It cannot be fun being a Labour member at present given the result of Westminster 2015, the worst result since 1918, and in 2016, the party is preparing for possibly its worst performance since Holyrood opened.
In the past Labour had towering figures and great orators, they also had something which is just important to any political party, elected members who worked hard to serve the needs of their constituents.
Over decades the party changed and people got elected who were only ‘careerists’ whose sole interest was being part of the establishment. These people who lacked a work ethic simply drained away Labour’s core support.
People wanted two things, change and to get rid of elected members who didn’t represent them, the malaise in the Labour ranks of those people who didn’t want to work for the people reached a tipping point in 2015.
Good MPs were swept away with the bad, as to the Lib Dems in Scotland; they were cooked as far back as 2010 when Nick Clegg lied on tuition fees; that killed the Scottish party stone dead. Since 2010 every Lib Dem MP in Scotland’s future was in doubt prior to that election.
Afterwards when the result came in there was no doubt.
The Scottish Labour like every other party needs to rebuild, politics is like football in some respects, when the team isn’t able to perform, the party has to look elsewhere to find new ‘strikers’ who can help lift the entire team and give the supporters something to cheer about.
Ask yourself; how many Labour MSPs can you name off the top of your head just now and write that down on a piece of paper. Then do online to the Scottish Parliament and see how many others you couldn’t get.
Labour needs elected members to speak up and get noticed, but noticed for the right reasons.
In the past, the Labour Party had political giants such as John Smith, Donald Dewar and Gordon Brown is there an MSP who comes even close to them at present?
Most people would say no, there isn’t anyone of that calibre, in politics, the real talent of Labour wanted to go to Westminster, and who could blame them, Westminster is so much more than Holyrood.
Now, Scottish Labour can no longer turn to the party’s “big beasts”, it needs to have new blood if it is to move forward, new blood doesn’t mean youth, or Labour chairs of University Party clubs.
It means people who have a focus, a drive and ambition to be single minded to get the job done.
Like football in need of star players, a new generation of politicians and activists is needed to work in communities so that people know that if they have a problem, their local elected member is there for them.
All the way!
It is highly likely that Scottish leadership contender Kezia Dugdale will become party leader, ahead of her MSP rival Ken Macintosh, although Macintosh stood before for leader, he is has been very noticeable by his lack presence since that time.
Ian Murray the sole MP in Scotland said:
“We will elect a new leader in a matter of weeks and the hard work will begin. A fresh team, a fresh approach, a new generation. I’ll play my part in whatever way I can. A party which takes inspiration from those who went before - Smith, Dewar, McConnell, Brown. All of them made their own unique and lasting contribution to our party and to our country. But the Scottish Labour Party can no longer turn to the big beasts. It falls to a new generation to take the Scottish Labour Party forward. I want us to look back 20 years from now, in government in the UK and in Scotland, and be able to say that when the burden of responsibility passed to the next generation we were up to the challenge.”
Although a standard speech to the party members, it will all boil down to grassroots, Labour made the mistake of not listening to the people in Scotland, they can’t make that mistake again.
“This was Labour at a low ebb, at a time when we could have easily descended into chaos”.
Interestingly but not new, Murray also added that Labour needs a “community-based approach” if it is to win again.
But it also needs a cull, some elected members think they are too important to be activists and work in the community; that will have to change; these people need a new directive which states they must be active in their local area instead of leaving it to others to carry the load for them.
Activism like puppies aren't just for Christmas, they are all year round.
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University