LABOUR leadership front-runner Jim Murphy has pledged to scrap controversial laws aimed at sectarianism in football “right away” if he becomes first minister.
This is nothing more than opportunistic populist posturing from Murphy. Lacking even the bare bones of a policy that he can call his own – mainly because he knows absolutely nothing about Scottish politics – all he can do as carp about existing legislation. If anybody was looking for fresh thinking and new ideas from this British Labour place-man then they were always going to be disappointed.
It’s all pretty meaningless anyway. Look at the stack of assumptions on which this vacuous promise depends. It assumes that Murphy will be elected Leaderkin of British Labour – North Britain. OK! That may be the one reasonably safe assumption given that he is London’s man and London decides these things. But, in order to be Leaderkin of British Labour – North Britain Murphy has to be a member of the Scottish, British or European parliaments. And there is absolutely no guarantee that he could win an election in today’s political climate. It is conceivable that Murphy could lose his cushy Westminster job next year.
Murphy’s empty promise also assumes that Labour will win sufficient seats to hold power at Holyrood in 2016. Something that seems to go well beyond mere wishful thinking and into the realms of deranged fantasy. Nothing is ever certain in politics. But, barring some earth-shaking unforeseen occurrence, another SNP victory in 2016 seems as close to a sure thing as we’re likely to get.
But let’s go along with Jim Murphy’s delusional notions for a moment. Even if he did become First Minister – a prospect which makes me shudder no less than the thought of Johann Lamont in that role – then the soonest he might implement a repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act is late 2016 or early 2017. By which time the other aspects of the present government’s anti-sectarianism programme will have been up and running for a year or more and the legislation will be up for review anyway.
So we find that, even on a most cursory examination, Murphy’s “vow” is utterly meaningless. Remind you of anything?
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