Ian Paterson, a blogger and new Labour member, gives his take on the Scottish Labour leadership election.
I’ve only been a member of the Scottish Labour Party for a few months. Now perhaps that doesn’t give me much authority to talk on matters. After all, we live in a hierarchical society in the UK and the Labour Party has been increasingly accepting of that since the 90s. So if my lack of an authoritative voice within the Labour movement puts you off, then I’ll forgive you for not reading any further.
I joined the Labour Party earlier this year, because I want to support a party that shares my values of egalitarianism and equality and help them get into power. And I would suggest that everyone’s opinion is valuable, regardless of experience, in an egalitarian society. I would also suggest that new voices, and indeed voices of those that are not yet members or voters of Scottish Labour, are also voices worth listening to, if the Labour Party is to turn around it’s fortunes in Scotland after the worst successive election defeats in the party’s modern history.
It seems to me that the Scottish Labour party is at a crossroads, and we are a party torn over the path to take. The direction of travel for the next few years will be decided with the election of a new leader and each candidate is a very different proposition.
To my mind, as a newly arrived member, Anas Sarwar is the centre-ground candidate. He is a slick operator and looks very comfortable in front of the cameras. He appeals to what is Scottish Labour’s core vote and membership in 2017, and is exactly the kind of leader that political parties tend to elect. Along the same lines as Blair, Cameron and Clegg, he is a modern-day slick media operator and part of the political class.
Then there is the left candidate, Richard Leonard – a much more awkward media operator but a man of unwavering principles and character. Leonard is perhaps cut from the same cloth as Foot and indeed Corbyn. With a long history of work within the trade union movement, Leonard comes with all the credentials you’d want, without the political baggage of those who’ve been operating in Parliament for longer.
One of the core arguments in the leadership debate is over which would be most likely to become First Minister and which is the most competent of leaders. I look forward to hearing the arguments from the candidates and both have the ability to make a very strong case, but for me this misses a huge point. The next Holyrood election isn’t until 2021, and there is work to be done now.
Which leader is right for the current political climate? Which leader can win voters back, predominately from the SNP where they have leaked to over the last ten years? Or are we happy now to sit as a small centre-ground party, filling a niche in Scottish politics? We are leaking votes on the left to the SNP, leaking centrist votes to the Lib Dems and leaking unionist votes to the Tories. We are fighting on three fronts, which it doesn’t take a strategist to point out, is hard work. Only if Labour is able to win back people who used to support them and engage the young, will we be able to break out of the rut that we are in.
The future of the Scottish Labour Party is in our hands, and we must decide what kind of party we wish to be during this leadership election. Without a decent Scottish Labour vote at the next general election, it is unlikely that Labour will be able to form a Westminister goverment. Without a growing Scottish Labour movement, the next generation will continue to suffer and things will continue to get worse.
Under the Tories, young people are the first generation to be paying twice for their pensions – once through their taxes and again through their wages into auto-enrolment pensions. Going back twenty years, you could buy an average house in Scotland for three times the average annual salary, now it is seven times. Salaries have increased by around 1-2% in the last ten years yet prices of goods and service have gone up by around 30%.
It would be foolish to want every Scottish Labour member to become a left wing, Corbynista – Scottish Labour needs to be a broad church, rich in diversity of opinions and thoughts – but has Scotland and the rest of the UK become too right wing in your opinion? If the answer is yes, then even a centrist would want to balance that out by electing a more left wing government. As they say, if things aren’t going right, go left.
42 thoughts on “If things aren’t going right, go left”
Does it not occur to you that the reason Labour is leaking left votes to the SNP is because the SNP is on the left and Labour isn’t?
The trade union movement is at the heart of the left and socialism and the trade unions support Labour. The SNP has been for the majority of it’s existence, a right wing party. They may be left wing opportunists now because it suits them but they will continue to flip-flop as they have done through their history. From Kier Hardie to now, Labour is the trade union and democratic social party.
I’m not sure the line about leaking votes to the SNP on the left is remotely accurate. It’s the what the SNP and their supporters like to think (see Mike’s inevitable comment above) but it’s not what actually happened in the most recent election. A good grounding of what did happen is contained in John Ruddy’s piece from June: http://labourhame.com/a-positive-night-for-scottish-labour/
In short, Labour took a lot of votes from the SNP, and so did the Tories.
