Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack decides to enter the race to be Scottish Labour leader, is she a natural charismatic leader, does she connect with the public, can she win back Labour support, did she have a good Scottish referendum campaign, politics is like gun fighting, you have to be able to react fast, and Boyack doesn’t have a killer instinct

Dear All

It seems that Sarah Boyack, the former Environment minister has decided to throw her hat into the ring and confirmed that she is to stand for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

Is she the person to lead the Scottish Labour Party out of their current difficulties?

I would say no.

Ms Boyack despite having been a former minister has been very low key politically since she peaked.

Although she served in previous Labour-led executives in Edinburgh, and has some backing from colleagues in Edinburgh and London, she isn’t the person to change Labour around. The Labour Party needs a natural charismatic leader as a minimum requirement who has to rebuild an entire party from the ground up.

Boyack does tick on the boxes in that she has been a MSP since the establishment of devolution in 1999.

So, in once sense she has experience of Holyrood, however, she will need a whole lot more than that to be a serious contender.

Jim Murphy, the front bench Labour MP is also expected to throw his hat into the ring and is said to be forming a campaign team in preparation to make his bid. Although being an MP is no bar to leadership, ideal the person who becomes leader needs to be in the Scottish Parliament.

If Murphy does declare he will have to find a vacant seat. I would say it is hardly likely that Ken Macintosh will want to give up his seat unless he could be persuaded to switch to Westminster which would helpful as Jim Murphy has already built up a personal following in his area.

It would also be a safe bet.

If Murphy goes elsewhere he runs a risk.

Boyack becomes the first of the likely candidates to formally announce but she wouldn’t be the last, Neil Findlay, the Labour health spokesman, is another tipped to enter the race.

If Murphy declares then in reality it becomes a one horse race, Boyack compiled a report into the future of Labour in Scotland following the SNP’s landslide victory in 2011. Given current circumstances, she would be advised to do a rewrite, things have changed in Scotland.

And someone is going to have to come up with solutions to fix the current problems of Scottish Labour and their relationship with the voters.

It won’t be done by a big smile especially in former Labour strongholds where they have lost ground due to a failure to engage.

A lot of people I have spoke to have said that they never left Scottish Labour, Scottish Labour left them; the trouble with people walking is that sometimes they never come back.

Sarah Boyack, the person to bring them back?

I don’t think so!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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