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For Scotland’s sake, we must break from the Westminster establishment

Neil Findlay campaign portraitThe Westminster establishment, to which all the three main political parties are seen to sign up, is the most toxic brew in modern British politics.

It has led to UKIP, which robbed the Tories of Clacton and likely Rochester, as well as almost certainly several Tory seats at the next election. And which came within an ace of robbing Labour of Heywood and Middleton.

It has now led to the SNP to a position where, some polls suggest, it will capture between 47-54 of the 59 constituencies in Scotland where Labour currently holds 41 and the Tories 1, leaving Labour just 5 to 10 seats. Less dramatic polls indicate the SNP might take 23-26 seats, but that could still have severe reverberations for Labour.

Next May’s election could well hang on whether UKIP does more damage to the Tories than the SNP does to Labour in Scotland. However the 6 months still to go is a long time in politics, and for both the two main parties the counter-argument will be spread relentlessly: for the Tories, vote Miliband and wake up with Farage, and for Labour, vote SNP and you deliver yet another London-based Tory government at Westminster. Those arguments may yet get some considerable play.

To prevent wipe-out in Scotland Labour must now be under intense pressure to do what it has needed to do for some considerable time,. That is to deliver a decisive and commanding narrative about its vision for the future of our country which differentiates it sharply from other political parties.

That must include, at a minimum, the abandonment of austerity in favour of public investment, expansion of the economy, sustainable growth, increased employment with genuine jobs, rising household incomes. This will also pay down the deficit far faster than austerity ever will – as shown this year when, despite the widespread impoverishment caused, the deficit is still £100bn and rising.

It must also include significantly increased powers for the Scottish Parliament (effectively home rule for Scotland) as well as a major devolution of power to the English metropolitan city regions. There must also be a huge housebuilding programme to remedy the biggest repository of misery in Britain today, the return of the health service and education to full public control, a reversal of privatisation of energy, water and rail, a restoration of collective bargaining and trade union rights, and a relentless crackdown on tax avoidance and inequality.

The person who should be elected as the next leader of the Scottish Labour party is the person who can articulate this vision and promote it with passion and vigour as the agenda for Labour for the next election. That person is not Jim Murphy who with a record as an über-Blairite would never embrace an agenda like this, nor deliver a narrative that differentiated Labour from the Tories when Blair is so regularly quoted by the Tories like Gove as the inspiration for all the changes they’ve made. But there is one person who could articulate and promote this agenda brilliantly. Step forward Neil Findlay.

5 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    I’ll have a bet Murphy will win and that labour will get hammered because if I was in Scotland I would be voting and a member of a left wing SNP, I know it’s not to the left, but it more left then labour.

    In the end people can only vote for what’s in front of them, if they had voted in labour today we have tuition fees the sick the disabled would be paying for prescription and the rich would be means tested, only of course those rich people would be anyone with saving of £8,000 or £16,000 for a couple.

    The real issue for all of us is to find a reason to bother voting if we removed the hated Tories all we would get is Miliband and to be honest he looks and sounds useless.

    we have always wanted to have a labour party but in all those years of fighting to get a labour party elected at the end you thought to your self why did I bother.

    then you’d start again and then half way through you think to your self why why bother.

  2. David Pavett says:

    I had a look at the Scottish Labour website yesterday. It reminded me of the Austrian officer in WW1 who, when asked for a report on the front line battle, sent back the message “The situation is catastrophic but not serious”.

    There is not a single policy document on the site – and that despite the great upheaval of the referendum campaign. Clearly the old guard which has brought Scottish Labour to its present sorry state did not care much for policies. So, in that respect it is like Westminster Labour, only more so.

    Given that, Jim Murphy would fit in to the existing setup rather easily. This would be a political assisted dying scheme on the grand scale. Will Scottish Party members opt for collective euthanasia? The bookies think so. Mmmmm, those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. I hope this doesn’t apply to Scottish Labour.

  3. Chris Ryan says:

    The Labour establishment in Scotland just don’t get it,we are on the Titanic, Neil Findlay is a big life boat. He has integrity and honesty seeping from him.Jim Murphy has ”something of the night” dripping out of him. If the members go for Jim the sinking will be quick and painful. Scots hate Murphy with a vengeance. What more can we do? I am Scottish and a LP member for over 20 years,I would leave immediately Jim was leader.

  4. David Ellis says:

    If Jim Murphy is the answer then Scottish Labour are asking the seriously wrong question. But even the mildly left talking Findlay is a ridiculous avoidance of the issues. Basically Scottish Labour needs to adopt a pro-independence position and a seriously radical programme for the transition to working class power and socialism in Scotland. If they won’t do it somebody else must.

  5. Rod says:

    David Ellis: “Scottish Labour needs to adopt a pro-independence position”

    If Findlay is as Left as he talks he’ll only be able to deliver in the context of Scottish independence.

    Attempting to become the north-of-the-border vote gatherer for a pro-austerity, pro-Trident, pro-military intervention, anti-trade union (remember Falkirk?) ‘Labour’ government in Westminster will only hasten his and the Labour Party’s political demise.

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