It is true that Labour will need to revive its fortunes in Scotland if it is to win the next general election – but that won’t be achieved by insulting party supporters!
There is no lack of patriotism or national identity north of the border, and Owen Smith is patronising party members by making such a suggestion.
Labour lost to the SNP because the party peddled reheated, rubbish, weak Tory policies to voters who wanted a far more left-wing answer to Conservatism and neoliberalism – and complacently expected the electorate to lap it up.
It didn’t work because Scotland knew Labour wasn’t the only alternative to the Tories on offer, and hoped that the SNP would deliver another independence referendum if conditions get really bad.
In part of his interview, Mr Smith actually says Labour held Wales because the party fused its values with the Welsh sense of national pride and identity.
If he really thinks that, one has to ask why he took his family and moved to Surrey at his earliest opportunity.
Amazingly, he is more popular in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. Among constituency Labour parties that have nominated a candidate, 29 per cent of those in Scotland have supported him so far. That compares with just 11 per cent in Wales, despite his compliments.
One thing seems certain: If this foot-in-mouth orator ever became Labour leader (a possibility that is becoming ever more remote), the party would not regain its Scottish seats in his tenure.
Labour leadership contender Owen Smith said the Scottish party has failed to grasp the buoyant sense of national pride percolating through the country.
The former shadow work and pensions secretary suggested Labour’s failure north of the Border could be partly attributed to not fully understanding Scottish patriotism and identity.
“We have to learn the lessons about the lack of understanding Labour showed for Scottish patriotism, Scottish identity,” he said.
Mr Smith, who will deliver a campaign speech in Scotland next week, believes his party will have to revive and win more Westminster seats in Scotland if it is to have “a serious chance” of gaining power at the next General Election.
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