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Jim Murphy has no mandate and must go, say Scottish unions

Jim Murphy accepting the Scottish leadershipTrade unions in Scotland have called for Jim Murphy to step down as leader of Scottish Labour as Neil Findlay who stood against Murphy for the leadership last year with the backing of the Left and almost all trade unions announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet at Holyrood where he held the fair work, skills and training brief. The election was a “disaster” for the Scottish Labour Party, he said, sand its problems were “wide ranging and deep“.

Reacting to the loss of every Labour seat in Scotland bar one, Pat Rafferty, leader of the biggest union in Scotland, Unite, said:

It is time for change the Scottish Labour Party. That is the overwhelming, unambiguous message from Scotland’s people, including its trade union members, on Thursday.

Indeed, it is past time for change. Labour in Scotland has been bleeding support and credibility for years. On one issue after another — the embrace of Blairism, the opposition to a second ‘devomax’ question in last year’s referendum, the decision to campaign with the Tories in the ill-judged Better Together campaign, and in the election of a new leader last year – Unite has warned against the course being followed by the Party and has, alas, been proved right. The price of ignoring such warnings has been a virtual wipe-out for Scottish Labour at Westminster.

The party has now less than a year to put this right before the Holyrood elections. Either Scottish Labour rediscovers its mission as the natural voice for social justice in our nation, or irrelevance and ultimately extinction looms. To expect trade unions to campaign for a business-as-usual Scottish Labour in those elections is to ask for the impossible.

That is why it is now time to genuinely listen, learn and change. For Labour to stand a chance of rising from the ashes of this electoral ruin, the people must be able to look at the party and see very clearly that it is truly ‘under new management’.

Change must begin with a new leader. It is surprising that Jim Murphy should feel he still has a mandate to lead the Party after Thursday’s results. I do not say this out of any personal animus. Jim fought a courageous campaign, and the Party’s problems clearly long predate his leadership. But staying on as leader will only prolong the party’s agony. Scottish Labour must be rebuilt from the ground up, free from the taint of machine politics and the legacy of the misjudgements of the last Labour government.

I therefore call on Jim Murphy to resign without delay, and give the membership of the Scottish Labour party the chance to determine their own way forward in rebuilding from Thursday’s ruins.”

Kevin Lindsay, organiser of train drivers’ union Aslef in Scotland, said:

Jim Murphy has just presided over the worst election defeat in the history of the Scottish Labour Party. He has to go – and he has to go now.

Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg, and even Nigel Farage have all stood down, accepting responsibility for, and the consequences of, defeat for their parties at the polls. It is, therefore, quite clear to most of us in the Scottish Labour Party what the right thing is for Jim Murphy to do.

Neil Findlay said:

Radical solutions are needed and can only be implemented following a full, frank, open and democratic debate led by our loyal and hard working, committed party members – a centralised fix just won’t do.

I want to play a full part in that debate and in rebuilding our party from the grassroots up. I feel I can only do so if free rom the constraints of being a member of the Shadow Team.


  1. Chris says:

    Trouble is, we’re not really to blame, the voters are. It was their naivety and gullibility that let the SNP in.

    We can hardly say that in public, but it’s true.

    1. Robert says:

      Well of course if it was a Thousand that voted SNP you may have an argument, but so many middle class well educated people went with the SNP.our or the

      The issue is a simple one, something went badly wrong and the people did not believe in labour they did think the SNP had something to offer.

      If they had a referendum tomorrow I think now the Union would be dead.

      In the UK the people decided that the Tories were a better bet, and they have dumped labour , not as many as in Scotland it still means it could be a life time before labour wins again.

      You wait until the Assembly elected come in Wales and in Scotland next years, I suspect labour will find it every hard to win those as well especially in Wales.

    2. The trouble is, it appears, is the amount of people who are unwilling to accept responsibility for the election defeat. Calling the electorate ‘gullible’ isn’t going to help matters.

      It is Labour’s fault for failing to provide a viable alternative to nationalism.

