Friday 26 August 2016

Owen Smith's hypocrisy and delusion over Scottish labour

Kezia Dugdale was the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party when they lost 40 of their 41 Westminster seats in 2015. She was then promoted to party leader in 2016 and went on to lead Scottish Labour to their most appalling Scottish Parliament performance in history, coming in third behind the widely despised Tories and not even winning her own constituency seat.

During a Labour leadership debate in Scotland Owen Smith tried to imply that anyone who doesn't agree that that's a "brilliant" and "fantastic" performance is an "entryist"! He then had the absolute gall to whine at the audience who laughed at his glowing appraisal of Dugdale's performance for not supporting their party leader. The absolute hypocrisy of the figurehead of the Anyone But Corbyn coup chastising other people for lack of loyalty to their party leader is absolutely astounding.

The people who laughed were laughing at the absurdity of Owen Smith's glowing appraisal of Dugdale's performance as party leader. It's not like they actually participated in a pre-planned, incredibly poorly-timed and ineptly executed coup-plot against their party leader like Owen Smith did.

It's difficult to just skip past such a searing display of hypocrisy from Owen Smith, but there is a more important issue.  Smith's comments about "entryism"
 just goes to show how utterly out of touch the guy is with what is going on in Scotland. He's banging on about the problem of supposedly undesirable people joining the party, when the real glaring problem is that once loyal Labour members and supporters have been deserting the party in droves.

In 1999 Labour won the first Scottish parliament election with 38.8% of the constituency vote. In 2003 they stayed as the main party in the Scottish government after securing 34.6% of the constituency vote. Fast forward to 2016 and Labour secured just 22.6% of the constituency vote and came in third behind the Tories. The performance was so bad that their own leader Kezia Dugdale failed to win a constituency seat and had to sneak in on the regional list!

The Labour Party leadership doesn't need to be angrily dismissing people as "entryists" if they refuse to accept the bizarrely rose-tinted claim that the current Scottish leader is doing a "wonderful job", they need to urgently accept that something is going terribly wrong with Scottish Labour and start thinking about what they intend to do to rectify the problem.

Pretending that everything is "wonderful" in Scottish Labour under Kezia Dugdale's leadership is very much like the behaviour of an alcoholic denying that they have a drink problem. The first step towards recovery comes when the person with the problem stops reacting angrily and defensively every time anyone alludes to it, and accepts that the problem actually exists.

Scottish Labour driving almost half of their voters away from the party in less than two decades is an incredibly serious problem. Finishing behind the Tories in the 2016 Scottish parliament elections is a clear indication of how severe the problem has now got. If things continue along this trajectory Scottish Labour is going to fade away and become a very minor player in Scottish politics, perhaps even being overtaken by the growing Scottish Green Party and the Lib-Dems (who are now flatlining, which is better than still shedding huge numbers of votes like Labour).

Owen Smith and anyone else trying to furiously defend the Scottish Labour leader when the symptoms of terrible decline are now so completely obvious is clearly living in some kind of closed ideological bubble. Reality-denying ideological bubble dwellers are a serious problem because they will obviously resist any efforts to resolve the problems, because people who are in denial tend to strenuously refuse treatment for the problems that they have deluded themselves into believing that they don't have.

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