Owen Smith: Insulting Scottish voters will not induce them to vote for you

Straight talking - but is it honest politics to tell Scottish Labour supporters they do not understand national pride, Owen Smith?
Straight talking – but is it honest politics to tell Scottish Labour supporters they do not understand national pride, Owen Smith?

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.

Source: Leadership hopeful Owen Smith says Scottish Labour party did not grasp national pride and identity (From Herald Scotland)

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5 Thoughts to “Owen Smith: Insulting Scottish voters will not induce them to vote for you”

  1. Tweeted @melissacade68

  2. If, as you quote, he said “We have to learn the lessons about the lack of understanding Labour showed for Scottish patriotism, Scottish identity,” then he’s not patronising or insulting party members north of the border (as you suggest). Rather he would seem to be criticising his own party’s understanding of the world beyond Westminster. Which I’d say is fair point?

    1. Mike Sivier

      No – he’s saying party members in Scotland didn’t understand the Scottish mentality, even though they are Scottish themselves.

  3. Neilth

    The nature of the Welsh attitude towards England is difficult to interpret even for those of us lucky enough to have been born West of Offa’s Dyke. It is engraved in our history, our language (which I don’t speak) our sporting and cultural priorities and loyalties and our internal drivers and competitiveness.

    The competition between communities such as Swansea and Cardiff can be intense for example and can over ride even Wales v England in some circumstances. Rugby in Wales was a working class sport whereas in England and Scotland it tended to be a private school culture.

    For Owen Smith to pretend he understands the nature of Scottish attitudes to Labour when he clearly misunderstands Wales Labour’s roots in trade unionism, working class communities, Methodism and Baptists and their relationship with nonconformist to shape our radicalism is arrogance in the extreme.

  4. Joan Edington

    I read this in The Herald the other day (a paper that has unfortunately sunk to near tabloid status these days but I like to see what the other side are thinking in the comments). I couldn’t believe what this moron was coming out with. My only thought was that the Blairites; I can say that since I’m not a Labour Party member; have realised they are beaten and have put forward someone who is guaranteed to lose to Corbyn. They could then hold up their hands and hope to slink back into the cabinet. Well, maybe not. Maybe they really are the undemocratic, self-serving slime I thought before.

    He’ll not get much of a Welcome up here whatever they say about the support figures being higher than in England. I suspect that is partly because out great Labour leader, Kezza, has come out against Corbyn this week. Who knows next week?

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