Jeremy Corbyn is in Scotland and tomorrow the new Scottish Labour Party leader will be named (polls closed today at lunchtime). Kezia Dugdale, until now touted by many (including herself and Ian Murray, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland) as a New Labour figure, has made no secret of her thorough disapproval of Jeremy Corbyn; most recently two weeks ago. Oh, and the fact that she can be trusted to ‘straight talk’. But wait, this week, Jeremy Corbyn is way ahead in the UK leadership contest and is proving very popular in Scotland, so Kezia Dugdale has decided that her politics are after all pretty much the same as Jeremy Corbyn’s.

That isn’t straight talking – it’s exactly the kind of naive and dishonest bullshit which turns everyone off politics. It’s virtually designed to present New Labour as the epitome of shallow opportunism.

It seems very likely that both Dugdale and Corbyn will win. If so, the Scottish Labour Party will find itself over the coming year with either a New Labour leader pretending to be a Corbyn fan for reasons of the cheapest opportunism, or a leader who over the period of a week has genuinely moved their politics across half the political spectrum.

I don’t know which is worse in an elected leader. Naivety and hopeless opportunism or risible shape-shifting. Still, it’ll just be until the 2016 election, right? Then, after such nonsense has guaranteed a hefty win for the SNP again, if Scottish Labour wants a Corbynite leader it can elect genuine left-winger Neil Findlay. Right now, it looks like it’s elected a farce.


6 Responses to Scottish Labour’s new leader ‘a Corbynite after all…’
  1. Many in Labour are impressed by the bright and committed MPs in the new SNP in-take that have connected with their constituents in a language they can understand. But Labour also has similar characters and some of the new MPs backing Corbyn; Rahnari Ali, Clive Lewis and Cat Smith are able to win and defend Labour seats. Gordon Brown’s anointed successors; Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander by contrast seem incapable of winning a gold fish at the fairground.

    • I couldn’t agree more. It really is time the old special adviser class, which has failed labour terribly, gave way to the super new folk you mention (and plenty of others).

      • And there are rising stars like Dan Jarvis, Stephen Kinnock and Keir Starmer who have had successful careers outside parliament and that shows. I know people in Labour that are voting for Corbyn because they believe he’s honourable enough to go if he tanks and make way for a new generation. Could that be said for Cooper and Burnham hanging onto power with poll ratings in the mid 30s in 2018?

        • This is v prescient stuff, Ian. Dan and Keir are super, I don’t know Stephen. And there are plenty of folk in the new intake and from 2010 who are great but have so far been invisible on the larger public stage. They’re where the future lies; Yvette and Andy just will have to accept that. The special adviser generation have been a terrible failure. TB and GB had one failing in particular; they didn’t plan for succession at all. They killed each other’s folk in the crossfire and put their own spads into key ministerial roles, making the spads failure virtually inevitable. They’ve been unable to win a single election anywhere since 2005. Even the style of the Scottish referendum was a disaster which helped effect the deluge which came next. I’m sceptical of Liz and others who worked as spads too, tbh, since they can never escape their association with their previous master and, tbh, they wouldn’t be prominent without that association. So, whatever comes next, here’s hoping there’s plenty of space for new folk.


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