IAN Murray, the Scottish Labour MP who will never be mistaken for a ray of sunshine, has spent the last three months or so trying to remind us that he, too, resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet on that June evening when Hilary Benn tried to orchestrate his chicken coup against the leader of the opposition. Until that day most people had forgotten that Murray, the Scottish Labour Party at Westminster, was also the shadow Scottish secretary by default.

Having made a serious error of judgment in backing the most incompetent political coup in the history of UK politics, you would have thought Murray would have had the sense to have kept quiet over the summer. Instead, he has popped up here and there, waving his arms desperately trying to get noticed, like the big lad with the specs and the flat feet who’s hoping forlornly to get picked for the school first XI.

No-one who has any genuine feelings for the Labour Party in Scotland is likely to care about what Murray has to say about the party. He scraped back into Westminster in the 2015 election.

Like his leader, the increasingly erratic Kezia Dugdale, Murray backed the wrong candidate in the Labour leadership campaign and for the wrong reasons. His juvenile vindictiveness and Dugdale’s failure to conduct herself graciously following Corbyn’s leadership victory were unworthy of the Labour Party in Scotland.

On Monday, Murray said that Johann Lamont’s description of the party in Scotland as the London “branch office” had destroyed it. If this is characteristic of mainstream thinking in Labour north of the Border then it still has many years left to wander aimlessly in the political wilderness. Even as Dugdale is earnestly pleading the case for more autonomy for the party in Scotland, both she and her hapless former deputy are effectively undermining their own case.

Ms Lamont’s “branch office” description was probably the most prescient thing any Labour leader in Scotland has said for years. Instead of judging her harshly for it, the party ought to have been thankful for her honesty. That should have been a moment of truth for Labour in Scotland and they ought to have built from there. Instead, they chose Jim Murphy as their leader. This was like throwing a bucket of water over a drowning man.

Murphy after all (with the possible exception of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown) had done more than anyone else to drive tens of thousands of Labour supporters into the arms of the SNP.

His disastrous, but mercifully brief, tenure led in turn to Dugdale getting the job many years before she otherwise ought to have. Labour need to understand why so many of their former and fiercely loyal supporters migrated to the SNP and why none of them appear to have returned in the intervening two years.

Murray’s crassly simplistic assertion that it was the “branch office” comment that was chiefly responsible for his party’s demise in Scotland is indicative of the problem.

His party’s well-paid senior figures campaigned far too closely with the Tories to preserve the Union and were far too gleeful about the result. That was the first betrayal. That many of them then scurried off to corporate jobs within world capitalism’s biggest institutions was the second betrayal. That senior Labour figures continue to participate in the lie that the independence referendum was “divisive” and “nasty”, thus denigrating the campaigning of many of their supporters, was the third betrayal. Playing into the hands of the Tories and the right-wing press and undermining your own leader by joining the plot against him was the fourth betrayal. Doing so when the Tories were on the ropes over Brexit and riven by their own internal divisions was the fifth.

Dugdale and Murray have talked about the need for Corbyn “to unite the party”, while undermining him from the day he was elected leader. They’re still at it. Murphy, Darling, Brown, Murray and Dugdale would be nothing without the hard work and dedication of thousands of activists all over the country.

It’s these activists who have given Corbyn an unassailable democratic mandate and whose voices many in the party have insulted with their anti-Corbyn posturing. The campaign against Corbyn was founded on old-fashioned, establishment fear of an authentic socialist and then floated on a sea of lies and half-baked innuendo. He didn’t campaign hard enough on staying in Europe: Yes he did; like many in the party he was a reluctant European but, in the words of Angela Eagle, covered more miles than anyone else in campaigning to Remain.

He is anti-Semitic and was responsible for Watergate-style break-ins at the offices of his party opponents – yet, not a shred of evidence exists for either of these two claims.

John McDonnell, Corbyn’s shadow chancellor, and Seumas Milne, his director of communications, have been described to me as shadowy, vampiric figures who kidnap children in the middle of the night. And all because they are uncompromising about opposing welfare cuts; supportive of proportionate nationalisation on industries ruined by rank profiteering; and who oppose spending £205 billion on weapons of mass destruction. They want to stimulate the economy not by quantitative easing, tax avoidance and low wages but by the mildly Keynesian exercise of responsible borrowing at favourable rates.

These are authentic and moderate left-wing positions. They are not the extreme left-wing positions of the right-wing commentariat’s vivid imagination.

Dugdale and her hapless former deputy want more autonomy for Labour in Scotland. But that is only beneficial if there are reserves of talent and bright ideas to take advantage of the extra powers.

Sadly, Labour in Scotland, with a few exceptions, has little talented fresh blood and no new ideas.

The Labour leadership in Scotland is simply not yet mature enough to be given the keys to the house.

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