Monday, November 14, 2016
Scottish Labour in Crisis: the odds that Kezia Dugdale will never be First Minister of Scotland rise dramatically as ‘civil war’ breaks out in the party, Scottish Deputy Leader declares that Labour is no longer a ‘Unionist’ Party, Kezia Dugdale has a real problem as the party collapses under her
Have you ever seen panic?
Panic and fear are running rampant through the Scottish Labour Party: things are going very badly; Westminster 2015 and Holyrood 2016 have rocked the ‘elite’ of the Labour Party to its core.
2017 is possibly shaping up for things to be incredibly bad for the Labour Party who still hasn’t found an answer to the question, what does the Labour Party stand for?
Pointing out problems is one part of politics, providing solutions is the other part, and for some people, coming up with ideas just isn’t their forte at all.
When an army or movement starts to collapse you can see quite a lot about how people in charge operate as individuals. Recently, I put myself forward to be a Labour Candidate: apparently some people in the Labour Party didn’t like my blog and cited posts that I had written from 2011 about Gordon Matheson, Stephen Curran and Matt Kerr.
Anyway, I decided to appeal the decision to fail me becaue either the Labour Party believes in fairness, equality and social justice which encompass free speech or it doesn’t. So, I appeal the decision and contact the General Secretary Frank Roy to make a specific request which is my right and not unreasonable.
I wrote this to him:
“Dear Brian Roy
My name is George Laird, I am a member of Pollok CLP; my membership number is XXXXXXXX.
Recently, I attended an interview for consideration to stand under the Labour Party banner as a candidate in the upcoming Glasgow Council Election in 2017.
I have been told I am not being recommended for endorsement, I am therefore writing to you to request an appeal of this decision.
As I am wishing to go through the appeals procedure which is a formal process, I would like ‘equality of arms’, this means I would like all documentation written by anyone who was involved in this process regarding my application in any format which they submitted it.
I would also like suitable time to study this material before the appeals process.
Finally, I find the reasons for refusal not to be an accurate reflection of my abilities.
I am given two reasons for failure on paper.
1/ Not showed leadership in organisations I am connected with.
2/ Didn’t know enough about the Glasgow City Council.
Of the two reasons given, my friends describe these as shit and patronising.
I go to the appeal hearing, with the knowledge that I haven’t been given equality of arms, this is important because everyone apparently is entitled to fairness in the Labour Party. I inform the panel; that I haven’t been given equality of arms and as such the process is flawed.
Imagine being at a trial when you hear that the impartial Court Service has withheld all the evidence from the defence.
And after it is pointed out to the panel, the flippant reply by a young female Labour Party Officer is ‘take it up with the Labour General Secretary’ and then to continue with the appeal which doesn’t comply with human rights, natural justice or any other standard.
I am relating this story, not to get anyone in trouble, but rather to show how totally screwed the Scottish Labour Party is at the present moment. I don’t mind losing on a level playing field after all that would be just sour grapes, but I do mind when after telling people in an official position that the process is flawed and they couldn’t care less, I do mind that.
So, I just left the Scottish Labour Party, after I left I was repeatedly contacted by the membership department and even by someone in Pollok CLP asking me to change my mind and reconsider my decision.
Since I was denied fairness, equality and social justice, what is the point to remain; if I stay I miss my chance to be a candidate in 2017, and also work in and for an organisation where some people hold me in contempt and have abuse their position of authority.
I am not angry, these people only stopped me from going forward as Labour candidate; they didn’t stop me standing for public office.
I am a huge believer in letting people do exactly what they wanted to do, you see when you burn your bridges with me; I just ignore you when you need help down the line.
And given the state of the Labour Party in Glasgow, chances are I would have to have done my own campaign by myself anyway. I didn’t see cancelling my Labour Party membership as a big deal; however, the Labour membership team in England did thank me for my support which was really nice of them twice.
I wanted to use my personal experience because I was at the bottom of the Labour Party and what I want to go on to talk about next is matters to do with the civil war in the Scottish Party which at present is a phoney war.
The real war is just about to start, and in this case, it isn’t a case of the ‘allies’ fighting the ‘axis’ because in the main, there is no one to root for basically.
Kezia Dugdale, for whatever reason makes the rather large mistake of backing Owen Smith in the Labour leadership election against Jeremy Corbyn. I voted for Jeremy Corbyn because I didn’t like the underhanded way that certain people tried to get rid of him as leader. I believed he deserved a fair and honest chance to prove himself with the party and the wider public in general. I didn’t expect him to be perfect as leader; I expected mistakes and wanted changes in some of his positions on policy.
So, Kezia gets it wrong on the leadership, just as Kezia gets it wrong on Clinton, just as she gets it wrong on Westminster 2015, she gets it wrong on Holyrood 2016, she gets it wrong on Brexit.
Scottish Labour is the third party in Holyrood, pushed into that position by the Scottish Conservatives who capitalised on her saying she could vote for independence for Scotland.
That statement went down like a lead balloon as Unionist Labour voters, activists and donors deserted her leadership forcing a U turn. Apparently she has either learned the error of her ways or someone pointed out that political campaigns run on donations, activism and voters accepting you.
