I’m no fan of Jim Murphy MP, currently occupying the position of Secretary of State for Scotland. I don’t like his superciliousness; I disdain his contemptuous dismissal of people who don’t agree with him; I think his politics are unremittingly negative; I think his ideal of keeping Scotland thirled to a failing UK is dangerous for our well-being; I don’t like politicians who deal in untruths; and I think his blog is terrible. That said, his particular brand of political operation, unsavoury as it is, has a degree of efficacy which his predecessors lacked entirely – he clothes himself in other people’s issues, he gives quotes which journalists are likely to use, he holds his line, and he puts himself about a bit. I would like to see him and his party removed from office, I think they do Scotland enormous damage (which can most charitably be put down to ignorance rather than intent on their part), and their choking hands still the ferment of Scottish aspiration.
I will contend with Mr Murphy and other members of his party on each and every issue upon which we disagree; I will call into question the hagiographies which they spin around themselves; and I will seek to release Scotland from the retardation which Labour imposes upon us. Scotland removed from them in 2007 the brevet which they carried as the governing party in the Scottish Parliament and I would like to see that change extended, with Scotland using the UK election to remove many more of the ineffectual and deadening from our politics. I will work to bring that about, and I will use the most effective means I can find to do that, I will quite happily mock opponents and use humour to prick their pomposity; I will contest their arguments (on the odd occasion we can find them) and I will poke at their claims in the hope of rousing truth. What I won’t do is pour vitriol on their person nor will I fling epithets with no foundation. I sometimes aim at the politician rather than at the politics, but that’s when I feel that it’s the politician who deserves it and I’ll be delighted to aim a brickbat or two in Mr Murphy’s direction. I won’t be making unfounded allegations about his domestic life (about which I know nothing) nor accusations about his behaviour which cannot be proven. The political face he leads with and the politics he espouses are enough of a target without resorting to wild creativity.
Likewise, I believe that describing him in profane terms on my blog would be counter-productive, leading no-one to change their mind to side with the party I support and perhaps obscuring the actual arguments being led so well by so many members of the SNP. Mr Murphy and all who sail with him can expect their arguments to be holed below the water-line but they can also expect the torpedo to be polite, mind its manners, do its job with minimal collateral damage, and provide life-rafts on the way out. I want Scotland to be independent and I find difficulty in tholing the negative and unproductive politics of those who blindly oppose independence but we are in the process of building a country and we will need an independent Scotland to have political opinions of all hues if we are to build a better country. In an independent Scotland we will need all to debate, to contend, and to think on improving our nation without the diminishing effect of empty epithet. We need to create a better politics to build a better country and we can’t do that with ignorance, nor by suggesting that our opponents are part of the pudenda of Scotland. I’m glad that members of the SNP eschew that kind of language in favour of the positive and we must do more to encourage others to do similar.
I’m no fan of Jim Murphy but I’ll treat him to a bacon roll and a cup of tea the morning after the count, and I’ll encourage him to pick himself up and dust himself off after a crushing defeat, and I’ll tell him that he needs to turn his mind to the kind of Scotland he wants to see when we’re independent. If we can turn the talents of Jim Murphy away from the negative and the down-treading that he’s engaged in at the moment and encourage him to speak positively for Scotland then we will have had a result which benefits all of us. We’ve got what it takes, now we just have to apply it.