It’s time Labour Elvis left the building

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by Paul Kavanagh

Have you ever noticed that it’s a person who is having an affair who is often the first to accuse others of having affairs?  Labour works the same way.  They’re like a particularly depressing episode of East Enders, only without any story arc or plot resolution.  The only plots Labour is involved in are internal ones and for us simple punters they never get resolved.  In the Labour soap opera evil villains do not get their come-uppance, they’re given seats in the House of Lords.

Packing off self-serving dinosaurs to the House of Lords and giving them cosy sinecures in quangos is the Labour equivalent of crashing a Manchester tram onto the heads of half the cast of Coronation St.  But this election may yet show that the great Edinburgh tram crash will fall on Labour’s heads.

Labour has got so bad that only something truly drastic will knock any sense into them.  They don’t just need to lose this election, they lost the last one and it made no difference,  they need to be humiliated.  Modern Labour is a sad imitation of a once great party.  They are to the principles and beliefs of the founders of Labour as an out of tune, overweight, balding Elvis impersonator in a spangly jumpsuit is to the King in his pelvis swinging hey-day.  

Actually it’s worse than that, at least Elvis impersonators sing Elvis songs.  The song the modern Labour Elvis impersonator sings is a cacophonous screeching composed by focus groups and set to an American neo-conservative tune.  It’s about as hip and happening as Fran and Anna, only less danceable, and it makes Morrisey and the Smiths sound as cheery as the Birdy Song.  You can only sing the chorus if you’re chewing wasps, as Johann Lamont so ably demonstrated on STV last week.   

Johann Lamont, for those who don’t know (and there are many) is Iain Gray’s deputy.  We only discovered he had a deputy when Johann was flushed out of hiding last Wednesday, after Iain’s management of the campaign went down the toilet pan in Asda Ardrossan.  Johann’s been beelin ever since, as Jackie Baillie, Andy Gray and that other one I can never remember have stayed out of it so far so no one can drop the blame for the campaign disaster on their heads like an Edinburgh tram.

But Labour still thinks they’re the sexy young Keir Hardie socialist Elvis. It’s the image they think they present to the public.  But contrary to common belief, Labour are not deceiving the Scottish public.  Labour are deceiving themselves.  It’s the only thing they’re any good at.   It’s a mental defence mechanism.  They look in the mirror and see the image on the political left.  We see the reality on the right.

The party is in thrall to psychological projection.  Psychological projection, as the What the Psychiatrist Says section in Cosmo magazine will tell you,  is closely linked to Antisocial Personality Disorder.  Sufferers blame everyone and everything else for their own failings, never recognising that these failings are in fact their own.  Alas there is no cure, although giving the sufferer a really good kicking makes the rest of us feel better and means we no longer have to listen to their miserabilist whining.

This election has seen whining Labour Elvis visit many out of the way places on the campaign trail.  Food retail outlets have however proven especially tricky, what with the Great Subway Sandwich Escape and the collision with the Ardrossan Asdaroid.  They’re dangerous places for Labour politicians.  

Undaunted, on Monday the Fearless Yin uh-huh felt brave enough to venture into a supermarket in Livingston.  Iain Gray trod fearlessly into the Killing Fields of Camembert and Specialist Cheeses, but only because he had Gordie Broon to hold his hand.

Gordie’s a political giant, at least compared to Iain, and has worn an Elvis quiff wig so long that he thinks it’s his own hair.  Gordie dominated the proceedings in the pet supplies section, just down from the poop bags and the kitty litter on special offer.  His head seemed to be surrounded by a radiant halo,  but on closer inspection it turned out to be an aisle display for worming tablets.

But even Labour doesn’t need Gordon’s tired old whining anymore.  It has no requirement for Gordon’s dodgy arithmetic when it has the mathematical skills of Andy Back of a Fag Packet Kerr.  But since Andy and the entire Labour front bench have spent the election campaign in hiding, Iain was obliged to trot out someone just to prove that Labour has more than one member who was actually elected by Scottish voters.

The Labour faithful were assembled to hear the word of Gord.  He was going to deliver the Sermon on the Mount of Baked Bean tins that would turn the campaign around.    

But the big message from the Saviour of the World was some tired old schtick that an independent Scotland would have been like Iceland and couldn’t have afforded to bail out the banks.  Since we’re not actually voting on Scottish independence in this election, we must assume he meant the frozen food shop.  Gordie caused the crisis, so he knew fine well that even a supermarket’s worth of economy pack party niblets and family sized toffee and banana cheesecake wouldn’t be enough to keep a banker in Ferraris for very long.

Having given free plugs to Subway Sandwiches and Asda already during this campaign, Labour now hope to assure themselves of getting a discount on all their messages.  They’re going to need it once they can no longer claim free lunches on parliamentary expenses.  

It’s all an exercise in what-if-ery with Gordon and Labour.  What if an independent Scottish government had been as dumb as Gordon was.  What if an independent Scotland had framed its economic policies to appeal to Middle England Daily Mail readers and bankers in the City of London.  What if all that oil Scotland has wasn’t ours and belonged to London.  What if Labour really was a social democratic party and not a bunch of opportunistic careerists.  What if this really wasn’t an election for the best government for Scotland, but instead just a chance to ‘send a message’ to Davie Cameron.  What if Labour really was Elvis.  

But Gordie spoke the truth, at least the truth as he sees it when he looks in the mirror and sees a sexy pelvis swinging young socialist look back at him.  Viewed through the inverted haze of Labour denial, what Gordon was really telling us was that Scotland couldn’t survive the Labour party.  But we knew that already.  However as Gordon will be buggering off to a nice cushy job with the World Bank at the earliest available opportunity, it won’t be a problem, at least not for him.  

It’s the same with Ed M and Ed B, and all the other ‘big hitters’ Labour has presented during the campaign.  To them Scotland is nothing more than a chance to score points in their game of yah boo sucks to you with the Tories at Westminster.  A game they’re losing.  Meanwhile they insult our intelligence first by asking us to re-run the last Westminster vote, and now having seen that’s not working by asking us to vote as though this was the referendum on independence they don’t want us to have and to vote for a Scottish Labour party that’s neither Scottish nor Labour.  

They’re as pathetically transparent as a fourth rate Elvis impersonator who thinks he can fool us into believing he’s the real thing.  Yet they’re still clinging to the vain hope that we haven’t seen through them.  

On Thursday, we can tell them we have.  Let’s give Labour the kicking they so richly deserve, and make sure that Elvis has left the building.