Springbroom for Dugdale and Jeremy! Why Labour wins most by losing

Springbroom for Dugdale and Jeremy! Why Labour wins most by losing

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Thursday 4, May, 2017

I PROMISE, I won't mention Ken Livingstone's favourite socialist excessively in this article but The Producers, otherwise known as Springtime for Hitler, is a cult classic I relish for its cut throat humour and cut-glass kitschy numbers.

Mel Brooks wrote the piece fifty years ago but it's as fresh as mown hay if you've been following the Labour Party this year. You see, the plotline goes like this:

Two theatre producers work out an accounting scam by which they have to make the worst box office bomb imaginable so that the massive loss saves them a fortune on their tax bill. So they produce Springtime for Hitler, a goosestepping cabaret that could not be more distateful and maladroit if it tried. In the end it becomes a roaring success, costing Max Bialystock and Co. a small fortune.

I think this is what Labour is trying to do in Scotland, to lose so badly that the memories of its corruption, grotesque cronyism and incompetence are blown out of history like a birthday cake candle. We saw it in 2015 with forty MPs washed out of the Augean stables – and a century of dung with them. Then we saw Johann Lamont disappear down the rabbit hole taking many poor quality MSPs with her. Now the council elections will do Jeremy Corbyn's purge for him with so much deadword torched this week.

No more Falkirks, No more Coatbridge mafia, No more....anything really. The revolution has begun and what is established is oppressive to the leader's vision and so must go. It is so much easier to use the electorate to wipe them out. As Berthold Brecht once wrote of East Germany that,


Stating that the people had forfeited the confidence of the government

And could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

In that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?

No party machine could purge Scottish Labour the way Corbyn wishes to. A second referendum in the hands of the Labour party, not the SNP? Trident No More? Maybe Corbyn really does believe once the UK is seen as safe, Tories will flock to him as Kippers have to May? Maybe now is the time to bash the party to its bricks and dig-in for the inevitable fight against two rogue governments, as he sees them. The most marginal seats by nature have the most moderate MPs, they have to be to be their seats.

This could explain why, in three of the most contentious seats, Corbyn's dafties are coming away with the idea of a Scottish referendum, that independence may not be a bad idea, that chasing the SNP vote on Europe and indyref is a rough wooing he can win. Maybe he is right. Then again, maybe he is just crackers. 

It is easier to assume cunning in lieu of folly but likely we are seeing the final curtain fall on Scottish Labour. Douglas Beattie, Sally Prentice, and Jo Kirby who could otherwise be cast as The Forgettables, are making a real mess of the message Labour is meant to be sending on the UK. Whatever that is this week, of all weeks. Dugdale is rudderless, rare has a leader shone so dimly, not even a dead cat bounce is in the offing from her. 

Devolution was meant to give power back to Scotland from Westminster, yet the Islington set make Labour the most polarised party in UK politics in terms of demographics. And that includes the SNP. One city, profoundly different to the rest of the UK, dominates the Labour agenda. The professionalisation of politics eventually produces the narrowing of repertoire that is so confident it is always right and so dangerous because of this.

It cost Blair and Cameron dearly, surrounded by yes men that led to some terrible gambles being taken and lost as a result. Corbyn is a democratic centrist by nature, which means he doesn't simply entertain cronies, but actively spawns them. The influence of the nutty squad has grown like topsy in the last 12 months, and blissfully unaware that the only way even a fraction of their ideas get into policy is to get into government with anyone willing to entertain them.

Blair got that. Blairism beyond everything else was the idea that coalition and strong party appeal were one and the same. Whatever Corbyn's plan, there isn't going to be a reward from it anytime soon. The argument that the UK is strong has essentially won. We shouldn't say it but it has. Scotland now has two parties to choose from, even if the question that created this new axis fades slightly from discourse.

The reality is that Labour has given up on Scotland. There is neither plot nor punchline. The institutions Corbyn's ilk so gleefully attack are in fact institutions of memory. Not having 40 MPs on the ground makes a difference. Likewise councillors. Soon there will be areas of Scotland that Labour will have no institutional knowledge of or means of winning. 

Interesting to note from Forbes magazine that 80 per cent of NFL basketball players go bankrupt for five reasons. This may seem completely unconnected to the foregoing until you see the top five reasons for them going broke.

It lists, unsound financial planning, supporting a clientele that gives little back beyond loyalty, catastrophic relationship breakdown (moderates, Brexit, Scotland), lack of awareness of how rapidly fortunes can end once the fundamentals fail (post trade unionism, post globalism), and lack of planning for a future market (where the SNP has cleaned up the young vote).

It is actually quite hard for the extremely successful to go broke without effort. Whether this script is been done deliberately really misses the point. Labour has worked very hard to get into such a mess and shows no sign of giving up any of these five drivers. Labour is heading for electoral insolvency.

I couldn't be happier. Vote Tory today, and finish the job!

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