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

Ann Black’s report from Labour’s November executive

NEC Report AB

National Executive Committee, 4 November 2014

As usual the first meeting after conference was an extended session, setting strategy for the year ahead, with general election victory the over-riding objective.  Presentations showed an impressive level of organisation on the ground and increasingly sophisticated online operations.  The Tories will massively outspend us and regular donations from thousands of individuals were making a huge difference, though I stressed that members must be engaged in policy and valued as a source of ideas, not just of cash.  The European campaign fund had also helped to keep more than 100 organisers in post.  Overall membership had increased this year, with an extra 1.7% joining during conference week. Continue reading

With your support, Neil Findlay and Katy Clark can win in Scotland

SL2014As the nominations stage of Scotland’s leadership election ends today, hustings start tomorrow and ballot papers start arriving on people’s doormats from Monday. Although  the odds at William Hill put Jim Murphy (at 2/9) well ahead of Findlay (at 10/3) with Boyack trailing at 12/1, it is clear that Neil Findlay and Katy Clark could win this election with your support.

Neil and Katy have won virtually all trade union nominations — with Unite, Unison, GMB (Murphy’s own union he had predicted he’d win), CWU, UCATT, ASLEF, TSSA and the Musicians — more than expected. Murphy and MSP Kezia Dugdale (chair of Movement for Change and associated with Progress) are well ahead amongst MPs and MSPs — the section of the electoral college in which Progress is strongest thanks to many years of Lord Sainsbury-funded organisation in support of favoured parliamentary candidates with the collusion of the party machine under New Labour. Murphy and Dugdale won union nominations only from USDAW (and then probably only because the decision was taken by the UK executive in Manchester rather than by lay members in Scotland, many of whom favour Neil and Katy) plus tiny Community (Dugdale’s union). Continue reading

Neil Findlay: the reluctant politician determined to change Scottish politics

IMG_0059.JPGThis is the text of the speech Neil Findlay made launching his campaign today, at the Fauldhouse Miners Welfare Club in the village in which he lives.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank for you for coming along in such big numbers this morning to the launch of my campaign to become the leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Today I want to set out my vision for the future of Scotland – a Scotland based on timeless Labour values of community, solidarity, fairness and justice.

These are the values I was taught and had instilled in me by my parents and by the people I met growing up in this great community here in Fauldhouse. And I’d like to tell you a bit about why I believe only the Labour Party with these values, running through everything we do can lead Scotland and why I am the person best placed to lead our party. Continue reading

What radical exception can break Jim Murphy’s rule?

Murphy campaignWhat should we expect from the civil war in Scottish Labour? Some veterans of Labour’s last civil war, still haunted by the machiavellian menace of Blairism, see Jim Murphy’s leadership bid as part of a long-term plan to revive the right-wing of the Labour party. If/when Labour lose in 2015, brother Ed will resign and brother David (whose campaign for the Labour leadership was coordinated by Murphy) will fly back from the US to take his place as heir to Blair. After a few years in the Scottish wilderness Murphy will return to London in the name of Progress and become, say, foreign secretary – the last of the Scottish Raj, carrying with him a new centrist Scottish majority to join David Miliband’s ‘progressive alliance’. Continue reading