If there is one thing which gives me hope for the Yes Campaign it is Johann Lamont’s leadership of the Scottish Labour Party in Holyrood. I will not touch on her appearance, as it would be ungentlemanly, and facile, other than to pass on the observation I read in The Herald the other day, on Halloween, that she had borrowed her haircut from Frankenstein.
She is just not very good at her job. Alex Salmond regularly wipes the floor with her at FMQs, leaving her with nothing to do but glower with a face like thunder. Examples are numerous – I will post a recent video of her at FMQs to give a flavour. Her remarks are generally sniping, defensive, and negative, and she seems to have some kind of stalker mentality when it comes to Wee Eck – she cannot speak on anything without raising Salmond’s name, and trying to personalise a national debate about our country’s future by going on about the First Minister ‘obsessing about independence’. Really, Johann – is that what you think this is all about – Alex Salmond’s personal crusade? Let’s put aside that accusing a leader of the Scottish National Party of striving for Scottish independence is like accusing a leader of the Labour Party of being a social… eh, hold on – maybe not too good an analogy there – there hasn’t been a whiff of socialism about the Labour Party for quite some time. How could there be when they have to rely on the cache of votes from the South East of England to have any chance of power in Westminster?
The Scottish Labour Party must be in despair – less than a year to go til the referendum, and they are saddled with another numpty as their head in the Scottish Parliament. I know that the talented Scottish labour careerist pols all gravitate to Westminster, leaving the ‘B’ team to thrash about in their small pond up here, but surely they can get someone able to construct a winning argument or project a sliver of charisma? Or at least someone who doesn’t frighten the weans. Looking over the past leaders they have had in Holyrood – perhaps not. Henry McLeish is the only one (and I am struggling to name the others they have had) who had any kind of presence – and look what happened to him. The others have been like the wannabe-gunslingers in a Western who keep trying to outgun Sheriff Eck, only to get a one-way ticket to Boot Hill and an unmarked, unvisited grave.
The leadership of Scottish Labour is woeful and an embarrassment. During FMQs, look beyond Lamont to her foot soldiers. They try manfully to laugh at her ‘jokes’, thump the table and cry with triumph at her rapier-like thrusts, and shake their heads sadly at any riposte from the government benches, but they know how hobbled they are, and how badly represented they are by their leadership. Their laughter is hollow, their cries pitiful, and their position shoogly. There may be an attempt to replace Lamont – who knows – but who will replace her? Anas Sarwar? He is not in Holyrood, and besides, is a worse liability than even she is – to hear him speak is to hear someone raised on the teat of the Labour Party, and schooled in the bizarre language of the brain-dead political hack – according to him, there are no ‘families’ – they have to be ‘hard-working families’ etc. He cannot speak like a human being – he can’t answer a straight question but instead always goes into brain-dead politi-talk, talks over anyone who happens to be speaking, and sprays word-salad around with such wild abandon that he frequently trips over his own words, so frantic is he to spew the previously prepared sentences he has memorised. Margaret Curran is Johann Lamont Lite. God help us if these people get anywhere near power. Even if they do, they answer to the English party leadership, and not the people of Scotland – they wouldn’t be allowed to do anything too stupid and perhaps upset the UK party – they would be kept on a very firm leash.
So the unionists have as their triumvirate of No, Johann Lamont, flailing shadow FM; Alistair Darling, the man at the helm of the exchequer when things went spectacularly tits-up; and Dave Cameron, old Etonian and Thatcher fan-boy. Bring it on.