We know what happened in the last election Duncan the pro Yoon vote consolidated and worked together to enable 12 new Tory MPs into Westminster and Corbyn to lose his chance to be PM. The Labour vote hardly moved at all. Too many tactically voted Tory.
That was probably why Corbyn sacked Dugdale.
And where did the 6 new Labour MPs come from then?
From the tactical voting Tories and Lib Dems. That’s how tactical voting works.
Mike you have a blinked view that I am certain I would be able to change but it has to be said that it is the SNP who have split the left wing vote between SNP and Labour to mean that neither party got more votes than the Tories would have got anyway in those 12 constituencies. Mike you have no idea of the reasons people vote for Labour if you think it is about unionism.
“…egalitarianism and equality…” You mean like all those Labour Lords in the Unelected House.?
Any fool can use quotes out of context to make an irrelevant point. It takes real intelligence to make a reasoned argument on the topic that is being discussed.
“…egalitarianism and equality…” You mean like all those Labour Lords in th Unelected House of Patronage ?
Welcome to the Labour Party Ian .As a member believe me there will be times especially at meetings when you will want to scream at your comrades there will also be times when you will get plenty of laughs. Always like me you will see your comrades working to improve peoples lives .And like me you will always be proud to be a member.
In our leadership election I am voting for Richard Leonard the GMB got me my ill health retirement pension . I will support whoever wins
Mike the SNP lost MPS and voters 2 MPS have gone public to say pro independence voters just did not turn out to vote. Can you tell me why not . The FM is not going to put another Indy ref on the table. That’s probably why Independence supporters did not turn out and that is according to 2 SNP MPS. The Labour party has moved to the Left of the SNP. Calling people pro Yoon or any other name because of how you think they voted does not help anyone.
If you think a Corbyn led Labour party is tory think again . In Scotland a lot of the programme for Scotland is Labour policy .
The one leader who was supposed to go at the election was Jeremy .
Nicola has been there to long she was not an SNP asset in my area at the election . Problem is there is no one to replace her .
You I don’t think are a party member . So if she did go who would you replace her with
Voter fatigue. The SNP didn’t run the 2017 election on Independence the Yoons did. That’s why they got together and tactically voted. Congratulations you managed to keep Corbyn out of number 10 as a result and now you’re looking for a new leader in Scotland yet again.
In what universe has Labour moved to the left of the SNP? In Wales? The only place where you have the ways and means to actually enact left wing policies and ideas and haven’t?
Labours idea of being to the left of the SNP is to adopt their policies in theory but not actually deliver them in practice.
Labour talk a good left wing game but where and when they can deliver an actual Left wing ideology they don’t.
You kind of get the idea that Labour cant be trusted as a result.
So please spare me the rhetorical pish about how Left wing Labour are because as long as you don’t deliver in Wales nobody can or will expect you to deliver anywhere else.
You don’t replace a leader who wins elections David you replace the ones who lose them.
Thank you David. Your words are appreciated.
New convert to the party and you have articulated much of my own thoughts Ian.
If you’d asked me two years ago if I’d have seen myself even voting labour,never mind joining the party,I’d have said no but like thousands upon thousands of others I’ve been attracted towards labour by the corbyn effect and chance of real change in British politics.
If you want to see a labour government in Westminster then every seat counts,including in Scotland,and in my humble opinion that’ll be dead in the water if someone like Sarwar wins over Leonard.
How can you sell a message of change on the doorstep in council estates with a Scottish leader who sends his kids to private school,profited for years from exploiting low paid workers in his families firm by denying them a living wage and union protection,then lied about it when questioned?
Not even I’d believe it myself so i couldn’t ask others too.
It would suck any momentum right out of a labour revival in Scotland.
It’s got to be real change and it has to be Leonard,not the same old type of leader making the same mistakes.
Again can I ask where in Wales can we actually witness the “Corbyn effect”? We’re not seeing any kind of “Corbyn effect” take hold in Labour controlled Wales. Why should anybody expect change from Labour anywhere when they aint delivering it in the one place they can?
Mike,I’m assuming you are a SNP voter/member?
I don’t understand the vitriol from so many SNP towards labour and from so many in labour towards the snp.
