Socialist Worker

Deepening crisis in Scottish Labour

Issue No. 2435

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy (Pic: Steve Punter)

A poll released just after Christmas put the SNP on 43 percent and Labour on 26 percent. 

That’s no longer a shock, but the figures also suggested that the swing to the SNP was greatest in working class areas which had previously been regarded as safe Labour seats.

Election expert John Curtice commented, “If anything, estimates of how many seats the SNP might win that are derived by assuming that the Scotland-wide movement uncovered by a poll would be replicated in each and every constituency in Scotland could actually underestimate the scale of SNP gains.”

He added that if this poll is correct then the SNP will win 53 seats, Labour only three, the Lib Dems three—and the Tories none.

That would make it much less likely that Labour will have a majority at Westminster, and would give the SNP serious influence. 

But nobody should believe that the SNP will consistently stand up against austerity. 

The latest evidence are figures showing it has abandoned policies to protect teacher numbers and reduce class sizes.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said a Scottish government financial settlement published late last year made no mention of future funding of these previously key policies.

Larry Flanagan, the EIS general secretary, has now written to John Swinney, the deputy first minister, saying, “The settlement, which seemed to grant local authorities a licence to attack teacher numbers and increase class sizes, suggests that the Scottish government is willing to abandon key commitments to Scotland’s pupils, parents and teachers.”

Meanwhile Labour’s new Scottish leader Jim Murphy has come under fire after he was revealed to be an adviser to the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society (HJS).

Murphy is one of 11 Labour MPs on its political council.

The group’s views are so outlandish that even the Tories broke off relations in 2011.

In 2013, HJS associate director Douglas Murray claimed London had “become a foreign country” because “white Britons” were a minority in 23 of 33 London boroughs.

Murphy gave speeches at the HJS’s London headquarters in 2012 and 2013.


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