I saw a chart earlier based on online responses to the Leaders’ Debate that was shown on BBC One Scotland this evening. The debate was between Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, Ruth Davidson of the Scottish Conservatives, Jim Murphy of Scottish labour, Patrick Harvie from the Scottish Green Party, Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie; and rather unfortunately for anyone watching, UKIP’s David Coburn.
Unsurprisingly, Nicola Sturgeon topped the chart with the most positive responses whilst David Coburn was placed last.
What I did find surprising, at least at first, was the fact that Scottish Labour’s Jim Murphy placed behind Ruth Davidson. A Tory received a higher positive response than someone from Labour in Scotland. Just think about that for a second…
Once you’ve thought about it, it really stops being so surprising.
With Ruth Davidson you know where you are. She makes no apologies for her politics, she’s completely upfront about wanting to see universal benefits like free university education, free prescriptions, free personal care etc all scrapped. She’s honest about supporting Trident and the renewal of the next generation of nuclear weapons to be based in Scotland. She’s open about the fact she wants to see cuts made in order to address the deficit and if that means people are pushed further into poverty, then maybe they just need to work a bit harder at getting on in life. You may loathe her politics, but you cannot deny that at least she stands there and staunchly defends her political beliefs.
Jim Murphy on the other hand comes across as sleekit. You don’t know where you are with him, because he tells that many lies by the time your head has stopped spinning you don’t even know where you are yourself. Whilst Jim Murphy says he hates seeing nuclear weapons anywhere near our towns and cities, he votes against scrapping them. Whilst Jim Murphy talks about protecting education, his actions tell a different story. Murphy says it’s a disgrace that we have food-banks but his party will be reducing welfare spending, and in Scotland his MSPs voted against free school meals for young primary school children. He waves around a copy of the Charter for Budget Responsibility whilst trying to shout his denial over Nicola Sturgeon, but what he fails to tell you is that it is widely known that Labour did indeed vote for approximately £30 billion of further austerity with the Tories – a fact which David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett all nodded along in agreement with as Nicola Sturgeon spoke about it at the 7-way Leaders’ Debate on ITV last week.
Does this look like a man who is vehemently opposed to Trident to you?
The fact that Ruth Davidson appears to have been better received than Jim Murphy is not due to the fact that people across Scotland have suddenly become right-wing Tory supporters; it’s that they have lost so much faith in Scottish Labour and have been able to see right through their clingfilm-like lies, that they find themselves admiring the honesty of the Tory politician over the lies of the Labour one.
Whilst Labour may have lost all sense of integrity, the people of Scotland have not – and that is why Labour in Scotland have one hell of a task on their hands if they’re going to stand a chance of retaining the vast bulk of their seats in May.