Perspicacious political analysis is not something that we normally associate with Euan McColm. So, when even he is able to recognise the parlous plight of British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) it makes it all the more remarkable that they themselves might remain oblivious to it.
There is a hint of the attitude of denial that pervades the pretendy wee party and it’s media apologists in McColm’s observation that,
“Now, thanks in no small part, to the efforts of the SNP, it is considered taboo to vote Labour in Scotland.”
No suggestion there that BLiS bears any responsibility for its fate. It is the innocent, ineffectual victim of SNP scheming.
But, to his credit, McColm doesn’t pursue this plea. Although he makes little attempt to analyse where BLiS went wrong, he acknowledges that it has no way back through any effort of its own. Whatever success it may enjoy in the future will only be relative to what currently seems a very unlikely self-inflicted catastrophe for the SNP.
That’s it for the perspicacity, however. Having recognised the glaringly obvious fact that BLiS has been triangulated out of all conceivable relevance by progressive Scottish nationalism on the left and ultra-conservative British nationalism on the right, McColm reverts to type when examining the SNP’s success. The cosy consensus of British establishment journalism reasserts itself with the silly claim that the SNP “has, for some time, got away with doing very little”.
With characteristic arrogance, McColm assumes that Scotland’s voters are so easily duped that the keep on voting in increasing numbers for a party that does nothing. With the British nationalist’s trademark tendency to thoughtless contradiction and inconsistency, he supposes that the electorate he credits with being able to spot the defects in BLiS through the fog of disinformation thrown up by the British media is nonetheless completely taken in by a party that does little or nothing.
Were he not so contemptuously dismissive of the people of Scotland, McColm might realise that what he portrays as “very little” the people of Scotland see as just enough. Were he not disposed by prejudice to see the success of the SNP as an undeserving blip in a the political landscape that he understands and is comfortable with, McColm might be able to recognise that the SNP’s “great trick” has been to find and effective and appealing balance of principle and pragmatism.
We don’t live in the great drama of ages. Mostly, we live in the mini-series of our time; or the mundane soap-opera of daily life. We’re all just getting by. If a government is perceived as facilitating this, then most of us will be content. And if they do so whilst managing to avoid being a bunch of corrupt, self-serving, venal bastards, that’ll be appreciated.
McColm and his ilk need to accept that the SNP is where it is because it deserves to be. And the same goes for British Labour in Scotland.Views: 2026
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