It seems that pressure is on Jim Murphy to quit as Labour leader.
The scale of Labour’s defeat cannot be ignored, however as most of Labour’s tier one personalities have all lost their Westminster seats, do the rebels of the Neil Findlay grouping seriously think they can do better simply on the basis they hold a Holyrood seat?
Is shifting the Labour Party in one direction or another, the magical solution?
Labour’s problems are more than just a face or figurehead; they go far deeper than that, they revolve around how Labour became detached from the ordinary people in favour of preferred groups.
People in Scotland had been abandoned by the Labour Party a long time ago, the Westminster result was a symptom of extent of the problem. Ironically, the hope offered by the SNP is an illusion; the people don’t know that yet. Scotland’s influence in the UK has been weakened. You can see how that pans out when David Cameron does talks in Scotland with unpopular Nicola Sturgeon. Cameron won’t be giving away much if anything beyond the Smith Commission proposals.
At present, some people see Neil Findlay as the Labour leader in waiting, he isn’t, some time ago, I wrote that Ken Macintosh might have been the person to have as Labour leader but the party went with Johann Lamont who loses likely to lose her seat in 2016 unless a miracle happens.
Johann Lamont doesn’t look the type that pulls off miracles, not unless someone does that for her.
The Scottish Labour Westminster MPs have always had a disjointed relationship with their Holyrood counterparts; this was because MSPs were viewed as second class representatives in comparison to MPs. Labour’s big guns, the people seen as the real talent all went to Westminster.
So, Jim Murphy’s leadership has a lot of resentment attached to it even before the Labour Party suffered their historic defeat.
At times like this, unity is important, the newly found ‘wise men’ appear to be popping out of the woodwork to give their views on the Labour campaign, I did before the defeat; they did it after.
Wise after the event isn’t a talent, just in case you motherfeckers didn’t know that!
After Neil Findlay stepped down, the next person to abandon ship is Alex Rowley; he has stepped down as Labour’s local government spokesman at Holyrood. He says on his way out the door that Jim Murphy’s continued presence as Scottish Labour leader was an “unhelpful distraction”.
In an ideal world, Jim Murphy wouldn’t be leader, but there is a vacuum in Scottish Labour made worse by the MSPs not achieving anything meaningful beyond a bit of point scoring at Holyrood.
Policies win elections, connection to the people wins elections, and hard work wins elections.
Alex Rowley says Murphy’s refusal to resign was a “mistake” and would harm the party’s chance at the 2016 Scottish parliament election.
I have to say I find that funny, funny in that whoever is leader isn’t going to have a good election. Jim Murphy staying or going doesn’t change that result, in fact Labour would need to do a radical overhaul to get on the starting grid never mind enter the race.
Rowley, in a letter to Mr Murphy, said:
“I said yesterday at the meeting of Labour MSPs that I thought your speech on Friday stating that you would stay on and lead Labour into the 2016 election was a mistake, and that it would also be a mistake for the team you put in place, including your chief of staff, to remain in post”.
Okay, looking at that, forget the first part, that’s rubbish, the second part get rid of chief of staff has merit, Labour’s campaign was rather poor as I wrote on the 19Th Feb this year. Some people say that fitba is more important than life and death, I say, it is not, its sport.
“I sincerely hold the view that you continuing as leader whilst not in the Scottish Parliament, and not in an elected position holding a democratic mandate, means you will become an unhelpful distraction from the real issues that Scottish Labour must focus on. I have given that a lot of thought and consideration and I concluded that it would be disloyal and damaging to Labour were I not to speak out.”
Presumably, his loyalty to the party never existed during the Westminster campaign because even a first year politics student could see how that was going tits up.
Neil Findlay who is angling for leader has previously said that the party’s problems were ‘wide-ranging and deep’ and required ‘radical solutions’.
I am waiting to see what those solutions are.
“Despite huge efforts by all concerned since 2007 we have gone from the dominant party of Scottish politics to a party with only 38 MSPs and one solitary MP”.
I would see his reference to “huge efforts” to be rather meaningless, the Labour activist base has collapsed, when things like this happen it shows disconnect from the leadership and the members.
People need to believe.
Alex Rowley maybe an MSP, but his intervention isn’t helpful to Labour, yes, Labour needs to fix its problems, Labour needs new candidates, Labour needs to rebuild its activist base, and as I said some time ago, it needs a cull not just of candidates but also of staff.
It was a mistake by Jim Murphy to get the Better Together team in, the reason for this was that the Better Together operation was poorly served by people running it whose main criteria was that their faces fitted.
Jim Murphy must stay, but Jim Murphy must change, I would hope that the farce of resignations will cease as it doesn’t help anyone.
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University