In the Labour Party in Scotland, some people believe that their ‘problems’ could be solved if the Party in Scotland was separate from the main party.
This wouldn’t solve Labour problems.
In that vein it is easy to understand why Kezia Dugdale dismisses a Scottish Labour breakaway; it would at best create a few headlines.
Labour in Scotland is stuck, if they continue with the present system, were they have little effect on policy, they are screwed, if they go their own way, there is a vacuum regardless talent need to make the party into a force.
Two people are standing for the Scottish Labour leadership Kezia Dugdale who is regarded as the favourite and Ken Macintosh.
Ms. Dugdale has backed greater autonomy for Scottish Labour, but the question is, if a devolved decision conflicted with what some term as ‘London Labour’, what happens then?
The obvious answer is that if Ms. Dugdale was leader, she would be overruled.
The idea of a Scottish Labour leader is somewhat silly; the reason for this is that the leader of the Labour Party is the leader for the Labour Party in all of the UK.
The Scottish leader simply is allowed to lead when the Labour leader of the UK isn’t here, so I see the title as not leader but simply ‘manager’.
Ms. Dugdale said:
“I favour a much more autonomous Scottish Labour Party, I’d like to see us set our own policy here but I don’t support an independent party, I think that’s wrong”.
Having your own devolved policy isn’t anything new, the crux is that when a Scottish Labour MP goes to Westminster, the party whips in London tell them what to do, not Ms. Dugdale.
Cowdenbeath Labour MSP Alex Rowley believes the party should be free from the “constraints” of the UK party in order to rebuild.
This is an idea worth kicking about as there are a large body of Scottish Labour who see this as a way forward.
May’s electoral defeat brought home to the party the simple fact that their internal problems, voter disengagement, lack of grassroots and lack of work ethic by some of those elected to public office killed off the party.
Ms. Dugdale added:
“I’d like to see us on more regular occasions have a slightly different, a more nuanced position on the issues in Scotland, standing up for Scotland’s interests. We can do that with greater party autonomy, that doesn’t mean we are an independent party, that would mean completely separating ourselves off from our UK colleagues and I don’t want to do that, I don’t think that’s right. Especially if you follow the logic of the referendum, which is that we pull and share the resources of our great country.”
Let’s say for talking sake, she gets her ‘greater autonomy’, does a bit of tinkering and still her grassroots don’t come back, what does she do play the wanting more autonomy game, and for how long? Or does she try and shift the focus towards something else and hope that will permanently closed down discussion on this issue.
Labour needs a united party in the UK because of the numbers game of who becomes Prime Minister.
Macintosh has said something rather novel that the next deputy leader of Scottish Labour should be drawn from local government.
I would say this idea has merit regardless of who wins and should be considered, at present if you aren’t an MSP or MP, you don’t get a look in.
Kezia Dugdale said in the past I believe, she wasn’t leader material, at FMQs, she has scored some decent success, however I was told at the weekend, when interviewed she didn’t do as well. In politics, you have to be able to think on your feet, it should be noted that at FMQs, this is a team effort which isn’t representative of her abilities.
Dugdale insists she was the right person to lead the party despite being branded “deputy disaster” by presenter Gordon Brewer.
In case you don’t know who Gordon Brewer is, he is a BBC interviewer, he is every quick and is lazer sharp in tearing apart politicians.
Ms Dugdale said of the ill-fated election campaign:
“I take responsibility for my part in that campaign but let’s be honest, the Scottish Labour Party’s problems didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight. That’s why I’m setting out a platform of how I’m going to rebuild the Labour Party, I’m saying let’s take forward our values, everything else is baggage, and let’s rebuild over the long term.”
In respect of the problems, she is right, this didn’t happen overnight, but over several decades, and it won’t be a simple fix, actually it will involve quite a lot of pain, you see it isn’t just some of the elected that need removed, some of the Labour staff need to be replaced by more experienced and dare I say it passionate campaigners.
Labour needs a new approach to dealing with people, organisations and civic Scotland.
At present, the Scottish Labour Party will be staying as part of the Labour Party in the UK; however, continual defeat may mean that position will be looked at again.
When a party has been seen to lose its way and doesn’t represent the majority of people, it will struggle badly.
It will be interesting to see if whoever is appointed as leader will be leading from the front because in 2016, things don’t look that it will be a good year for Labour at Holyrood, then comes 2017, the council elections, if Labour doesn’t change then whoever is leader will have effectively an untenable position.
Defeat after defeat followed by impeding defeat.
2016, Labour need to produce a new vision of the Scottish Government.
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University