What’s happening in Scotland is symptomatic of a deeper problem

What's is happening in Scotland is symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

Ed Miliband should look closer to home before blaming Scottish Labour for the party’s problems

Yesterday’s polling by Ipsos Mori for STV suggesting a Labour meltdown north of the border took everyone by surprise. There was no way that Labour could ever be reduced to a rump of just four Scottish MPs, so everyone said.

As Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, declared on Twitter just before the figures were published:

“Wow. Once a year or less we do a poll that genuinely surprises me and has big immediate implications. Out later!”

Then came the second poll which admittedly wasn’t as bad as the Ipsos Mori one, but nevertheless the YouGov survey, commissioned by the Times, put the SNP on 43 per cent and Labour on 27 per cent of the vote.

Replicated across all constituencies that would give the SNP ‘just’ 47 seats and Labour 10 in next year’s UK General Election.

The YouGov poll found also that just 15 per cent of those polled said they trusted the Labour leader, compared to 19 per cent for the prime minister.

Just last week the New Statesman was musing about the SNP gaining up to 25 seats. After the last two successive polls published yesterday this figure now increasingly looks like an optimistic scenario for the Labour Party.

Speaking to Scottish Labour’s gala dinner in Glasgow last night, Ed Miliband responded to the polls by stating the blindingly obvious – that things were ‘tough’ for Labour north of the border.

Whilst those around Miliband may continue to blame the party in Scotland for Labour’s woes, the reality is that it is Miliband himself that should be under pressure since what’s happening in Scotland is symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

It wasn’t Scottish Labour that came so close in Heywood and Middleton to UKIP taking a Labour seat. It is not Scottish Labour that is nowhere in Rochester and Strood – despite Labour having held much of the area the seat covers up until 2010.

And before anyone does blame Scottish Labour for its problems north of the border, when it comes to next year’s General Election it is Ed Miliband putting himself forward to be prime minister, not Johann Lamont, Jim Murphy or any other Scottish member of the party, and here Miliband’s ratings are simply abysmal.

I voted for Ed Miliband to be leader believing that he stood the best chance of reconnecting Labour with a public that had become increasingly weary of 13 years of Labour rule. Today, with a heavy heart, I admit that I was wrong.

Had we been further out from the election the vultures would have been circling and calling for Miliband to go. But to depose the leader now would be completely suicidal.

Sadly, Labour’s best hope is that it gets lucky somehow between now and May, because at the moment the good ship Labour is, tragically, resembling the titanic – about to hit an iceberg without enough time to turn the ship around.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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25 Responses to “What’s happening in Scotland is symptomatic of a deeper problem”

  1. Big Jim

    He’s done absolutely nothing for four years, a total void.

  2. Big Jim

    And his personal ratings are so poor they are likely to cost Labour 50-75 seats

  3. Reconstruct

    I can see Labour being reduced to a rump representing mainly London. Which, to be fair, would be a fair reflection of what the party seems to stand for.

  4. B. MacIntosh

    Ed has failed. The party leadership has failed.

  5. Duckman

    Labour is a done party for a generation. I see it being out of power now for almost 10 to 15 years. My prediction is that next election will be a hung parliament in which no one wins. A second election and the Tories get in. This election will see the arrival of Borris Johnson aas leader of the party. His appeal to younger voters will hammer the nail in the coffin for Labour for almost 10 years or so. Its unlikely they will see the light of day for years. Probably being reelected in 2030 due to demographics and economic changes. By then Britain will be eternally ruined


    I think that this is the best news SNP have had so far, and it keeps getting better. London think think he’s the answer to their “problems ” in Scotland . They are clueless and so out of touch. Labour are finished . The red tory’s have a few die hard voters but have lost most of them to a party that lives in the past and when in the future challenges the tor’s to see who can rob the poor the most.

    Happy days ahead YESSERS.

  7. RolftheGanger

    First, agreement that Milliband is a weak sister of a leader.

    After that I disagree with the thrust of the article. It is too easy to scapegoat an admittedly poor leader.

    But be clear. Labour is in vastly greater dissaray.

    A party that has lost its soul.

