What is Scottish Labour for?

InequalityAs Scottish Labour regroups after the General Election, the temptation will be to focus on organisation and structure. Important though these are, the real question the party has to ask itself is – what is Scottish Labour for?

After the 2007 and 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, Scottish Labour held reviews that gave detailed consideration to internal structure, election organisation etc. Tucked away in both reviews was a mention of political purpose and strategy, but it was left to another time, it was regarded as of secondary importance. No political party has a divine right to exist; it has to have a clear political purpose. Scottish Labour needs clarity over its key purpose and then needs to find a way of expressing it in language activists can explain and voters can understand.

For me the answer is, it’s inequality stupid. Continue reading

Trade union shows how not to consult its members on London Mayoralty

People Not Profit March in central London.

People Not Profit March in central London.

So far the selection of the candidate for London Mayor has left much to be desired. A selection process was imposed on London that no section of the party in London wanted – not the trade unions, not the constituency parties, not the regional board of the party. Then the process was designed as if to minimise the number of trade union levy payers who could be recruited in time to participate. When the timetable for all other internal party ballots was adjusted (in line with the leadership election timetable) to give adequate time after the general election for nominations, that for London Mayor alone was left as it was.  Now one of the biggest trade unions affiliated to the Labour party has adopted a process that makes a nonsense out of the Labour rule which requires that “all nominees should have fair and equal opportunity to seek selection“. Continue reading

Devo Manc: ‘Northern Powerhouse’ or northern poorhouse?

devo mancManchester is a great world city which has long divided observers. In the mid-nineteenth century, what was for de Tocqueville a ‘foul drain’ and for Taine ‘Babel built of brick’ was for the Edinburgh Review, by contrast, ‘foremost in the march of improvement, a great incarnation of progress’.  Most recently, with ‘devo Manc’, the city of 1980s deindustrialisation and indie music has been transmuted into a symbol of post-industrial regeneration and devolved government.

All this is being talked up as a matter of electioneering by the Treasury and Westminster politicians. After all, the coalition government must be seen to have a policy on ‘rebalancing the economy’. Devolved government initiatives in 2014 and 2015 for Manchester and the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ are now being pushed as follow-ups to George Osborne’s 2010 ‘march of the makers’ (a march of course that never happened). Continue reading

Why Labour lost – the disturbing perspective of Annette from Scotland

2dhwi9eI certainly don’t agree with all of what is said here. For instance, it assumes much of the English and Welsh political landscape is similar to Scotland. The piece below, however, contains some very uncomfortable truths for all Labour people. It behoves us all to pause and reflect on some of the disastrous decisions made over the last five years. This originally appeared on Labour Hame as a comment by someone who signs herself as “Annette“, and came to me by way of the excellent Mutterings from the Leftblog.

I am so tired of the word “nationalism” being branded about by Labour. And, ooh, they inserted the word “patriotic” in their constitution, how quaint. Personally, I don’t give a toss about patriotism and nationalism. I am an EU citizen living in Scotland and I voted YES because it is my firm belief that every country has a right to political self-determination and should not be ruled by another country. Continue reading

After the debacle: why Welsh Labour should work with Plaid Cymru

2012-02-15-83253The election result was terrible  for Wales. If five years of self-defeating, poverty creating state-shrinking austerity from the coalition was bad enough, five more years of the Tories governing alone will be worse. The assault on the public sector threatens thousands of Welsh jobs, the £12 billion in ‘welfare’ cuts will make life even more difficult for the poor and the vulnerable; for many disabled people life will literally not be worth living. The cuts to the Welsh budget will result in cuts to the revenue support and grants to local authorities, making it increasingly difficult for them to deliver basic services and producing what is for the Tories, an added bonus of Labour local authorities blaming a Labour government for Tory cuts. Continue reading