What to Do About Johann…

Hello once again, it’s been a crazy sort of a month and I know I haven’t posted but, to be fair, I think you’re probably used to that by now anyway. I’ve been working like crazy coaching curling at my local rink in a desperate attempt to acquire some kind of money to tidy me over my exams until I can find a job I can sustain over the summer time. Oh yeah, exams are happening soon too. And to add to it all, our shower packed in a couple of weeks back, since then we’ve been washing ourselves under a drizzle of lukewarm water which has not been entirely pleasant – thankfully the landlord is coming out this evening to have a look at it.

However, there has been a reasonable amount going on to distract me from all the various annoyances in my life and, rather conveniently, they all seem to settle around one person. You know how it is, when you have to follow the trail of various gaffes and blunders from one politician to another, then to a shady cabal of journalists, over to another country, back to your own… It gets tiring. Imagine then, my delight, when all the recent collection of political gaffes centred around one single politician.

I am, of course, talking about Johann Lamont.

For those of you who don’t know of her, Johann Lamont (Yes, that’s the woman’s name “Joanne” spelt like the German male name “Johann”) is the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, leader of the opposition at the Scottish Parliament and, until I moved house in September, my local MSP. To say she was “useless” would be an insult to the good craftsmen responsible for manufacturing chocolate fire-guards. Indeed in the past few weeks she has made so many political brain-farts it’s a wonder Scottish Labour still have any members, in fact, in her own words, “I am astonished” (repeat ad nauseum) at the sheer number of blunders she has made of recent, to the point where one can’t help ask why she is still being allowed to make televised interviews.

To claim there was a start to this any time recently would, of course, be ridiculous, Scottish Labour has been a laughing stock for the past seven years, however the start of the steep section of this very slippery slope appeared to come on the 25th of February this year when Johann Lamont clashed with SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the STV programme ‘Scotland Tonight’. This show was one in a series of debates between yes and no sides of the Independence Referendum where, during the second half of the debate, the politicians are given the chance to cross-examine each other.

Now it’s fair to say that Ms. Sturgeon, who has appeared now on all three of these one-on-one debates to represent the yes side, is a fairly competent politician and has torn both the former and current Scottish secretaries to pieces in both of the previous shows; we therefore, didn’t expect a resounding victory from Ms. Lamont in this particular face-off. However the result was far from flattering for the BT campaign, Scottish Labour or, indeed, Ms. Lamont herself.

During the first half, Ms. Lamont faired about as well as expected, however the second half was where it all began to fall apart for Johann and the no side of the argument. When Nicola began her questioning the Labour leader simply wasn’t able to provide any kind of clear or coherent answer, if she was able to answer at all. The woman famous for her weekly chorus of “the First Minister hasn’t answered the question” during FMQs, suddenly felt that same sentiment being thrown at her by Ms. Sturgeon at every available opportunity. When it came to Ms. Lamont’s turn to ask questions to Nicola, the Deputy First Minister simply would not be pinned down, every question Johann asked was turned back on her, I wouldn’t be surprised in Johann Lamont was sweating through her teeth by the end of it. Even as a Yes supporter, I found it difficult to watch.

However, in her true tenacious, or perhaps suicidal style, the Labour Leader would not be silenced and made an appearance on Newsnight Scotland on the BBC. During an interview with Gordon Brewer she was quizzed about proposed tax and spending powers for Scotland and for the majority of the interview seemed to have completely different figures than anybody else. She also seemed to be rather unclear about what her own party’s policies actually were, a fact that Brewer was quick to jump on.

Now I will admit that Gordon Brewer annoys the hell out of me, the words ‘smug’ and ‘twat’ in various forms and permutations leap to mind when ever he appears on screen, but the fact that he was able to so easily and systematically tear Ms. Lamont to shreds does not speak well of her in this situation.

Her most recent debacle came only yesterday on the Sunday Politics Scotland show broadcast on the BBC. Speaking from the Scottish Labour conference in Perth (where she also managed to slam Alex Salmond (First Minister) and his wife simply for not having children), she was again torn down completely as she struggled to provide any kind of answer to any of the questions put to her. Every single question either resulted in her telling us that the answer would be in the 2016 manifesto or that the SNP and the First Minister and bad and that we don’t like them.

To be quite blunt, it’s been a fucking dreadful month for the Labour Party in Scotland. It’s no wonder that 24% of Labour Party members in Scotland now say that they will be voting “yes” in September, and given the incredibly poor performance from the Labour Leadership (I don’t have the time to get started on the likes of Sarwar) the Labour Party are going to need to make some serious reconsiderations if there is a “yes” vote this summer.

It’s quite clear that, following a yes vote, Labour will not survive under its current leadership, in fact, even if there is a no vote, I still can’t seem them being successful at all unless there is some serious people shuffling. Because if Johann Lamont is what the people in Scotland are being given as their option for Labour leadership, independent or not, I can only see the Labour movement in Scotland dying on its arse at the next election. As a socialist I yearn to see a real, strong Labour movement in this country and that’s something we will not get under Lamont, or indeed any of the current Scottish Labour lot.

Thanks once more for reading, and as usual feel free to get involved via the comments section below.


Some Links

Scotland Tonight:

Newsnight Scotland:

Sunday Politics Scotland:

Wings Over Scotland:


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