Started the campaign well behind. But a great effort from all. Whatever happens tonight, the Lab fightback in Scotland has begun in earnest.
— Kevin O’Donnell (@kevwodonnell) August 6, 2015
— Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) May 30, 2015
I try to be positive and not engage in schadenfreude on this blog, so I say this in the spirit of constructive criticism to all Labour activists, campaigners, politicians and supporters: please stop using the phrase “the Labour fightback starts here.” It’s jinxed. It’s cursed. It’s getting a bit embarrassing for everyone involved.
“Dundee, Scotland’s fourth-largest city, is a textbook example of how Labour is attempting to fight back in this Scottish parliament election.”
– Matthew Tempest, 20th April 2007 (when Labour were in government at Westminster and Holyrood)
“Here at Aviemore, the fightback has begun. It’s time to go to work.”
– Wendy Alexander, 29th March 2008, Scottish Labour conference
“And then there’s the message from the Scottish Labour Party’s general secretary, Colin Smyth, who appeals for help from supporters to aid Labour’s campaign to win the UK election, which he calls “Operation Fightback“… To use that old political line, Labour say – the fightback starts here.”
– Andrew Black, 27th March 2010 (when Labour was in government at Westminster)
“Labour’s fightback has started right here in Inverclyde – my hometown. ”
– Iain McKenzie*, 1st July 2011, after the 2011 Inverclyde by-election (Labour hold, but on a fraction of David Cairns’ majority from just the previous year)
“The fightback starts here!”
– David Martin, 11th September 2011
Vote sent away for @IanDavidsonMP for deputy leader @scottishlabour The man the SNP dont want. Get voting. Let the fight back begin
— Kevin Lindsay (@kevlindsayaslef) November 29, 2011
“Fightback begins as Scots Labour leader names team”
– The Herald, 20th December 2011, after Johann Lamont’s election
“And let no one underestimate the determination of Scottish Labour to regroup, to reform and to fight-back.”
– Iain Gray, 26th September 2011, resignation speech
“I honestly believe that each of you in this room has a real and significant contribution to make to our fightback.”
– Douglas Alexander, 19th November 2011
“Scottish Labour Conference: the fight-back has begun”
– Margaret Anslow, Executive Committee member for Scotland, 1st May 2012, after the Scottish Labour Conference
“There have been many highs in my time with the party, including helping deliver by-election and General Election victories and the recent local elections has shown that Scottish Labour is beginning the fight back after the disappointment of the last Scottish Parliamentary elections.
– Colin Smyth, 18th September 2012 (in his resignation statement)
“Colin has been a dedicated, loyal and hard-working servant of our party over the past 10 years. He has given me great support in my first year as General Secretary and delivered a fantastic fight back in the Scottish local election this year.
– Iain McNicol, General Secretary, 18th September 2012
“The Scottish Labour leader will launch a fightback at the Labour annual conference in Manchester, which will also hear Ed Miliband declare that only Labour can save the United Kingdom from the Nationalist threat to break up Britain.”
– Johann Lamont, 2nd October 2012
“I look forward to leading the Scottish Labour fight back across North Ayrshire and welcome the opportunity to meet as many constituents as possible to hear their concerns and their priorities for the future.”
– Margaret McDougall, 29th April 2013
– title of a Fabian Society paper by Andrew Harrop, 28th June 2014
“Sky News, speaking in Edinburgh, told us that the success of “Labour’s fightback” in Scotland was due to Gordon Brown, Labour’s “most vocal campaigner alongside Jim Murphy of course.””
– Sky News as recorded by Craig Murray, 6th May 2015, two days before the election
“Scotland needs a strong Labour Party and our fightback starts tomorrow morning.”
– Jim Murphy, 8th May 2015, after the 2015 General Election (he lost his seat and resigned as party leader)
— Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) June 2, 2015
— Kate Dearden (@kate_dearden) July 1, 2015
How many times will it be before a fightback actually shows some meaningful returns? Labour’s seen disaster upon disaster befall it in the last decade with little sign of that ill fortune letting up. Surely there comes a point where calling it a “fightback” is just tempting fate?
*Alright, a tiny bit of schadenfreude:
“With a result like this I think we can safely say the SNP bandwagon has ground to a halt.”
“Labour won this election because we listened hard and took nothing for granted. This is the start of Labour’s fightback and there will be a lot more listening to do over the coming months and years.”
– Iain McKenzie’s powers of clairvoyance are truly uncanny!