Jim Murphy MP

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Jim Murphy, a Labour politician who got everything wrong, including politics as a career

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.)

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10 Responses to Jim Murphy MP

  1. jimnarlene says:

    I get the feeling that, you don’t like Spud much; a common opinion that.
    I think he’ll be a gift, for those of us on the YES side.

    • Grouse Beater says:

      Stolid, solid and horrid. Without warmth. No authority of the personality. Quite unfit to lead.
      Another one hits the dust: as I type this Anas Sarwar has just quit as deputy leader of the Labour group. Labour falls apart at the seams over victory, everyone agitated for the No vote. What would they have done if they lost the Referendum?

  2. tom b says:

    Linwood isn’t in East Renfrewshire, instead Westminster constituency wise it was electorally in Paisley South and partly in the now defunct Renfrew West and Inverclyde seat. East Renfrewshire, which now through gerrymandering has come to include parts of Barrhead is properly in Glasgow. Paradoxically Govan which is seen as quintessentially Glasgow was historically and until relatively recently been part of Renfrewshire.

    By no stretch of the imagination can the Hillman Imp have been said to have been built anywhere near Eastwood/East Renfrewshire.

    The nearest town of any size to what was then the tiny village of Linwood, was Johnstone, though the Rootes plant built in the region to assemble the Imp (it also built Avengers, Sumbeams and Hunters) was on the west side of Linwood Rd and was closer to the village of Elderslie than even to Linwood; the east side of Linwood Rd, where the Pressed Steel car body plant (on the site of an even earlier late 19thC steel works) had existed since its days as a ww2 ‘shadow’ factory, building rail carriages and ww2 armaments including tanks and many of the d-day landing craft, and was until Rootes, using Chrysler money in 1964 took it over, an independent company from Rootes, actually owned by BMC, building steel bodyshells fully trimmed, for a variety of car makers including Volvo and many smaller firms, it also made truck cabs for the BMC commercial vehicle plant at Bathgate, as well as still being a prolific builder of railway carriages, until the Beeching axe created a surplus of rolling stock.

    It might seem a minor point but is so jarringly wrong, so absurd, that for anyone from that area, it reads as total nonsense, discrediting the whole of the article.

    Agree with you about J Murphy however, he exemplifies everything that is wrong with the Labour Party.

    Sorry to nitpick, enjoy the blog generally and your comments on other indy websites, but this was an error, or perhaps a generalisation too far, on one of my pet subjects, to let go uncorrected.

    • Grouse Beater says:

      Hi Tom

      I didn’t actually say the Imp factory was in East Renfrewshire, Tom – Linwood is the place usually referred to, now stated in the essay, ambiguity removed. I tried to imply it offered positive employment for folk from a wide area around. I knew people in my youth who drove there in their Hillman Hunters, (seen as an affordable executive car!) from Renfrewshire thinking they had a job for life. Some lived as far away as Paisley. The Imp was seen as a kind of industry renaissance, one with good international implications, but like the British automotive industry today, ownership and power lay elsewhere. I’m also familiar with the history of the Hillman Imp, and later Chrysler’s tenure, but to follow that in any detail would lose sight of the subject of the essay- Murphy. Neverthless, your comments as a prompt to accuracy are welcome. By the way, I’ve never considered Govan as part of anywhere but Govan; it has its own character and history, but again I acknowledge all those areas become a blur to many and lumped into Glasgow and greater Glasgow.

  3. tom b says:

    No worries, thanks for replying so courteously. I don’t disagree about the inadequate testing and development, blaming the workforce and so on, all quite correct it seems from my recollections. The whole story is one sorry saga and the Scottish plant was always second fiddle to the Coventry plant in the Midlands.

    Collectors now refer to the Imp and its variants as as the Scottish Porsche and I was privileged last year to drive a superbly restored Singer Chamois Coupe, gloriously done out in a saltire blue paint scheme.

    • Grouse Beater says:

      Ah, you’re a man after my own heart – the Singer Chamois Coupe – the up-market Imp. It had that fastback making it look rakish. Was there not a ‘Californian’ and a Sunbeam version called the ‘Stiletto’? Even then car makers had cottoned on to the notion of status in a single marque. I had no idea some models are still around and collectible.

      And you’re right, the Imp was talked of as Scotland’s Porsche. (These days I talk of Jaguar’s missed opportunity as Britain’s Porsche.) I read a good report published in book form of the tester’s experiences with the Imp, in and around Europe, up an down mountain roads, sending regular reports of progress, reliability and durability, complaining bitterly to management the car was a potential winner but it had inherent faults that should and could be corrected. For the most part the testers tell of management ignoring their recommendations.

  4. hektorsmum says:

    Well GB, I hazard a guess, you do not like him, something in that post said it all. Well neither do I but then I am hard pushed to say I like any of them. They do not believe in Scotland other than some where to gather votes. As soon as an election is over it is back to normal. I think that is what they cannot get a handle on, it is not going back to normal.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    I keep looking for integrity and dedication to Scotland’s needs, rarely finding it.

    I recall Labour saber rattlers like Janey Buchan, constantly on television and radio mouthing all sorts of solutions for Scotland’s ills, a self-propelled Labour celebrity, always giving the impression she was fighting Scotland’s corner, and for the poor and downtrodden, shouting down, jeering at SNP opposition.

    When you looked carefully at her background nothing of any substance could be found, no achievements evident, another Tammany Hall machine politician.

  6. rededd says:

    Having studied Politics at Strathclyde University in the early nineties alongside Jim Murphy,
    I recall an aghast audience as Murphy stood up from his seat to heckle and berate Donald Dewar
    during a guest lecture. Few tears were shed by lecturers and students alike when Jim, who spent much of his time on campus trying force Socialist Worker Party publications on passers by, failed his Politics exams and was booted off the degree course (or, as his Wikipedia entry spins it: ‘He was a student at Strathclyde for 9 years, but did not graduate from the university’).
    Jim hasn’t let his academic failure hold him back from a well paid career in Politics with the associated perks and expenses, although I suspect that his bluff may finally be about to be called.

    • Grouse Beater says:

      Interesting addition to this topic. Murphy is a man of unhinged ambition. I read he plotted the downfall of his predecessor. It is good to see him too forced to fight for his place in public life.

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