We all tend to share similar politics and backgrounds,many within labour voted yes to independence like yourself,we all share a common antipathy towards the tories.
What I’m driving at is if you want progressive politics,it’s better to make friends with those who want the same and turn our shared ire towards the real enemy of the working class,the tories.
I wish I could assume you’re not delusional but I’m really struggling.
Labour in Scotland conducted at least 2 election campaigns tactically voting with the Tories against the SNP at Local and Westminster levels.
Labour since 2007 have been going through the voting lobbies with the Tories on nearly every single issue and legislation the SNP has introduced
Labour and the Tories are running local council burghs together in coalitions when Labour could have just as easily gone into coalition with the SNP at local level.
Now explain to me where this so called similar politics and background has been manifesting itself because I for one cant see it for the Labour Tory alliances at every level in Scotland.
The SNP voted with the Tories between 2007 and 2011 more often than it voted with Labour.
You didn’t even attempt to answer the question on Labours conduct in Wales.
Cant say I blame you when its inexcusable and proof positive of Labours REAL INTENT.
“Darren”, Have you been asleep the past 10 years, have you never noticed labour always voting against any SNP policys, regardless of it benefiting Scotland but just because its from the SNP.
Maybe the backing the tories in Westminster against the SNP and Scotland at every opportunity such as against the 50 plus amendments to the Scotland Bill would give you a hint as to labours direction .
And just to give you a final idea of how labour views the tories that real enemy of the working class as you say.
We do not call them the RED TORIES without a good reason.
Thank you for your words, Darren. There are a lot of people in yours and my shoes. People who have never lived under a government we respect. This is our chance and my main motivation for writing the post.
What would a Government have to do to earn your respect?
Support Trident or oppose?
Abolish Tuition fees or Impose them?
Introduce a bedroom tax or mitigate its effects?
Universal benefits or means testing?
increase council taxes or freeze them?
Support FFA or oppose FFA?
I would absolutely love to know.
“People who have never lived under a government we respect. ” Me too. I first voted in a general election was in 1974. I voted labour. Since then, I have never been able to vote for a party worthy of any respect in a U.K. context, and long ago came to the conclusion that I will never get that chance. That’s why since 1992, I have voted S.N.P, and why I joined in 2011.
I think you will find Darren that the refusal to entertain a progressive alliance is entirely in the hands of the labour and LibDem parties. Nicola has been quite open about working with Labour. Remember Ed Milliband’s brush-off?
And look at the machinations of your party to collude with the Tories at local authority level and you will get the real picture.
Don’t you know that Edinburgh is an SNP/Labour coalition as it was last time?
Ian its always good to here other peoples views especially other members views . Never be afraid to speak up.
Mike thanks for your comment . When I said the Nationalist vote did not turn out . I am asking why not 2 Nationalist MPS were the ones who said it and they are people who did not vote for anyone.
Tactical voting is the scourge of all parties. I assume you did not complain about it in 15.
At next . weeks conference the SNP are going to move there party to the left of Labour BTW at the last local council elections I was phone polled by the SNP . I repeat this was the local election I was asked 3 questions no1 How did you vote at the 2014 independence referendum
No2 will you vote SNP at the election . No3 how will you vote at the next Independence referendum.
Not one question on local affairs and it was the local elections. And the person who phoned me the First Ministers sister .And the next day I went into the SNP hub and spoke to the First Ministers dad who was a candidate in my area .
We had a laugh and he knew they were making those independence calls.
Robin was not elected and Labour took control of North Ayrshire Council .And before you call the voters names the other SNP candidate in my ward was elected as was an excellent Labour councillor Robert Foster.
I took part in phone polling in my area at the local and General elections not once did I our great candidates or our canvass teams mention independence . We campaigned on local issues . The phrase do the day job came from the public not the labour party .
Believe me the public told me exactly what they thought of all our leaders and independence . The language was honest and colourful. and in many cases very funny.
Nicola seems to have got the day job message next week they are going to out left the labour party .As Tommy Shepherd said they are now concentrating on the labour threat in Scotland not the Tories.
No discussion on Independence or another referendum. Apparently the leadership have decided not to debate the state of the economy
or raising taxes in Scotland.
They will debate plenty of good policies then there is the matter of what to do about air tax .
