I have 2 reasons for believing this:
- The polls in Scotland aren’t looking good for Labour and it is now getting too late to change the seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory of the SNP vote. In the event of a likely hung parliament Ed Miliband is going to need help to become PM. It looks like his biggest ally in achieving this goal could be Nicola Sturgeon. To ensure that Ms Sturgeon is kept onside Mr Miliband needed to show her an act of good will, and what better than to sacrifice a man who is annoying everyone at the moment, Jim Murphy. What does Milliband lose by doing this? Very little. The Labour party in Scotland is increasingly loooking like a lame duck with no hope of turning around the SNP lead. Murphy will possibly not be an MP after the GE. And as a bonus Mr Miliband gets rid of someone who openly defied him when he took over leadership of the Scottish branch by declaring that he, unlike his predecessor would not be running a branch office of London Labour (3)
- Jim Murphy came to Scotland, not to lead the Labour Party in Scotland but to have a staging post for his attempt to become leader of the Labour party, here he could build up some influence and power within the grouping of Scottish Labour MPs. A grouping of 40 or so MPs would be a good foundation to have during a bid for the leadership. However, today his two main rivals for that leadership position delivered the blows that could consign him to obscurity by publicly contradicting the story that was being played out in front of the media in Scotland. Namely, that Scotland would not suffer any budget cuts after the next election if Labour were the winners. This makes Mr Murphy look out of touch with the higher echelons in his own party and also powerless in the face of their decisions.
An interesting question is, what does Murphy do now? He said that Scottish Labour was not a branch office of London Labour, “I am big enough and ugly enough not to be pushed around by anyone. I’ll make the decisions, we’ll call the shots here in Scotland.” (3) And here he is being treated as the branch manager and having no power to resist. In May Murphy could be irrelevant, not an MP, leading a branch office in disarray, possibly having suffered the worst showing in Scotland in 100 years. With no power or influence Murphy will not be leader of the Scottish contingent for long. So what will he do, keep his head down and work hard to keep his seat or come out fighting against Miliband as he isn’t just in this himself, he has his acolytes gathered from the Better Together crew to look after.
The next few days could be very interesting indeed.