Friday, 31 October 2014

Goodnight sweet prince

And so another wall in Labour's Scottish house collapses, with the announcement by Anas Sarwar that he is to resign as deputy leader of Labour in Scotland.  An estate agent would have a job on their hands selling this one in its current state - 'fixer-upper, requires extensive rebuilding work'.

Mr Sarwar's announcement was made at Labour's Gala Dinner in Glasgow last night, at which Ed Milliband made an appearance.  Now I may be being cynical here, but I don't think this is a coincidence.  I would suspect that Mr Milliband has told Mr Sarwar to move aside, possibly with the offer of a shiny bauble of a job at Westminster.  Mr Sarwar has not distinguished himself as a strategic thinker over the last few days, what with his attempts to 'heal the rift within the Labour party' and his apparent belief that there would be nothing wrong with two MPs being leader and deputy leader of Labour in Scotland.

So now Labour has two internal elections on its hands.  I don't pretend to understand the arcane process by which people are elected to these positions, but it does mean that the outcome is somewhat unpredictable.  Jim Murphy is clear favourite to win the leadership position, probably helped by his relatively high profile.  However, to fulfil his stated ambition of becoming First Minister, he will be required to resign as an MP and seek election to the Scottish Parliament, since only an MSP can be First Minister.  This will require finding him a 'safe' seat somewhere and possibly persuading the incumbent to retire from politics.  All very doable, I'm sure. With regard to his deputy, so far I have seen Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Marra suggested, but it's a case of watch this space to see who declares their candidacy.

The fly in the ointment to these plans is the announcement of a new Ipsos Mori poll which, if sustained at the General Election in May, would see Labour left with four seats in Scotland, with the SNP on 54 and LibDems on one.  While this is cheering news for the SNP, I wouldn't write Labour off just yet.  After all, the new leader and deputy would have around 5 months to turn Labour around, and that can be a long time in politics.

1 comment:

  1. It would be extremely risky for our dark Lord to seek an election in the current political climate, so I reckon he'll have to be puppet master to a deputy at least through to GE15. This will allow the FM to gently remind said deputy of their status, regularly and repeatedly. Happy days :-)