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

Neil Findlay launches new charter of workers rights

Neil Findlay with supporters in Fauldhouse Miners WelfareNeil Findlay has today launched a new charter for workers rights in Scotland “to make work fit for the 21st century”. If he wins the leadership, he promises Scottish Labour will reconnect with working Scotland and put practical policies in place to make a difference to people’s lives from day one. The charter includes calls for greater devolution of employment law as well as greater use of public procurement to drive up standards in the workplace.

For too many people in modern Scotland, he says, the rights at work we’ve fought for over generations simply do not apply. The rise in zero hour contracts, the failure of previous Labour governments to tackle anti-trade union legislation and EU loopholes that allow unscrupulous employers to undercut pay, terms and conditions all make for insecurity in working Scotland. Continue reading

The polls provide clear evidence that Findlay can reach the parts Murphy can’t

SL2014It is true that Jim Murphy has a higher media profile than Neil Findlay, but rarely in a leadership election do we have such good evidence that one candidate in the running cannot win over the voters Labour needs whilst the other has the policies they support. This matters if Ed Miliband is to have a reasonable chance of forming a government and if Scottish Labour is to avoid a further drubbing in 2016.

We know that over a third of Labour supporters went with Yes in the referendum. According to Professor John Curtice, a poll from Lord Ashcroft has this figure at 37% with another poll from Opinium in the last week of the campaign showing it to be as high as 47%. As Curtice points out:

It is certainly the case that less well-off voters, that is the kind of people who might be thought to be Labour’s traditional constituency, were more likely to vote Yes than those in more comfortable circumstances.’

Continue reading

New Labour got Scottish Labour into the hole it’s in. Only Neil Findlay can dig it out

Neil Findlay campaign portraitRecall the Scottish independence referendum? Can you remember the panic when a few polls put the Yes camp in the lead? Politics is a fickle business but surely that was burned on every Westminster psyche. Dozens of Labour MPs should remember it. They tramped north of Hadrian’s Wall to tell the fine people of Scotland to stay with us. We’re better together because of reasons, etc. One of those MPs was Ivan Lewis, whose trip to Glasgow was serenaded by the Imperial March of Star Wars fame. I’m sure he looks fondly back on it now. I also suppose he remembers why he went. Scotland leaving the union affected us English and Welsh just as much as the Scots.

Writing for the Sunday Herald, Tom Watson makes the case for Neil Findlay’s Scottish leadership campaign and recommends party members back him. Ivan Lewis disagrees. After Tom’s article appeared, Ivan tweeted:

Tom tweeted back and it went downhill from there. Continue reading

This could be the last ditch for Labour in Scotland, and the answer isn’t Murphy

Sturgeon spechThis morning’s poll in the  the Daily Record sums up the problem Scottish Labour  faces whoever wins the leadership positions: SNP 46%, Labour 24%, Tories 17%, Lib Dem 6%, Others 8%. So what’s the answer?

Nicola Sturgeon in her first speech as SNP leader this weekend clearly sought to position the SNP to the left of Labour. Whilst we may argue that this is mere marketing rather than a genuine shift — she certainly lacks a costed economic plan to substantiate it — it will be the perception that counts in the elections Scotland faces in the next two years.

But the clincher is making support for a minority Labour government conditional on removing Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland and rethinking the “endless austerity that impoverishes our children“. Salmond had already predicted the SNP winning 30 seats at Westminster next May which would allow the party to become power brokers to prop up a minority Labour government and force through greater power for Holyrood. Sturgeon takes his threat to use that leverage and pushes it further to the left. Continue reading