I think it is fair to say that Labour have been in meltdown for a long time now. Many people would say that in Scotland their demise started when they elected Tony Blair but I believe that it started a long time before that.
In this election I believe that Labour was always going to be up against it. They were starting from the low point of the leftovers from the referendum, the baggage of Better Together and campaigning with the Tories. The last memories that voters had on the doorstep was the Labour Party talking down Scotland at every turn and telling them that they could not be independent without Westminster aid. Not a good starting point at all. They also had Ed Miliband who just did not come across well, he spent very little time campaigning in Scotland which came across that possibly he thought it was sown up as far the votes went. Labour then made the huge mistake of electing Jim Murphy as branch leader and Kezia Dugdale as his deputy.
Jim Murphy has to be one of the most divisive Labour MPs in a long time; he flipped his views and his personal history more than Alistair Darling flipped his houses on our tax money. Unionists, but in particular Jim Murphy and Labour in Scotland, for some reason were still fighting the referendum from last September. The last few weeks of the campaign were all about the referendum and the next referendum when there was little evidence of any appetite from the YES Campaign for one anytime soon. The referendum agenda was being driven by the unionists and the media, which meant the voters saw that Labour were fighting something they weren’t hearing from the SNP.
Murphy and Labour then resorted back to the “a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Conservatives”, people already knew that a vote for Labour was a vote for Conservative policies so what exactly did Scottish voters have to lose. I suspect that many people took the view that at the very least the SNP would talk up Scotland and do their best to defend Scotland from any Conservative ravages that were to come, I don’t think anyone believed that Labour would do that as they hadn’t seen Labour do that for the last 30 years. Murphy and Dugdale talked about no cuts being implemented in Scotland, no seats would be lost, and the largest party always formed the government. All dishonest.
Add into the mix the hatred that Scottish Labour has for the SNP, the names that YES voters have been called by Labour and the media. Calling voters who previously voted for you in huge numbers Nazi’s was not the best election ploy, Labour were not only attacking the SNP they were attacking their own core vote from 2010 and the years before. They had taken the tactics of the Better Campaign of fear and assumed that it would work again. They just never took on board that Scotland is a different place now, that Scottish voters are far more informed than they have ever been. Voters can see Labour, no matter how much the media try to cover it up, for what they are and they didn’t like it and won’t support it any longer.
The campaign fought by Labour also put their sitting MPs back in the public eye. Margaret Curran, Iain Davidson, Douglas Alexander, Cathy Jamieson and Jim Murphy. People who had milked the system for so long, had enriched themselves on the backs of the poorest Scots. When they had to show some humility and admit their failings in Scotland you had Curran on about poor broadband, poor broadband will not put food on the table in Shettlestone in Glasgow. They were out of touch, rude, they had become the very elite that many in Scotland have had enough of. Labours time had come to an end.
The way back for Labour is going to be a very long one. Murphy refusing to step down, Dugdale having little life experience and even less presence will not help them in Holyrood. Throw in people like Jackie Baillie and the blame game that is about to start, possibly even in fighting as Labour MPs who have just lost their seat try to get on the list for Holyrood and you have a mess. The Labour Party leadership campaign might also see a major shift to the right and the election of another upper class and out of touch leader and Labour in Scotland will not recover for a long long time. The campaign was certainly the worst I have even seen from Labour, it was full of hate, it was tired, it was easy to spot the lies and the messengers were poor, no wonder they were almost wiped out and I suspect there is more pain to come.