No Green or Liberal support . But they were elected to do it. We will see
Again you avoid the issues and come back with a false claims that there was tactical voting in 2015 when clearly the result showed a massive shift in voting support.
The SNP have been to the left of Labour since the 1970s.
You were never polled by the SNP because the SNP were the ONLY party apart from the Greens who campaigned on local and national policy not Independence.
You’re adding blatant dishonesty to delusion.
How very Labour in Scotland of you.
If you’re to be atypical of Labour in Scotland then you should start preparing yourselves to be the 4th party in Scotland.
The media can no longer protect Labour and its lying thanks to the Internet.
Thanks for your comment Mike .If its me you are saying was never polled by the SNP . I am afraid I was . Local Election 2 out of 3 questions on Indy The other question would I vote SNP at the local election .It was Nicolas sister Gillian who phoned me and she said she was phoning from the SNP hub in Irvine.
BTW they don’t usually contact me they know I am in the Labour Party.
They normally walk past my door when leafleting.
When I do the phone polling and I see the members names they still get phoned and we have a pleasant conversation
“Mike you have a blinked view that I am certain I would be able to change but it has to be said that it is the SNP who have split the left wing vote between SNP and Labour to mean that neither party got more votes than the Tories would have got anyway in those 12 constituencies. Mike you have no idea of the reasons people vote for Labour if you think it is about unionism.”
That’s commonly referred to as “Projection”. Blind blinkered support for a party irrespective of what it does seems to be the hallmark of you basic Labour acolyte. Just for the record the SNP EARNED my support from Labour. They earned it by being principled supportive empathic and consistent.
I know and I know everybody in Labour in Scotland knows that Scotland as a Nation cannot be best served by Westminster Government even with the best intentions because of the nature of the UK and is overwhelming dominance by Englands needs and wants. It would actually be undemocratic if Westminster served Scotlands best interests. Not that it would ever try of course but the point stands.
For Labour in Scotland its all about Labour the party not Scotland the Nation. You all serve a political party and will do so irrespective of what direction it takes or ideology it adopts.
Labour is not left wing it hasn’t been left wing for decades. Its a stupid claim which can so easily be refuted without effort.
AGAIN I point to Labour in Wales as the point is being wilfully ignored. Labour is NOW in control of Wales and yet there isn’t a single policy or proposal that can be described as Left wing or socialist implemented. NOT ONE!
So I ask again if we have evidence of Labours intent when in power why should we believe the rhetoric instead?
Mike,kind of lost the thread there as was numerous replies inbetween so I’ll reply to you here.
Feel like you are exactly the kind of person on the SNP side who my comment was aimed at,though there is many like you within the labour support.
By that i mean tribal,set in your narrow parochial ways,unwilling or unable to see a bigger picture and dead certain in the face of any reason that you are right.
I’ll start off by agreeing with you,many in the Labour Party are exactly what you’ve said.
Red tories,unionists over anything else,arrogant,entitled and completely out of touch about why the party sits 3rd placed in a country where they held sway for generations.
That’s a fact or that party wouldn’t be in this mess,a state that will continue if we stupidly elect a slippery,unprincipled,neo con like Sarwar as leader.
But in Scotland as well as nationally,I can tell you mike that there is a sea change within labour,a wave of new members who are inspired by corbyn,fired up by this Tory government and their attacks on the working class and who are taking the Labour Party back.
It isn’t an overnight process and there is still many blairite types who are practically tories themselves entrenched,but they are and will be squeezed out by the ideas and commitment of those who want a genuine socialist Britain.
You are probably much like me Mike,same as most grassroots labour/snp members,working class council house raised kids with instinctive values that lead you to want progressive politics and social justice.
I share your ire with many labour figures,from office bearers,councillors,MSPs etc who i see through mediums like twitter conversing with Tories,retweeting vile unionists accounts and alienating the core vote we need back to win and put a labour government back in power.
I detest nationalism,its triumphalism and it’s narrow mindedness,be it Scots or British nationalists displaying it.
I hate that the same people,when we are setting up ourselves nationally as an alternative to the tories,are campaigning for a unionist who lives a life of privilege and profited from exploiting low paid workers for years in his families firm and they are so clueless they don’t see anything wrong with that within Labour.
