Monday, November 2, 2015

The North by North Westminster Diary - Labour's Queen Beyond the Wall Begins to Regret Experiment with Democracy

Monday 2nd November
There’s trouble for the new Labour leader.
No, not that one. The other one.
I’m referring to Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s Queen Beyond the Wall, who today is dealing with the irony that, having successfully campaigned for Scottish Labour to have greater independence from the national party, Scottish Labour is now, in return, trying to get greater independence from her.
It all boiled down to a vote at conference on the thermonuclear thorn in Labour’s side, Trident. Ms Dugdale had urged caution, arguing for disarmament on a multilateral rather than unilateral basis. However, Scottish Labour voted overwhelmingly for the abolition of Trident, which now means that the Labour Party’s leader in Scotland has a different position from her party, which has the same position as the national leader, who has a different position from a large amount of his parliamentary party, all of whom are waiting on the national party who, as it stands, has no position at all.
Confused? Well, welcome to the contemporary Labour movement. And we haven’t even mentioned the divides in the unions, though their internal debate is easier to explain. It goes like this:
Union Member #1: Having a nuclear deterrent is a commitment to having the capability to obliterate entire cities and wiping out millions of people. That’s morally reprehensible.
Union Member #2: Yes. I agree. But… jobs?
Union Member #1: We’re talking about nuclear holocaust.
Union Member #2: Yes, which probably won’t happen. So, my question is: jobs?
Union Member #1: Dead people!
Union Member #2: Yes, yes, yes. But… jobs?
It’s the classic dilemma of the left. There is a policy which seems to be utterly morally reprehensible when we all want to join arms and sing the Red Flag, but if we were to change it we would cause sizeable unemployment for hard-working people on the lower end of the pay scale. It’s very much a lose-lose, and that’s before we talk in detail about whether the deterrent works or not.

Perhaps this is why Labour is outsourcing decision making to the ordinary members. It just seems like a lot of hard work.

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