By Bob Duncan
In a series of illuminating online comments, senior figures in Scottish Labour have written of their despair of the prospect of recovery in their electoral fortunes while complaining that their party, under Johann Lamont's leadership, remains in denial about its current deficiencies.
The online conversation between four key members of the Labour party in Scotland was a response to the news that the SNP remains the most popular party in the country despite having been in power for nearly six years.
In the 2011 general election, the SNP was awarded a record 45% of the constituency vote to gain an unprecedented overall majority in the Scottish parliament – an outcome which the parliament's electoral system had been designed to make impossible.
In a Panelbase poll for the Sunday times released last week, Scottish electors again gave the SNP 45% of the vote – an extraordinary achievement for a party entering the middle of their second consecutive term in office, and a huge blow for Labour in Scotland.
Meanwhile, across the whole of the UK, Labour is around 7% ahead of the Conservatives as David Cameron's party passed the midway point of the 5 year term of the Westminster coalition government.
The Labour stalwarts involved in the discussion are Robert McNiel the East Lothian Labour party chair, Alan Clinch a North Lanarkshire councillor and John Ruddy the election agent for Labour in Angus north as well as Barry McCormish a Labour party website designer.
The Facebook conversation begins with Cllr Clinch asking:
“At what point should we start to be concerned that the support for the SNP hasn't budged since the 2011 election? People are saying that Labour's 10 point lead in UK polls isn't enough and yet in Scotland, Labour are even further behind the SNP government.
John Ruddy responds: “Now”, and calls for policy initiatives to be started so Labour can put the SNP “on the back foot” and “outfox” them, claiming Labour is taking the referendum too seriously.
Barry McComish also enters the discussion saying: “We, as a party, are screwed until we can change as a party with something to worth our attention nevermind voters.” he continues to state that many in the party are blind to the truth.
Robert Mcneill joins in, agreeing with the sentiments of McComish:
“alan the labour party in scotland in my opinion have a long way to go before we will once again become a party which is electable to the scottish people, however until the party recognise what the problems are then I am afraid it may take much longer.”
The Facebook debate demonstrates the seriousness of the problems faced by the Scottish party as they fail to make any headway in Scottish politics, despite a sustained and all-out attack on the integrity of the First Minister.
The concerns raised by the Labour members follows little movement in the polls for Johann Lamont’s party who have mounted a sustained attack on Mr Salmond, with the First Minister routinely being accused of being a liar.