>This is a mini rant as I’m trying to get ready to take Anna into Edinburgh for what will probably be an expensive afternoon involving Winter boots and Hallowe’en costumes.
However I’ve just watched Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray’s lamentable interview on the Politics Show yesterday.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott had robustly put the case for the difference the Liberal Democrats had made in Government, securing the carriers jobs, the extra investment from the fossil fuel levy, the fact that Scotland had a billion more than expected over the four years, as well as taking close on 100,000 Scots out of tax completely. You can’t deny that a Tory Government on its own would never have thought to bother about Scotland and it’s testament to our ministers’ fighting within the coalition that we’ve got comparatively better result.
So, what was Iain Gray’s plan, then? He and his colleagues north and south of the border have been whinging for days about the Comprehensive Spending Review in particular and for months about everything else the Coalition does in general. So they must have a better plan, right? Err, no. What Iain Gray said was that they’re waiting for John Swinney to come up with the Scottish Budget and then they’ll respond to it. What a cop out! Rather than come up with their own plan, they’ll just carp at John Swinnney’s, the same way as they’ve trashed the Coalition.
There’s more to responsible politics than just pulling lumps out of the other side. You have to have your own alternative to put forward, to give to the debate. The Labour Party are just sitting on the sidelines throwing metaphorical rotten eggs and tomatoes at whoever happens to walk past. That alone shows that they are completely unelectable. What sort of leader sits about and makes his decisions based on what other people are doing? With Iain Gray as First Minister we’d have a reactive and reactionary government in Holyrood without a single original idea in their head that they’re willing to take responsibility for.
And that’s not forgetting the fact that Labour are responsible for the mess we are in in the first place. Not the stuff they had to do in response to the collapse caused by the bankers, because I agree that they did have to put money into the economy for all our sakes. No, it’s the 10 years before that, when they had the most benign of economic circumstances, when they spent much more than we were bringing in, putting nothing away for a rainy day, creating a structural deficit that was say out of control. That’s the bit we have to bring some order into.
And don’t forget that the Labour Party told George Osborne that they recommended cuts of 20% per department. What would that have looked like? Don’t let them off the hook on that one. Next time you have a Labour activist on your doorstep, don’t let them go until they’ve given you some specific answers about what they would have cut. It’s not a million miles away from the spending review we’re looking at now, regardless of what they might tell you.
Labour can’t be allowed to get away with their past failures or the way they are behaving in opposition.