As Thursday's election shows Labour slipping to third in Scotland, Christopher Adams looks at some of the the party's problems which must be avoided at all costs by the SNP.
For a long time the Labour Party was a good-natured dog: loyal, excitable, the working man’s best friend. The Labour movement was a determined little creature whose purpose was to protect the common man and his family, who hadn’t a lot of money and were of working class. The party recognised that the United Kingdom was run for the South-East and sought to rectify that. A fantastic movement caught fire; town-halls were packed with heated discussion; worker’s unions were formed and thrived; a real sense of community flourished and, most importantly, the party rooted a steadfast resistance against the snarling conservatives.
In other words, the Labour Party were the good guys for a long time whose progressive, left-wing ideas made them hugely popular among the working class. So popular in fact that anywhere north of Manchester (Scotland included) was guaranteed for them. I mean really guaranteed. All a Labour candidate had to do was make sure ‘LABOUR PARTY’ was beside their name on the ballot, and that was them elected. As you can imagine, this gave way to campaigning on the go-slow; the once yappy Labour dog was falling asleep by the fireplace, not to mention it was getting old now. Tony Blair had won God knows how many years in office (his illegal war in Iraq is a prime example of how un-Labour Labour are) and Gordon Brown to boot. It wasn’t urgent that they hold true to their beliefs, it wasn’t a necessity that they oppose every destructive Tory policy. Yet they look up at you with big puppy-dog eyes which ask ‘wherever did we go wrong?’
Even in today-times the Labour Party, with their very own loveable-puppydog-liberal Jeremy Corbyn no less, barks a great bark which purports a grassroots, people orientated movement against the mega-rich and tackling inequality in this country which you’d be insane to disagree with. It is only when you realise that - wait, not everyone likes Jeremy. Bless him, he’s commandeering this big turbulent vessel with crew who hate the captain, which is a real shame. And this same crew have shown an expert talent in not opposing Tory policy all the while!
Oh, what cruel inversion! Labour, whose red resistance was the life-blood of the factory and mill towns of the North; who fought against the ruthless conservative party and the inequality they stood for, are now the bad guys. They are now the ones that they once hated; complacent, arrogant, unthinking and downright lazy. Only in recent years has their slumber been kicked awake – they now see themselves in third place in Scotland behind the once toxic Scottish Tories.
So here’s the crux of it: I’m absolutely terrified of the SNP slipping down that same, dangerous road. Ours is just as excitable and loyal a dog as Labour’s once was; our bark is big (but bite bigger), and we must, as a party and a movement, remain forward thinking to our approach toward independence. It is our duty, both to ourselves and to the people of Scotland that we command the same, fresh voice of progress which arrived us here to such political acclaim.
A dog is a friend for life.