Labour fight will be bloody what­ever the fi­nal out­come

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Opin­ion -

The Scot­tish Labour lead­er­ship con­test fi­nally got un­der way yes­ter­day.

Sar­war has as much in com­mon with Cor­byn as a traf­fic cone with a hot air bal­loon

Well, of­fi­cially any­way. In fact, a low-level riot of mud sling­ing, mis­spelt press re­leases and point­less virtue sig­nalling be­tween Richard Leonard and Anas Sar­war has been play­ing for days.

There seems lit­tle chance that this bat­tle will sud­denly f lower into an in­spir­ing ex­change of fu­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal thought which will en­er­gise and rein­vig­o­rate the party.

All the signs are of a de­press­ing re-tread of the same old ground. The early ex­changes were around gen­der equal­ity, whether through women- only short l ists or guar­an­tee­ing a fe­male deputy leader.

All laud­able enough – but given that Scot­land had fe­male lead­ers of three of the main par­ties up un­til re­cently, should this be top pri­or­ity?

Is it re­ally what keeps tra­di­tional Labour vot­ers who are strug­gling on the bread­line awake at night?

Both can­di­dates are all for it, nat­u­rally, with no sig­nif­i­cant points of dif­fer­ence.

With that safely es­tab­lished, and after a mild skir­mish over the busi­ness prac­tices of Sar­war’s fam­ily f irm, we were back to the con­sti­tu­tion yet again yes­ter­day.

You have to won­der why Sar­war both­ered.

A like­able ma­chine politi­cian, he has about as much in com­mon with Jeremy Cor­byn as a traf­fic cone does with a hot air bal­loon.

He must have known that the f ight for the highly du­bi­ous prize of be­ing Cor­byn’s Holy­rood lieu­tenant would leave h im bat tered and bruised – es­pe­cial ly given those staffing Leonard’s back­room.

Sar­war had to run off last week to check whether the fam­ily busi­ness in which he’s a share­holder of­fers recog­ni­tion to unions.

He didn’t an­swer im­me­di­ately as the ques­tion had prob­a­bly never been posed be­fore.

Un­der­stand­able, as the busi­ness is a medium-size cash and carry, not John Lewis.

Given this line of at­tack by the Leonard camp, Sar­war’s con­nec­tions to pri­vate school­ing are al­most cer­tain to be raised down the line. Even in the bru­tal world of Scot­tish pol­i­tics, that will prove ugly.

Leonard is eas­ily an eas­ier fit for Scot­tish Labour and the early favourite.

Ever since Cor­byn’s cheer­leader-in-chief Neil Find­lay de­cided he wasn’t stand­ing, Leonard has of­fered the re­moval of con­flict be­tween Ed­in­burgh and Lon­don.

Not much else so far, but what do you ex­pect? An ideas-packed vi­sion of the fu­ture which stretches be­yond the party rank and file and ap­peals to vot­ers?

That would be nice. Just don’t bank on it.

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