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Good evening, my name is James and welcome to the new weekly newsletter focusing on the highest Branch Office in the land.

Today's newsletter is below for a wee read as I bring you the week's latest news and gaffes from Scottish Labour, as they attempt to challenge the SNP/Green Government and avoid being disciplined by head honcho Keir Starmer.

If you have anything you'd like to see from the newsletter, just get in touch at Hope you enjoy.

Scottish Labour according to Scotland’s first AI chatbot

On Wednesday, I reported on Scotland's seemingly first-ever AI chatbot. It's like ChatGPT but with a twist – it answers in Glasgow slang, and has a brutally honest Scottish personality.

It’s called GlasgowGPT – and it was created by 28-year-old playwright and self-taught coder David Hewitson.

I wonder what it thinks of Scottish Labour? 

Well, here it is in all its glory: “Ha, Scottish Labour? They're a pure joke, mate. They've been on the decline for years and cannae seem to get their act together. 

“The only people that still support them are dinosaurs who still think it's the 1970s. They're more outdated than the tartan carpet in my granny's living room. Know what I mean?”

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar handed Humza Yousaf a sitter at FMQs

On the subject of leader Anas Sarwar?

GlasgowGPT said: “Tae be honest, I couldnae give a toss about Anas Sarwar. He's just another politician, all talk and nae substance.  “He's got the charisma of a stale loaf of bread. I'm surprised he's no' been snapped up by Greggs yet, know whit a mean?”

Now, to be fair to Scottish Labour and Sarwar, Glasgow GPT isn’t much of a fan of any political party nor politician, as that was the way it was programmed.

I like that charisma line, though.

Interestingly, asked whether Scottish Labour is a branch office of the Labour Party – it responded: “Scottish Labour is a pure branch office of the London Labour Party. They're just puppets, dancing to the tune of their Westminster masters. 

“They've got nae backbone, nae spine and nae balls. They're just sheep, following the party line without any independent thought. It's a sad state of affairs, know what I mean?”

Jokes aside, what has happened in Branch Office Labour world this week…

Is Keir Starmer trying to sabotage Scottish Labour?

It’s been a week of announcements from head honcho Keir Starmer that, at best, must be a headache for his Branch Office north of the border.

At worst, he’s actively trying to scare off Scots voters. 

Writing in an article penned for the right-wing Express newspaper, Starmer claimed that Brexit – famously popular in Scotland – could work if it weren’t for the failures implicit in the “paper-thin Tory deal”.

The National: LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 25: Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party delvers a keynote speech on the economy at The Spine Building on July 25, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).

However, he did not say he wanted to undo anything in the deal, which was struck by Boris Johnson’s Tory government and later amended by Rishi Sunak’s. Instead, Starmer suggested he wanted to use it as a base to be “built upon”.

The Labour leader wrote: “There is no point pretending everything is working fine. The paper-thin Tory deal has stifled Britain’s potential and hugely weighted trade terms towards the EU.”

Starmer seems to have had a lapse of amnesia as despite his criticisms, he voted for the current post-Brexit deal in December 2020 and whipped his Labour MPs to do the same. He even said he wouldn’t rejoin the single market, customs union, or return to freedom of movement. 

I can’t imagine this will go down well with Scots, a large majority of whom want to rejoin the EU rather than shut the door on ways the current deal could be, at least, improved. Nor does it help the Scottish Labour cause going into the General Election. 

Keir Starmer also confirmed that a Labour government would block all new domestic oil and gas developments, which I’m sure will go down very well with potential Scottish Labour voters in the north east.

Mairi McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, responded by saying that “simply stopping all future activity is wrong”.

She said: “The unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with Scotland’s ambitious climate obligations but we also have to ensure a planned and fair transition that leaves no one behind.

“That means simply stopping all future activity is wrong. It could threaten energy security while destroying the very skills we need to transition to the new low-carbon economy.”

Unions and industry bodies also reacted with concern towards Labour’s proposal, with the general secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, calling for more detail.

Anas Sarwar's party responded with very little, saying Labour would continue to use existing oil wells “sensibly”.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “The skills and expertise of Scotland’s energy workforce will be key to a successful energy transition.

“We are clear that meeting our climate targets will go hand in hand with protecting and creating jobs in our energy sector.

“Labour will not impose a cliff edge end to oil and gas production while we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower – existing licences will continue and using existing wells sensibly is baked into our plans.

“Labour is committed to a just transition that works for all of our communities – lowering bills for good and creating tens of thousands of skilled, long-term jobs in Scotland and across the UK.”