IT’S safe to say Scotland isn’t uppermost in the minds of the contenders for the Labour leadership. Yesterday, the Birmingham MP Jess Phillips demonstrated her grasp of politics “up there”, as she called it on Good Morning Scotland, by declaring: “I can’t understand how you can be pro-EU but not pro-UK”. Well, rather a lot of Scottish voters do.

She want on to suggest that December’s election was a vindication of the Union. This is because “53 per cent of Scottish voters didn’t vote for parties that supported independence”. We can forget about the SNP getting 80 per cent of the seats and reducing Labour to one solitary MP.

In the Remainian universe in which Ms Phillips resides, actual results are clearly irrelevant. The General Election was also a vindication of staying in the European Union, she thinks because if you add up all the non-Tory votes it comes to 52 per cent. This is crass, not just because it ignores the electoral system, but because it assumes that you can see into the minds of voters.

They may have been casting their votes for any number of reasons unrelated to Brexit, like those people who voted for Jo Swinson because she thinks human reproductive biology is a myth. All we know is that December 2019 was Labour’s worst General Election result since 1935.

Ms Phillips knows that people in Scotland didn’t really mean to vote for the SNP’s policy of independence, because she knows the working classes better than they know themselves. I mean, all those people in her own Birmingham Yardley constituency who voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU were “just wronguh”. If you added up all the other votes... er. .. Well, maybe not.

Unsurprisingly, Ms Phillips rejects a Scottish referendum because “I can’t think it would ever be better for Scotland to leave the UK”. She of course thinks a second referendum on Brexit is entirely justified because, well, she thinks it is.

So it seems we can forget about all this independence business for the next few years. At least, Labour’s leadership contenders seem reluctant to support John McDonnell’s promise not to “stand in the way” of a referendum, should Scots vote for one in 2021.

READ MORE: Jess Phillips outlines opposition to second Scottish independence vote

Boris Johnson must be well pleased at this new constitutional consensus. Just don’t expect this parliament to vote for a Section 30 Order.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the “proud socialist” who finally declared her candidature for Labour leader yesterday, is determined to avoid any “Tory Lite” backsliding. She doesn’t think much of Better Together, but nor has she anything coherent to say about Scotland.

Nor has Sir Keir Starmer, who emerged as an early leader in opinion polls of Labour members. It is a measure of Labour’s ideological confusion that the leading Remainer is apparently favourite to take over after Labour was routed for failing to support Brexit.

But even Momentum activists like a bit of class. Sir Keir is a wealthy North London barrister and human rights lawyer very much out of the New Labour mould. Uncompromisingly pro-Europe; instinctively centrist.

Mind you, so desperate is he to deny any association with Tony Blair’s politics that the Brexit spokesman’s leadership video featured all the industrial actions he had supported since the miner’s strike in the 1980s. Just call him Keir Scargill.

As it happens, I suspect Mr Starmer would be the most popular of the Labour leadership hopefuls in Scotland. Not because of his understanding of Scottish politics, but because he is articulate and isn’t Jeremy Corbyn. There was been an assumption that because Scots tend to be a bit left wing they would naturally support Mr Corbyn’s brand of retro socialism.

Not so. The truth is that Tony Blair was very popular in Scotland, at least until the Iraq War. Mr Blair had no great interest in Scottish politics, even though he grew up in Edinburgh, but he certainly realised how important Scotland was to the Labour Party.

In the 1980s, after the crushing defeat in the 1983 “suicide letter” election, it was Scotland that kept the Labour Party alive while it fell apart in England over Bennism. Labour won 50 Scottish seats in the 1987 general election, nearly a quarter of the Labour Parliamentary Party.

An entire generation of Labour front benchers came from Scotland – John Smith, Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, George Robertson, Robin Cook, Donald Dewar...

There used to be complaints in the London press about the “Scottish Raj” that had taken over the party. Scottish Labour MPs went on to occupy most of the key offices of state in 1997, after Tony Blair became Prime Minister. In a very real sense, the ground-work for that Labour victory, the party’s greatest ever, was laid by Scottish Labour politicians who saved the party from the student politics ultra-leftism of the London left.

It’s hard to believe this is the same party. Labour now has only one MP “up here”. And in the post-Corbyn era, Scotland has fallen off the map. Yet, returning Scottish MPs – there were 41 of them as recently as 2015 – remains pretty essential if Labour is to win again.

Perhaps the message from the Labour leadership campaign is that it’s not really very interested in winning another election. Certainly not if the Corbynites remain in command. The Labour leader’s response to this historic setback, in his Christmas message, was revealing. He said he would be leading “the resistance” to the Tory Government.

READ MORE: Kirsty Strickland: If It’s a question of leadership, Jess Phillips isn’t the answer

This was the kind of left-wing defeatism that infuriated politicians like Gordon Brown, Robin Cook and John Reid in the 1980s when they heard it from Labour supporters. They were on the left of the party too, but weren’t content just to burnish their radical credentials and languish in the purity of opposition.

They wanted power. They thought there was no point being in politics if it was not to win office. Posturing before adoring crowds of students and party activists did not float their boat.

Who provides this urge to win in today’s Labour Party? They won’t be from Scotland, that’s for sure, and nor will they be from the North of England. Labour is now a metropolitan party, a middle class movement led by remainers and women like Jess Philips, who is thoroughly middle class despite her accent.

On this showing, Labour could be out of power for a long time.