By Chris Rumbles
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has been warned that she should prioritise winning over her own party after her conference speech criticised SNP involvement in the ‘Yes’ campaign.
Ms Lamont told party members in Perth: “The nationalists are running the most dishonest, deceptive and disgraceful political campaign this country has ever seen.”

In her speech the Scottish Labour leader spoke of the need for Labour in Scotland to ‘reclaim social justice’ from nationalism which she said had for seven years led to a betrayal of social justice and ‘everything we believe Scotland stands for’.

The MSP repeatedly referred to supporters of independence as ‘nationalists’ in her keynote address that also dismissed calls from the ‘Yes’ camp for the anti-independence campaign to offer its own document on Scotland’s constitutional future.

“The nationalists ask for an alternative to the White Paper. We have one. It’s called the truth,” Ms Lamont said.

Responding to Johann Lamont’s speech, SNP MSP for East Kilbride Linda Fabiani questioned the wisdom of the Scottish Labour leader’s relentlessly negative attacks:

“This was a desperate speech filled with over the top attacks to attempt to distract attention from the absolute mess of Labour’s Devolution Commission, and the looming report from Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission – detailing which popular SNP policies that help with the cost of living would face Labour’s axe.

“When Johann Lamont launched the Cuts Commission, nothing was off the table – but now the report seems to be hidden under the table.”

The so-called ‘Cuts Commission’, a working group setup by Scottish Labour to analyse economic matters, was announced in a speech by Johann Lamont in September 2012 where she also spoke of Scotland’s need to move away from its ‘something for nothing’ culture.  At the time Ms Lamont stated the commission would assess all public services and publish its interim report within one to two years.

There was no mention of the commission’s work in Johann Lamont’s conference speech nor was the issue raised in the ‘Together We Can’ document published by the United with Labour group.

SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Sandra White, stressed the need for clarity on the commission.

“Johann Lamont’s Devolution Commission is a shambles – but it seems that her Cuts Commission is to be a secret. People in Scotland deserve to know what Labour has planned for the policies which help with the cost of living, and which people across the country rely on.”

Labour at Westminster has already committed to maintaining the Coalition government’s spending plans for the first year after the next general election.

Shadow Chancellor for Labour, Ed Balls, said in December that under Labour there would be spending cuts and ‘tough decisions’. 

A recent Panelbase poll commissioned by Newsnet Scotland found that Labour’s Better Together partnership with the Conservatives had diminished the party’s reputation in Scotland.  45 per cent of people surveyed said they thought Labour had been harmed by the Tory alliance with 22 per cent stating Labour had been damaged a lot.


2014-03-23 07:31

Johann Lamont is the very best example of an intellectual void I have ever come across. The Labour Party in Scotland under her so called leadership is consigning itself to the political wilderness of obscruity and negativity and by aligning with the Tories down South where all the power of Labour lies, they have simply nothing to offer Scots now nor indeed in their rosy eyed idea of their past history with Scots.
4th most enqual society in the world. Well, what did 13 years of Labour ever do to reverese that ?.
No credibility, no policies, just visceral hatred of one Scots politician and the SNP for stealing their clothes.
2014-03-23 07:40

Be fair. As SLab have only got the one policy, hatred of the SNP, you would expect JoLa to concentrate on it in her speech. Without that, it would be more a “keyhole” speech, rather than “keynote”.

Can Labour ever recover from Johann?
2014-03-23 08:11

” The Nationalists” are the Scottish people who choose that legitimate political view..
What’s wrong with the lady?
2014-03-23 08:53

Labour have fallen into the trap of believing their own hype, and along the way turned against those who should have been their natural allies in Scotland, the SNP, and the other ‘ordinary’ people in the Yes campaign.
Go to any SNP or Yes meeting, the forum is made up of normal, ‘ordinary’ people.
But it is too late for the Labour politicians, but not too late for those who vote Labour.
Auld Rock
2014-03-23 08:56

I think Upspake meant 4th most ‘UNEQUAL’ society. I have just one word for their conference “LAMONTABLE”. Their Devolution Commission Report, AKA ‘Devo Nano’,arguably the most important item on the agenda yet it was considered while many of their delegates were at work or travelling to Perth, though I suppose it was one way to keep Davidson’s awkward squad in check and get the vote through. But why should we complain every time she speaks another tranche of REAL Labour come over to ‘YES’.
Last night we had our local “Althing” monthly debate where question was “the time is right for INDEPENDENCE”. The opening vote was FOR-56,AGAINST-55,UNDEC-29. Main ‘no’ speaker Al Carmichael, Sec State Scot plus No1 Euro List Tory. Open debate revealed audience member after member,all mainly REAL Labour were highly critical of New Labour. Every time “WEE JOHANN” speaks another tranche of REAL Labour move to ‘YES’. Closing vote, FOR-70,AGAINST-48,UNDECIDED-22, SWING 7.5%. Keep it coming.
martin morrison
2014-03-23 09:27

