Google confused

I don’t literally mean ‘Go and Google “confused”.‘ It’s more a case of Scottish Labour succeeding in making Google confused.

My above screenshot is Google showing the problem. Blame the cartoon for prompting my search. I wasn’t expecting the result to be wonky; let alone in a clearly hilarious manner.

Yes, the current leader of the Labour Party in Scotland is Richard Leonard. Looking at this, you might say “not a lot of people know that!

Several comments on Wings over Scotland make the “Leonard who?” gag. The cartoon is showing Jeremy Corbyn as the ‘voice of Labour in Scotland‘. Which certainly says something.

I think it’s reasonable in concluding:

Public confusion over who represents¬† the “Branch Office” has also infected Google’s AI.

Above image from Wings over Scotland, relevant post here.

What’s making Google confused?

Richard Leonard took over from Kezia Dugdale November last year. Wikipedia knows that. Google sort-of knows that. Looking at the fuller page of results for my initial search, you see it’s correctly identified the snippet to pull from Wikipedia.

Look below the snippet. Note what’s highlighted from last year’s leadership election article.


The algorithm isn’t completely stupid. It’s not just going on the first name in the article. A Google Fight gives Dugdale 178k results, Leonard 108k. It’s probably Dugdale’s recent high profile is the issue. Her name is certainly in the news.

Google is just ignoring the “former” which comes before “Scottish Labour Leader”.

So Dugdale leads in the news

Most politicians have some grace, avoiding the limelight after resigning. Not so with Dugdale. She can’t exactly stop being the accused in a defamation case. (Libel, for those more-familiar with English Law). She still has a column in a Scottish paper too.

If you’re following Scottish politics, you’ve likely noticed a few other reasons. Leading us back to Corbyn’s cartoon appearance. Richard Leonard is more akin to his ‘spokesperson in Scotland’. Less than he’s linked with the term “leader”.

It’s a version of the Labour Party which reminds me of the early 20th Century “Worldwide Socialist Utopia” notion. One still squirming round the foundations of the Labour movement. Corbyn’s much publicised objections to the EU reflect that.

They’re due a good share of the blame for Brexit because of that. No realist ever believed any sort of “Lexit” was going to work. Westminster’s two-party system ensures a hard right Tory party spends time in power.

At least the EU protected against many of the abuses unhinged and unrestrained neoconservatives dream about. Regardless of Labour’s promises. Of renationalisation, housebuilding, and improved working conditions. Any future Tory government can abolish it all with the stroke of a pen.

Making Scotland less confused?

Sometimes I wish the devolution settlement required political parties register in Scotland. Rather than acting as ‘tentacles’ of their UK-wide namesakes.

A Scottish Labour Party representing the will of the Scottish people would not support Trident. It would not oppose EU membership. It would welcome immigration. And, it might have the balls to admit it shares common ground with the SNP.

Now – crucially – it lacks the autonomy to enter a coalition without undue interference from British Labour.

That’s in a parliamentary system designed to encourage coalition.

More importantly, it would have an identity. If it cannot contemplate Scottish Independence because the British Labour Party forbids public discussion of such? It isn’t fit for purpose.

Maybe that’s why the Tories are – albeit distantly – in second place at Holyrood. They openly don’t give a rat’s arse about the majority in Scotland. All they can talk about, though, is Independence. And, just how horrid they think it would be.


Where's the gunpowder? It's for a vintage flash, ... Honest!

GuidoGoogle confused

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