Monday, 11 May 2015

Cut and paste

And so Labour begin a period of introspection (possibly involving silverware being deployed), trying to work out why they failed so spectacularly in Scotland and who they should have as a new leader should Mr Murphy be defenestrated (not beyond the bounds of possibility).

Towards the end of the campaign I heard several Labour activists repeating the line that the SNP had simply cut-and-pasted all of their policies from the Labour manifesto.  There were many similarities between the two manifestos, and I wouldn't rule out a certain amount of copying.  However, Labour needs to ask themselves this:  even supposing the SNP had cut-and-pasted their manifesto from Labour's manifesto in its entirety, the voters of Scotland still voted for SNP and not Labour.  Why is that?  This is, I think, the key question that they need to answer, and it may not be an answer they will like.

The fact is that Labour is now seen as being more interested in Westminster than in their constituents.  This is emphasised by another excuse being given by Labour - that the voters didn't listen to them.  Clearly it is news to the current crop of failed Labour candidates that the MP is supposed to listen to their constituents, not the other way around.  During the election campaign Labour were conspicuous by their absence on the ground.  Leaflets were sent out by Royal Mail, but that appears to be the extent of communication with the voters.  I did not see activists going around the doors or street stalls, and there was pretty much no presence at the polling stations.  Compare and contrast with the SNP, who were canvassing, leafleting and running street stalls, as well as having a presence at all polling stations all day on election day.  Is it any wonder that the voters went with the people who were physically there to talk to them?

Next year we have the Scottish general election.  Labour need to up their game considerably if they are to avoid a wipeout then as well.

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