WITH friends like Tom Harris, who needs enemies? Even by Labour’s standards of internecine warfare, yesterday’s “Vote Tory” call by the permanently angry, ex-Labour MP for Glasgow South, was an all-time low.

Timed to coincide with Jeremy Corbyn’s hopeless mission to breathe life into a struggling Scottish campaign, its only purpose was to undermine and overshadow the Labour leader and urge progressive Scots to do the utterly unthinkable and vote Tory.

Now strangely, the business of urging working people to re-elect a bunch of Old Etonians has become almost fashionable. This weird exhortation was first delivered by former Labour ministers Ian Austin, John Woodcock and Michael McCann. Who they? Well whether you know them or not, they claimed earlier this week that Corbyn is “a menace” and “disgrace to his party and country”.

Do they know something we dinnae? Is Corbyn doing something deeply unpatriotic behind the scenes like planning to flog off the National Health Service to an unpredictable narcissist facing impeachment proceedings?

No – it seems his crimes are far worse. According to Michael McCann, a former chairman of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party, Corbyn was “parroting Putin’s propaganda when [the Russian president] tried to murder people here in Britain”.

So, let me get that right. Sensible people with memories are supposed to believe that Corbyn’s legitimate demand for evidence about the real identity of the Salisbury poisoners was dodgier than Boris Johnson’s decision to accept election cash from men close to President Putin and then veto a Commons report exposing his actions.


Of course, the “Vote Tory” merchants also rehearse well-worn complaints about Corbyn sharing a platform with representatives of the IRA – the violent organisation with whom Margaret Thatcher’s government held clandestine talks to finally achieve a ceasefire.

I appreciate the IRA have killed and tortured civilians. But civil servants shared more than a platform with them behind the scenes. Is that old story all these guys have got?

No, according to Tom Harris there’s more.

Corbyn represents a strain of left-wing politics that is “complete anathema” to the traditional Labour party. Right.

So Corbyn’s policy of rail nationalisation, that helped Labour clinch Tory commuter towns like Canterbury in 2017, was “complete anathema” to Labour supporters, was it? Really?

And higher rates of public spending are so universally unpopular that Boris has been forced to copy Labour’s plans? What really is the problem?

Harris maintains: “Corbyn is not somebody who can be trusted with the security of the nation.”

Now we’re getting closer. I’m not a Corbynite but even dyed-in-the-wool independence supporters can spot the whopping double standard behind that one.

In July the BBC reported that Downing Street tried to withhold sensitive intelligence from Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, because “some in the intelligence community had worries about Mr Johnson’s ability to keep information confidential”. Laura Kuenssberg continued: “Downing Street would convene smaller meetings, or ‘pre-meets’, to discuss sensitive subjects rather than include him, a senior figure told me.” Of course, that could’ve been because Theresa May couldn’t stand the sight of her rival and nemesis. But do Scots trust Boris with the security of the nation? Do we heck.

Creating this catalogue of complaint about Jeremy Corbyn’s unsuitability for high office simply highlights the woeful and wilfully overlooked failings of Boris Johnson.

Nicola Sturgeon’s quite right – most Scots don’t want either as PM. But Corbyn has at least one advantage. He probably wouldn’t push the nuclear button.

It’s a measure of Britain’s profound dysfunctionality that Corbyn’s historic support for unilateral disarmament is the main reason he attracts the “dangerous and unpatriotic” tag, even though many British voters and a majority of Scots back his wobbly anti-Trident stance.

What would you draw from that guddle? If you want to scrap Trident, vote SNP.

Strangely enough, no prominent politician has really had a go at the SNP for its determination to scrap Trident, or suggested that Nicola Sturgeon is a threat to national security, despite her unequivocal intention to kick nuclear weapons out of Scotland. Why could that be? Tacit recognition, perhaps, amongst the independence-denying relics of New Labour that moralising and mindless militarism – which scare the horses so well south of the Border – cut very little ice in Scotland.

The vague, value-laden, detail-free allegations levelled this week against Corbyn tell us far more about the enduring rage of his outmanoeuvred, entitled accusers than the beleaguered Labour leader himself. These men are willing to endorse their class enemies and oldest political foes at a pivotal election, simply because history caught up with New Labour, pronounced it not much better than the Tories, created the political space for Momentum and the European Reform Group and left “middle ground” Labour politicians high and dry – the distrusted managers of decline.

This is the dodgy company Tom Harris has chosen to join and his fury over the end of New Labour and Corbyn’s part in its downfall is as boundless and graceless as it is ultimately pointless.

Because north of the Border, Labour hasn’t got a prayer, thanks to decades of complacency and cynical managerialism, and the party’s near hysterical opposition to independence.

Indeed, the only thing likely to provoke sympathy for Labour in Scotland is the sight of Jeremy Corbyn getting kicked about by Tom Harris. I’m usually reluctant to get involved in personality politics. The Presidential-style campaign being conducted right now needs no more encouragement.


Tom Harris’s surly outburst perfectly encapsulates the state of broken Britain and eloquently demonstrates that Scotland is already another country.

No reader of this paper needs reminded of Tory brutality. But it seems some Labour MPs can easily forget. All the wasted lives, all the despair, all the horror – all the cruelty of the Tory project can apparently be set aside, to let bitter men demolish the reputation of a Labour politician who, despite concerted media attacks, is still more popular than Labour’s old guard.

Tom Harris told the Daily Mail: “I will be far happier with a Boris Johnson government.”

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Not only have you betrayed your ain folk, you’ve helped motivate independence supporters to work that bit harder so we can leave the whole, sorry, awful, binary choice behind us.