    3. Billericaydickie says:

      This is of course the ” false consciousness” approach of Marxism which still infects the Labour Party. It is arrogant and when applied to ethnic minorities racist.

      1. Robert says:

        Well if it is false then all I can say is well done the SNP.

  2. James Martin says:

    To be honest Murphy has as much legitimacy as anyone else given he was so recently elected. Also of course the loss of seats was across the board – good left activist MPs with strong union links also lost their seats to more right-wing SNP candidates.

    Therefore – and I’m no fan of Murphy’s politics – the comments from Rafferty come across as a personal hostility rather than political analysis, particularly as he was saying only a few weeks ago that “Jim Murphy will be judged up to 2016 on whether he can regain that trust, and he can deliver policies that people want. Time will tell.” And the fact is had Neil Findlay been elected as leader of the SLP the results on May 7 would have been no different, just as they were no different in Findley’s own constituency. And Murphy for all his political faults did take the fight to the streets and faced head on the reactionary national-socialist wing of the SNP – I could be wrong, but I don’t recall hearing or seeing Pat Rafferty on leading from the front and trying to bring his Unite members onto the streets to do the same in facing down the reactionary nationalists.

    1. Matty says:

      Murphy’s leadership is not to blame but the Better Together campaign (in which he was a central figure) screwed Scottish Labour. Despite Murphy’s “bravery” his brand of Blairite politics has no traction in Scotland whatsoever and is the main reason why Labour has been abandoned by so many of its tradtional voters. why should Labour stay to the right of the SNP?

      1. James Martin says:

        The irony is that it wasn’t and isn’t to the right of the SNP Matty.

        1. John p Reid says:


        2. Matty says:

          Well, I’m no fan of the SNP at all. I lived in the Basque Country for a while and I loathe nationalist politics. However, the SNP were stronger on being against public spending cuts than Labour and were also in favour of scrappint Trident. However, I don’t live in Scotland and maybe I’m not as well informed as I should be. On reflection, maybe my first comment ws too strong.

      2. Billericaydickie says:

        Are you Matty from Eltham?

        1. Matty says:

          Why do you want to know Terry? Want to come round and stalk me like you did to others before and ended up with a conviction?

  3. What possessed Murphy to come out so strongly for Trident when the vast majority of voters in Scotland (and a clear majority in England) oppose it? They knew this would be a problem – there was a ridiculous session at the Milton Keynes National Policy Forum when we were told not to provoke a row on Trident because that would tip off the SNP that we support it, which would damage us in the election, so we must keep quiet! Surely the way to neutralise it as an issue would be to vote against Trident?

    1. James Martin says:

      I’m surprised that you sound surprised Christine. Murphy is a fully paid up member of the Henry Jackson Society which in itself provides all the answers you need here with its atlantacist, pro-NATO, pro-Zionist, anti-socialist objectives.

      It is politics from across the atlantic and politics that does not much care about the effects on its host so long as that host remains free from socialist infection, and was as you know the foundations on which Blair built his ‘Project’ that others are now busily trying to breath new life into. So Murphy will always support these WMD’s regardless of whether his voters feel the same way.

      1. John p Reid says:

        I think it’s possible to be part of Haenry Jackson, and not be pro Zioism, and be a socialist, it’s also possible to be a zionist and a socialist
        How many people voted SNP at this election but are against a independent Scotland, as that’ll bankrupt their country,

        In fact Charles Clarkes view of a independent Scottish Labour Party, in a UK parliament, could actually support no trident in Scoyland, as it could be moved to Wales,

        1. James Martin says:

          Are you a member of the HJS then John, and if so do you think that the £350 full annual membership fee is just a tad… exclusive?

      2. Robert says:

        The 100 year, I would have said 1000 but a 100 will do New labour Reich.
        Murphy marching song went Right Right Right, we march, hold on they are not listening, left Left left we march onward to the future.

    2. John p Reid says:

      Maybe because the Naval base is there,
      The majority of English voters were against it, if only

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