Monday, November 28, 2016

Business as usual; Union bosses are savaging Kezia Dugdale over her leadership of Scottish Labour, Gary Smith of GMB Scotland says the party is a "middle class protest" party which is out of touch with ordinary working class people, 2017 might see a catastrophic defeat which entire wipes Labour of the map as a political force in Scotland

Dear All

To say the Scottish Labour Party is in difficulties is a major understatement, the sands of the time have shifted for the party and they cannot count on the traditional support of what used to be their ‘core’ Labour voters, the working class.

Everyone knows even of they don’t do politics that the problems in the Labour Party started decades ago, and slowly but surely the trust of the people was eroded to such an extent that the tipping point came during the Scottish independence referendum. The reason for the tipping was that the working class had been alienated so much that they used the independence referendum to send a message to the Scottish Labour Party.

The Scottish Labour Party in return didn’t listen to the message, and in 2015, the party was wiped out in the General Election, in my opinion, they deserved to lose and they did so in the most dramatic fashion. All the Labour seats held in Scotland were wiped out bar one; it was the worst defeat in Labour history.

2016, the Scottish Labour yet again decided it was business as usual and yet again lost in the most dramatic fashion, I did the Johann Lamont campaign which was badly run, under funded, started late, had practically no one willing to come out for the candidate and was in effect rudderless. In a branch of circa 216 members at that time, less than a handful were willing to be active for the campaign until the last week, it wasn’t a great campaign to be involved in but not because of the loss but because who was running it.

If you read the blog regularly you will have seen my comments about how Scottish Labour and the working class has been disconnected for a rather long time, some Labour politicians rather than enhancing the brand had effectively lived off it and developed for themselves a rather nice non activist lifestyle. Of course, it should be pointed out that you do see them in the much vaulted photo op so that they can get their ‘tick’ and proclaim themselves as a ‘door step campaigner’.

In 2017, the Council Elections take place, the general feeling in Scottish Labour is that the party will do every badly indeed, and I was told recently in passing from a friend that a senior person in Labour wasn’t sure that the Labour Party would hold the City of Glasgow post May next year, and this person is one of the people leading the campaigning.

It is now interesting that that Gary Smith, leader of the GMB union north of the border is saying that Scottish Labour is a "middle class protest" party, I had a taste of this myself just recently when I was failed as a candidate, I asked for ‘equality of arms’ and the flippant remark of the middle class presumably university educated party officer was to tell me in an official meeting was to ‘take it up’ with Brian Roy, the Scottish Labour General Secretary. At another event I attend I was told that the Labour Party was effectively corrupted and this guy was a former staffer in the party, but here he was openly saying this at a lecture in the City of Glasgow that I attended.

The Labour Party in Scotland has changed, it is as Gary Smith, leader of the GMB union a "middle class protest" party which is also run by the Blairite faction, and these self proclaimed individuals claim that they are the vanguard of the proletariat, the joke is that rather than being the vanguard, they are the people who suppress the working class. It took a considerable time but the people have woken up to the problems in Scottish Labour, the party has now effectively collapsed.

It is highly possible according to Gary Smith that the Scottish Labour Party could find they are in a position that could leave them as the fourth place party behind the Greens. I can’t say I am totally convinced at this point in time that the party slump is that deep, they still have a voter base although it is getting smaller the longer that the Blair faction remains in power and controls the party.

Kezia Dugdale has no future as Labour leader, and when she does say something on major policy either she gets it wrong, is out of step with the people and doesn’t deliver a vision. Complaining about SNP failure is good stuff but you don’t get elected on just stating the bleeding obvious. The Scottish Labour Party has made too many U turns which has affected their credibility and as you know, people have long memories.

Gary Smith wants to rule out any town hall coalition deals with the Tories after next year’s council elections, the Tories have seen their star rise as Labour’s fall, perhaps he thinks any deal only benefits the Tories and not Labour. For ideological reasons, I don’t see Scottish Labour and the Scottish Tories doing a deal in Scotland, there is too much history of attacking the Tories. Given the SNP and Labour are fishing in the same pool for the working class vote, I don’t see them teaming up either in any meaningful way, the SNP don’t work well with others.

I had to laugh when Kezia Dugdale gave her deputy Alex Rowley the position as campaign manager in the 2017 Election, it was a poison chalice to be sure, personally he should have declined the position, but Alex Rowley couldn’t work that out, perhaps he thinks this will enhance his reputation.

It won’t.

