I think I must’ve only talked to Iain McKenzie a few times since his election in 2011. Back then, I wasn’t very political. I still bought into the apathetic “voting doesn’t make any difference anyway” myth, after seeing New Labour destroying civil liberties under Tony Blair and then wrecking the economy under Gordon Brown, with the only alternative being either the Tories, or the Lib Dems. We all know how that turned out. But the referendum – a referendum which, it must never be forgotten, New Labour, the NeoLibDems, and the Tories all tried to stop from taking place at all – changed all that. I started reading up, researching, enquiring.
So, six months following the referendum Mr McKenzie, as well as dozens more New Labour candidates, have sent leaflets like this through the doors of thousands of homes in Scotland. They’re all extremely similar to each other, with a few localised bits and pieces. Six months after the referendum, I’m confident that I don’t think I’ll be going back into the cave. I’ll be looking at the shadows on Mr McKenzie’s leaflet, and telling you what is really casting them.
Mr McKenzie could’ve done with a proofreader: a comma or hyphen in “for the many not the few” would’ve broken the sentence up better. Maybe take that comma in “Vote for Scottish Labour’s, Iain McKenzie” out. I can forgive errors like this – pobody’s nerfect, after all – but it’s a bit different when you’re delivering leaflets funded by the taxpayer. According to a letter in the 10th of April edition of the Greenock Telegraph:
ALONG with I assume all constituents, I recently received a letter on House of Commons paper and in a House of Commons marked envelope from Iain McKenzie.
The letter detailed a constituency surgery which is fair enough, but the envelope also contained a leaflet which, although not stating vote Labour, was nothing short of a re-election leaflet detailing the then-MP’s campaigns against the UK government.
I emailed his office asking who had paid for the correspondence, the taxpayer or the Labour Party, his reply… my expenses… i.e. the taxpayer money.
Inverclyde is a large constituency and the cost of the leaflet and postage must be considerable.
Name & Address supplied
To be clear, this leaflet is – as far as I’m aware – not funded by Mr McKenzie’s expenses. I just hope he had a proofreader for the leaflet which was. If you’re producing your own material using the party’s funds, campaign funds, or your own pocket, I can cut you some slack on pedantic stuff like this. But if the taxpayer’s footing the bill?
(X) This powerhouse Scottish Parliament could have been even more powerful if New Labour did not block several proposals for what became the Smith Commission – or if Ed Miliband hadn’t backtracked on the powers that were promised.
(X) By 2020, inflation & growth will mean that this won’t be an increase in real terms.
(X) This jobs guarantee is little better than workfare.
(X) If prices can move in any direction, then it isn’t a freeze, it’s a cap.
(X) You can use the mansion tax to fund whatever you like, but – as New Labour have been saying throughout the referendum – health is almost entirely controlled by the Scottish government. That extends to the employment and recruiting of staff. The only way New Labour could deliver 1,000 more nurses in Scotland is if New Labour were elected in 2016, not 2015.
Given that SNP MPs scare the wits out of the Tories to the point where government ministers openly prefer New Labour to win in Scotland, it’s clear they fear the leverage the SNP would have with a New Labour minority government far more than another Feeble Fifty. Besides, it’s all a moot point: New Labour say they’ll vote to defeat an attempted Tory government, so do the SNP.
In 2005, the average annual household energy bill was £595. By January 2010, it was £1,104 – an increase of £509. New Labour’s promise of £120 savings per family £500 million for Scottish families requires a lot of assumptions and variables about an unpredictable sector. The SNP did indeed abstain from the vote in parliament, but at least it is because SNP disagreed that a price “freeze” (really a cap) was the best course of action. Scottish New Labour MPs are perfectly happy to abstain on motions they agree with, just because they were tabled by the SNP.
It isn’t only New Labour who’ll raise the minimum wage: the SNP’s family manifesto pledges £8.70 an hour by 2020.
“Ensure we become a country that rewards hard work again” – well, we know what New Labour MPs think of those who don’t “work hard.”
As stated before, these “real, paid jobs” are little more than workfare warmed up. 25-hour weeks, £156.70 weekly wages, with the prospect of having benefits sanctioned if you refuse to take the job: how on earth is that meant to help anyone? And yes, that is Rachel Reeves on Mr McKenzie’s left.
I’ve highlighted the printing details to note that this Scottish Labour Party leaflet was printed in Cardiff. Now, most SNP supporters are well aware of the strange situation with the Scottish Labour Party, but just to clarify: if the Scottish Labour Party, the Welsh Labour Party, and the UK Labour Party are indeed separate – at the first leader’s debate, Jim Murphy stated he wanted to do a “deal” with the Labour Parties of England and Wales – then why is a Scottish party getting its election leaflets printed in Wales?
The truth of the matter is that there is no separate Scottish Labour Party, and there hasn’t been one since 1981. The party which calls itself Scottish Labour is in fact a section of the UK Labour party: as such, it must always defer to the UK party. This is the same for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Conservatives, and UKIP in Scotland. The SNP are the only party standing in Inverclyde which are based in and led entirely from Scotland.
“From yesterday to be honest… there’s nothing I’m saying to you from yesterday I would reverse” – The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls, on what he would change from George Osborne’s final budget
“There will be an end to zero-hours contracts.” – Tony Blair, 1995.
New Labour had 13 years of government to end zero-hours contracts. There comes a point where the phrase “put up or shut up” comes to mind.
On the 28th of January, 2 days later, Fergus Ewing MSP announced a Scotland-wide moratorium on fracking. That’s the SNP Government exercising their power to stop any onshore fracking four months ago.
If you and the rest of the 236 absent New Labour MPs (and former New Labour MP Eric Joyce) actually turned up to vote for the moratorium, there’s a chance the motion could have been carried. Fracking could have been stopped not only in Scotland, but the entire UK. Four months ago.
Here’s a wee historical morsel: the Tories don’t have to be the largest party to form the government. That’s what happened in 1951 under Winston Churchill: his Conservative party gained 267 to Labour’s 295 – Labour had 28 more seats. However, the Unionist Party of Scotland won 35 seats – and they were added to the Conservative vote, despite being a separate entity. It happened again in 1955: Anthony Eden’s 244 Conservatives (and 30 Scottish Unionists) formed the government because they commanded a majority, where Labour’s 277 could not.
By the same token, Labour don’t have to be the largest party to form the government either. That’s where the famous 1924 Ramsay MacDonald government came in: 191 Labour, 244 Conservatives (+14 Scottish Unionists) – but the 158 Liberals supported MacDonald’s Queen’s Speech. And in 2010, Gordon Brown attempted to form a government despite having only 258 New Labour MPs to the Conservatives’ 306 – the fact that the attempt was even made should prove what should now be obvious, that the largest party does not have to form the government at all.
A kind offer, Mr McKenzie, but I’m going to be voting for a candidate and a party who represent my interests. I’m afraid you, and New Labour, do not.