Jim Murphy Says Election In Scotland Felt Like A 'Quasi-Religious Rock Concert'

Why The Election In Scotland Felt Like A 'Quasi-Religious Rock Concert'

The general election campaign in Scotland was blighted by “post-truth” politics, former Labour leader in Scotland Jim Murphy has said as he likened the atmosphere to a "quasi-religious rock concert".

Ahead of his farewell speech today, Mr Murphy, a former Cabinet minister, claimed whatever “truth you told” was drowned out by the SNP and their supporters.

The nationalists bagged 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, all but wiping out the Labour Party's one-time parliamentary stronghold. Mr Murphy was one of a wave of senior Labour MP kicked out.

After stepping down on Saturday, Mr Murphy will make a lunch-time speech in London where he will confront Labour’s “catastrophic” election result - not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

Jim Murphy as he stands down as Scottish Labour leader on Saturday

The former East Renfrewshire MP toured Scotland making stump speeches to save the Union before the September referendum last year, and became leader of the party in Scotland in December.

Labour was forced to abandon an election rally in Glasgow after angry hecklers jostled MR Murphy and comedian Eddie Izzard. The party condemned the “ugly face of aggressive nationalism” in Scotland.

On Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Murphy referred to the difficulty in getting the party's message across.

“When I was doing those TV debates it sometimes felt like I was up against a quasi-religious rock concert, where no matter what truth you told it didn’t really matter in a post-truth type of argument in the politics," he said.

But he made no excuse for the scale of the defeat nationwide, damning Labour's campaign for lacking “appeal, popularity and policy” - and urged the party to not lose sight of "just how deep” the defeat was.

“In Scotland, this is the biggest defeat in our party’s history. It’s a bigger defeat in Scotland than Mrs Thatcher’s victory was across the UK for the British party,” he told the programme.

“But, I don’t want my colleagues in the British party in the UK leadership contest to think that this is just a Scottish problem.

“Our demise in England ... isn’t trivial, it isn’t superficial, it is deep," he added.

He also warned that the Labour leadership hopefuls risked overlooking the lessons from the election result if they focused on appearing more passionate.

“It wasn’t passion that was lacking in May for the British Labour party; it was appeal and popularity, and policy,” he said.

When asked whether voters were right to reject Labour's election message, Mr Murphy replied: "The voters are never wrong."

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