What the Scottish Labour Party should have done was to appoint a councillor to be campaign manager or outsourced and brought in an outsider to run their campaign for them. There isn’t a lot of talent in the Scottish Labour Party; there isn’t anyone who could be described as a big political beast in the stature of Gordon Brown, Donald Dewar or Douglas Alexander kicking out.
Scottish Labour has many problems, one of them is the constitution, Kezia Dugdale’s I could vote for Scottish independence ended rather badly, third place at Holyrood and she lost her seat as well, and watched in horror as the Tories became the official opposition at Holyrood. Labour donors in effect don’t really want to back a failing Kezia Dugdale leadership, the big names are putting money into the party and this creates a problem.

Alex Rowley, her deputy believes Labour should back home rule rather than just opposing independence, the only game in town isn’t called ‘home rule’, it is called Federalism, and it maybe a bandwagon which Kezia Dugdale maybe forced to move onto in a highly public fashion. Federalism isn’t plain sailing, just as the Scottish football team isn’t geared up to win, neither is Scotland geared up to accept Federalism under its current financial position, we don’t pay our way, and the idea of cuts to an already failing system isn’t a vote winner.

You should read up on this crowd and what they are up to.

As blog readers, I supported Donald Trump to win the race to become the next American President, Kezia Dugdale wrongly back Hillary Clinton.
On Donald Trump’s, Gary Smith said:

“Trump had some very simple, compelling messages to working class people in America and workers who previously had voted for Obama. He said to the car workers, ‘[we are] not going to allow your employer to export your jobs’. He said to communities that had been hard hit by the American free trade agreement, ‘we are going to bring your jobs back’. "

The problem with Scottish Labour is that they wouldn’t think twice about an employer exporting jobs or contracts to a foreign source, the recent Twitter account called Defend Glasgow's ICT is interesting. They say:

“We are defending Glasgow City Council's ICT services from being outsourced to the multinational Canadian Company CGI by questionable means”.

Why isn’t Labour defending the workers?

Because Labour are the ones making a mistake; and this is a classic example of disconnect which Gary Smith is talking about, Glasgow Labour’s excuse is that they are acting because of the cuts of £130 million to Glasgow’s budget. In effect, this is why there needs to be more choice in elections; and why I will be standing as a independent candidate in 2017. I think it is wrong to outsource the jobs of council employees and in the past, I spoke out against the Aleos, another botched idea to give workers less rights and money.

Smith also said about Labour’s problems:

“I have said this to the Labour party - too often they sound like a party of middle class protest. They certainly don’t sound like a party that is seeking power. We look at the party’s position on Trident, on building defence ships or on energy, [Scottish Labour opposes Trident and fracking] they just don’t sound credible and they don’t sound in touch with working class people or communities.”

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said:

"Labour is the only party in Scotland who stand for what the majority of Scots want - a strong Scottish Parliament inside the UK with close links to Europe. We are the only major party willing to use the new tax powers to invest in public services rather than carrying on the cuts. While the SNP and Tories spent the weekend obsessing about the constitution, Labour focused on defending communities against Tory and SNP cuts to our public services like the NHS, and for a rail fare freeze."

You know, this little speech by the Labour spokesman convinces even more that I was right to cancel my Labour Party membership and stand as an independent.

Finally, I would appoint a senior councillor who knows how to campaign as campaign manager for the 2017 election rather than someone like Alex Rowley who at best will be part time if that!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

As a Tory I AM MORE labour than her

Anonymous said...

In a country of 5 million souls there is perforce a limit to the amount of talent that can be produced, particularly under an education system that has been continually dumbed down over the past 50 odd years. Add to this the fact that Scotland loses a significant proportion of her best minds to bigger and more lucrative horizons each year, and the demands of yet another layer of 'government' diluting the mix and it is hardly surprising that the crew in the good ship Holyrood (Watergate in actuality) is third rate at best.

'Middle-class protest' is about right and funnily enough also applies to Corbyn and his Islington set. Interestingly, the question could also be asked as to whether an actual 'Working Class' particularly in the old internationalist solidarity sense even exists any more or whether this may be the point at which a new politics may start to emerge.

Much remains to be revealed, not least, who or what might profit most from Labour's, surely not long delayed, demise.

As ever you pose interesting questions George.

Al C said...

It's like the Whigs, or the Liberal party back in the 20th Century. Perhaps this means that Labour's time has come and gone. Let's face it, the old style left is dying and needs to be replaced by a more in touch left that connects with people and can actually provide a substantial opposition in parliament.