RUTH Wishart finely filleted Keir Starmer in her article in the Sunday National, and that had to be penned even before Starmer’s car crash Sunday interview on the BBC and the Andrew Marr programme (Starmer’s case for Labour will not be winning back votes here any time soon, Sep 26).

This should have been Labour’s time at their party conference: guardians of the opposition, the government in waiting, their time to close down on all those winning moments, interventions, and savaging of Westminster gained over the last 12 months and counting.

But no, the opposition from Labour has been deafeningly silent, inefficient and more often or not simply missing. So now the headlines go yet again to focus on polarising, internal arguments so beloved of Labour, especially at conference time. And “bad language” thrown in for good measure.

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: Keir Starmer’s Labour won't win back Scottish votes any time soon

All in all, political incompetence and failure yet again from Labour. Who bets now that the PM won’t call a UK General Election in 2023? It would take a lot more for the wheels to come off the Tory bandwagon and their golden boy moving from asset to liability. And with our elections due, campaigns to run, seats and councils to defend and win, another campaign will potentially deplete resources. And just what will another pro-indy electoral mandate provide us?

So instead of hammering the Tories, Sir K pens a missive which – if you can steel yourself to read it from a critical aspect – you find no reaching out to Scotland. Rather, the continued proof of anglo-centric Unionism in a manufactured battle over nationalism vs patriotism.

We know about Ireland and Scotland, but stop and think about Wales, a supposed Labour stronghold. Go beyond Starmer and his clones, and you have Welsh Labour activists calling for a break from London as their leader Mark Drakeford sees the need to diverge and demonstrate Wales’s emerging identity.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Why Labour's 2021 conference has gone so badly wrong for Keir Starmer

With the wheels also coming of Labour’s Welsh wagon, that must surely create an even weaker opposition at Westminster, ensuring a more entrenched Tory government with free rein.

We know the demographic deficit has and always will act against us in Westminster. So what’s the strategy for hearts and minds, to get us over the line? Days of action, replacing super Saturdays? Great, and parades might be back.

How do we make the case for the positive outweighing the negative? Are we making enough of the blame game? Do we sufficiently remind folks who and what is bringing rUK to its knees? Folks are more susceptible to change that brings benefits, not a leap into the dark.

We don’t control the majority of the media, and we never will. It’s stacked against us and that’s a fact. New digital tools, often hidden in plain sigh, fool those easily fooled either through fake news or the use of algorithms.

The well-funded players, businesses and foreign “interests” with much to gain can and do manipulate elections. We’ve seen dark money emerge, and its influence. Open Democracy believe that dark money inputted to the Tory party in 2016, around £2 million from unincorporated, unaccountable organisations, had an influence on the 2019 elections. And those companies and their tools are forever evolving, becoming more sophisticated.

Winter or not, pro-indy sentiment has to be public and visible in the months ahead, beyond and outwith our comfort zones. It’s essential, whatever form it takes. And over the last week or two, with activities across Scotland, it seems the grassroots show is well and truly back on the road.

Selma Rahman