DOUGLAS ALEXANDER pens a welcome letter to LabourHame
Okay, tartan kitsch has never been my look of choice – and you do look a bit like a Bay City Rollers Tribute site. Yet I want to welcome your arrival and share with you my hopes for the renewal to which you can contribute
Firstly, this is a site where together we can discuss the defeat Scottish Labour suffered last month – given the risk for all political parties is that you can experience electoral defeat without necessarily understanding it. I hope it will be a site where a spirit of reflection and civility informs those debates. The wearisome and adolescent aggression of so many of the ‘cyber-nats’ should find no echo here.
I hope you’ll also allow us not simply to reflect but to look ahead. Of course there are organisational lessons to be learned and applied, and the review being led by Sarah and Jim, the potential for early action. But, I believe that at root, the result on May 5 must be understood through the frame of politics and not simply organisation. For over a century our party has stood, in one form or other, for social democracy and home rule within the United Kingdom. One of the ironies of last month’s result is that, despite the scale of our defeat, those ideas still represent represent the views of the majority of mainstream Scotland. So let’s start again the debate and the conversation about how to reconnect our beliefs to the aspirations of modern Scotland.
Last night I was at a Party meeting in Paisley discussing the results. This morning I was knocking on doors in Greenock. Of course that vital work – of discussing, debating and campaigning with party members will continue, but this must be a site of not simply introspection but renewal of new ideas as well as new analysis.
It was the late great Robin Cook who, in a different time and a different context, said “Renewal is more than a job for the man at the top.”
In that spirit of shared endeavour let’s get to it.
Douglas Alexander is the Shadow Foreign Secretary and served in the last Labour government as Secretary of State for Scotland, Transport and International Development. Follow Douglas on Twitter at @DAlexanderMP.
5 thoughts on “From Paisley with love”
Having been in Port Glasgow myself at the weekend Douglas it was heartening to see that the endeavour is alive and well in the party. As you say it will take more than that for us to bounce back, but a win in Inverclyde will be a fantastic start and the discussions we have on the doorsteps there can help to inform our review.
Over the last hundred years or so the Labour party has changed with the times and indeed ahead of the times, but it seems to me that the vision of “Home rule” is one area which lags way behind the views of mainstream Scotland. Scottish Labour appear to regard Holyrood as a poor relation of Westminster. Failure to understand the consequences of the voting system for the Scottish Parliament, should things go against Labour, was either arrogant or ignorant. Scottish Labour have to stop looking on devolved politics as a battle with the SNP and start to fight for the common good of the country. In the space of three terms of the Scottish Parliament we have seen the view of the Labour Party go from “the Settled Will of the Scottish People” to “calman” requesting more powers. Surely there should be no limits placed on the powers which Scotland needs if they are beneficial to the country. Has the UK Parliament or indeed the Scottish Parliament with the current powers really served the poorest in our society? When I visit areas like Castlemilk, Fergusslie park and Shettleston I think not!
So why did Mr Alexander not start the debate?
Well said Douglas. It is time to move matters forward and take a positive view on matters, re-establish the Labour Party’s credentials as a party that has delivered across the country during it’s term in office, areas such as funding for education, health and establishing the Scottish Parliament are only some of the positive decisions taken over the past few years. Re-grouping in Scotland is now essential at this time and addressing the situation as we see it today in a positive and realistic way is the way forward.
I think Labour must be more representative of those who want a true Scottish labour movement
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