Monday, 14 September 2020

Scottish Labour - Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

In the three years that Richard Leonard has been leader of the Scottish Labour Party I think it's fair to say he has not managed to lay a glove on the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon.

Not an easy task, to be fair, because the SNP is a fast moving, shape-shifting target as both the established political power at Holyrood while enjoying a very different 'insurrectionist' role at Westminster.

Politically speaking theSNP is having cake and eating it, but this has been the case for many years long before Richard became Labour leader and, after all this time, he has palpably failed to make a significant impact either in the Scottish Parliament or with the wider public.

In a nutshell Richard doesn't have what it takes - that extra something which makes people sit up, pay attention and listen to what they have to say.

A leader's job is to inspire, articulate the party's case and change the political weather - whereas all Scottish Labour has done in recent years is make potential supporters reach for the snooze button.

Not surprising, perhaps, because Richard never rose to great heights within Scotland's trade union movement where he slogged away in unremarkable fashion for three decades.

Nor, despite being a 'nice chap', did Richard manage to win a constituency Scottish Parliament seat in his short political career, having become a Holyrood list MSP in 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn won the UK party leadership in 2015 and famously claimed that Labour 'take back Scotland' under his brand of rehashed 1970s socialism - a politics broadly shared by Richard Leonard who was a trade union official at the time.

Yet having squeezed out Kezia Dugdale and installed a fellow Corbynista as Scottish Labour leader, the party under Richard Leonard has gone backwards and still languishes in the political doldrums, as evidenced by all the opinion polls and the party's woeful performance in recent elections

So you would think that someone in this position would accept they are not going to 'cut through' and transform Labour fortunes between now and the next round of elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 2021. 

Yet against all the odds Richard clings to the belief that he will do so, just as Jeremy Corbyn did in backing an early general election in December 2019 which resulted  in a majority Conservative government and Labour's worst defeat since the 1930s. 
Jeremy Corbyn made the fatal mistake of believing his own propaganda - he drank the Kool-Aid along with his supporters who themselves that convinced Jeremy was the 'special one', the man capable of reviving Labour's fortunes.

Turned out to be fantasy politics, of course, and as the old saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."