Monday, July 17, 2017

The wolves are circling around Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Left Review, the influential left-wing magazine calls her leadership of Scottish Labour "woeful"; it is no surprise that Corbyn’s supporters want Dugdale ousted as Scottish Labour leader, but they might have a wait on their hands if SNP support keeps falling

Dear All

Firstly sorry for being away for a bit, I had a few personal issues which burned up my time to the extend that blogging had to be pushed off the agenda.

Anyway I am back!

One of the things which is an open secret is that Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in Scotland want to replace Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader, the Momentum crowd have an agenda.

The question is not if Kezia Dugdale will go but when, the rather bad and humiliating election of this year has certainly bought her breathing space, after being wiped out in 2015, Scottish Labour being reduced to a single MP, there are now more happy campers planted down in Westminster.

In Glasgow North East, the people rightly saw fit to give Paul Sweeney the nod and make him their representative for the constituency, in politics, the best man doesn’t always win but in this case, he did.

In East Renfrewshire, Scottish Labour went with Blair MacDougall, the former BT Chief, and mistaken put resources in there as well, I saw that as a waste of time, people and money, he limped home in third place.

One of the laughs I had after the North East campaign was seeing this:

Anne McLaughlin who I helped put out on the street apparently cried after losing her seat, perhaps she should have worked hard, faster …… and smarter!

At present, the sum total as I blog this is 14 supporters and a meagre £240 which hasn’t moved in a while, I guess the passion rather fizzled out, 35 days left and nowhere near the £3,000 target. Personally, I have my doubts that Anne McLaughlin will be or should be the SNP Candidate next time round if this parliament goes the full five years.

Back to Kezia, the influential left-wing magazine, Scottish Left Review (SLR) calls the leadership of Kezia Dugdale “woeful”. In their opinion, they are stating quite clearly that problem isn’t just her political leadership but also her personal leadership. They go so far as to say that:

"Labour can’t win in Scotland with Dugdale" and “the left needs to move to remove her and do so soon".

It would be hard to pin the tail on the donkey to say exactly where it all when wrong for Kezia Dugdale, there are so many examples of where she was sitting on the wrong side of history in many important issues. That said if you consider that Scottish Labour is run as a ‘team’, the direction of travel is certainly in the wrong direction so others who advise her also have a part to answer for in this sorry tale.

Do you know the person that says ‘No’ to Kezia Dugdale?

Presumably there must logically be someone who looks at Labour content and says, this idea is bad, and if there isn’t why isn’t there?

The fact that there is now a socialist publication calling for the end of Kezia Dugdale’s leadership, and wants it replaced by the left so they can take control of the party is hardly an eye opener but as the old saying goes when you become the story, it is time to leave.

SLR said Dugdale’s leadership was partly to blame for Scottish Labour not winning more seats that the magazine claimed could have kept the Tories out of power.

Okay, is this true?

The answer is ye!

The key turning point was when Kezia decided to say she could consider voting for independence, this ensured that there would be a Conservative revival in Scotland at the Holyrood 2016 election and also why the Conservatives did so well at the 2017 General election.

That was Kezia Dugdale’s ‘Ratner’s moment’, where she utterly destroyed the Scottish Labour stock price with unionist Labour voters. Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in Scotland are on a mission, they want to "isolate the right-wing careerists" in Labour, I see this as a term which effectively says that ‘party within a party’, although I would imagine this term could apply to those people who got elected and decided that they would sit back on their Labour majorities and do nothing to help the very people who they were elected to serve.

Right wing careerists aren’t just the only problem in Scottish Labour.

Labour MSPs Neil Findlay and Alex Rowley said the party could have won 15 MPs in Scotland if it had toned down its Unionist-focused campaign and promoted Corbyn more.

