Wednesday, 24 August 2011
The Labour party in Scotland has been in chaos since the SNP won the Scottish parliamentary election in 2007. The party has limped along, under the leadership of Iain Gray, with the sole purpose of opposing any policy the SNP proposed. On many occasions Labour's lack of sensible debate has been embarrassing.
After four years of turmoil and another election defeat, Labour still haven't come to terms with losing their Scottish fiefdom and it would appear they are still in disarray. Iain Gray stated he would be standing down in the autumn. Autumn is nipping at the door and all Labour can say is that there is a consultation still in progress. More embarrassment for the party which once ruled Scotland and now looks like a disfunctional small party labouring on rudderless in an attempt to regain their heartlands.
Yesterday the Labour MP and retired blogger Tom Harris stated his interest in becoming the new Labour leader in Scotland. Initially I thought Mr Harris was being his usual ambiguous self with his statement, but when I watched him on Newsnight Scotland last night, I realised just how deeply Labour is wounded, perhaps beyond redemption. Mr Harris couldn't answer many of the questions posed except to say he would like to see a leadership election and hoped more MPs would consider the position. Unfortunately, he didn't know if there would be a position once the 'consultation' published its findings.
Tom Harris is no stranger to self-publicity and, if he is as seriously interested in the post as he says, then surely he ought to be able to use some influence to pressure his party into resolving the issues within its Scottish division sooner rather than later.
Would Tom Harris be a good leader of the MSPs in the Scottish Parliament? Who knows. Alex Salmond set a precedent when he was re-elected as SNP leader when he was an MP, but the difference then was Alex Salmond, although he continued as an MP until the next general election, had an exceptional deputy to keep his seat warm in the Scottish Parliament.
Labour are insulting their Scottish voters by not sorting out their affairs. The longer it goes on the better the case for the SNP.
Is Tom Harris foolish to put his name forward? Possibly not. He was rejected by Ed Miliband when he applied to be a member of his cabinet, so all he has to lose is money. Being a family man and with his family firmly based in Glasgow, losing a little money may not be too important. Not all politicians are in the profession for financial gain are they?