Labour Party in Scotland

The result of general election 2015 in Scotland variously described as cataclysmic, seismic, catastrophic, unprecedented, historic watershed, labour humiliated. A Scottish Lion roaring says Alex Salmond, and David Cameron gets back into number 10 saying “It’s the sweetest victory of all.” If this result proves anything it is that the system is broken.  The Green Party for example get over a million votes and only one seat, the Tories win an overall majority with little more than a third of the popular vote and the Lib Dems effectively wiped out. And UKIP get 4 million votes and a mere 1 seat.

In Scotland the decimation of the Labour Party is complete, 1 seat and only a few years ago if you had suggested this you would have been locked up in the nearest psychiatric ward. So why has labour been so comprehensively hammered? I think that it is down to the Labour Party’s treatment of Scotland since the ’97 election. Labour’s expectation was that the Scottish Parliament would shoot the SNP’s fox, how wrong they were and they have no-one to blame but themselves.

When the Scottish parliament was inaugurated, one of Labours real intellects, Donald Dewar led the party and became the First Minister of Scotland. Donald Dewar was a giant in Labour politics and the politics of Scotland. When he died in 2000 Henry McLeish took over, an academic and well travelled he resigned in 2001 after an expenses scandal. From then on Jack McConnell became first Minister following McLeish’s resignation. McConnell a party apparatchik lasted until 2007, but he was haredly Mr. Charisma. He was followed by Wendy Alexander, Iain Gray and Johann Lamont. None of these three had the ability to seriously challenge Alex Salmond and latterly Nicola Sturgeon. It seems that once Labour had gifted Scotland its Parliament they decided that that was job done. Nothing more was required. The best and the brightest of the Labour party continued to see Westminster as the place to be. And the parachuting in of Jim Murphy as a new labour leader was too little and too late.

The SNP did the reverse Alex Salmond returned to Scotland; he led a disciplined team of very experienced and strong MSPs.   After the 2007 Election the SNP ran a successful minority administration in the Scottish Parliament until the stunning majority of 2011. In power, the SNP used the holes 1998 Scotland Act to continually elbow their way into areas that were never supposed to be devolved. They stretched their influence into places where the authors of the Act never thought would be open to them. Since then they have built a reputation for competence as well as playing politics of grievance cards.

The Labour party in Scotland is in a deep hole of its own making and if they are to recover they have much thinking to do.

My work background is in operational meteorology and in my career I have been involved in forecasting for everything from bananas to jumbo jets.I joined the Met Office 1974 as an observer at Glasgow Airport. After training as a forecaster, I worked as an Operational aviation forecaster at various defence sites and airports. In 1982, I moved to Glasgow Weather Centre as a forecaster and STV broadcaster till 1988. He then took up a post as Senior Forecaster London Weather Centre, then Senior Forecaster ITV where I qualified as a trainer in presentation techniques for the ITV Association. After being diagnosed with MS, he moved into management and became Head of London Weather Centre in 1997 followed by a period of front-line management for Southern England and Europe covering London and Cardiff Weather Centres and the Met Offices on defence stations from Akrotiri in Cyprus to St Mawgan in Cornwall. He took up the post of Met Office Chief Advisor for Scotland & Northern Ireland in March 2008 and moved to Edinburgh. I retired in September 2014. My one claim to fame is once performed a comedy sketch on TV with Manuel (Andrew Sachs) from Fawlty Towers in support of Comic Relief.

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Posted in Coalition, Comment, Democracy, Election Debate, Labour Party, Lib Dems, News, Parliament, Politics, Scotland, SNP, Tory Party, UK Election, UKIP, Westminster

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