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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