Just what we needed! Another London-centric politician demonstrating how little he understands Scotland’s politics. Or even the fact that Scotland has a politics which is distinct from that in England. Livingstone seem to imagine that it is all a simple matter of degrees of apparent left-winginess. Like many in British Labour’s North British branch, he clings to the notion that the SNP’s electoral success is merely a matter of the voters giving British Labour a wee slap to get them back on track. He genuinely seems to believe that all it takes to restore normality north of the border is a wee wave of the red flag.
Livingstone simply cannot appreciate that British Labour in Scotland is being punished for more than just the aberration of Blairism and the betrayal of Better Together. And he surely could never admit that the SNP might be winning on merit. Compromising of principles and collaborating with the Conservatives are merely symptoms of the deeper malaise which has occasioned Scotland’s increasing disaffection with British Labour. The problem is not that British Labour hasn’t been left-wing enough, but that it hasn’t been Scottish at all.
And I don’t mean Scottish on any saltire and tartan sense. I mean Scottish as in being relevant to Scottish politics and society. Former Labour voters used to say that they didn’t leave the party, the party left them. But we’ve now moved on a few episodes in that soap opera. We’re now at the bit where British Labour tries to come back, only to find that their one-time partner has matured, moved on, and formed a new relationship.
British Labour in Scotland is the second time suitor pleading that it could be just like the old days and unable to accept that we are delighted to have left those days behind us. They’re trying to return to a place that no longer exists. It’s not us, it’s them. They just don’t fit in our lives any more. And in their forlorn frustration they lash out at their replacement thinking to undermine our new relationship with insults and malicious gossip, but only managing to alienate us even further.
Ken Livingstone seems to think that all “Scottish” Labour needs to do is put on that old record we used to dance to and we’ll swoon again like we did last century. Sorry, Ken! We still love Slade. But we’re listening more to Young Fathers these days.