Friday, August 26, 2016

Labour hustings: future and returning Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn conquers Glasgow as he promises of a 'different way of doing things' chimes, Glasgow faithful cheer wildly for change, Owen Smith puts his foot in his mouth with his Scottish Labour “backwards” comment

Dear All

Last night was the Labour hustings in Glasgow, Jeremy Corbyn won that event, the Glasgow faithful turned up and listened to what he said and liked what he said. In an earlier event at the Crowne Plaza, he was greeted with cheers and standing ovations.

Owen Smith has made an extraordinary claim in Glasgow; he said that Labour in Scotland has gone 'backwards' under Corbyn's leadership.

Firstly, that statement is rubbish, Jeremy Corbyn had no effect on what happened to Scottish Labour before he was elected or after he was elected, he played no part in the massive defeat of 2015, he allowed the Scottish Labour Party to do its own campaign in 2016.

Labour in Scotland is in trouble, only a fool wouldn’t admit that, and let’s be frank, some people are still living in denial that they are still part of the permanent establishment. 2017 is the year of the Council elections, this will be another tough year for the party, it is also an opportunity if the party takes it to start to reset the party towards the traditional values that swept in into power previously.

Labour has lost something, not just in terms of votes and activists but something at the core of what does it stand for. Lots of people use the phrase, I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me; this is particularly common among the disenfranchised working class in Labour heartlands such as Glasgow which are in political flux.

I think a better assessment is that Labour in Scotland hasn’t gone forward, it has treaded water and this is why other political parties are passing it by in the voting stakes.

Kezia Dugdale isn’t having a good time as leader, part of the huge defeat in 2015 along with Jim Murphy, wiped out and humiliated in 2016 which saw the party pushed into third place at Holyrood and on top of that lost her seat to the SNP by about 5,000 votes.

Yup tough few years there!

Kezia Dugdale backed Owen Smith, my view this was a mistake, she should have sat on the fence given her position.

When mentioning Kezia Dugdale’s quality of leadership, it seemed that Owen Smith didn’t get the reaction he wanted as some Labour members openly laughed at him which apparently taken him back quite a bit, playing to a Glasgow audience as people know can be a tough gig, no prisoners taken, no quarter asked for or given.

Having backed Smith in the leadership contest as I said was a mistake by Kezia Dugdale, however, Jeremy Corbyn said:

“I will work whoever the [Scottish] leader is and am quite capable of forgetting anything else that’s happened.”
Kezia Dugdale has the right to vote for who she wants and she has the right to say who she supports, but in the cold light of day, it is one vote same as an ordinary member, and to be honest, most people who are independent of mind make their own choices who they want to lead them.

If Owen Smith was leader would that mean the voters in Scotland would flock back to the party?


They wouldn’t flock back in Scotland and they wouldn’t flock back in England and Wales, Smith burnt a lot of his bridges when he said that he would attempt to block Brexit.

Just as Smith has his problems so does Jeremy Corbyn, I support the Monarchy, Jeremy Corbyn refused to rule out a holding a poll, saying he would not make the issue a priority in a general election campaign.

If he did, guess what, the Labour Party would lose rather badly and he knows it, you don’t tinker with some things, Britain has a long tradition based on our Monarchy, and it is our Monarchy.

I don’t support any action to destroy this legacy and wouldn’t campaign for it, quite the opposite in fact.

I am open to listening to a debate on the House of Lords but not abolishing it, the Lords could be upgraded but I don’t want some pathetic second chamber full with party cronies because of some people’s prejudice and feelings of petty envy.

In a cheap dig over how Corbyn voted in Brexit, Owen Smith lost the contest last night, Jeremy Corbyn responded by said:

“Owen, Owen, I thought we were grown up and we weren’t any longer going to use those kind of questions or remarks.”

Angela Eagle said she was a strong leader woman, and when the time came she bottled it, and disappeared soon enough, the next challenger Owen Smith came long, ran a poor campaign, he has failed to get the vote and support of the party members.

Finally, I would say that Owen Smith knows nothing about Scotland, he came to conquer; he ended up with his tail between his legs.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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