Friday, 20 March 2015

Limp lettuce

Today I saw the election leaflet being put out by our local Labour MP in pursuit of his re-election.  I was amazed by the lack of manifesto-related content in it.  The only policy mentioned (twice) is that Labour will abolish the bedroom tax if elected.  The rest of the leaflet was filled with vague claims that he has been standing up for the voters of our constituency in Westminster (but no details as to how) and a list of local charities and causes that he has supported.  All in all, I've seen more information on a limp lettuce leaf.

The abolishing of the bedroom tax is laudable but is not going to play as well up here in Scotland as it will in other parts of the UK, as the Scottish government has been protecting Scots from the effects of it by putting aside money to pay for it.  But why is there no mention of any other policies in the leaflet?  It's not that Labour doesn't have a manifesto for 2015 - there's a copy of it in full technicolour on their website.

I think the answer lies in Jim Murphy's whirlwind of policy announcements in the last few weeks.  It was noticeable that all the matters that he pronounced upon were devolved matters that are dealt with with Holyrood.  It looks like Johann Lamont wounded Labour in Scotland deeply with her parting shot, and now they're in a position where they are trying to avoid the suggestion of being a mere branch office run by London like a person having a sneezing fit when the plague's in town.

Having to campaign on the UK Labour manifesto kind of gives the lie to Jim 'I've got complete autonomy' Murphy's position, so the Scottish candidates find themselves between a rock and a hard place.  The latest poll from Survation is not going to cheer them up any either, since it shows a slight increase in the SNP's lead over Labour as far as voting intentions are concerned.

I'm not sure that Labour in Scotland can get themselves out of the trap they're in, since they seem to be hamstrung whatever they do.

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