I read this fascinating report this morning in the north west's redoubtable rag, the Kinlochbervie Chronicle. The headline trumpets Labour seek to work Scotland's "dead" vote...
By our political correspondent, Ecclefechan McKay.
The Holyrood election kicked off in earnest this week, with the four First Ministerial hopefuls making their case before a specially selected audience in Glasgow. Many observers noted the Labour leader's bilious appearance on the night, described by an SNP spokesman as "green about the gills". However, sources close to the Scottish Labour leadership confirm that Gray's "mortician chic" look had been orchestrated quite deliberately by party advisers.
A key Labour staffer told the Kinlochbervie Chronicle "our research clearly shows that if this election was taking place just 30 years ago, we'd easily win. It's totally legitimate for us to explore ways to energise our dead base in this election." Labour's Scottish Parliament campaign coordinator, John Park, told us "I think dead voters are totally fed up of the SNP's metropolis-biases. Labour has always spoken up for the underprivileged and spoken out against inequality. We're the natural voice of Scotland's necropolis and the SNP know this. That's why they're running scared of fair votes for our departed fathers, and grandfathers."
After the debate, there were signs that the Labour strategy was working. One zombie audience member who asked not to be named, Norman McPherson 1922 -1978, groaned "I want to be able to vote for a guy I can go down the mortuary with and enjoy a pint of formaldehyde. With his waxy, cadaverous appearance and graveside aubergine ties, Iain Gray's the First Minister for me." Another Motherwell man told us "My dad was a worker. He always voted Labour and always will. His tragic death last year won't change that..."
Labour's latest Holyrood strategy is directly inspired by the daisy-root American "majority rights" campaign. The Undeadist Movement seeks to apply political pressure to Congress, local State Houses and Courts - to overturn the "totally prejudicial, almost racist" exclusion of the dead from the popular franchise. The Undeadists' Chicago organiser, Talbot Stuffler, argues that "extending the vote on fair terms to our dead fellow citizens is a civil rights issue. We must end this political apartheid, and live up to Barack Obama's promise of a more perfect Union, for both living and dead citizens of this troubled, overtaxed Republic."
Republican Presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin, has already endorsed the Movement. Speaking at a rally in New York, attended by a thronging crowd of at least ten dead activists, she said "Our founding fathers based this nation on the principle of no taxation without representation. Democrats in Washington think they should be entitled to help themselves to your hard earned dollars, simply because your heart has stopped. It's un-American. That's why I'll be standing by your coffinsides all the way, arguing the common sense case, speaking about traditional values. Its time for the forgotten generations to take back America."
Back in Scotland, Iain Gray admitted "We've been looking very closely at the tactics used by the Undeadist movement. The dead are Scots too and Labour will always challenge Alex Salmond's narrow nationalism that neglects the clear majority of Labour-supporting Scots who have gone to their eternal reward".