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Ed Miliband needs to sort out his myopia

Yesterday, Ed Miliband put his brother’s leadership campaign manager, Jim Murphy, in charge of the review of Scottish Labour following the disastrous showing in the Holyrood elections last week. Jim Murphy is a bright man, who no doubt has many interesting things to say about the Scottish election result, and no doubt said some of them to the Shadow Cabinet on Monday, but he is no friend of Ed Miliband, and completely lacks Ed Miliband’s commitment to change — change that it is now clear the Scottish party needs just as badly as the English. How can you rely on the Blairites to conduct a review of their own stewardship of Scottish Labour? As the Policy Network’s latest mutterings demonstrate, the Blairites are as determined as ever to resist change. On this as on other key appointments, Ed Miliband needs to sort out his myopia. If you want change, you can’t rely on those who don’t to deliver it.

Left Futures does not advocate triangulation. Sooner or later, as New Labour discovered, the electorate, and especially our core supporters, see through it and realise that you have abandoned principle and abandoned them. But if you applied it in Scotland, it is the basis for moving the party to the Left.

Last year, at the General Election, Labour was outflanked on the Left by both the Lib Dems and the SNP. Small wonder that Lib Dem voters who felt betrayed switched to the SNP. And that so many core Labour voters in our heartlands lent theirs too. If you want an outsider to review what happened in Scotland, and Jim Murphy, as someone who chose Westminster over Holyrood, is an outsider, you’d be better off with Rhodri Morgan!

Unfortunately, Ed’s myopia doesn’t stop with this appointment. For General Secretary of the Labour Party, we are told he wanted Matthew Taylor, Blair’s former Head of Policy and Chief Advisor on Strategy. We’ve also heard some other pretty astonishing names for both this post and Ed’s Chief of Staff.

It isn’t easy supporting a Leader who doesn’t look out for himself!


  1. union man says:

    Either he really is as timidly centrist as the DMil bunch, or he feels so constricted by their power over the PLP and media that he is unable to do anything that will enrage them too much.

    Personally, in his position I would have expelled from the Party (in the sort of shamelessly anti-democratic manner they love) any Blairite who showed any hint of disloyalty after the leadership election. They have nothing to say any more and will not be missed. But Ed does seem to rather lack any sort of ruthless streak.

  2. Slightly weary says:

    Your assertion that labour was outflanked on the left at last years election is just wrong. Labour got 42% of the vote (up 2.5% on 2005). The SNP failed to gain a single seat – from us or anyone else.

    Who says Jim Murphy is in charge of this Review? No announcement on the party website at either UK or Scottish level – nothing else about who is involved. Given that this review will have to involve both the Scottish Executive and the SPLP ( and ideally the NEC) it’s wrong to assume the primacy of MPs in this process…

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      @Slightly weary

      Undoubtedly Labour did have a good result in Scotland at the general election, as I pointed out here, but I stand by my contention that Labour was to the right, in the public perception, of both the Lib Dems (e.g on Iraq and civil liberties) and the SNP (e.g. on the Cuts, Trident and free personal care). I conclude that Scottish Labour escaped being beaten by the SNP, as they had been at Holyrood in 2007 and in spite of having failed to respond to that 2007 defeat, because the SNP were seen by many as an irrelevance in Westminster elections.

      Since the general election, the UK Labour Party has put New Labour behind it, as a result of the Leadership election campaign and Ed’s victory. Scottish Labour has not.

      As to the information that Jim Murphy is to lead the review, I quoted the Guardian story but also had separate confirmation at Westminster. I recognise that the Scottish party needs to be fully involved in the review — I think they should have initiated it rather than the UK leader — and I couldn’t agree more that the primacy of a Westminster MP is unfortunate. I have previously argued (as have many within Scotland) that one of Scottish Labour’s problems is that its leaders have been too fixated on Westminster rather than Holyrood.

  3. Forlornehope says:

    I was a member of the Labour party in Scotland in the 70s. Perhaps I’m naive, but I left when I realised that it was simply a gang of self-serving chancers. Now that the Scottish people have a serious alternative, it’s not surprising that they vote for it. It’s not about policy it’s about rotten people; Ed needs to take the entire gang, chuck them off a cliff and start again. Then Labour might have a chance.

  4. Phil C. says:

    Only time will tell, but…
    perhaps Ed is being diplomatic (or timid) to preserve party unity
    perhaps Ed is being subtle and shrewd in his re-balancing of the Labour Party, by asking Blairites to perform some of the tasks required to bring in the change that’s needed? (thus handing the scalpel to Blairite appointees in open view).

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