Who would have believed that mighty Rome, with its careless security of wealth, would be reduced to such extremities as to need shelter, food, and clothing?
My grandfather once told me, “once you hit the floor, you can’t fall any further”. His intention was to communicate a Pythonesque ‘look on the bright side of life’ concept. Hit the bottom, things can only get better. And while many journalists are eagerly applying this logic to SLABs Holyrood election results, they seem to be missing the central shocker. Namely, those election results were not ‘rock bottom’ for Scottish Labour. Latest evidence has their free-fall continuing.
Professor John “king of psephology” Curtice is arguing that the outlook for Dugdale and SLAB – in the face of SNP and ScotCon pincers – is unutterably bleak.
The figures show, 45% of those who voted ‘No’ to independence now plan on backing TeamRuth; up from 34%. Meanwhile over the same time period SLAB’s Unionist support has crumbled from 37% to 25%. As Curtice puts it, “It’s pretty clear that the Labour party has already been shredded by the nationalists’ vote going to the SNP in the wake of the independence referendum. It now seems to be suffering from the fact that the unionist vote is now wandering off to the Tories, leaving the Labour party high and dry.”
And their polling if an election where to happen tomorrow is equally abject: “The YouGov survey, carried out in November, put support for Labour at 15% in terms of constituency voting intention. That is a one-point decrease since August, and eight points less than the 23% vote share that Labour picked up in May’s Scottish elections.
For Scottish Labourites it all seems a tad akin to King Alaric’s sacking of Rome.
And one does wonder, in the face of the latest analysis, polling and widespread Scottish public sentiment whether Dugdale realises how low ‘rock bottom’ just might be. Does Dugdale ever look out at the scene and ever imagine if the end might actually be total destruction? It’s an interesting thing to try and do, imagine the thoughts in a political leaders head. Did Emperor Honorius ever actually conjecture that the Visigothic sacking of Rome in 410 pointed to the imminent collapse of western civilisation? As Rome succumbed for the first time in 800 years to an invading force, it shocked and shook friends and foes alike. The plight of the eternal city in 410 was a nexus, and Holyrood 2016 is certainly another nexus (albeit far less dramatic to the welfare of civilisation).
Holyrood 2016 might be Scottish Labour’s 410, and Dugdale playing the part of the hapless and incompetent Honorius. And with these latest numbers coming out, one wonders if SLAB will need to wait 66 more years for their final demise to come. Dugdale’s allies (and those just plain sympathetic) argue that she provides ‘stability’. I’m happy to concede this, it is true – she does. But it is the ‘stability’ of Honorius, the stability of the damned.
Scottish Labour, once fortified by safe seats abundant – stripped of their power, wealth and relevance. The former masters and conquerors of Scotland’s political map, engaging in beggary. ‘Please,’ Dugdale cries, ‘let’s talk about anything except the constitutional question!’ Political paupers.