But that’s the cross of the Labour Party members who see how wrong that is to bear,we don’t need yourself to point it out.
I honestly hope that one day Mike we can all converse in a reasonable manner,if that sets the groundwork for a future progressive fight against the real enemy of the working class,then brilliant.
While people with so much in common like yourself and me tears strips off each other,they will keep on winning.
What sea change? Where is the evidence of any sea change? Clearly not in Wales and certainly not in Scotland. I get the bit where Labour have to be elected in England by beating the Tories but Labour isn’t going to beat anybody if they keep insisting in trying to pretend they are 3 different parties with 3 different ideologies.
Corbyn lost any hope of credibility with his support for Trident and his flip flopping on Tuition fees.
All Labour have done is talked rhetorical socialism while failing to deliver it in practice where they can in Wales which is a point you’ve avoided addressing YET AGAIN.
You detest the idea of Scottish self determination? Why? What is triumphal and narrow minded about it? Who better to run a country than the people who live and work within it? Inclusive of who they are and where they come from.
You’re using the idea of Blood and soil Nationalism dishonestly in order to fail to hide you’re own narrow minded party political loyalty above all else.
You even had the gall to try and project that crap onto me.
I support and believe in the principle that Scotland as a Nation cannot best be served by Government from Westminster. I see Westminster as nothing but a bastion of privileged and patronised criminality and institution set up by the privileged for the privileged and that doesn’t change with Labour Governments.
Labour didn’t change Westminster Westminster changed Labour. Labour became corrupted by the Institution in now serves.
Labour as a party want power in Westminster above all else and because of that Labour as a party couldn’t give a flying fuck about Scotland Wales or NI because the power and influence is ALL in England. They have to win over England above all else.
That’s the nature of UK politics and it cant in any way shape or form serve the best interests of Scotland.
It just cant and you know it all to well.
Tell me something is Corbyn planning to abolish the House of Lords? If so then why is Labour still populating the House of Lords with privileged and patronised party sycophants and making them “LIFE” Peers?
Not very Socialist or sea changing now is it?
Mike,I’m starting to think you’ve either trouble comprehending what I’m saying or you are deliberately being obtuse and taking what suits you from what I’ve said.
I’m right in that there is a sea of change in labour right now,the makeup and political leanings of the new influx of membership will see to that.
Politics is a process though,as I already acknowledged there is plenty who are the polar opposite of socialists entrenched within labour,a hangover from the Blair days.
That’s not going to change overnight,so your childish pointing at wales or wherever else is irrelevant to what I’ve said because the changes within the party makeup will take time to develop into members in key positions to sway the whole party machine towards proper socialism.
Your nonsensical rant about Westminster means nothing to me either,I hold nothing but disdain for that institution and its ways.
I voted yes in the independence referenendum of 2014,like thousands of labour members and voters did,and if another was held tomorrow I’d probably vote yes again given state of the uk govt (siding with DUP bigots,brexit etc’).
Like I already acknowledged,there is plenty within labour who are unionists for the sake of a union and a flag over social justice,don’t see why you can’t admit that there is plenty within Scottish nationalism who wrap themselves in saltires and who would live bankrupt and in a cave if it meant Scottish independence.
Like I said,I’d rather argue with SNP and everyone else against tories,pouring vitriol on essentially like minded individuals is a waste of time and not my idea of progressive politics so I wish you well..
Ive asked you several times time to show me where this so called sea change has manifested itself and you’ve avoided making any effort at all to provide me with any examples because as we both know there aren’t any.
You want the people of Scotland to take Labour on rhetoric in spite of having a record of not delivering on the rhetoric. A record in Government today on not delivering on the rhetoric in Wales which you’ve also avoided addressing.
And then you cap it off by simply dismissing the absolute criminal corruption and unfit for purpose Westminster Institutionalised patronised privileged so called Parliament because you cant refute anything I say about that either.
Labour is a UK institutionalised political party a party happy to ingratiate itself into the privileged corruption of UK politics not least of all by populating the House of Lords against the very ideology you profess are Labour ideals.
A party that was founded to fight the Institutionalised right wing Tory capitalist Neo Liberal elite now you cant separate Labour from the Institution it was founded to oppose.
That’s simply an indisputable fact.
Tory Labour or Lib Dems will give us nothing but more of the same.
