Remember Jim Murphy proudly saying that under his leadership, he would not be told what to do by the London-based Labour party, but that “Scottish Labour” would do whatever it wanted? When various people argued that there was no such thing as “Scottish Labour” (well, beyond a website and a jacket…) he and his acolytes have vigorously sought to correct such views.
Well… David Leask and Gerry Braiden have published a story in today’s Herald about corruption in Labour-run North Lanarkshire. Now, aside from the seriousness of the allegations and the failure (yet again) to protect whistleblowers, this one line should clarify once and for all the status of so-called “Scottish Labour”:
Scottish Labour does not exist as a legal entity and the councillor has been forced to sue the party’s London HQ.
It’s probably too much to hope for that we hear no more of “Scottish” Labour, but I’d like to suggest that rather than just using scare quotes around the “Scottish” part as I have been doing in part (I’m still inclined to use scare quotes around the “Labour” part too, since the party is no longer really a party for or of labour – but as I have said already, “that level of pedantry is a bit much, even for me”), an alternative is to speak simply of Labour in Scotland, or if you like the scare quotes, “Labour” in Scotland – it clarifies that there is a party called “Labour”, but it also clarifies that it just happens to be in Scotland, but is controlled from Westminster.
The one consolation I have in all of this (and the faithful readers of this blog will no doubt be consoled by this too!), is that “Labour” in Scotland are likely to be almost wiped out in the Westminster elections in May, and if the polls are right, will be much diminished in the Holyrood elections in 2016 – and that means nobody will need or want to talk about them much.