THE BLOG

Why the Labour Party Is Facing an Existential Crisis in Its Own Backyard

06/04/2015 19:35 BST | Updated 06/06/2015 10:59 BST

The Labour Movement was born in Scotland. Keir Hardie was their leader: they fought for social justice, votes for women, home rule for India and many more noble causes. Hardie attacked the monarchy and seemed to take pleasure in going against the grain. Presumably, he is turning in his grave right now - probably with enough speed to be a source of green energy. He would be ashamed by the conservative snivelling sycophants his party have become.

For years, Labour has dominated Scotland as its biggest party. Now, they are under threat. In the 2010 election, Labour won 41 out of Scotland's 59 seats. On 7th May, polls show that number will be greatly reduced, hopefully to the point of a wipe-out. Since the last election, there has been a seismic shift in Scotland towards the SNP, the party who want Scotland to be independent of the United Kingdom. Labour's bizarre miscomprehension of this has led to a haphazard attempt to re-invent themselves as 'proudly Scottish, Jacobite, tartan, haggis, kilted, patriotic Scottish Labour for Scotland'. Right now, the SNP have 6 seats in the House of Commons. On May 7th, they could have anything between 30 and 50.

So what does this mean for the UK?

It means that for the first time since 1924, the party with the most House of Commons seats may not form the government. The Tories may well have the most seats, but not enough to form a majority. Labour probably won't be far behind them, but since there may well be more anti-Tory MPs than pro-Tory MPs, the Tories won't be able to form the government.

So why has Scotland suddenly moved away from Labour?

Labour campaigned hand in glove with the Tories during the independence referendum - but the rot set in before I was even born with 'New Labour' - and Scots are extremely angry. But not nearly as angry as Labour are with the SNP. Since the SNP became the largest party in the Scottish Parliament in 2007, Labour seem to have been incandescent with rage at what they see as the theft of their God given right to rule Scotland. As a result, they have criticised the SNP - sometimes rightly, more often wrongly - for their record in government.

During the referendum campaign, Labour (which under Keir Hardie was the party of home rule) offered the Scottish electorate the kitchen sink if they stayed in the United Kingdom. We were offered home rule, devo-max, neo-federalism. This seems to suggest that Scotland would've had power over everything except defence and foreign affairs. Alas, none of these things have materialised, instead, Scotland is to get control over an eye-watering array of new powers which amount to only a fraction of Scottish tax and spending.

At Westminster, they've voted along with the Tories for more austerity; they've abstained on their own motion on fracking; Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said there was nothing in the latest budget that he would reverse. This proves that Labour in 2015 is just the same as the Tories! To summarise, Scotland hasn't defected from Labour; Labour has defected from Scotland.

Aren't Scots worried about another Tory government?

The Tories are toxic in Scotland, in fact, there are more giant pandas in Scotland than conservative MPs. It is true that the next government will almost certainly be Labour or Conservative led.

In Scotland however, Labour seem to have lost the plot entirely. As part of their Westminster campaign, we in Scotland are being told that Labour will give the NHS 1000 extra nurses despite Westminster not being in control over the Scottish NHS (apparently paid for by the mansion tax which will take money overwhelmingly from London and the South-East); they say tuition fees for Scots will remain free (despite Westminster not having power over that either and voters elsewhere in the UK being forced to pay £6000 a year); they say they are behind making the minimum wage £8 per hour by 2020 (about the same as the Tories, surprise surprise).

Moreover, they are telling what - since the referendum - has become the most informed and engaged electorate in Europe that a vote not cast for them is a vote for the Tories! They qualify this by saying that a smaller number of Scottish Labour MPs makes a Tory government more likely. This is nonsensical and the electorate know this. The fact of the matter is that the party with the means to form the next government will form the next government - not necessarily the biggest party, it is a matter of basic arithmetic. Funnily enough, the last time the second biggest party formed the government was when Labour were the second party and still formed the government. Because no party is going to be big enough to form a majority on its own, and an overall majority would be overwhelmingly bad for Britain. People not just in Scotland but all over the Britain should cast their vote on the 7th May based on their hopes, not their fears of letting David Cameron back into Downing Street.