As campaign go, the attempt by Anas Sarwar to become the leader of the Scottish Labour Party has been a total PR disaster both professionally in terms of how he ran his campaign and personally regarding his personal life.
If it could go wrong in his campaign it has, the new issue is of credibility as Anas plunges into a new row over his commitment to the living wage.
It now transpires that the Scottish Labour leadership candidate failed to register as an accredited living wage employer. This little gem follows on from the revelation that his family’s business where he was a shareholder also didn’t pay the living wage. It has taken Anas Sarwar more than a year after being elected to Holyrood to do, it appears that Anas is tidying up loose ends as he was accredited as a living wage employer just a mere two weeks ago.
This shows a pattern, a pattern of failing to lead while in public office, of course it is not the first time that Scottish Labour has elected a leader who hasn’t be capable or downright careless but Anas just blunders from mistake to mistake.
Anas Sarwar is a millionaire Glasgow MSP, the stories that emerge are damning but the alleged ‘voting rigging’ scandal; ‘sign up a Muslim to elect a Muslim’ has killed his campaign stone dead. If Anas Sarwar wins, he will be facing a civil war with Momentum or the Campaign for Socialism, Kezia Dugdale ducked that fight but the pro Corbyn group are growing.
In contrast to Anas’ blunder, his left-wing rival Richard Leonard registered in late 2016, obviously Richard Leonard has an eye for detail which Anas has failed to show.
What makes his latest failure so bad is it questions about the importance of the issue to him, and by default his credentials for standing in this leadership race. His tidying up exercises also saw him offload is his 23 per cent stake in his family firm, worth around £4.8m, to a trust for his three children. This was a cynical bid to draw a line under that controversy.
Anas Sarwar never ‘gave away’ £4.8m, the shares have been kept in his immediate family.
This raises the question, who suggested transferring the shares?
Is it appropriate to ‘use your kids’ in this fashion?
I would strongly suggest no!
Interestingly, it seems that Sarwar’s campaign team was last night unable to say whether he applied for accreditation. It begs another question was it before or over the row over UWS pay rates erupted on September 10?
When Ken Macintosh stood as Labour leader, he missed his window of opportunity, he stood against Johann Lamont who apparently didn’t want to be leader, and her time wasn’t exactly a success. When Ken Macintosh stood again against Kezia Dugdale, he had completely lost his chance, which is why he now sits as Presiding Officer. In some respects, his failure led to a better situation in my opinion.
A spokesperson for Mr Leonard said:
“Richard Leonard applied for accreditation as a living wage employer in October 2016 and was verified on 2nd November 2016. Richard pays his staff at least the real living wage and has done so since they were employed in Sept/Oct 2016.”
In terms of this contest, Richard Leonard doesn’t seem to have put a foot wrong, Anas on the other hand hasn’t put a foot right, professional disasters, personal disasters and lost every round of the PR battle as well.
Anas Sarwar is looking more like Ken Macintosh, a man who lost his opportunity to be leader, but with the added kick in the teeth that there isn’t a Presiding Officer’s job available.
The Campaign for Human Rights at