14 July 2008

Maths with Margaret Curran

47% (Poll rating in Glasgow East) - 61% (Vote Share in 2005) = -14%.

-14% = progress.

Of course, not withstanding that bizarre grasp of mathematics - where losing more than a quarter of your party's support equals forward movement - Margaret Curran is in between a rock and a hard place on economic policy.

Now, her first tough choice is, does she endorse or attack Government policy? If she endorses it, she risks looking out of touch with voters, who are having a tough time of it. If she attacks it, she's criticising her own party.

The "I'm going to meet with the Chancellor" is an implicit attack - it suggests that there's something to meet about: a problem that needs to be solved. But then there's another problem: what if she's actually elected, and either no or too few improvements are put forward? How does she vote?

If she votes with the Government, after claiming she'll make representations, she'll look like just another weak, ineffectual party hack. If she votes against, she'll be effectively cut off from her own party, and there should be questions as to why she was a Labour candidate in the first place, let alone a Labour MSP and a Minister in a Labour-led Executive.

Politically, it's a tough call. But it's one she'll have to make.

So, Margaret, what's it to be?


ScottishToryBoy said...

Surely she will only be able to really tell if she has taken Labour forward in the East End when the election result is in as she will then know the vote share and be able to compare it with 2005. Comparing a poll and vote share isn't really very fair, is it?

Jeff said...

Even with that, comparing a by-election result to a general election result isn't generally a great comparison.

I think winning a constituency, any constituency, a few weeks after you got gubbed by the BNP is a step in the right direction.

Will said...

It doesn't seem fair, or ideal, especially as you're comparing 517 people with landlines to the sample of 30,000 we had in 2005. Which is why it's odd to assert that they're making progress based on the poll. And even if it were right to compare the two, shedding a fifth of your support isn't exactly progress.

Unless canvassing returns had Labour in a weaker position than that, which, given the muttering Ive heard, may well be the case.

boxthejack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boxthejack said...

Imagine Curran takes the only electable route and chooses to be pretty explicit in her criticism of London Labour.

Imagine she then also becomes Scottish party leader - unlikely but possible, and an intriguing prospect.

There's nothing stopping her - Salmond after all is MP, MSP and leader - although I can't imagine London Labour will like it if she's elected on a platform at odds with their own.

But if she really was begged by Brown to stand in Glasgow East, it could happen. This in turn could have a very interesting effect on the constitutional debate.

Ted Harvey said...

Boxthejack an intriguing prospect indeed. I have thought from the moment that Margaret Curran’s candidature was declared, that for her and Gordon Brown the prospect of a MP who was leader of the Scottish Party was a prospect they would have considered – and welcomed. They are both out of the same Scottish Labour kaleyard mindset and she would happily settle for provincial leader whilst Brown gets his distance-control of Scottish Labour re-instated post-devolution.

Will, I anticipate that Margaret Curran will not make any choice in the way you suggest. Instead I think the Party apparaknics will try to hold everything steady and low level, still desperately banking on time running before the SNP momentum can spill over into a majority on polling day. Evidence of this is betrayed in the way that not only Gordon Brown, but many other Westminster Labour ‘heavyweights’ are giving this by-election a body-swerve. Hence I expect more of the same like, ‘I going to talk to the Chancellor (but I’m not actually saying he is doing anyhting wrong)’.

Incidentally, sad to say I can see now even more why Labour went for their unseemly dash to get the ballot out of the way. As time has gone on, there has been a growing spate of allegations about some pretty unappealing, grasping and predatory utilising of the taxpayers’ gravy train allegedly by the MP and his family. OK, just allegations I know, but there is a consistency to their steady drum beat. Things of an unattractive sort from the likes of the Martin or the McAvoy Labour family dynasties I have come to expect. But I had up till now held David Marshall in somewhat higher regard.

Clairwil said...

It would appear Ms Curran is somewhat confused.


Will said...

Ted, I fear that you are right about Curran (M.) not making any of those choices. I tend to ask those questions not because I'm expecting an answer ever to come, but because of how my own thought processes work. I see situations like this as an either/or, where you have to take one choice, no more and no less. More often than not, however, the subject of my rhetorical dilemma doesn't seem to see things that way.

Still, I always think it's worth raising the points...

To be honest, though, I think the idea of a Labour Leader in Holyrood having a Westminster seat might paper over some cracks in terms of the old "divisions between Holyrood and Westminster" chestnut, but it might enable rival parties to create the impression of the MSPs being completely under UK Labour's thumb...

neil craig said...

I don't think it is a tough call at all.

I have no doubts whatsoever that after she has been elected, told the Chancellor what to do & is sitting in the Commons she will vote exactly as told. Does anybody doubt it?

Will said...

Neil, perhaps I ought to have put that it should be a tough call. But you're right, it's blatantly obvious that she'll fall into line.