Monday, July 28, 2014

Scottish independence: Top Labour figure Ian Price sidelined in referendum campaign, his ally, Labour MSP Johann 'photo op' Lamont doesn't inspire confidence, the lack of a proper work ethic is Labour's problem, they aren't saving Scotland, in September, ordinary people are doing that!

Dear All

As a keen observer of the Scottish political pond, I can put my hand on my heart and say that the Scottish Labour Party’s campaigning from what I am seeing in the Scottish independence campaign has been shit in my area. No leaflets from the Labour Party who are wrongly are running their own separate campaign to the detriment of the Unionist cause to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom

On Saturday, I was going to the supermarket to get some bread, the Labour Party were out in Cardonald. Their event was at the Aldi supermarket, it started at 10 am, when I passed by circa 11 am, one person had turned up; that was the organiser who was handing out material. After doing my shopping, I went to check my email, as I returned back towards the supermarket later on at about 11.30 am, no one was there. The Labour event was scheduled as starting at 10 am and finishing at 2 pm at the supermarket.

In Pollok which is the seat of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont; the Labour Party turnout for Better Together events has in my opinion been nothing more than an outright disgrace.

It seems that the ‘dedicated’ Labour followers including Johann Lamont, Ian Davidson and both Labour Councillors are still to do their proper ‘first day’ with the current team that is covering the area.

Johann Lamont and Ian Davidson have been noticeable by their absence, of course in fairness, they have done some BT street stall events at Silverburn Shopping Centre where they turn up late and ‘do an hour for Scotland’.

Maybe someone could explain leadership to them. It is said that Johann Lamont was reluctant stand for the Labour leadership in 2011, pretty reluctant to be a proper activist as well.

Johann 'photo op' Lamont!

Apparently Johann Lamont has heard of my blog, and doesn’t like it, so I imagine she probably won’t like this post because it hardly paints her as the labour leader saving Scotland, even in her own area!

At a previous event I attended I was informed by someone called John Coyle (Labour Party) that he had complaints about my blog and I was told ‘don’t talking to the politicians’. Given that the only politician there at the time was the Asian Labour Councillor who walked up to talk to me, it all seemed rather cryptic in nature.

Later on at that event Johann Lamont turned up which explained the ‘don’t talk to the politicians’ crack. At end I said to Mr. Coyle if he had less cryptic and said straight out what the problem was it would have cleared matters up for me. I also informed him in front of the Asian Labour Councillor, I had no interested in meeting Johann Lamont or talking to her.

When the Better Together group photo was taken by John Coyle, I was excluded from it, it was Labour people only; hardly Better Together, the irony is that of the people featured in that photo as being BT activists, none are doing BT events currently in Pollok. I said to Mr. Coyle if I had known he was running this event as a Labour event I wouldn’t have come, he asked me to come back the next day which was a Labour event on the Sunday, I declined, not because of what happened but because I was going somewhere else.

Anyway, it appears that the Scottish Labour general secretary Ian Price has been sidelined in his party's referendum campaign, amid concerns about the party's strategy and effectiveness on the ground.

It seems that there are too many generals and not enough troops who are willing to work however given the staged managed photos of United with Labour; you might be tempted to think they were putting a good effort in. In some respects it is a bit like the farce of Pollok SNP when they put on their ‘happy face’ at the Pollok shopping centre and later got bounced by the security staff, they weren’t happy that day. If there is a programme of internal Labour reforms, you have to wonder how shit they were at campaigning before they ‘improved’.

As to the problem of fractious relations between MSPs, MPs, councillors and trade unions, this could be solved rather easily, you get people in for a chat and tell them in a quiet but firm voice that if they don’t pull their weight, they are out, no matter whose coat tails they are hanging onto. Just as a cull was needed in the run up to the 2012 Glasgow Council Election, it can be done again.

Price  won a decent amount of by-elections, he did so when the Nationalists were in decline, but nothing should be taken away from him, it is a decent record but we should remember the credit isn’t his alone and neither are the failures.

Price’s problem is that he was head of public affairs at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Scotland (RSPB); what does he know about activism on the ground. I suspect not a lot in that regard which might explain why at Cardonald only one person was doing the Labour event which was billed online as ‘referendum campaigning’.

Party fixer Frank Roy MP joined the Better Together campaign in April in a "political co-ordination" role, his job is described as "Labour's eyes and ears" in the body. Maybe rather than Labour having him as "eyes and ears" they should stick him out with the activists to work, perhaps a spell in the trenches will open his eyes to the problems of elected Labour people backsliding and force Labour into giving Better Together more support. 

One insider said:

"Ian Price came with a good reputation, but it's recognised he's not been great at some aspects of the job. Sheila Murphy was brought in to shore up Scottish Labour, while Frank Roy was also introduced to ensure we get the right result in September."

That is code for doesn’t understand politics, which is rather odd given his position in the Labour Party. Also you can pretty sure the ‘right result’ won’t be down to anything that Frank Roy thinks or does, the Scottish people will take care of the result.

As To Johann Lamont, her future is said to be doubt, and it looks increasingly unlikely that she is capable of winning the 2016 election for Labour. The favourites for her job are said to be deputy leader Anas Sarwar, East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale MSP.

I don’t see either Anas Sarwar or Jim Murphy as Scottish leader, however both have excellent track records; Jim Murphy certainly brings considerable political experience. As to Kezia Dugdale MSP, you can forget that as a non starter, it has always been Ken Macintosh as Scottish Labour leader who stands the best chance of beating Alex Salmond in 2016. The sooner the Labour Party wraps their heads round that one the quicker they will turn round their problems.

Dugdale cannot win!

As Price has been sidelined, the Labour Party has brought in Sheila Murphy, the former regional director of Labour North West to work on Labour's distinct referendum campaign. One of the things I have observed in politics, is someone is hailed by the leadership as being ‘very good’, but when you see what they produce, you have to wonder how anyone could come to that conclusion.

In 2012, Alex Salmond hailed the dreadfully inept Glasgow SNP leader Allison Hunter as a ‘wonderful leader’, the truth was somewhat different, she was crap, she wasn’t a leader of men and she was a Nicola Sturgeon crony.

She went on to lose the 2012 Council election; the word ‘slaughtered’ aptly describes that result. Hunter was said to have trained up the current SNP elected members which begs the question why they were so ignorant and stupid.

The legacy of Allison Hunter was that she was the catalyst for the soon to be epic defeat on 18th September 2014 of Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon. The failure to take Glasgow was an real epic disaster which proves the point that cronyism cannot replace talent, and Hunter had no talent.

As to Johann Lamont, she needs to stop Labour’s campaign and fold everything into Better Together as should the Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie.

Having one guy turn up at a Labour event isn’t an event, it is embarrassing, but Sheila Murphy’s first task should be to address the lack of a work ethic at the top and why so few Labour activists are coming out.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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