David Maddox, writing for the Scotsman newspaper on Monday, made an extra special effort to whizz all over any claim to journalistic integrity he may have had left. He echoed, in his article on SNP’s candidate for East Renfrewshire Kirsten Oswald, Scottish Labour’s desperate accusation of “rank hypocrisy” because she dared to reach out to Conservative voters in a democracy. According to Maddox and his friends in the Scottish branch of the UK Labour Party Oswald’s sincere respect for the opinions of Tory voters, and her appreciation of the traditional Conservative values of “hard work, responsibility and public service” is enough evidence to brand her and the Scottish National Party hypocrites. What this in fact tells us is two things: that for us to achieve a strong nationalist representation at Westminster we must speak to all potential allies, and that Maddox and his pals have no respect for hard working, responsible, and publically minded people. Alone that is a good enough reason to reject Labour tomorrow.
Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) May 05, 2015
In this eleventh hour attempt to again manipulate the Scottish people Maddox refused to acknowledge that Kirsten Oswald was making personal contact with people – her neighbours, and her community. She was not trying to forge some underhand alliance with the Conservative Party in Scotland. At no point did she even suggest that their political ideas were the same, only that they shared common ground. To suggest otherwise would be to suggest that traditional Conservative voters in East Renfrewshire, together with their thoughts, concerns, views, and their values, are bad, and no one is suggesting that (except perhaps Maddox and his chums).
Conservative voters are, like most other Scots, ordinary decent people looking out for what they genuinely feel is best for them, their families, their friends, their communities, and for Scotland. Wasn’t this part of the mantra of the now defunct Better Together Labour was so hot and bothered about a few short months ago? Why would it surprise Maddox or anyone that an ordinary decent young woman like Oswald is capable of seeing the fundamental decency of other people? Calling this “hypocrisy” is another Unionist absurdity, but not at all inconsistent with its skewed sense of reason.
Looking just a little closer at this piece of shoddy, amateurish journalism we come to see that none of this has much to do with Oswald at all. After all she was only doing her job – canvassing citizens in a free-ish and democratic society for their support. Isn’t that what JimForScotland is meant to be doing? If he stopped all his silly antics with rent-a-crowds and bottles of Irn Bru he might even have the time to do the same.
It’s funny that Murphy should come into this, because he is the sitting MP defending his seat against the accused. As the leader of the Scottish branch of Miliband’s Labour Party, in a Scotland where polls are indicating Labour might fail to win a single seat, Murphy is under serious pressure to keep his job. Friends in the newspaper world are always useful when one’s political career and notions of credibility are at stake. British Labour in Scotland has sucked up all of its national organising resources from around Scotland – from seats where it now doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance – in a last ditch effort to defend the stronghold of East Renfrewshire. This is where the London-based (incidentally) Maddox comes in handy.
As things stand in Jim Murphy’s constituency any vote cast for the Conservative Party, in a First Past the Post system, will count for squat – and everyone knows this. Sad as this simple truth may be for the ordinary decent Tory voter, it remains true. Both British Labour in Scotland and the Scottish National Party know this, and so the decision as to who will take the seat tomorrow may come down to the tactical voting of the traditional Conservative voters. Staying perfectly true to the SNP’s commitment to one, united Scotland, Oswald did the right thing; she went out to her neighbours and sought common ground. We Nationalists may not have a loving affection for Margaret Thatcher or David Cameron, but we do have a lot in common with good people who have differing political opinions. This isn’t shocking!
What is shocking, what is truly repugnant, is that the rickety and puffed-out Labour machine in Scotland has attempted to canvass the same voters through an utterly scurrilous and – quite frankly – shameful assault on another candidate’s integrity for doing the right thing for her Party and her country. It is in this behaviour that the true and vile nature of Labour power-lust is laid bare.
– Butterfly Rebellion