That is just opinion which I don’t buy into, I gave Alex Rowley a tip during the day he spent on the Glasgow North East campaign, he went into the bookies, my tip was that Paul Sweeney would win that seat, and no one else in Labour would win any other seat in Glasgow. I find it laughable that blame is placed at the door of the "legacy of ‘Better Together", that campaign apart from a few notable exceptions wasn’t ran properly, in fact the spin doctor for Frank Roy who headed up the Brexit Remain campaign said he could spent a lot of time telling people what they wouldn’t be repeating what went wrong in that enterprise.

Better Together’s main problem was that it wasn’t properly supported on the ground by Scottish Labour, something which I commented repeatedly on during the indyref in 2014.

In its editorial, SLR highlighted traditional Labour areas it claimed the party could win seats in if Dugdale was replaced.

It said:

“If Labour had done much better than its extra six seats and 2.8 per cent vote increase – like winning Aberdeen South, Renfrewshire East, Stirling and the Ochils (which they held before but which the Tories took) as well Airdrie and Shotts and Motherwell and Wishaw, the Tories would have had difficulty forming any kind of government. The legacy of Better Together and a politically and personally woeful leadership in the form of Kezia Dugdale are the critical explanatory variables. So it is all very well saying, as left Labour MSPs Alex Rowley and Neil Findlay and others have said, that Labour would have done better in Scotland with more radical approach, namely, empathising Labour’s manifesto, and one less based on opposing indyref2. Logic then dictates that Labour can’t win in Scotland with Dugdale so the left needs to move to remove her and do so soon. Not doing so is to ignore the elephant in the room.”

To address the first point of winning more seats if Dugdale was replaced, this is assuming that the replacement is better, and to be frank, I think this opinion is too subjective to have any real value. The idea that people are voting for Kezia or against Kezia is rubbish, most people don’t and couldn’t name her as Scottish Labour leader. Scottish Labour’s problem doesn’t centre round the failures and bad judgements of a single individual.

This takes credit away from so many who have done so little while in positions of power. Remember when I said pre 2015 that Labour needed a clear out of useless MPs; they failed to act and paid the price.  

Finally, a Scottish Labour source said:

"The author of this editorial is ill-informed and clearly didn't read Kez's manifesto in 2016, which was the most radical in a generation, and has absolutely no understanding of the views of the party membership."

Maybe the verdict of 2016 has relevance as Scottish Labour was pushed into third place at Holyrood, so the manifesto was hardly the golden calf.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

WELCOME BACK was getting worried !


Auld Jock said...

Hello George

Great to see you back with us. I hope all is well.

As you know, I struggle with politics. However, it does seem to me that all the parties and labour in particular are in a chaotic state, I guess that might be a reflection of the public mood.

For me, there are two bright spots. One is that we are headed out of the eu and the other is that the snp is fucked. I rely on that and your blogs to keep me smiling.

Keep 'em coming George!

Aulf Jock

Al C said...

I recall you saying that Corbyn still has some internal problems to fix in the run of things. What do you reckon those are, George? I remember you saying that Trident is one thing.

D. Stewart said...

Good to see you back Mr Laird. Hope all is well.

G Laird said...

Thanks folks, sorry I was away so long.

G Laird said...

Hi Al C

"I recall you saying that Corbyn still has some internal problems to fix in the run of things. What do you reckon those are, George? I remember you saying that Trident is one thing."

The way that Labour is setup is wrong, it is too top down control, this means that CLPs don't get to function as they should on a local level in terms of being active. Corbyn does fair badly on foreign affairs and defence, he needs to fix that. In Scotland, the big thing is the collapse of the activist base, and the education of those who come out to help. During the GE election, I turned a non voter to a voter by imparting a little knowledge about how a Labour MP could her and others in GNE. A few simple suggestions which took a few minutes but the end result would be meaningful help for the end user.

In Scotland, Scottish Labour needs a review, it also needs a better trained activist base, this means that Scottish Labour have to invest in people to make them better and in return make the party better as well.

Then the operations of the CLP can be addressed and where needed fixed.