If you check back to previous blog posts, you will have read up on my view on who should be Labour Deputy Leader; at the time, I thought that might be a good idea if the candidate came out of the councillor ranks, but tended to think that Alex Rowley would end up as the Deputy. You might remember my post on him and his ‘angst’ about being on the list and how he should just get on with it, George Laird right again on that one as well.
Some people in life take ages to get to the correct decision whereas I take seconds.
At present, we are in for a real treat, deputy leader Alex Rowley called on the party to ditch its Unionist stance because he says that it has a “narrow” ideology which has come to define it. He bases his opinion that Labour need to change to reach out to the Scottish electorate because he feels that if Labour in Scotland is ever to recover from the stark decline Labour has to replace its Unionist stance with an avowedly Socialist and pro-home rule platform.
That is bollocks!
People didn’t desert the Labour Party because Labour supported the Union, people deserved the Labour Party because the party didn’t want to assist the public by way of policy and also as representatives, hence the tsunami which sweep down threw the party in both recent elections out. If Labour did back home rule and for that you have to say what the only ball game in town actually is, its called Federalism, would Labour voters flock back from the SNP?
No, no, no and no!
Could a case be made for Federalism?
Well, yes, the case could be made, is this the right time to be considering Federalism when the entire UK is up in the air in the wake of Brexit? The answer is no way. Federalism requires a consider time to bed in and structural changes would need to be made to national and local government, because in Federalism you have to use all the powers you have, you can’t sit on them like the SNP do.
Alex Rowley MSP said:
“I have never considered myself a Unionist”.
During the referendum, Labour and the Conservatives ‘worked’ together in Better Together, but the reality was it was a badly run Labour operation which the party attempted to ride two horses.
Better Together was the official designated campaign and the Labour Party had their own campaign when they should have folded into one. Both campaigns which had problems organisationally, this was due to parties wasting time doing data collection for themselves for future elections.
As I said the people of Scotland won the Scottish independence referendum not the politicians!
This next bit of what Alex Rowley thinks is important, because it tends to define how one sided his politics are and by default why they will fail, he said the “status quo” of a Union dominated by Westminster and Whitehall could not deliver the radical social and economic change that left-of-centre Scots want to see.
What about centre right Scots?
Rowley is right to call for an end of the status quo but wrong if he just thinks change about the centre left. When Rowley goes on to talk about how damaging it is to be associated with the Tories, he misses the point. Labour hasn’t collapsed because of the Tories; they managed that trick all by themselves. Scottish Labour has been in decline for decades due to bad policies, bad elected representatives and ignoring the plight of the poor and vulnerable.
Now they have been cast out, they are appealing to the very people that they didn’t help in the past. A classic example is the welfare cuts, who brought the bedroom tax and Work Capability Assessments?
It was the Labour Party.
How about Hospital car parking charges?
The Labour Party!
U turns and short memories seem to be a problem for Scottish Labour politicians, Dugdale earlier this year declared that she had been “proud to vote No” in 2014. She declared she is a ‘proud’ Unionist but her gaffe of she could vote for independence ruined it for her at Holyrood.
In the interview, Dugdale said:
“I was proud to vote No, I would vote No again. There’s absolutely no question of my credibility on the issue of the Union.”
Is that before or after Labour donors started withholding money and told her she must do more?
Scottish Labour didn’t become toxic because of the party’s championing of Unionism, they have to accept the responsibility for their own inactions; Labour became toxic because of the right wing Blairite faction which is a policy clone of the Tories which left people with no choice but to use the SNP as a protest vehicle. And people will keep protest voting until such time as the current crop of Labour politicians learns the rather painful lesson on what failing to deliver actually means.
Rowley appears now to be saying that Scottish Labour had to fully embrace a federal UK or home rule if it was ever to attract the support of pro-independence Scots. Pro independence Scots don’t want a federal UK, they don’t want half measures, they want full independence, their ranks are shored up by people in places like Glasgow who haven’t effectively got nothing and are living off benefits while under increased pressure and getting no help from either Westminster or marginal help from Holyrood.
“Labour is neither Unionist nor Nationalist. Of course we cannot duck the constitutional question, we must set a clear vision for Scotland in the 21st Century, but we cannot allow that vision to be dictated to by the narrow ideologies of Unionism and Nationalism, neither of which offer an answer to the social and economic challenges of our time. What Labour must do now is set out its vision of a post-Brexit Scotland which will include home rule within a confederal United Kingdom, building for the future on the Socialist ideals of equality, fairness and justice.”
In Scottish Labour, there appears to be two main streams of thought, Blairite and Momentum aka Corbynistas, so before anyone starts talking about a post Brexit vision, the ‘civil war’ has to be fought. Given the state of the party, any moves towards federalism or home rule will not be coming from Scottish Labour at Holyrood, it will be getting decided down the road at Westminster.
Kezia Dugdale has questions hanging over her about her continued leadership, and as losses continue to stack up losing to both the SNP and the Tories, the pressure is on her to deliver quickly. Scottish Labour is said to be preparing to lose key heartlands like Glasgow and North Lanarkshire to the SNP. If the party does rather badly, the entire blame will rest not with London Labour but with the Scottish operation.
Basically there is no good news coming along for Scottish Labour because although they get an odd hit here and an odd hit there, they aren’t seen as viable at the present moment, and too many bad decisions are being made, when an army or movement gets in trouble, the internal processes become corrupted that quickens their collapse.
Momentum want rid of Kezia Dugdale.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University