Where now for Johann Lamont?


After the bitter and hate filled speech delivered on 22nd March to the Labour faithful it is worth considering “Where now for Johann Lamont?” As well as pondering this question I will also try to unravel the reasons that I believe lie behind the weekends extraordinary, distasteful events.
To do this one needs to understand what the Labour Party actually is and where it sits in the greater context of the British Establishment.
The Westminster Political Establishment is nothing more than a way to make money for enterprising individuals. The MPs and Peers who haunt the various parts of the Westminster Parliament all belong to a very elite class. It’s nominally there to represent the ordinary people but British politics has become so sick to the core with corruption that it’s best that we don’t kid ourselves regarding what Westminster would like everyone to think it is. We know exactly what it is.
It is a well used cliche, but it is easiest to imagine the Westminster system as the Octopus, with it’s tentacles spreading throught society, controlling, manipulating, pulling the strings and pulling in the cash. The network spreads out from London and when they reach the border they take on the red hue of Scottish Labour.
In this system of patronage and chronyism, loyalty is expected to move both up and down the chain of connected people. In Scotland it manifests itself with a Labour Peer or a Labour MP, employing an entourage, opening metaphorical doors for others to profit from connections. As you go down the food chain you will find Special Advisors, Journalists and Councillors all making a crust from this system. In Labour controlled councils you will find relatives popping up in 3rd party businesses that supply services to the council. You will find dodgy land deals masquarading as council legitimacy. Arms length businesses are created to run council services, willingly staffed by loyal retainers who may be relatives, or they may not be, but they will be Labour Party members or supporters. Mothers employ sons, sons help out cousins. Parliamentary seats are passed down from Father to Son as if they were cherished heirlooms. The newspapers, TV and Radio look on and accept this without as much as an investigative poke with the toe of a shoe, but then the Journalist is involved, he or she is a Labour Party member and will be keeping an eye on the latest vacancy for a well paid Special Advisor post when Ed wins power, or perhaps there is a little earner in the running from a juicy seat on the council.
All of which brings me to Johann Lamont’s little outburst at the Labour Conference.
Just to remind you, Johann had a very unsubtle go at Mr and Mrs Salmond and their lack of children. At first I believed it was just down to sheer unpleasantness on the part of Johann Lamont. Actually it was due to unpleasantness; you don’t deliver words like she did without being a basically nasty person, but there is more to it than that. A lot more.
Johann’s speech would have been a collaboration between individuals within her inner circle. Most politicians employ speech writers and in these days of total control this particular speech will have been drafted, redrafted, checked, peer (no pun intended, although it probably was checked by a Peer) checked and signed off at a high level. Think Murphy, Alexander, Foulkes or even Ed.
But what message were they trying to convey and why? It wasn’t simply an insult, or a petulant outburst designed to make the faithful happy. There was a very carefully considered sub text to the jibe.
Let us go back to our Octopus and those tentacles, and let us look at what is happening at the coal face (never was a term so inappropriate to describe modern Labour, but hey ho) of the Labour Party business machine.
Due to the majority that the SNP enjoys in the Scottish Parliament, it has been able to put in place various local government initiatives that effectively choke off the oxygen of corruption. The major losers in this have been Labour councils and their nets of patronage. One need only look at the threats from Labour councils to leave COSLA to see the effect that this is causing. Of course the original idea was to make Councils run efficiently for the benefit of the hard pressed local communities, suffering under Tory led public spending cuts, but try running that logic past the cousin or friend who sees the cash flow drying up from a previously compliant Labour council.
Urgent, panicked message will be travelling up that foodchain to the Labour leadership and those messages will be invoking a claim for loyalty to travel down the way. Of course, the people at the top; Murphy, Alexander and Lamont herself will also be looking on with alarm as doors start to creak slowly shut on their ambitions.
The message will have gone out; “Independence must be stopped!” But how to do it. Labour cannot rely on a compliant media and dyed in the wool loyalty from it’s grass roots support alone to win the day. Democracy and playing by the rules don’t have a look in where this particular game is concerned, at least as far as Scottish Labour is concerned.
What I believe the intended message was supposed to convey was this;
To Alex Salmond:
“Back off Salmond, wind your neck back in, start compromising on Independence or else!”
The rest of the sub text can be translated thus;
“We will not allow this to happen, our very existence as a money making vehicle for enterprising members is under extreme stress. The whole framework of the British Establishment, which we have capitalised and benefited from both personally and financially over the last 50 years is about to be torn up by the Yes campaign. Start talking to us about a middle way that will preserve the British patronage system that the Labour party continues to see as it’s natural born right to profit from or things will move from insults to unspecified actions. We have at our disposal the full might of the British State and we will not hesitate to use it.”
To our colleagues in the British Establishment (including Cameron’s Government):
“This is what we are prepared to say. It goes beyond what is characterised as fair but we believe it displays our determination to preserve the Union and that it displays our utmost loyalty to the British Established Order and the British State. You had better be prepared to back us up.”
Now back to my question; “Where now For Johann Lamont?”
Well, anywhere that gets the job done. Preserve the Union and you preserve those nice little earners for Labour career politicians, from the Non Executive post on the board of the Multi National Company, to the £300 a day expenses for that Socialist Peer of the Realm, from the MP with her eye on the prize, to the Special Advisor who went through such trials and hard work gaining that Degree in Politics, Economics and Philosophy. From the Councillor with the 2nd cousin who’s taxi business desperately needs the Council business, to the son and his wanna be aspirations to be just like Mummy and make decisions at the top table in the City Chambers.
Johann will do anything to ensure the above continues to function, even when it comes to “Non Specified Actions.”

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2 thoughts on “Where now for Johann Lamont?

  1. CapnAndy.

    An excellent article and so, so true. In Labours Scotland, it’s not a case of ‘What you know’, it’s ‘Who you know’. With Labour in Scotland it’s reached epidemic proportions and Joe Public is starting to figure it out.

    Reply
  2. Votefor Poodles

    Enjoyed your piece , lots to think on , I look forward to reading your future analysis. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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