The particular political thorn (in its own side) which I have in view here is Labour’s fresh-minted case against a referendum on independence in the context of economic drear. Polling undertaken, the idea that we ought not to indulge in constitutional speculations during this time of material uncertainty emerged with an apparently seductive shiny populism. The authority of the poll was gravely cited, the position sonorously pushed, and to the nodding heads who conceived the position, it seemed as if the Maximum Eck’s bucking constitutional broncho had been decidedly headed off at the pass. Its hard to kick against the pricks, they consoled themselves.
Splendid. Tea and crumpets anyone?
Er … but wait. Somewhere in the churning gut of Labour strategy, someone clearly failed to factor in the obvious, yammering point. Labour needs an economic narrative which confirms their success at a
The whole vitality of Scottish Labour’s position on the referendum, lashed to this particular argument, required the economy to be in a shabby old way. Their general UK Labour interest required metaphors of rejuvenation. Scottish Labour, in short, screwed up again. By aligning themselves with excuses to oppose a plebiscite rooted in contingent economic circumstances – as opposed to foregrounding other, viable reasons to oppose the referendum – they enslave themselves to changes in the economic circumstances. And in this case – most paradoxically – they enslave themselves to Darling et al.’s interest in representing a positive economic case and pouring cold custard down Iain Gray’s pantaloons.
It’s a political pushmipullyu from which Scottish Labour couldn't but emerge as the weaker tugger – and is a par excellence expression of the dearth of perspicuous strategic thinking in John Smith House. Watching the