She’s gone, gone, gone (and I don’t care)

So it’s finally happened.  After months of speculation, after many possible dates being mentioned, Kezia has jumped, probably just before she was pushed.  Was it a coincidence that it came immediately following Corbyn’s pretty disastrous tour of Scotland, where his appearances were met with huge waves of apathy?  Perhaps.  Given her widely expressed views on the unsuitability of Corbyn as leader of the Labour party and given Corbyn’s upsurge in popularity following June’s election, it was only a matter of time before an excuse was found, and likely Kezia’s unsubtle hint that Labour voters should vote Tory in constituencies where the Tories had the best chance of unseating the SNP was it.  The net result of many potential Labour voters following her advice was an increase in Tory seats in Scotland, keeping May in power and depriving Corbyn of possibly his best, or maybe even only, chance of becoming PM.

When your hatred of the SNP exceeds even your desire for your own party to succeed, you have to be on a shoogly peg as leader, even if you’re only the local branch manager.

There have already been many views expressed about Kezia’s performance as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland and, no doubt, there will be many more.  My own view is that she put herself into an impossible position, inheriting a disaster from Jim Murphy, when she had neither the competence nor the experience to turn things around.  We all have known people who, even from a young age, were able to take control of any situation and make things happen.  We have also known people who, no matter their age, didn’t have the confidence and the authority to define a course of action and convince others to follow their lead.  Kezia is, unfortunately, one of the latter.  She mostly acted like the teenager who wants to be liked but who, somehow, always ended up on the outside.  She was unable to define a clear and consistent set of policies to energise her party and attract the voters.  In the end, her only consistent policy was SNPbad and that’s not a platform for government.

One last point.  The timing of her resignation has been the subject of some discussion, coming, as it did, on the same day as the opening of the Queensferry Crossing.  Was this a deliberate act to try to take some of the attention away from the opening?  Given Kezia’s well documented lack of forward planning, it’s hard to imagine it was part of some long term plan.  More likely, it was a last minute decision and, if she thought about the bridge opening, she would have thought the timing a bit of a giggle and payback for all the problems the evil Nats caused her.

Bye, bye Kezia.

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Corbyn’s offer to Scotland.

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Since Corbyn is currently in Scotland claiming that the SNP isn’t doing enough to mitigate Tory austerity, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of how Labour compares to the SNP, and indeed what Corbyn’s vision would mean for Scots.

In their general election manifesto the SNP pledged to fight for an end to the two child tax credits cap, and for Universal Credit roll-out to be halted to prevent further cuts, and also for the benefits freeze to be lifted. Conversely, Corbyn’s Labour manifesto only committed to ending the rape clause and long wait times for receipt of Universal Credit. Indeed the Resolution Foundation confirmed that Labour’s manifesto would only have reversed a quarter of the cuts from/still to come from these policies. Whereas the SNP’s manifesto pledges would have reversed/prevented 100% of these billions worth of cuts. Incidentally the SNP manifesto also argued for reinstatement of the Work…

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Money to burn

It appears that the Conservative Party may have been just a little bit naughty about their election expenses for the 2015 UK General Election.  According to Channel 4 news (is it the only decent news broadcaster in the UK these days?), large chunks of lolly were “accidentally” omitted from the spending returns of a large number of Tory candidates in marginal seats.  The Tories’ excuse was that this was believed to be national spending, though it appears that much of the money doesn’t appear to have been included in their national return either, due to “administrative” errors.  However, as we are talking of six figure sums involving large Union Jack bedecked battle buses and dozens of activists, you may need to be particularly inept to overlook them entirely.

 Currently, around 45 (opinions vary about the number) Tory MPs’ election expenses are being investigated by around 30 police forces.  Most appear to have asked for extra time to complete their investigations, though none (as far as I am aware) have given any indication of the length of time their investigations are likely to take, important because the longer it takes, the less chance there is of there being any real result.

In theory, the Electoral Commission could order a rerun of the 2015 election in the affected constituencies.  That would almost certainly mean a change of government as it’s unlikely voters would be as kind to the Tories as they were in the original vote.  However, the implications of a rerun are such that this seems a bit extreme for the Commission.  For example, would it render the decisions taken by the (now) illegal Tory administration invalid?  Or would the Labour party come to regret the number of times they abstained in crucial divisions on Social Security changes instead of living up to their status as official Opposition.

More likely is that the Commission would accept a Tory plea that the errors were simply mistakes and that there was no deliberate intention to defraud, resulting in slap on the wrist, a small(ish) fine and a promise to be better behaved little boys and girls in the future.  That’s especially likely if you think about why the two main UK opposition parties are not really taking as much advantage of the situation as you’d expect and aren’t making that much fuss.  Could it be because both Labour and the LibDems were more or less equally guilty, differing perhaps only on a matter of scale.

Labour battle busLibDem battlebus

Perhaps they’re all just naughty little boys and girls.