The tent that couldn’t stand up – a reply to Kezia Dugdale

Inside Labour Scotland“We need a big tent plan, not a core vote strategy, to win again in Scotland.”-Kezia Dugdale, 7th July 2015

That foremost authority on Scottish Labour politics, Antonio Gramsci, once gasped, “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” Scottish Labour has now moved even further on the road of the withering old and the failing new. The monstrous period of Jim Murphy has passed, yet the fairy stories and fantasies of Murphy’s politics remain. Kezia Dugdale, the anointed successor, exemplified this with her prescription that Labour’s core vote has dwindled to the point of electoral disaster and must instead be replaced by a ‘big tent’ strategy. Scottish Labour has an image problem – it has become branded with representing ‘the most vulnerable’ and must now pivot towards those who wish to ‘better themselves.’ Continue reading

The Not-So-Strange Death of Scottish Labour?

Inside Labour ScotlandWhen the time comes to construct the pantheon of Scottish Labour leaders, Ken Macintosh MSP will surely stand shoulder to shoulder with Jim Murphy at its highest point. To Murphy’s visions of speedy boarding for veterans and booze at football games, Macintosh has, in the past few weeks, added two radical insights of his own: that the Scottish Labour headquarters should move from Glasgow to Edinburgh and that, instead of a general-secretary, we should have a ‘chief executive’.

It’s easy to laugh at things like this, but this point demonstrates two of the fundamental problems Scottish Labour faces: that its problems are political but are perceived in the ‘apolitical’ language of ‘organisation’ and that the membership can place no trust in the leadership for salvation. Continue reading

On the resignation of Jim Murphy

revscotlogoThe following statement was published yesterday on Revitalise Scottish Labour, the website associated with the trade union left in Scotland and Scottish Labour activists involved in the Campaign for Socialism

Today’s Scottish Executive (SEC) was, to put it mildly, something out of the ordinary.

The meeting was presented with a report on the general election that focused on the organisational aspects of the campaign. However, it swiftly moved on to concerns about the political message and of course the leadership, when a motion of no confidence in Jim Murphy as Scottish Labour Leader was proposed and seconded by representatives from the trade union and constituency party sections. Continue reading

The Tories won a tactical victory – not an endorsement of austerity

Austerity is failingThe general election result was not an endorsement of austerity but was a stunning Tory tactical success. The Tories adopted a policy of defending key marginal seats against Labour and UKIP and attacking in Liberal Democrat seats. The strategy worked and lead to a Tory majority government for the first time since 1992. This was done on a swing of 0.8% to the Tories, with Cameron returned as Prime Minister with 36.9% of the vote, the lowest share in history. The coalition government meanwhile suffered an overall loss of 14.4%, but remarkably the Tories ensured that all of this loss was suffered by the Liberal Democrats. This represents the biggest ever loss by a governing party.  Continue reading

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: Continue reading