Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Opposable Glums

BBC Scotland held a reception in Westminster last night for Scottish MPs and their hangers-on, to herald the publication of their Annual Review. BBC Governor Jeremy Peat gave an interesting and thoughtful speech, in which he touched on the BBC’s obligation to better reflect Scotland, not just to the Scots, but to the rest of the UK as well. While sidestepping the issue of a ‘Scottish Six’, he did dwell on the now compulsory course for BBC news staff, designed to raise awareness throughout the network of the impact of devolution.

It was impeccably unionist, yet there was still enough in there to please nationalists too. A well judged and diplomatic contribution, you might think. Well, not everyone agreed. I’ll spare some blushes and preserve the anonymity of the Labour MP who flounced out half way through the speech, ranting about how Peat was ‘sounding like a bloody SNP member’. If the MP’s colleagues agreed with him, which judging by the positive outward reactions of two Government Ministers to the speech they did not, the rest at least had the good manners to keep their counsel.

As our friend from last night managed to illustrate with uncharacteristic eloquence, Labour still doesn’t seem to have any collective idea how to respond to the fact that they’re out of power in Scotland. In manoeuvring to take over from Jack McConnell, Andy Kerr has made a series of overblown and misjudged attacks on Alex Salmond. Meanwhile, Record columnist and Gordon Brown mouthpiece Tom Brown, had an ad-hominem rant in last weekend’s Scotland on Sunday, the main purpose of which seemed to be to indulge in whinging self-catharsis about the SNP having made an assured start to their period in office.

At Scottish Questions yesterday, in defending the constitution unreformed, Des Browne drew a distinction between himself and his Lib Dem questioner, by announcing proudly that he was an ‘unevolving devolver’. He might do well to remember that it tends to be the species which fail to evolve and adapt that are the ones which usually end up extinct. Certainly, on the evidence of the last few weeks, there doesn’t seem to be much indication yet of any post-election evolution in Scottish Labour.

6 comments:

Julie Hepburn said...

I see you have plenty of fuel for your blog from your adventures in Westminster! Excellent posting. It is strange to see Labour in a collective sense of confused limbo, and the resulting exaggerated attacks on the SNP are quite bizarre.

Richard Thomson said...

Thanks, Julie. They're wandering around kind of lost at Holyrood just now, but last night's outburst had to be seen to be believed.

Things can only get bitter...

Anonymous said...

Spare blushes? Why? Go on - who was it?

Richard Thomson said...

Nope, not telling, at least for the moment :-)

Anonymous said...

Name and shame for goodnes sake. Are you feart of an accident on the Underground or what?

hacksaw jim duggan said...

Sunday Post spoke of a West of Scotland Labour MP.

Safe money on Jim Sheridan I reckons