Thursday 28 April 2016

Elaine Smith is the living proof that not all Labour's candidates are deadwood

Meet Elaine Smith, who is seeking to be returned as the MSP for  Coatbridge and Chryston, a division she has represented since Holyrood was established in 1999. She is a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, and her campaign can be summed up in her own words of "tax the rich, invest in education and stop the cuts." 

She is up against Fulton MacGregor, who is the SNP candidate. By all accounts he avoids answering questions, dodges hustings, and represents a party that is split from top to bottom in that constituency.

Nationally, the SNP has reneged on the promise that it made last year to increase taxes for the wealthy, and since the Central Scotland region could only muster a derisory 6.4 percent for the Tories in 2011, you would expect that to be a vote loser for the SNP in a region that has seen its economy destroyed over the past thirty-odd years.

Perhaps needless to say, given that this is today's Scotland, Elaine Smith is fighting for her political life, and looks pretty certain to lose the battle.

That is a pity, because Labour needs to sit back after next week's impending train wreck and remember exactly what it was created to achieve, and people like Elaine Smith will be central to that debate.

Stripped of all the verbiage, Labour's foundation stands on the principle that it is the party that will keep the wages up, the management down, and the benefits flowing to those who cannot work due to the vicissitudes of capitalism. Everything else, all the social policies that now dominate the party and its thinking, were originally nothing more than add-ons that aimed to increase the party's support amongst middle class types.

Labour forgot that simple truth a generation ago when it became the party of social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it created an enormous void that the SNP was only too happy to fill. However, the SNP cannot become the party that will tax the wealthy and their middle class stooges at a level that is appropriate to even begin repairing the damage that their votes have inflicted upon us down the years - but a party that has its roots deep inside every council estate and job centre can.

That debate should start on the 6th May, with the likes of Elaine Smith adding her weight to it from her position as an MSP.

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