tomorrow I’m going to do it because it needs to be done, and this matter pushed towards its bitter, necessary end.
Our country will never be better – will never be free – as long as these people exist, with their lies and their corruption of everything the party once held dear. I know that Scotland needs this to happen, that it’s required of us in order to set the stage for a second referendum, having eliminated the one organisation that stood a chance of depriving us of it.
For that referendum to happen, Labour in Scotland has to be washed away. I no longer feel bad about that, because I know that left wing politics in this country isn’t the province of a few careerists in red rosettes, that it’s bigger than that, a broader church, a larger family and that sooner or later their place will be taken by others more deserving.
Labour long ago stopped being fit for purpose, the purpose of delivering social justice and a better future for our kids and our grandkids.
Lobotomised, gutted, shorn of principle, populated now by the ranks of the also-rans and those wanton careerists who change their minds about what they say they believe in to suit the electoral weather; blown along in the breeze like an empty crisp packet.
This is the party that can’t come to a decision on something as fundamental as whether or not it supports the retention of weapons who’s only military usage would be in a hellish act of damnable revenge against millions of innocents. This isn’t a political party any longer; it’s a retail operation, shilling bullshit.
Tomorrow we have a chance not only to scatter its remnants to the far winds but to put it out of its misery, and that’s required because it’s ceased to have any value and now symbolises the tortured ‘legitimacy’ of a corrupt union that’s heading exactly the same way, and not before time.
So sharpen your knives, friends. Get ready to stick them in. Don’t concern yourself with wondering if this is an act of malice; it’s an act of mercy. This party aches to be put away. It’s exhausted, beaten, broken, shattered, emasculated, a wreck of what it once was.
And it was all those things before we got here, which is how it ended up where it is today, on the floor in front of us, not even able to muster a final plea in mitigation.
Tomorrow is necessary. Steel yourself. Make sure your aim.
Stab them in the heart.
They’ve got it coming.
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