Well, I would say it's good to be back as the Aitken's had a superb holiday on Iona but returning to the aftermath of the worst fortnight the Labour Party has had in years thanks to the Glasgow East debacle is no pleasure.
Still, watching from afar but unable to participate in the Glasgow meant I could step back and reflect a little. There are many reasons why we lost Glasgow East but for me the tipping point was not the credit crunch, fuel prices or even the "couldn'y find a candidate" farce. It was a sentence, or more truthfully the lack of a sentence at Prime Minister's Question Time some weeks ago.
When David Cameron asked Gordon Brown if he backed Wendy Alexander's view on the need for an immediate referendum on independence if he had said "Wendy Alexander is the leader of the Scottish Labour Party and so is best placed to decide the Labour Party's strategy in Scotland and so I back her judgement" instead of prevaricating, we would have faced Glasgow East with a strong leader of a distinctly Scottish Labour party, the SNP referendum bluff called and a confident prime minister who would have shattered the image of him always trying to "control" Scotland Labour.
All the other factors that were hammering us would still have been around and it would have still been a very tough by election to win but I believe we would have.
Glasgow East is an object lesson in why giving up power will always bring you more influence then trying to hold on to it. Unless that lesson is learnt fast by Labour, and in particular its leader in Westminster, (its not too late but it's close), we face the doomsday scenario of an SNP/Tory cross boarder coalition, (remember it was the SNP who brought down Jim Callaghan's Government), breaking up Britain for their own political ends.
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
1 day ago