Thank you, Johann


Johann at conference


Johann Lamont led the Scottish Labour Party to major success in the local government elections of 2012, and resounding victory in the independence referendum last month. The party is currently enjoying a period of increasing membership and engagement.

Thank you Johann, for all you’ve done for the party. We wish you well for the future.

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Policies more than powers – CfS conference tomorrow

Stephen LowAhead of the Campaign for Socialism Conference in Glasgow on Saturday, Stephen Low outlines some of the things Labour needs to be doing.


Having won the referendum what we need to do now is get Labour back into Government, in Scotland and across the UK. To do that we’ll need to be radical, with a focus more on policies for people than powers for parliaments.

It is to aid in that process, helping Labour to develop and deepen our radical agenda, that the Campaign for Socialism has called tomorrow’s conference at the STUC in Glasgow.

The meeting will have contributions from senior MSPs including Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Neil Findlay MSP, as well as discussions led by the political officers of UNISON, Unite & GMB and figures from local government. There will even be a perspective from former GLC Deputy Leader, Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell.

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We, the people

george-foulkes2The Right Hon Lord Foulkes of Cumnock reminds us who we are, and tells us to get our fingers out – because we can win again as we have won before.


Scottish politics is at a crossroads. Which way we go does not depend on chance or the stars, but on the decisions that we make.

On September the 18th more than 2 million Scots voted to remain part of the United Kingdom but the way forward is now more difficult to forecast than if it had been a yes vote.

The fanatics in the independence movement, with “Anyone but Labour” as their motto, have one clear intention: to “destroy” Scottish Labour.

This is unsurprising, given that such nationalists movements, motivated by one clear goal and a simplistic them and us ideology, invariably seek to destroy those who have the temerity to question the correctness of their cause.

How we respond to the threat is a test of our courage, and the strength of our belief.

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Labour’s down-to-earth radicalism

justin_reynoldsJustin Reynolds of Edinburgh Central CLP argues that Labour can appeal to Yes voters by offering the kind of practical, transformative radicalism that can make a real difference to people’s lives.


A month on from the referendum Scottish Labour finds itself in the curious position of conducting a post-mortem after an election victory.

Labour played a critical role in a hard fought and ultimately successful No campaign, but has emerged beleaguered and bruised from the battlefield, while its opponents seem to be regrouping effectively, many of them already impatient to resume the fight.

Labour has polled poorly since the referendum, and is in danger of losing a chunk of its core support: a third or so of the party’s own members voted for independence, most heavily in its central belt heartlands. There is internal unrest, with groups emerging within the party urging radical reform, and even a change of name. And the party leadership is under daily pressure from a press ever eager for new signs of Labour unease and division.

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What I learned from the referendum

danieljohnsonDaniel Johnson, Scottish Labour candidate for 2016 in Edinburgh Southern and an active No campaigner during the referendum, distils a few simple, practical lessons for us to learn and act on right now.


I’m sick of talking about the referendum. I’m tired of analysing who voted what way and why. I’m over contemplating whether we have lost connection with the national mood or local communities. Its all pundit talk and its not real.

It’s not that I don’t care about those things. I do. Passionately. It’s just that I don’t think that using time, effort and emotional energy beating ourselves up and fretting about our political difficulties helps one bit.

The reason we won, but also the reason we are finding that victory uncomfortable, is not about who we are or what we want to do. It’s about the way we campaigned. To fix it we need to learn the lessons and do things differently. And we must do them differently not next time, but right now.

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Labour the Red Tories? Don’t talk rubbish!

davidgowDavid Gow, former European Business Editor of The Guardian and a contributor to the 1975 Red Paper on Scotland, explodes a couple of myths about the Scottish Labour party, the Tories, and economic justice.


It’s time to nail two distinct but related myths – or lies if you prefer – doing the rounds of the Scottish chattering classes beyond the 45ers.

One is that Scottish Labour is “finished,” at the very least “in an existential crisis.” The other is that, by taking part in the Better Together pro-Union campaign with the Tories and Lib Dems, its members are “Red Tories” and it supports what Bella Caledonia calls an “austerity union.”

It is possible to argue that social democracy itself is in crisis in Europe (and I have done elsewhere) – and that applies equally to the soft left wing of the SNP or even the Scottish Greens as much as to Scottish Labour. The prolonged aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has left a movement/ideology founded by such luminaries as Frank Podmore and Eduard Bernstein around 130 years ago floundering.

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Lessons from the Yes campaign

adrianmcmenaminAdrian McMenamin takes a look at how the Yes campaign got closer than most folk expected, and what lessons we can take from the campaign experience.


It is just over a month since the people of Scotland made their decision to stay in the United Kingdom.

The final result was – in referendum terms – something close to a landslide, with “No” finishing 10.7% ahead. Perhaps that was not as big a victory as had been hoped for even two months earlier, but it was enough to encourage many to say they had known all along Scotland would indeed, to use David Bowie’s words, “stay with us”.

From the point of view of some commentators and businesses the outcome may have seemed obvious from the start. Splitting the world’s most successful single market, injecting massive currency, regulatory and political uncertainty and pegging your future to the value of the rapidly diminishing North Sea Oil reserves seemed so ridiculous that many thought it unnecessary to speak out.

Yet in the end many did join the debate and they did so not because they thought they were backing a winning proposition in opposing the UK’s break up, but because they were worried they were about to end up on the losing side without having said a word.

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