The wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time
A fascination of politician-watching is trying to determine which of the lying sods believe what they say. Jim Murphy is a man who utters waffle and believes every syllable of it.
Jim Murphy, MP., is often refered to as ‘The Undertaker’ on account of his cadaverous visage. He is anything but self-composed. Watch him in action with an individual or a crowd, in laughter or dispute, and his behaviour is soon erratic and over-wrought. He bites words as they leave his mouth.
There is evidence everywhere of Murphy’s inability to hold a rational, civil, level-headed discussion for any length of time that challenges his flaky opinions.
In one incident, it’s alleged, in the hallowed halls of the House of Commons, he is reported to have ‘gone berserk’ shouting and swearing at an SNP opponent, Pete Wishart, sticking his face at Wishart and shouting, “Fuck off!” Fuck off!” Fuck off!” a highly embarrassing incident from the man who complained about “Vile abuse from cybernats.” Keep in mind Murphy does not drink, unlike many MPs boozed to the eyeballs most days.
Less elegant than a wooden puppet on a string
Physically awkward, he is not a man comfortable in front of a camera, or an opponent.
He has thrown his black top hat into the ring as prospective branch manager of the Labour group in Scotland and been elected. (There is no Labour party. It is, as its outgoing grumpy leader attests, Johann Lamont, merely an outpost of Labour London, micro-controlled by Westminster.) But few members of the public will know Murphy is a member of a far-Right ‘think tank’ – a euphemism for a self-elected group of non-intellectuals trying to eradicate socialism – called the ‘Henry Jackson Society’. He keeps company there with some Tories and no doubt, a Ukip member o two not out of the closet.
Lamont is incurably incapable of expressing intelligence, her explanations of simple Labour policy a guttural mixture of gobbledygook, sentences spoken backwards, and acrobatic evasions. The London interference she complains of – the same BBC Scotland endures from BBC London – rings similar to a lowly sign writer telling Picasso he could have been a great painter too if only people didn’t commission him for plaques and nothing more. And the courageous woman waited until after the Referendum to confirm what everybody else argued about. In bidding for the leadership Murphy has promised another ‘vow,’ that he will ‘not be pushed around,” tacit admittance she was, and the situation exists. Labour Scotland is and always was a branch office of Labour, London.
The thinking man’s tabloid
Murphy has intelligence, but it’s mired in thick as molasses Labour neo-con ideology, slavish adherence to whatever the party believes this week even when it contradicts what it believed the last week. He is ponderous. His speech rhythms are clumsy and halting.
He supported the Blairite war in Iraq and Blair’s tortured lies afterwards.
He approved of ID cards – another instance of stunted intellect and little perception of the public mood. To some Scots his most serious misstep is holding a season ticket for Celtic football club. He is teetotal but looks like a person whom a good malt might relax.
We saw him slack-jawed, watched him prance around Scotland, a gaunt figure twerking on a shaky erection, a plastic crate for a soapbox, stabbing a digit this way and that, preaching conformity and Labour rule forever, a gargoyle on democracy’s parapet.
Promoted above ability
Murphy was once Secretary of State for Scotland, a cesspit of a post, where gutless men dishonor themselves honoring their London masters, following their instructions to the letter, signing documents and endorsing Bills composed and passed by Westminster, or decrees sent by Whitehall or the UK Treasury, each imposed upon Scotland without conscience. Historically the post is a misnomer, the incongruity more to do with English absolute rule than representing Scots.
He is currently MP for East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire an area in general blighted by pockets of poverty, lack of investment, lost lives from long-term unemployment. Murphy’s patch, however, has a large contingent of well-heeled Jewish families and business types.
It was a place that might have benefitted from Scotland’s only attempt at mass-produced cars. The Rootes motor car company built the Hillman Imp not far from Linwood, a spritely rear engine compact car, and then called the workers inadequate when it proved unreliable. Executives refused a proper test time for the Imp, closing the factory. Back in the day, the British motor industry left development to the car buyer. But back then it seemed to be the answer for industry revival and a burgeoning of service industries. (Scotland still has no car production.)
That aside, in the Referendum the good folks of Renfrewshire lost all fear of insecurity or fate and voted No overwhelmingly against their own interests and the interests of others, ensuring they stayed doggedly as they are, ignored for the most part. And in that they have the right MP in Murphy, a man of Irish origins, a good Roman Catholic.
In a deathly place
Murphy is in his element, in a deathly place without ambition, a man incapable of uttering a radical idea, nor denigrating a conventional one. He says he will “resign his Westminster seat” if he is to take up leadership of his rag-tag band of chronic under-achievers for any length of time. Then again, he might lose it in the UK general election coming soon. He also stands to lose a lot of salary and expenses by choosing Scotland alone, and he doesn’t seem the man to return to a hard bed.
He makes the most of his humble beginnings – all the more to be seen a man of the people – born in a two-roomed flat in a Glasgow tenement, he ‘slept in a drawer,’ his cot in a chest of drawers, which probably accounts for his wooden personality. He smells of moth balls and camphor, and a way of closing down on people trying to make contact with him.
Back then, we were all poor. But the rest of us don’t earn almost £200,000 in expenses a year like Jim, or will be awarded lucrative pensions.
The Labour party demoted him on one occasion but that seems not to deter his self-perception as a leader of men. Tonight he will face the mirror and see himself as fulfilling his destiny. Sadly, no one has any expectations of him, least of all the Labour party.
A good neo-liberal ‘socialist’ now enjoying rocketing annual expenses as a UK MP, he dropped his aversion to students fees when a student and allowed grants to be abolished. Published government records show that he tried to gather a unionist cabal to block an independence referendum, once more showing his contempt for the democratic process.
When he departs, the Undertaker, the man with the face of a startled goat, will request he be buried in a wooden drawer, only made of the most expensive wood, with gold handles, top drawer, satin lined. He has been used to the good life too long now not to ask for the best funereal fittings. He doesn’t use pewter plates these days, or drink tea from jam jars.
A conventional as a tea stained necktie
No one looks to Jim Murphy to radicalise his party. There will never be a statue erected to his achievements. Specialness begins early and shows itself by our mid-twenties. Murphy has the charisma of a coffin and no political principle. That should keep him in good stead for the sleazy post of Labour leader Scottish Branch.
Like the television commercial, Murphy thinks he’s good at extricating himself out of sticky situations, but we all know he is not quite Carling.
Jim Murphy was elected leader of Scotland’s Labour group in December 2014. His career atrophied simultaneously. Will he survive beyond the 2015 General Election? I doubt it. I doubt it very much. People who uphold the interests of a country not their own against the interests of the people they were elected to represent have no motivation to stay the course. Personal sacrifice is not in their character. They won’t hang around to take the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They give it a go, and then they go. Murphy will go, soon be supplanted by another ‘Murphy’.
(PS: Murphy was roundly defeated … and duly departed to obscurity.)