The Scottish Lib Dems must be rubbing their hands in glee at Lamont as they are the going to be a shoe-in as main opposition in Scotland. Labour have spent the last 7 years banging one drum only: “Hate the SNP, hate the SNP, hate the SNP”. They were bitter after the 2007 election and didn’t learn anything from 2011. They seem hell-bent on alienating as many people as they can and are doing a grand job of it.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the men in grey suits are knocking on Lamont’s door, possibly before the referendum, certainly long before the 2016 election regardless of the outcome of the referendum – and they’ll be calling on Sarwar’s door, too. This pair are YesScotland’s best friends.
2014-03-23 09:53

It will be remembered as a speech dripping with hatred.

Labour are very much on the back foot after Lamont’s reference to Salmond’s childless marriage. Even the unionist media were aghast at such gutter politics.
2014-03-23 12:28

She tried a similar attack with Nicola Sturgeon during their televised debate,her opening remarks “As a mother…..”.
In her mind,not being a parent somehow disqualifies you from having a valid political position.
Maybe I am being too kind and it is only a cheap trick to try and capture as many mothers votes as possible.
Her script writers might come up with “As a real proud Scottish mother….” which might influence a few more voters.

2014-03-23 10:15

How do you take this vacuous tosh from Lamont seriously? Is it really worth addressing point by point? Surely, life is too short.

I’d say it goes beyond hatred of the SNP, to say Labour is now unhinged by it’s hatred.

It also isn’t just nationalists asking for an alternative white paper, it was also the Electoral Commission who called upon unionists to set our their stall for a NO vote.

I have to admit, first time I read her speech the references to childless people passed me by as veiled attack on Mr Salmond, (I’ve still not seen the video), but reading it again makes me very, very uncomfortable indeed.

After 40 years secrecy over the McCrone Report, they have a damned nerve to call anyone a liar. I know who I’d rather trust, and it assuredly isn’t them.
2014-03-23 10:25

It has to be a sad situation when a Labour Leader’s speech is devoted far more to hammering away at the opposition than in painting a picture of life under a future Labour Government.

Her completely over the top vitriolic attack on the SNP/YES was the worst I have ever witnessed.

Lamont’s “… alternative to the White Paper? We have one. It’s called the truth.” was right out of 1984 Double Speak.

The simple technique of accusing your opposition of doing everything wrong that you in fact do.

Linda Fabiana called it desperate. It certainly was and when we see the UK polls today showing UK Labour’s lead over the Tories has evaporated and up here YES has narrowed the gap once more on NO we can see why.

2014-03-23 11:34

The SLAB have really hit rock bottom…
2014-03-23 12:09

Johann Lamont has allowed her hatred of the SNP and Alex Salmond in particular to define who she is. She is not the leader of a party or an exponent of a vision, she is simply a cheerleader for a chorus of hate against a single man. An unhealthy obsession that leads her to make strange and bitter personal attacks. An unedifying sight.
martin morrison
2014-03-23 14:16

A quite egregious performance. Johann Lamont is without doubt the most unpleasant and repellant personality in either Scottish or British politics. We should thank our lucky stars she’s not on our team.
But, as they say, never interrupt your enemies while they’re making a mistake.
2014-03-24 11:51

A new political party coming to your local town hall soon,headed up by the Lamontable one and to be known as the SMASI party (Scottish Mothers Against Scottish Independence).
The main policy thrust being that dependence is good for you and that independent thinking will only lead to mothers being separated from their dependencies.
Without mother’s guiding hand,you are doomed and she will never speak to you again if you decide to leave home.
martin morrison
2014-03-24 16:23

If there’s a No vote and the Lib Dems constitutional preference is adopted, then look forward to the Federal Union of Celtic Kingdoms under English Dominion.

2014-03-24 13:24

For those of us who still remember the betrayal of the Blair years and the squandering by Scottish Labour of the commitment and loyalty of much of the Scottish electorate throughout the Thatcher era and beyond, it is an affront to realise that Johann Lamont obviously feels she has achieved the resurrection of the SLP. Johann, you can’t have resurrection, without digging up the stinking corpse first! It’s time for a truth and reconciliation process within the SLP.

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