So here we are. Faced with the most cataclysmic election defeat in our history, Scottish Labour has settled on a strategy of “steady as she goes.”

Faced with a chance to change the leadership of that disastrous campaign, we have, instead, voted to give them a resounding vote of confidence.

Faced with the people’s verdict, we have chosen to tell the people, in no uncertain terms, that they got it wrong and need to do better next time.

Faced with the need for a Harry Potter figure, we have settled instead on a dementor.

The only consolation is that since we clearly intend to fight the 2011 campaign again in 2016 we might be able to save some money on literature.

So, don’t throw out these inspiring “Vote Labour if you don’t want to be stabbed” leaflets. They may be needed again.

I’ve been in the Labour Party for a very long time. I was taken, as a mere bump, to hear Nye Bevan speak in the spring of 1958; I was at the Apollo Cinema for Harold Wilson’s final rally in 1970; and at the Usher Hall in 1979 for Jim Callaghan’s opening one. I was in the Hall when Neil Kinnock denounced Liverpool City Council and when Tony Blair announced the abolition of Clause 4.

I’ve fought 11 general elections (5 Wins, 6 losses); four Scottish elections and by- elections from Berwick to Kincardine: enjoying triumph at Garscadden; disaster at Govan and pretty much every conceivable variant in between.

I’ve only once, ever, not voted for the Labour Candidate in any election, when I gave Denis Canavan, who should have been a Labour Candidate, my list vote in 1999.

I previously thought my lowest point was forever likely to be the day after the 1992 general election. We’d changed the party; we’d fought a great campaign; we were led by a man for whom I had not only political regard but also considerable personal affection. And we had still lost.

Compared to the 17th of December 2011 however, that now looks like a glad confident morning.

If there is one consolation, it comes in the small print. Anas Sarwar has fought a brilliant campaign and deservedly won the deputy leadership by a landslide.

He was the one of our new Westminster intake prepared to put his head above the parapet but he is only one of a genuine new tranche of talent at least in that Parliament.

We need however at least some of these good new people campaigning here; articulating a new, modern, politics in contrast not only to the SNP Government but also regrettably to the grim, unimaginative, municipal oppositionalism the Holyrood group are clearly set upon.

They say it is always darkest before the dawn. Here’s hoping.