You know it I know it everybody reading this blog knows it.
You fool nobody but yourself.
Again Mike,are you having trouble comprehending?
I addressed everything you said,in a pretty clear and concise way.
If you are blind and can’t see the change in the membership of labour over the last year or so,then fair enough.
Having to repeat myself here as you had trouble understanding the first time but like I already said,politics is a process,doesn’t happen overnight.
Again,as I already agreed with you,I’ve no time or affection for Westminster,it’s old ways the reinforce the class system I despise or the undemocratic House of Lords.
So I feel that wee rant was just you and your normal state,like I said before,you are that blinkered and narrow minded that you have to argue even with some who is agreeing with you.
It’s pretty sad that you say this about labour but here you constantly are,trolling a labour blog and getting yourself all worked up by conflating opinions over something things that weren’t even said.
If this is how much you rant at someone who is essentially agreeing with much of what you’ve said,how intolerant must you be of differing opinions??
Well its SNP conference time. .
What happens FM is going to say tonight she watched Scotland on the telly last night so glad she can afford SKY I cant maybe it was in a hotel
Ian Blackford no second ref concentrate on day job. John Swinney talking about other policies asked about that said the prospect of a second Indy Ref cost the SNP at the general election.
Kenny MacKaskill Alec Neil all go on camera to say forget Indy Mike Russell to soon to decide on Indy we need to debate it .Although not going to actually debate it he guaranteed that every speaker including him will mention it. So that clears that up .
Then Christine Grahame hoping the conference not as boring as the agenda haha
I see that you and reality still haven’t been introduced wouldn’t it be better if you made the first approach yourself?
I just read about the developing scandal regarding New Labour members appearing to have applied for membership from the same Email address.
Is that what you mean about the change in Labour membership?
You’re saying change doesn’t happen overnight yet Corbyn has been in power for years and there hasn’t been a shift in ideology in Wales at all. Not a single progressive idea policy or proposal put forward in all that time.
You cannot deal with that level of reality by trying to ignore it or dismiss it. It only makes you look dishonest blinkered and fanatical.
You’re not agreeing with me at all. You’re ignoring a reality I keep pointing out to you.
I actually wished Jeremy Corbyn was everything you claim he is but Ive yet to see any evidence of it. WTF is his view on Trident? Tuition fees? Why is he only planning on reversing less than 15% of Tory cuts to welfare and benefits?
He isn’t even promising the level of sea change you’re rambling about. The Labour manifesto doesn’t match the rhetoric.
So spare me the horseshit.
Been in charge for years?
He’s been in charge since 2015,in that time he’s had a general election to fight,a Euro referendum to campaign on and had to stave off a pathetic attempt at a coup by disloyal party members and their sad little blairite leadership challenge.
He’s got a free run at things now and he’s doing a great job at taking this government to task and it’s showing in his polling figures.
I’ve came to conclusion you are being deliberately obtuse now.
If you can’t see the change in the labour membership and can’t understand how the process works of changing a parties makeup and focus,the long term plan of moving people who are real socialists into key positions where they can affect policy then is no helping you.
Maybe in la la land these things happen overnight but most of us understand Rome wasn’t built in a day and have faith not only in corbyn,but in the movement as a whole to (eventually) be in a position to effect change,take over government and enhance the life of the working class of this country..
The SNP leadership have had to campaign ceaselessly since 2011 and yet it has never stopped them from implementing progressive socialism in Scotland.
I cant see any change maybe because you haven’t shown me any yet? Can you? Can you show me whats actually changed?
You talk about effecting change from what to what? Scotland has Social Democracy now what will Corbyn change it to?
Even if I gave you the benefit of the doubt and say we actually end up with a Corbyn Government. How many terms in office do you think he can physically endure at his age? I believe he will be lucky if its 1 full term. And then what? Can you guarantee we wont see another Tory Government?
Cant you accept that no matter how Scotland votes in any GE we will ONLY get the Governments voted in by England which means we will get Tories again.
All you’re offering is MAYBE MAYBE a respite in Neo Conservatism for a few years but inevitably there will be a return to it no matter how we in Scotland vote.
That alone is more than enough to justify our Independence from the Westminster regime.
And Corbyn isn’t offering it.
All that talk of sea change guys is making me seasick haha
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