Tuesday, 22 November 2011

An Endorsement

I need to start with an explanation.

I was asked to write a guest blog for A Burdz Eye View on the merits of Tom Harris as leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I duly obliged.

In the aftermath of the event, the Burd asked for volunteers to advance the cause of the deputy leadership candidates and, emboldened by the excitement of a much wider audience (Her blog's got SEVENTY SEVEN followers; I didn't know there were that many people in the whole internet) I immediately rushed forward to offer to champion Anas Sarwar, the guy whose clearly going to win anyway. And not just because I didn't want to entirely burn my boats with the future party leadership.

Ah but, implied Ms Higgins, for by now we were on Surname terms, I don't want the world to think that I've only got a few friends in the Labour Party (true though that might be).

I therefor came up with the idea of adopting a pseudonym. Of pretending to be other than I was. I'm surprised none of these other interneters have ever thought of such an idea.

(I know a lot of people think Stephen Noon is Alex Salmond but I've seen them both in the same room. He might however be Kevin Pringle, I haven't ruled that out.)

Anyway, the Burd was obviously outraged at such a suggestion, because I haven't heard a peep from her since.

In the meantime however, I wrote the appropriate enconium. So, here it is.

I chose as my nom de plume Anna Kulischov, who, I am sure you are all aware, was one of the founders of the Italian Socialist Party  Not being dead, a woman, Jewish, Russian, adopted Italian, or medically qualified in any way, I thought this was a pretty deep cover. Obviously not deep enough for the Burd  (not that I'm bitter in any way).

In my initial draft I thought that might give me licence to comment on what an attractive young man Comrade Sarwar is but I've taken that out as unworthy of the learned Doctor. I'm sure it would have formed no part of her considerations as it most certainly forms no part of mine.

So, here we go.

"Sorelle D’Italia,

Le mie scuse per la scrittura in Inglese.

Sometimes, just sometimes, you are persuaded that all of this is not a waste of time.

With the exception of the handful who might join our Party in anticipation that being un membro laboristo del comune (a Labour Cooncillor?) might be the one and only employment for which they are actually qualified, the rest of us join, at least initially, fired with a desire to change society for the better. And join in the hope that we might find leaders to steer us in that direction.

Now, experience is inclined to grind us down. Too many of our  would be leaders are much less well equipped to lead than we are inclined to follow. And too many of us come to accept that this is..... meglio che possiamo sperare (the best we can hope for?).

So we end up with either a hopeless commitment  to a leadership we can’t quite work out how we ever elected, or a forlorn attachment to a choice taken with no regard to electability in any forum external to the Party itself.

But then, just very occasionally, (e chiedo scusa  se il mio inglese e inadeguato) somebody comes along who makes us understand why we joined this Party in the first place.

Anas Sarwar was, with the greatest of respect to him, before the Special Conference on  29th October  perceived in the wider Party as essentially little more than Mohammed Sarwar’s boy.  But in four minutes on that day he transformed that impression.

But, and here I acknowledge il riferimento americano  , in that hall, and on that October day, we realised that change might just have come to Scotland.

We’ve had twelve years of Devolution. But in those twelve years no one has been put forward to lead the nation, from either of our leading Parties, other than the traditional political class.  Not just white, or male, or protestant but essentially mired in the machine politics through which one rises to prominence in Scottish elected office.

That is good enough for our opponents but in our hearts it will never be good enough for us. Labour, sopratutto,  is the Party of those who do not care where people come from, only on where they want to go. And of all the candidates for the leadership and deputy leadership only one person embodies that. As he did to the spontaneous enthusiasm of all of those present in that hall.

Non allontano (I don’t dismiss?)  either the reassuring partisanship of Iain Davidson, or the manifest competence of Lewis McDonald. Such talents have their role to play. Sono entrambi i camerati degni.

Ma  (mi dispiace) but if anybody thought for a moment who might draw a crowd from other than among the ranks of those already converted; who might carry forward to a new century the legacy of those who had gone before; who might say that Labour was not just the Party of a noble past but of an even more heroic future........

Sincero, this is a no contest for the deputy leadership. The only disappointment is that the word deputy appears at all before his nomination.

Rimando la vostra sorella ed la vostra Camerata

Anna Kulischov "

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