One of the Reasons Why Labour Have Lost Scotland

Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale today marked the historic nomination of Scotland’s first female First Minister with a Daily Record column in characteristically sour style, which waited until the second paragraph before sticking in a Margaret Thatcher comparison.

It wasn’t until later that it got confusing.

(Actually, that’s not quite true – the very first paragraph opened with the line “I haven’t seen a coronation quite like it since, well, the coronation”. The Coronation happened in 1953, while Kezia Dugdale was born in 1981. But we’ll let that one slide.)

After a stream of disingenuous waffle that we won’t bother going into here, Dugdale challenged Nicola Sturgeon to act on three polices in her First Ministership:

“Take on the big six energy firms, forcing them to freeze bills and rein in eye-watering profits earned on the backs of working people.”

“Bring back the 50p tax rate for top earners, so those with the broadest shoulders carry their fair share.”

“Tax [bankers'] bonuses and use the cash to create jobs for young people.”

Alert readers will of course have noticed the small problem with all of those: NONE of them are within the current competence of the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood has no power whatsoever to force energy firms to freeze bills, tax bankers’ bonuses or change the top rate of tax. All are reserved to Westminster.

(It took Labour almost all of their 13 years in power to raise the top rate of income tax to 50p – the rate wasn’t introduced until just before the 2010 election and was in force for only a few weeks of Labour’s administration – so hectoring Sturgeon to get it done on her first day would seem a touch impatient anyway.)

Only one of the three powers even has a chance of being devolved to Holyrood in the forseeable future, so we’re a bit bemused as to what Kezia Dugdale expects Nicola Sturgeon to do about them. Indeed, she goes on to point out that:

“When Nicola Sturgeon says Labour is a barrier to progress, she’s right. Because the only progress she wants to make is towards independence.”

In other words, Dugdale is proudly trumpeting the fact that it’s Labour which prevented Nicola Sturgeon from having the power to do the very things Dugdale is now stridently demanding that she does. Which seems, y’know, odd.

Kezia Dugdale is widely (for reasons which we must confess still escape our ongoing enquiries) regarded as the brightest of Scottish Labour’s young minds. God help them.