Monday, May 16, 2011

Former First Minister Henry McLeish says Labour ‘must wrap itself up in Saltire’, does he think people will fall for that con in this day and age?

Dear All

I think we can certainly say that the Labour Party in Scotland suffered a disastrous night on May 5th 2011.

In Glasgow, the heart of the Labour ‘Rome’ Empire more than half of the first past the post seats went to the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon won Glasgow Southside in a landslide.

John Mason won Glasgow Shettleston from Frank McAveety.

James Dornan won Glasgow Southside from Charles Gordon.

Sandra White won Glasgow Kelvin from Pauline McNeill.

And Bill Kidd won Glasgow Anniesland from Bill Butler by 7 votes.

So, when you lose, you take it on the chin and try and work out what when wrong.

In Labour’s case, you could sum it up in one word.


And to show how off beam Labour is after a kicking by the electorate, Former First Minister Henry McLeish says that Labour must wrap its self up in the Scottish Flag.

And ‘Scottish’ Labour must create its own identity separate from the UK party.

If they do so, it will seem as hollow because their ‘Scottishness’ stops well before having a free and independent country to call our own.

Rebranding only works if you do what you say and mean what you say.

The Labour Party in Scotland have been found wanting!

Another part of Henry McLeish strategy is that party develop a “more progressive and more mature” relationship between Westminster and Holyrood.

Which kind of signals that there is an ‘us and them’ mentality about the Labour MPs and MSPs!

The Labour Party’s Scottish Executive met at the weekend to discuss the party’s rout at the recent Holyrood elections but will they work out what the real problem is?

I doubt it.

McLeish thinks that Labour’s aim should be a “radical extension of devolution but within a modernised union”.

He added:

“We have to be able to show that within the union we’re putting Scotland first in our policies and that is not inconsistent with what’s happening in countries like Germany and other European countries where they have federal or confederal systems.”
George Robertson famously said that devolution would kill nationalism stone dead in its tracks.

2011 the SNP have a majority in a Parliament designed never to have one.

So much for that idea!

At present the Labour Party has appointed Jim Murphy MP and Co to do a review of what went wrong.

But in order to that review justice you have to go back years and understand how the Labour Party detached itself from the voters in Scotland at a Holyrood level.

Henry McLeish said Scottish Labour has to have its own brand and identity and should be taking on the SNP by developing policies and an outlook “embracing pride and patriotism and wrapping them in the Saltire”.

That won’t work, the SNP have cornered the market, you can’t serve two masters, Westminster and Holyrood and look credible.

McLeish also paid tribute to the SNP when he said that part of the SNP’s attraction was that its “clever combination of Scottishness, vision and populism” made it look like the party standing up for Scotland.

However, he was quick to say that its leader Alex Salmond had no monopoly on a vision of what was best for the country.

During the election, the Lib Dem vote deserted the Party, faced with a choice, the Lib Dems voters decided that Alex Salmond was the best possible choice for First Minister of Scotland.

Everyone right across the political spectrum voted SNP.

Whoever replaces Iain Gray will have a hard task, in Scotland they will only be the leader of 37 MSPs and not the leader of ‘Scottish’ Labour that doesn’t exist, Ed Miliband is the leader of the British Labour Party.

And Labour in Scotland is the British Labour Party put a flag across your shoulders will not change that one bit.

In local Labour news there has been further post-election fallout for Labour; former MSP Charlie Gordon has attacked key figures in his party’s Glasgow headquarters.

Gordon who lost his seat of Glasgow Cathcart to SNP MSP James Dornan was unhappy with their campaign efforts.

Gordon cited that Labour officials meddled in the manifesto and put out “factually incorrect” press releases.

I did a piece on Rami Okasha who helped bury Labour in Scotland.

Cheers Rami!

In a bit of sour grapes Shadow Scottish Secretary Ann McKechin says the SNP hid its plans for independence and fiscal autonomy during the election because it feared it would drive away swing voters.

Perhaps she doesn’t understand electioneering; the main point is to present your party in the best possible light.

Bizarrely she also said that voters may now be “alarmed to see Alex Salmond using their votes to push the case for fiscal autonomy at full throttle”.

If McKechin looked at the last 4 years, she would have seen a remarkable piece of money management by SNP Finance Minister John Swinney.

Everything that the SNP do in Government is all about making people’s lives better.

Labour isn’t interested in that concept; they are the party of big business, of greed, of cronyism and self interest.

Who is mental enough to vote for them when they have deserted their principles?

And do they honestly think wrapping the Satire round them will change that?

The Labour Party in Scotland doesn’t serve the interests of the Scottish people and more and more people have woken up to that fact.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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