Saturday, 30 April 2016

Private dancer

Today the Guardian carries this video of Kezia Dugdale being interviewed by Owen Jones.  In it they discuss Labour's toxicity in Scotland, what it's like to be LGBT in Scotland and the perceived role of Brian Soutar in forming SNP policy.

Ms Dugdale attributes the Tories' toxicity in Scotland to 18 years of Thatcherism but seems at a loss to explain why Labour is becoming equally toxic in Scotland. In my opinion this is because of the referendum, not because they worked with the Tories in Better Together but because a lot more people became politically informed and began to question why, if Labour has been in power in Scotland for so many, many years, does Scotland still have huge problems with poverty and inequality, given her wealth of resources? Labour supporters will, no doubt, point out that they have not been in government in Holyrood for the past nine years, ignoring the fact that they still control the majority of local councils and therefore local spending and policy decisions.

With regard to the LGBT and equality issues Ms Dugdale raises, there is no doubt that more can be done on this front.  However, some credit should be given to the SNP for having a gender-balanced cabinet.  It was notable that Labour immediately copied this idea, for the first time in their history in Scotland, perhaps in an attempt to shift the perception that they are a party where business is done between men behind closed doors.

Mr Soutar seems to have become something of a scarecrow for Labour, dragged out whenever Labour want to suggest a shadowy conspiracy in Holyrood.  There is no doubt that the man holds some unpleasant views on LGBT matters, but to suggest that he is somehow the eminence grise of Scottish politics is a bit of a stretch.  It is also quite hypocritical of Labour, who have not always been very particular about their donors.

Ms Dugdale, to me, comes across as someone who talks the talk but doesn't really walk the walk. It's as if she knows all the steps but just doesn't have the natural talent to make a good dancer. She is in good company, however, as I don't see any of her colleagues as having any more talent than she does. The overall effect is that it gives what she says a certain air of insincerity which people are picking up on. This is one of their major problems, and not one that can be solved easily.

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