I’m sure Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran thought she was joking when, as an aside in an interview with Holyrood magazine, she said:
“I think if Alex Salmond went under a bus tomorrow – not that I would ask who drove that bus – but seriously, if he wasn’t there I don’t think there is any other member of that team who could fulfil the role that he is playing and have that relationship with the Scottish people that he clearly does.”
Honestly, that bit in bold really was not necessary.
We don’t really need that kind of language. Basically she was actually saying that Alex Salmond was a uniquely talented politician – something not even his worst enemies could argue with, but then she ruined it all with that comment. Actually, scrub that – she was trying to say that the SNP was a one trick pony and they’d be nothing with Salmond out of the way – something highly insulting to good people like Nicola Sturgeon and Angela Constance. If Scottish Labour even had one person of that calibre, they’d be doing well.
All this comes in the wake of the awful treatment of SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford by Labour’s Scottish Affairs Select Committee chair Ian Davidson to virtually anything that leadership contender Tom Harris says.
You just get the impression that everyone in Labour hates the guts of everyone in the SNP. I still tend to the view that most people in politics are good people and I don’t feel comfortable about making jokes about anyone’s potential death. It’s just not funny. Yes, Salmond annoys the hell out of me a lot of the time, but he’s one of the most talented politicians I’ve known in my lifetime – and not just from Scotland either. I’m quite happy to take the mickey when the occasion demands it, but there are limits.
The SNP Government should be scrutinised to within an inch of its life – but front benchers in other parties, especially Labour, need to moderate the personal comments they make about people.