When most of us find cause to be uncommonly concerned about the future, we find Alistair Darling harking back to what now seems like a very distant past. It is seven years since British Labour was last in power at Westminster. It’s a decade since they ran the ‘Scottish Executive’. In that time the world has changed. The UK has descended into a Brexit-dominated shambles presided over by a massively incompetent right wing British nationalist cabal with a stunningly inept leader in Theresa May.
In the ten years that Alistair Darling doesn’t want to talk about, Scotland has been transformed. We now have a real Scottish Government instead of the glorified community council that British Labour intended. We have an administration sufficiently competent and respected to win an unprecedented third term with record-smashing popular support. We have a remarkably astute and able First Minister who is admired abroad and held in high regard and not a little affection at home.
Our political culture has moved so far from the days of those barely remembered British Labour First Ministers that referring to them at all seems inappropriate and slightly eccentric. Alistair Darling sounds like that weird uncle who bores everybody rigid at family gatherings with reminiscences of that time he got a trial with Dunfermline Athletic FC.
Just as Uncle Bernie would prefer we don’t recall the intervening years when he was mysteriously absent for long periods supposedly ‘travelling abroad’, so Alistair Darling is desperately eager that we don’t dwell on British Labour’s record in opposition at both Holyrood and Westminster. He wants hard-line Unionists to give him credit for having successfully defended the ruling elites of the British state. But he’d rather the rest of us forget British Labour’s collusion with the Tories and how he performed as David Cameron’s craven stooge in the sure and certain knowledge that he would get his reward in ermine.
So much water under so many bridges. Scotland is not British Labour’s fiefdom any more. And you’ll struggle to find anybody outside the ‘old guard’ and rapidly diminishing ranks of unthinking party loyalists who has any enthusiasm for turning back the clock.
Alistair Darling is the day before yesterday’s man. He serves only to remind us of British Labour in Scotland’s decade of decline.
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