Johann Lamont stood down as leader of the Scottish Labour party. She accused colleagues of trying to run Scotland “like a branch office of London and describing some of her Westminster colleagues as dinosaurs who do not understand the politics of Scotland in the new post-referendum world.
What brought about her resignation was the sacking of the general secretary of Scottish Labour, Ian Price without the London HQ of the party even bothering to consult her.
The truth of the matter is that neither the Scottish nor Welsh Labour parties are anything but branch offices of the centralist party.
Although Carwyn Jones was elected leader of the Welsh Labour party, all the paid officers in the Welsh party HQ are there courtesy of the national executive of the central party.
Just like in Scotland the national party general secretary could invite them to London for a “chat” and promptly give them the boot.
Whilst Wales’s First Minister calls for Home rule his party is very much into central control.
Party candidates have to be approved by the National executive. They can impose their will on local constituencies and also the Welsh party.
The Welsh party may have its own logo and call itself Welsh Labour but make no mistake it’s independent in name only. Welsh Labour was a branding exercise to allow Rhodri Morgan to claim clear red water between Wales and Blair’s New Labour.
The problem with Labour is that it has never really understood devolution. Its focus first and foremost is Westminster. Their only concern is that Wales and Scotland provide the cannon fodder of Labour MPs in such quantity to allow a Labour government be formed.
If they had any understanding of Scotland, would they have been seen campaigning alongside and sharing the same platform as the Conservatives in the Better Together campaign? Unlikely, traditional Labour voters saw this as a betrayal.
Although Scotland rejected independence it’s not the SNP that are the losers in eyes of the voters. In the greater Glasgow area, 12 Labour constituencies backed independence. Since the referendum, SNP membership has more than tripled with the party becoming the third largest in the UK.
Meanwhile Labour is in free fall. Sacking their general secretary, losing their leader. Hardly the best background to return Labour MPs.
Henry McLeish, a former Labour first minister, said that Scottish Labour supporters no longer know “what the party stands for.” They are unlikely to ever “know” until Labour in Scotland and in Wales become independent of the metropolitan clique that control the party.