By a Newsnet reporter
The Labour party in Scotland, also known as the Scottish Labour Party, is emerging as the biggest threat to Scotland no matter how Scots vote in the referendum.
Led by Johann Lamont, an individual who struggles to contain her detestation of Alex Salmond and the SNP - Scottish Labour is a party devoid not only of policy but of consistency.
Against the council tax freeze, then in favour, then against and apparently now in favour again, nobody really knows where it stands on key areas anymore.
Nothing its leader says can be believed as Lamont's "something for nothing" denial demonstrated. Scottish Labour's stance on important issues changes with the wind. This party went into the last Holyrood election with its leaders, including Lamont, having publicly signed pledges not to introduce tuition fees – that altered after they lost.
Scottish Labour is now no more than a confused and extremely bitter anti-independence lobbying group.
The latest display of vitriol saw its leader accuse First Minister Alex Salmond of having taken two weeks off and of not doing his job. The statement itself was an insult to the intelligence of Scots who watched as Salmond put his own reputation on the line in a last ditch bid to save the Grangemouth plant.
At the same time as Salmond was cancelling planned by-election campaign visits to Dunfermline, Labour's by-election candidate was attacking the SNP leader for apparently putting Scotland on pause.
The idiocy of the wooden and hapless Cara Hilton, who couldn't even repeat basic sentences at her swearing in ceremony at Holyrood, was indicative of a Scottish Labour group almost totally devoid of real talent and vision.
Lamont herself is the biggest liability. Praised and lauded by fervent Labour supporters in the Scottish media when she initially replaced Iain Gray, these same supporters must now look through their fingers when she gets up to speak at First Minister's Questions.
This is a car crash leader in every way. Her performances at First Minister's Questions have become must see viewing with a style reminiscent of dysfunctional guests on a Gerry Springer talk-show.
Last month she was finally taken to task after not once, but twice accusing Salmond and his government of being dishonest. Publicly, and humiliatingly for a leader, she was rebuked by the Presiding Officer after one intemperate remark too many.
Protected by the media in Scotland, Lamont's worst excesses are airbrushed out of the news.
Yet anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that this individual is nowhere near the calibre required to be First Minister of Scotland. That she's not even main opposition leader material will by now have dawned on handlers and media supporters alike.
Whether Yes or No prevail in the independence referendum, allowing an individual, with such little self-restraint and principle, to carry on with impunity risks damaging democracy in Scotland. The Holyrood chamber has become like a tenement close with Lamont shouting insult and invective at her First Minister neighbour.
Her intemperate actions encourage those behind her as they mimic their leader's hostile performance, frequently shouting and banging their desks. It's a sobering thought that these same MSPs could find themselves in ministerial posts making decision that affect the lives of millions of Scots.
In interviews, Labour MSPs are reduced to indulging in unbecoming anti-SNP, anti-independence sloganising – wilfully lying at times in order to bolster whatever claim they've been told to make against the hated nats or independence. Lamont's leadership has rendered Scottish Labour a policy free vacuum able only to articulate one message, that they oppose independence, that they hate Salmond.
Despite losing heavily in 2011, they are still unable to articulate a vision for Scotland post the referendum … just vote No they scream.
Ask about specific policies and Lamont responds with a variation of the same answer – she wants a debate, she wants a discussion, she has a commission. Trident, tuition fees, council tax [outwith by-elections], extra powers and a host of other policies critical to the future of Scotland and there is nothing forthcoming.
Scottish Labour is fast moving from a party unprepared for government to one that is incapable of governing. They have become a group that defines itself solely against whatever policy the SNP proposes.
Scottish Labour has lost the discipline required to make decisions, shape policy, compromise and co-operate. At Holyrood Labour has so few experienced and truly capable MSPs that there is no internal challenge to Lamont.
Without the habitual voter whose knowledge of politics extends to how their parents voted, the Labour party in Scotland would die within a generation. The media takes the blame of course with its schoolground portrayal of Scottish politics having rendered Scots so politically ignorant that huge swathes will still vote for such an appallingly led party.
There's no doubt that the forthcoming referendum has worsened the vitriol between the SNP and Labour and no wonder when you consider that a Yes vote would render 90% of Labour's Holyrood group redundant. It's a two-way dislike, but the overwhelming bad feeling is from Labour's opposition benches.
Labour barely managed to govern Scotland when the money was plentiful. Just imagine what the likes of Johann Lamont, Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie will do in these austere times if they ever find themselves in government again.