Martin Hannan: Claws out over identity crisis

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As an SNP member, I was utterly delighted, nay gobsmacked, by the results of the election.

I had thought 
 we might win 40 or so across the nation and four or five seats in Edinburgh and the Lothians, but to win 56 seats and all bar one 
locally was just magnificent.

I wasn’t surprised when the Conservatives won an overall majority – I hinted as much some weeks ago when I surmised that the Liberal Democrats were dead in the water and Ukip was losing support. Yet I was still astonished by the outcome, even though I had written before about the reasons why the Tories would do so well south of the Border – English nationalism, basically.

To be honest, it was quite sad to see some weel-kent decent Labour people go. I couldn’t get upset at all, however, about that execrable hatemonger Ian Davidson losing in Glasgow – his downright nasty call for Jim Murphy to take the blame and resign as Scottish Labour leader just minutes after Murphy had lost his job is the measure of the odious Davidson.

It was not the fault of too many Scottish Labour MPs, not even 
Davidson, that their party has completely lost its way.

For that is the biggest single cause of the Tory victory, and helps to explain why the SNP has risen so high.

Simply put, no-one knows what the Labour Party stands for. All that cuddling up to the City and starting illegal wars has put Labour in an identity guddle. Note, for instance, how Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair were only too quick and happy to point out that Ed Miliband’s shedding of New Labour clothing and cosying up to the unions had cost the party its chance of power. Yet isn’t Labour supposed to be the party of working people and the unions?

That is the fundamental and, I believe, irreconcilable dilemma that Labour now faces. It is policies that win elections, but how can Labour honestly advance the policies that will regain it Scottish support when those same policies will alienate the English middle classes?

The SNP has adopted policies similar to the other social democratic parties of northern Europe, which leaves Labour in Scotland only two places to go – further out to the left with a radical, nay revolutionary, approach or into the centre to take the vacuum left by the Liberal Democrats’ deserved demise. Who will make that call?

One final election word: with a few notable exceptions here in Scotland such as the estimable Ian Swanson of the News, every single political correspondent and political editor of every national newspaper should resign in total humiliation, or at the very least be sent on a course of basic reporting. For they just did not do their jobs properly.

This is an opinion column – not a word of which has ever been changed by the editor, may I add – so I can and do get opinions wrong, but these London-centric hacks are supposed to report facts impartially and challenge politicians’ assertions. Their performance over the referendum and this election has been appalling, misleading, biased, unprofessional, tawdry, and useless. Some of them make Jeremy Clarkson look like a beacon of fairness and intellectual rigour.

You know who you are. It’s your time to go, before the public loses all trust in the press.

Garden District plan looks rosy

So all of a sudden, the Garden District plan for development west of the City Bypass is back on the agenda.

As the News has revealed, Murray Estates’ £1 billion plan for development of the land between the M8 and A8 is up for discussion ahead of the supposedly “final” decision on the Local Development Plan which is due to be taken on Thursday.

Delaying the plan decision is a minor consideration if the council finally gets the LDP right. The Garden District solves a lot of problems and should be included in the LDP as a matter of course.

Seeing double for stage thrill

We are currently enjoying a vintage season at the Lyceum Theatre, and if you want to see theatrical comedy at its best, get along to Grindlay Street for The Venetian Twins. Hilarious!

It’s yet another triumph for the company whose artistic director Mark Thompson has announced that he will leave after next season. He will be very much missed.

IT’S A BAD CALL

The NHS in Edinburgh has an absolutely farcical phone system. Took me 16 minutes to get connected to the Eye Pavilion yesterday. Imagine that on a senior citizen’s phone bill.