Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Living in a bubble: Kezia Dugdale’s 'autonomy' plans appear to be getting passed by the Labour Conference, dire warnings are given about the death of the Scottish Labour Party in Scotland, a future George Laird article will be on the subject of ‘I told you so’ when the reforms make no difference at all to the Scottish public

Dear All

Scottish Labour will die in Scotland!

This is a pretty big statement to make but the truth is it will not, at present it is no secret that the party has and is doing very badly as I mentioned in an earlier post. Voters have dumped the party, members by enlarge won’t come out to be activists, donors don’t want to fund the party as they have previously done.

But you have to look past the symptoms and get to the main problem.

So, what is the problem?

When did the problem start?

What did Labour do to fix it?

So, let’s get started the problem is that people were selected as candidates who then became elected officials and because Labour was so dominate with huge majorities they decided that as the people’s representatives they really didn’t want to help the people.

This wasn’t just at policy level, it went right down to the individual voter who turned up at a surgery for help and if they had a time consuming complaint then they were blown off.  Unsurprisingly; the disenchanted decided to look to others; who offered to help them, every ‘dissatisfied customer’ was a voter lost and probably that of their family as well.

When did this start, decades ago, yes; some people really did fail to service their constituency for whatever reason, then came the resentment which was unleashed during the Scottish Independence Referendum. People wanted someone to blame for the failure to provide a better society, better hospitals schools, university and college access and a whole host of other social issues. In a novel approach the Scottish Labour Party simply carried on with their agenda which wasn’t the people’s agenda.

The proof is the Westminster and Holyrood results…….. wiped out!

What did Scottish Labour do to fix it, we had soundbites, soundbites that told us that things had changed things had been fixed, and blah blah blah. If Scottish Labour had been ‘fixed’ prior to the elections of 2015 and 2016, why did they lose?

We now have a proposal for Kezia Dugdale's 'autonomy' plans with the dire warning that if these plans are blocked then this could kill off Labour in Scotland.


I read somewhere that these reforms have been on the go for a decade which begs the question are these Kezia Dugdale’s reforms or are they someone else’s reforms and she is just fronting them?

Regardless who is the author, I would like to mention something which I said earlier in another post, I believe these plans are all about a push towards a federal UK system.

Some people believe that a federal UK system will save the Union. Others believe that there is a need for a new Treaty of Union.

Part of the reforms is for Scotland to have undemocratic representation on the Labour Party NEC, which means Scottish voters don’t get a vote.

One of the ways to kill off a party is if members feel they are excluded from democracy within the party they are a member of, I agree with Unite boss Len McCluskey, who is an ally of Jeremy Corbyn that seats should be elected democratically by Labour members.

When Johann Lamont said she was leaving as leader of Scottish Labour, it created a stir, on the way out the door; she said that London Labour were treating Scotland like a "branch office". Labour MP Ian Murray said that her comment had "completely destroyed" the party north of the Border, I disagree what Lamont said was badly said, it was a symptom of the problem that Scottish Labour had built up for themselves for decades.

Kezia Dugdale after her two major defeats of 2015 and 2016 said Labour’s problems didn’t happen overnight but had built up over decades.

Under the proposed changes the Scottish Labour Party would be in charge of Westminster candidate selection in Scotland and policy for the first time, I have no problem with the candidate selection part as long as it doesn’t discriminate, but the part on policy is wrong, the bottom line is this, you cannot serve two masters.

If a Scottish Candidate is told to be anti-Trident by Kezia Dugdale and the Westminster whips need them to be pro Trident in a voting lobby this means a Labour Westminster Government would have to rely on ‘others’ such as the Tory opposition to get UK defence plans approved.

If the Labour Party in Scotland thinks that mimicking the SNP is the road back to power then someone is seriously deluded, what goes up must come down, in this case with Scottish Labour falling, they still have a long way to go down if they carry on acting like it is business as usual.

For the avoidance of doubt, these reforms may make a section of the Labour Party in Scotland ‘happy’ but in a wider sense out on the ground face to face with a voter they are meaningless.

People aren’t voting Labour in the same numbers as they did in the past because a middle class university educated or trade union candidate was approved in London.

They aren’t voting because they have been utterly failed on issues such as lack of housing, education apartheid of the poor, lack of social mobility, introduction of bedroom tax, the discrimination of the disabled by the DWP, lack of jobs, bad decisions on PFI, bad candidates who ripped the piss out of voters and a whole host of other little gems.

Before I forget, there is a pre-Turkey project in the pipeline which in the past was called GARL which is a vanity project and huge waste of money, killed off previous by the SNP Government, Scottish Labour is backing it apparently despite a previous report that it would be a colossal waste of public money and be underused by the public.

If anyone had any brains they would ditch this scheme, but stay tuned, stupidity may find a way to push it on to us!  

So, the ‘problem’ is solvable but that requires real effort, the first thing is to rebuild the party in Scotland, so far nothing has been done on that, so far there isn’t much about policy change coming from the Scottish Labour Party other than this ‘fluff’.

I wonder how you stand on a doorstep and sell to a voter that person who didn’t represent you when you want help last time is the best person for your vote on the basis they were selected in Scotland and they are local.

On a doorstep you get all kinds of reactions from voters……. and fuck off is one of them.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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