The Labour party needs to re-think. They failed to gain enough seats in England and they were trounced in Scotland. All the debate at the moment seems to centre on 'we lost in England because we were too left-leaning'. Blair, Mandelson, that other Miliband - even Lord Sugar are all lining up behind this analysis.
So what happened in Scotland? Surely SNP won because it gave a coherent anti-austerity (ie more leftward) message. Can't anyone see that maybe if Labour had articulated that message in England they might have had more success?
Apparently not. And this (once again) exposes a complete inability of the English and the establishment to understand what is happening in Scotland. It seems their analysis cant get beyond the 'religious hysteria' interpretation of events in Scotland so offensively described in the Telegraph today. This reveals (once again) how the English and the establishment regard Scots as some weird tribe, ancient and unfathomable and very clearly anti-English. (I'll say it again just for the record - what is happening in Scotland is nothing to do with anti-Englishness). In Scotland we cant help but see this insistence on an anti-English interpretation as divisive and, frankly, racist. So the English perception of anti-Englishness begets anti-Englishness. As an Englishman in Scotland this is very sad.
I've given up on the Union, but I do still care for the Labour party. Here's an alternative analysis of the election (for them, sadly, to ignore).
- The SNP gave a message of hope. This gained most momentum during indyref but was very well articulated during the election. This 'hope' wasn't Stalinist (referencing that Telegraph article again) - it was a simple idea that you grow the economy by investing in it: it was a simple idea that economic growth on the back of low wages and zero hour contracts isn't worth having.
- But the SNP did something else really very important. In the indyref there was a massive ground campaign to get all those who are disenfranchised - all of those for whom politics had seemingly lost all meaning, to register to vote. These abandoned folk used to be represented by Labour, but they've been forgotten in the Blairite lust to bed big business.
It's really that simple. Offer hope, and engage those who need hope most. And get away from this idea that there is a relationship between anti-austerity and anti-business. Business sees the need for investment, business sees the need for an educated, healthy and engaged workforce, business sees the need for money to circulate in the economy (rather than concentrate at the top), business understands the need for social cohesion.
But I fear no-one is listening to Scotland and I am aghast.
(Oh and here is that offensive Telegraph article - but I dont single out the telegraph there's much worse elsewhere - including the Mail yesterday) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11594721/For-the-good-of-the-Union-its-time-for-England-to-stand-up-to-the-Scots.html