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Left maintains stronghold: A report from Scottish Young Labour Conference

12698712_463223943883332_7488740259695838113_oScottish Labour Young Socialists (SLYS) won the full executive committee slate at Scottish Young Labour conference this month, on the back of Campaign for Socialism (CFS) success in winning five seats on the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC), which once again shows the changing dynamics within the Labour Party in Scotland. The situation facing Labour in Scotland is a difficult one; we’re still dealing with the legacy left by Tony Blair, whose policies left so many across Britain worse off; we find ourselves squeezed between two contending nationalisms; we suffer in the polls thanks to continued efforts, within and without, to undermine our Party’s leadership; but despite this, one thing we can never be accused of is a lack of optimism for the future – we have hope, because we know that our ideas, our strategy and our determination will lead us to victory.

We’re grateful to everyone who attended conference, to all those who contributed to the discussions which took place, and to everyone who made this conference the success that it was. In the months ahead, we can be proud that SYL passed motions on policy which will see us campaign against the austerity we face on a Scottish, and UK wide basis. There is no doubt that in order to lead the resistance to austerity, and to regain the trust of the electorate in Scotland, we must be seen as the democratic socialist party we claim to be. It is for this reason that we voted for mandatory reselection, to ensure that the representatives of our movement are just that, people trusted and chosen by our membership – the heart of our party.

We expressed anger at the shocking behaviour of the so called trade union Community, whose scab tactics have undermined the harmony of our movement, and which we utterly condemn. We outlined our commitment to stronger BME outreach across the Labour party, to end period poverty, to support free transport, to support free education, and to nationalise the ‘big six’. Our priorities need to be adjusted, we need to ensure that we invest in our future, which is why we demand an end to Trident and a withdrawal from the imperialist NATO alliance. As the party of the working class, it is vital that we dedicate ourselves to eradicating poverty, that we tackle the need for our people to rely on foodbanks, and that we construct new homes, schools and hospitals; rather than spend billions on useless relics such as Trident, which serve our people far better left in the past where they belong.

SLYS went to SYL conference full of confidence, because we got ourselves organised. Our success shows that when the left organises we win, and when we win, Labour wins. Now the hard graft begins: we will fight for the implementation of radical policies that will put our movement back on track; we will organise political education to give our young members the best chance of interpreting, and overcoming, the challenges that face our generation; alongside grassroots Labour activists and trade unionists, we will lead the charge for success in the upcoming local elections; most importantly, we will take inspiration from the heroic struggles of the international working class – our labour movement – and strive to ensure the victory of our movement on the road ahead. We humbly ask you to join us in that fight.

Scottish Labour Young Socialists are an organisation for socialist young members, trade unionists and activists of the Scottish Labour Party. You can find their website here. 


  1. Bill says:

    I am very encouraged by this Aiden. Do you think that Scottish Labour should be an autonomous organisation and that Labour should have a federal structure? I feel that we would do better in Scotland if Scottish Labour could determine its own policies.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      There is a problem with that one Bill.
      Labour are the party that saved the union. So the question is, why is autonomy ok for Scottish Labour but not ok for Scotland? I hope you can follow the contradiction in logic I identify with your proposal.

  2. Richard MacKinnon says:

    I love the rhetoric especially “the heroic struggles of the international working class” it is so 1960’s, I’m surprised there was no mention of ‘losing the chains’.
    But you have a problem Aiden and it is the party you have hooked your wagon to. The Labour Party in Scotland are and will always be remembered for, the Party that saved the union. They stood shoulder to shoulder with The Tory’s to defend Scotland against the dark forces of nationalism, But it was Labour that won it. Had it not been for the old war horses of socialism Lord Darling and Gordon Brown Scotland would now be an independent country.
    Now I know what you are thinking, you are thinking, thank god. You don’t believe in ‘narrow minded’ nationalism you are an internationalist, and that is of course your right, but as I say the problem Labour has is that the traditional heartlands of Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Fife, Glasgow and of course Dundee all voted Yes. These people, Labour families got self respect back during the referendum, they were given a vision of something better for their communities and their children. They were given hope again. Labour snatched that hope from them. That is your problem.

  3. Bazza says:

    Well done Aiden and SLYS and pretty inspiring.
    You are right about Blair and his continuation of Neo-Liberalism, Labour deserted it social democratic tradition and ran into the arms of Blairism and oblivion then the ‘Born Again’ Fake Social Democrats of the SNP gratefully stole Labour’s old clothes and the rest is history.
    It is good that the left in Scotland is leading the fight back and only left wing democratic socialist ideas in my view can beat the SNP.
    Perhaps we should ask the SNP leader (a working class lass from Glasgow) if she is a socialist?
    Sadly the Scottish Labour leadership is weak and pretended to be a little left and made a little gain (why did the SNP lose complete control? It now relies on the Greens) but in my view you need a big left push for a big gain, and Scotland for Labour shoudn’t be written off!
    I personally support a more Federal UK with as much devolution as possible but things like living wages, corporation tax should be common to the UK or big business will set nation against nation -also if one nation is in difficulty ie Scotland and North Sea oil, pooling resources can help each other plus we could have Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western English Parliaments with MPs from the region meeting some time in the region in a council chamber (so no new tier of regional reps needed) to deal with regional issues – 20% of the country each whilst Scotland, Wales etc. look after the other 20%).
    Oh by the way if two faced Cameron had made his speech on English votes for English Laws before the Scottish Referendum (instead of the morning after) then I suggest Scotland would probably be independent now!
    But of course in Scotland Cameron had the Mail, Sun etc. behind him which he didn’t have in the EC Referendum.
    So the left in Scotland keep up the good work brothers and sisters!

  4. An answer for the party both in Scotland and also south of the border would be to move both referendum questions, Scottish membership of the union and British membership of EU, to being decided by members and supporters own consciences. Making them party policies has caused enormous damage to the party’s support.

    1. Bill says:

      I agree this should have been the case.

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