Brian Monteith: Labour pains won't ease any time soon

I'm going to give the SNP a bit of respite care this week and pick on the Labour Party. At times I feel like I harangue SNP politicians rather a lot, but then they are the ones in power in Scotland and have been at the top of the tree so long now they are the new establishment. It seems an age since Jack McConnell was in the hot seat with Nicol Stephen (remember him?)

Friday, 30th September 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 12:43 pm
Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates and members at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Why, it’s been so long ago we can now talk about the days of Labour and Liberal Democrat coalitions as “back in the day”.

Well, if the Labour conference is anything to go by it is going to be a lot longer before that party has a sniff of real power again.

The public rarely votes for a party at war with itself and there’s an awful lot of comradely healing to be done before Labour is singing from the same hymn sheet.

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And it won’t be “Onward Christian Soldiers” if Jeremy Corbyn has anything to do with it.

While I actually find Corbyn’s naïve approach at times refreshingly honest I cannot see why people would turn out in their droves to vote for someone who, if the security of our country is imperilled, would choose not to defend it. Not putting missiles on our submarines is akin to not giving our soldiers bullets.

It reminds me of that famous Saatchi & Saatchi Tory poster from the 80s attacking Labour’s defence policy, showing a squaddie holding his hands up to surrender.

And as for his dalliances with and excuses for terrorists who have sought to kill his fellow elected politicians or innocent women and children – that has still to be made a big issue of. I reckon that the Tories are holding back on it until the general election comes

Then there are all the inconsistencies in his policy platform, such as wanting to nationalise the railways while wanting to remain in the European Union. The two do not go together.

If we had remained in the EU its judges would have overturned any legislation to “take back control” of the railways, just as the EU rules forced the last government to privatise the Royal Mail.

Some commentators say Corbyn’s lukewarm campaigning to stay in the EU was all part of a cunning plan to let Labour members feel able to vote Leave.

I disagree; that compliments Corbyn with a degree of cunning and guile that thus far he’s not displayed

What can be said in his defence is he was a better choice than his challenger Owen Smith. Corbyn may be unelectable (in my book) but Smith was just incoherent.

Then we have the farce of the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale coming out against him when it was a certainty Corbyn would win – and now looking very stupid. With judgement like that she could soon be England manager.

I’ll have a Big Mac and a pint of heavy

For a minute I thought I had missed a revolutionary new change at McDonald’s when I saw the headline saying it had been refused a 24-hour licence!

What?! A pint of heavy with a Big Mac? But no, it was a licence to open at Cameron Toll for 24 hours, not to sell alcohol. The thought of a wee whisky in my Coke or a sly tot of rum in my mocha to wash down the Hot and Spicy Chicken Legend appeared like a lightbulb above me, but was quashed when I reminded myself that McDonalds is an oasis of family-friendly sobriety. And so it should be.

McDonalds and other fast food restaurants get enough (undeserved) stick without them selling alcohol too. Still, I think they could teach a few pubs about customer service – imagine being offered a free round of drinks on a Friday night in a city bar if you weren’t served within ten minutes!

Britannia’s exit plan scuppered

MAN the barricades, blockade the docks! They’re not getting Britannia for any Brexit trade missions. What a barmy idea! For a start its now owned by the Scottish registered charity The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, and allowing it to become a floating trade centre cum cocktail bar for poker-playing and deal-making is not in its charitable objectives. More importantly, the palatial hulk has no propellers – and retro fitting them won’t come cheap.

Anyway, what does using a charming relic of 50s maritime design say about a country wishing to convince foreign investors wishing to part with their dollars, rubles and yen? Far better to build a new yacht that shows off our ideas and technology at its best to do that job – at private cost of course – and if Jeremy Corbyn ever gets elected Prime Minister it can be renamed Potemkin.

It’s a funny old game for Sam Allardyce

Imagine getting the job of your dreams and being paid £3 million – yes, a three with six zeroes after it – per year to do what you love doing anyway. Then you are asked if you could use some time to do speaking engagements on the side in Hong Kong and Singapore for 100 grand a pop, all expenses paid. Then, instead of treating this offer as something you should do after your dream job when you have lots of stories to tell, you meet complete strangers and have a few drinks discussing it.

I don’t know Sam Allardyce but if that was the level of his judgement I can’t understand how he got as far as he did in becoming England manager – and how his Football Association bosses thought he was the man for the job.