In the span of just five years, the Labour Party has gone from dominating Scotland in national elections to becoming a footnote. The rot may have set in long before these last few years, but the party now appears to be collapsing in all those places where it was once invincible. Not that long ago it seemed fanciful to think that the SNP would win 30 seats this year. Now 50 would be considered a disappointing result. This should be taken as a warning to any party that thinks it can take its constituents for granted indefinitely. Eventually, voters will get rid of representatives that neglect them and their interests. On occasion, they will get rid of an entire party that has served them badly.
The Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, is coming under fire for the abysmal showing that his party will have next Thursday, but he was given an impossible task and it is doubtful that any leader would have been able to halt the pro-SNP wave. By the same token, it is doubtful that any Labour leader will be able to revive the party in time for the Scottish parliament elections next year. It’s possible that Murphy was the best leader Scottish Labour could have had under the circumstances, but that in itself shows the extent to which the party had become hopelessly out of touch with the voters there. Whatever else may come next, their repudiation by Scottish voters is a very healthy development.