Saturday, 25 October 2014

Back to obscurity

Johann Lamont has announced she is stepping down as leader of Labour in Scotland, citing interference from London Labour HQ as the main reason for this.  The final straw appears to have been the removal of Scottish Labour general secretary Ian Price without her being consulted.

It has been obvious for some time that Ms Lamont's tenure was insecure.  She was conspicuous by her absence in the latter stages of the referendum campaign, and has not been much more visible in the month since. There have been rumours of briefings behind her back at the Labour Party conference the Scottish Labour Executive members being lobbied by a senior colleague for her removal and Jim Murphy being touted as her replacement.  Looks like it's business as usual for the Labour Party then, who have a bit of a reputation for backstabbing and betrayal.  Indeed it sometimes seems they're more interested in their own internal politics than in the national ones.

Ms Lamont complains that

This has been orchestrated by people who do not understand the politics they are facing. Scotland has changed forever after the referendum.
 I think the change actually started long before the referendum, but she's right on this score.  The Scottish Electorate, having had a taste of what's possible, are not going back in the box.  Labour is in decline in Scotland, while the Yes Alliance parties are growing at a phenomenal rate.  However, I think Ms Lamont's party is about to reap what it has sown.

Throughout the referendum campaign, there was a strong thread from the Labour side on how Scotland becoming independent would be to abandon the working classes elsewhere in the UK, and that change could only be achieved by sticking together as one country.  She cannot now say, as she does, that

the Labour Party must recognise that the Scottish party has to be autonomous and not just a branch office of a party based in London
Sorry, but if solidarity of the working classes is to name of the game, that's exactly what the Scottish party is.  If it's not, one of your main arguments for staying together is undermined.  Scotland is different and therefore independence is the logical extension of that.

In the Daily Record article there is mention of of Ms Lamont being 'loyally quiet', and of her being overruled by the Westminster MPs.  This reinforces my own impression of her being a weak leader.  A leader doesn't remain 'loyally quiet' and does not allow themselves to be meekly overruled from elsewhere on important issues.

I have no doubt this will be something of a relief to Ms Lamont, who strikes me as someone who is not a natural leader, to the point where I wonder why she was elected leader at all.  If she was the best candidate Labour had, they are in dire straits indeed, and the future looks bleak.

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