By G.A.Ponsonby
Last Thursday, just as I woke, I turned on the radio to hear a news bulletin on Good Morning Scotland.  They were going through the newspaper headlines, and yes, there was an anti-independence story included in the review.
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre had produced a report into the SNP's revolutionary childcare proposals.  It was the front page headline in the Scotsman newspaper, and duly read out by the radio Scotland presenter.

The report essentially concluded that, as things stand, there are not enough working mothers to fund the cost of implementing the revolutionary childcare proposals.  The Scottish Government responded by pointing out that the policy would not happen on day one and that women continually move into and out of the labour market as they have children.

But leaving aside the BBC's habit of reading out headlines from newspapers with a pro-Union editorial stance, the reaction from Scottish Labour was … predictable.

In the press release that followed the SPICe publication, Scottish Labour's Neil Bibby MSP, said:

"This analysis by the Scottish Parliament's independent experts blows apart Alex Salmond's flagship childcare proposal.

"No full costings, no economic analysis, no financial modelling and the fact that they're at least 40,000 mothers short shows just how amateur and ridiculous the Scottish Government's policy making has become.  The SNP has misled Scottish parents.  Scotland deserves better than this. It is more evidence that you simply can't trust a word that comes out of Alex Salmond's mouth.

"It would appear that given how shambolic this proposal is, that the SNP has no intention of ever having to deliver it.  If they win in September, then no-one will be able to hold them to it.

"To win this referendum, the SNP are willing to sacrifice the truth, millions of pounds and now the basic credibility of policy formulation by government.  It is a shoddy state of affairs from a shoddy government, peddling a proposal which simply doesn't add up."

It's classic Scottish Labour isn't it?  All the clichéd lines and smears are there, from claims Salmond is a liar to accusations that the SNP are misleading parents and are not telling the truth.

On the subject of not telling the truth, it wasn't that long ago that Scottish Labour was claiming that the SNP's revolutionary childcare plans can be implemented right now, under devolution.  Are they now admitting they got that wrong?

But it's the incessant negativity that is so depressing.  Missing from the statement from Labour is any attempt at constructive criticism.  Bibby embraces the suggestion that failure awaits, that costs are too high, that Scotland cannot do it.  It's this lack of ambition that is rotting the party.

On Sunday Malcolm Chisholm announced his intention to leave Holyrood at the next election, and no wonder.  Week after week Chisholm has to witness the most inept and poisonous leader of any political party in Scotland, debasing the parliament and the once good name of Labour.

Johann Lamont has taken bitterness to whole new level, and her outings at First Minister's Questions are now a must view, for all the wrong reasons.  I know people who watch to see just how bitter Lamont becomes and to see if she'll overstep the mark and face reprimand again.

Lamont personifies Scottish Labour, which has become a snarling, hate-filled shadow of its former self.  The party defines itself against its hate for Salmond.

The rot can be traced all the way back to the inglorious alliance with the Tories and Lib Dems in 2007 that saw the Edinburgh Trams forced through against the wishes of the then fledgling nationalist government.

We saw it when Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds and again on the issue of minimum pricing for alcohol, which Labour blocked for no other reason than they didn't want the nationalists to get credit for a ground-breaking initiative.

Scottish Labour's attack on revolutionary childcare is just the latest symptom of their malaise in Scotland.  A malaise that is hampering the party's chances of ever being re-elected to Government.

Watch some of the backbenchers when Johann Lamont gets up to speak at FMQs, their heart isn't in it, they look embarrassed.  I suspect this is one of the reasons someone of Chisholm's stature has decided, enough is enough.

Scottish Labour mirrors the No campaign.  It's negative, visionless and a huge turn-off for all but the most loyal diehards.

They don't know it yet, but sooner or later these backbenchers are going to realise that they need a Yes vote in order to re-invigorate the party.

… one led by Henry McLeish perhaps?

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