The great policy race
How Jim Murphy is cunningly outdoing the SNP at every turn
Finally, someone has cracked politics. Jim Murphy has only been in the job as leader of Scottish Labour for a month and yet he has already won the election – and every election that will ever follow.
And his secret is quite brilliant. So simple a fool could have thought of it: just take whatever the SNP do and promise more of it.
Hiring new nurses? Murphy will hire a thousand more.
Staging petty arguments with Westminster over funding? Murphy has already promised to break into Diane Abbott’s house and steal her stuff.
Even as we speak, Murphy is touring the country in a kind of frenzied one-upmanship, outdoing the SNP with each turn.
It is cunning – taking the logic of the pre-World War One arms race and applying it to policy-making.
A commission on funding local government? Murphy will set up two, expected to sit day and night, every day of the week, until each council is as rich as Donald Trump.
Sturgeon plans on saving the oil industry? Murphy will literally give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to each and every oil rig until the price rises. That is what the Labour movement is all about.
It must be maddening for Nicola Sturgeon – no matter what she does, Murphy will exceed it.
In fact he doesn’t even need to know what her policy is – he can just tell everyone before hand that no matter what happens he will do more of what she does, and better.
But there is one solution for Sturgeon - she must bite the bullet and start announcing policies the Scottish people hate.
My first suggestion would be to promise to sack one thousand nurses. Yes, the public will be angry with the SNP, but only until Murphy promises to sack double that.
Next, promise new nuclear weapons. The short dip in polls will recover as soon as Murphy pledges to install cartoon-style doomsday device in the bedroom of every child in Scotland.
In fact, why not announce more devolution, instead of independence, as the SNP’s policy? You never know, Murphy might just go for the whole thing.
The Edinburgh Western MSP was being investigated over his election expenses
The First Minister will speak at a conference on inclusive growth in Glasgow today
The Scottish Government has committed to making Green MSP John Finnie’s member’s bill law
Sketch: Liam Kirkaldy tries to get to grips with events at the SNP conference in Glasgow