    Caught between to contradictory philosophies. Rabid neo-con barbarianism on the one side and outdated unreformed and un-updated “socialism” on the other. The first is merely a rationalisation for unprincipled unbridled greed. The second is a mostalic desire to hark back to good old idealistic simpler days. The glaring gap is the missing new optional story.

    A party tha has lost touch with ethics, values and integrity defining conscionable conduct and decent honest dealings and debate. The “whatever it takes” cynical vacuum is superficially the quck, easy and appealing rooute. It has also been the route to self annihilation.

    The above, combined, have created a polcy vcacuum where the engagement,commitment adnd dedication are forged in exciting and inspiring new directions, policies and ideas movements. Instead there is a viacuum. Machine politics, focus group driven and empty mechanical soundbites. The turn off of all time.

    Party organisation, systems, operating methods etc have become top-down, centralised, over-controlled and under-performing; alienating instead of inspiring and attracting.

    Performance on the ground is increasingly falling t the hired help in place of enthusiastic grassroots democracy.

    Reverse all of the above and it can be cfound in the SNP, the Greens, the Radicals, other Yes Groups and emerging political forces in Scotland.

    One can turn around a healthy party with a weak leader. There is zero chance of even a strong leader turning around so sick a party system.

    So, face it. Blaming Milliband is a cop out.

  8. IAB

    And Scotland will be gone

  9. Guest

    Oh, so when are you blowing the nukes?

  10. Leon Wolfeson

    Socialism? Where? Oh please.

  11. colin s crouch

    Don’t blame Ed for everything. Remember how much a disaster that Labour was in, prior to 2010, Remember that Labour lost five million votes since 1997, including a million lost by Gordon Brown in his last administration. It looked horrendous then, but we were not even at rock bottom. Yet even then, Labour still has the possibility of winning the next General Election, admittedly not alone, but as part on some sort of coalition, maybe an informal agreement. The point is that while Labour is weak, the Tories are even weaker.

    In the end, when Labour does bottom out, and can regeneratie, Labour will need to think about the next generation, people who were children in 1997, but have been pitchforked in the curremt political and economic climate. I am amazed, when thinking of the many disappointments of the last twenty or so years, that young people still, judging by opinion polls, are eager to vote for Labour, or Green, or, yes, the Scottish Nationals. These people should be welcolmed and encouraged. There will, in time, be a new generation of politicians.

    The problem now for Labour is that the are for too many old “New Blairites”. a massive blockage of new ideas, which I am sure has made it difficult for Ed Milliband to explore new possibilities.

  12. robertcp

    This article is just silly. We are heading for a hung Parliament where Ed MIliband might have as much chance of being Prime Minister as Cameron. It will be interesting to see whether parties that claim to be progressive work together or allow the Tories to stay in government.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Labour would be well to the left of it’s present position if that was the case.

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Keep blaming Miliband, when the primary problem is their shadowing the Tories on policy.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    Er, the coalition claimed to be progressive, robertcp.

    The term’s dead and gone for a generation.

  16. Guest

    Ah right, so when you launch your coup…

  17. robertcp

    That is why I said claimed. My worry is that the Tories will carry on ruling in a minority or coalition government, while the “progressive” parties just blame each other.

  18. robertcp

    On a more positive note, I am starting to get the feeling that the result in 2015 will be so perverse that any “progressive” government would need to bring in AMS for the 2020 election.

  19. Leon Wolfeson

    …I’m not in favour of AMS, though, I want MMP.

  20. robertcp

    They are different names for the same system. Just to be clear, I am referring to the system used in Germany, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.

  21. Leon Wolfeson

    That’s a common misconception. There’s a couple of important differences between AMS and MMP, to do with i.e. Overhang seats.

  22. robertcp

    I have checked and you are right. I would settle for either system.

  23. Leon Wolfeson

    Yea – but there’s just a few details which mean I prefer MMP!

  24. robertcp

    If we get a chance of getting any proportional system, we need to take it and not insist on perfection.

  25. Julia

    This will come as a shock but people would like a party with socialist values. One that doesn’t support Trident replacement. A party without warmongers. A party who actually did something about the House of Lords. A party that stopped using tools such as PFI to balance the short term budget at a cost to future generations….in short stop being Tories.

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