Labour frontbencher in tirade against No campaign

BITTER TOGETHER - LABOUR FRONT-BENCHER IN TIRADE AGAINST ANTI-INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN

LAMONT’S LEADERSHIP FURTHER CALLED INTO QUESTION

Further fractures have appeared in the anti-independence campaign after a Labour frontbencher launched an astonishing personal attack against Alistair Darling, and distanced himself completely from the “Better Together” campaign.

Participating in an Edinburgh People’s Festival debate on Thursday evening entitled Independent Scotland, Lothians MSP Neil Findlay said of the creation of Better Together:

“we had that nice man Alistair Darling and he had tea and home baking provided by his wife at his flat in Pilton - it is Pilton that Alastair stays in isn’t it? [LAUGHTER] - along with comrade McLetchie, wee Dougie Alexander and somebody I’ve never heard of from the Lib Dems but he’s probably never heard of me either”

As for the launch itself, Mr Findlay said that:

“we got treated to the stirring rhetoric of the said Mr Darling and then Annabel Goldie playing Mrs Merton, interviewing ‘normal Scots’ about what’s important about the beloved union. Why any self-respecting ‘normal Scot’ would want to speak to Annabel Goldie I’ve no idea.”

Mr Findlay, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Learning and Skills, is a member of the Red Paper Collective, which is seeking to form a devo-max alternative to full independence. This is in stark contrast to Labour’s official position of siding with the Tories in the Better Together campaign, which refuses to countenance any further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Edinburgh Pentlands MSP Gordon MacDonald has said that the focus is now on Johann Lamont's response, with one of her front-benchers openly criticising both the Better Together campaign and the leadership abilities of Alistair Darling.

Commenting, Mr MacDonald said:

“These astonishing remarks show the level of discontent within Labour circles about their participation in the Tory-led anti-independence campaign.

“For a senior Labour frontbencher to openly criticise one of their flagship policies, as well as launch a bitter personal attack on one of their most senior politicians, is hugely embarrassing - both for Mr Darling and for Labour in Scotland.

“Clearly Mr Findlay can’t have thought much about Mr Darling’s legacy as Chancellor either.

“Of course, Mr Findlay is simply reflecting the wider frustrations within his Party – that instead of looking at how more powers could deliver a more socially just Scotland, Labour are choosing to side with the Tories to completely oppose any constitutional change.

“The focus is now on Johann Lamont. With a member of her front-bench openly criticising the anti-independence campaign with impunity, are all Labour MSPs now allowed to do as they please?”

ENDS

Notes:

Details of the ‘Independent Scotland Debate’ can be found here:
http://www.edinburghpeoplesfestival.org/event/debate-on-scotland-indepen...

During the debate, Mr Findlay said:

"What about the other side of the debate? Well we had that nice man Alistair Darling and he had tea and home baking provided by his wife at his flat in Pilton - it is Pilton Alastair stays in isn’t it? [LAUGHTER] - along with comrade McLetchie, wee Dougie Alexander and somebody I’ve never heard of from the Lib Dems but he’s probably never heard of me either. This was followed by the launch of the Better Together campaign at Napier University, where we got treated to the stirring rhetoric of the said Mr Darling, and then Annabel Goldie playing Mrs Merton, interviewing ‘normal Scots’ about what’s important about the beloved union. Why any self-respecting ‘normal Scot’ would want to speak to Annabel Goldie I’ve no idea. But em…in the PR war that is the referendum campaign, I’m afraid from both sides we’re going to be treated to more of this stuff and it’s going to be a long journey to 2014. "