Upon her election as the new Leader of Scottish Labour, JOHANN LAMONT MSP, delivered this speech outlining her vision for the party and Scotland.

 

I want to change Scotland. But the only way we can change Scotland is by changing the Scottish Labour Party.

It is a huge privilege for me to be elected the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party, but if there is anything which dwarfs the scale of that privilege it is the scale of the challenge which faces us if we are to get the chance to serve Scotland again.

What bolsters me is that you, the party have given the mandate to change.

While I am leader nothing will be off limits – there will not be one policy, one rule, one way of working which cannot be changed. Our one test will be what is in the interests of the people of Scotland – not what is in the interests of ourselves.

The process of change has started with my election. I am the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I will lead all sections of the Scottish Party remembering always that it is the people of Scotland we serve and not the institution in which they ask us to do service. Whether in your trade union, the Co-op party, your community every part of this movement has a part to play.

I would like to thank Ken and Tom for the way they conducted themselves in this contest. At the start of this campaign there was a suggestion that one of us would emerge as the ‘change’ candidate. The good news for Labour supporters everywhere is that we were all change candidates and Ken and Tom will play a major part in the change which has to come.

I am proud of this party. I am proud of what we can achieve together when we get it right. From the NHS to the Scottish Parliament to the Minimum Wage from re-building almost every school to giving working mums and dads child care, I am proud of the way we have changed people’s lives.

But it is not enough for me to feel pride, or those of us with party cards to be proud of this party. We need the people of Scotland to feel pride in this party and support us not because of our achievements in the past but for our vision of the future.

And we won’t get the chance to change Scotland unless we change ourselves.
That means we have to change the way we do things.I will reach out to people across Scotland who may never have thought themselves to be Labour – maybe not even thought themselves to be political – but who share our values and ask them to join our task.

And we need to reach back into those communities who used to support us and win back the trust and reassure them their faith in us will be repaid.

People who want to build a prosperous Scotland that can pay its own way.
A wealth creating Scotland that uses that wealth to build a fairer Scotland.
A Scotland determined that not one Scots’ talent is wasted.
A Scotland that challenges all Scots in every part of society to be all that they can be and which creates the conditions in which we can all reach our aspirations.

An ambitious, successful and more equal Scotland.

Last May, Scotland didn’t let us down, we let Scotland down.

Scotland couldn’t hear us. We didn’t have a story which people could hear.

Let me tell you our story.

A story of a Scotland of opportunity.

One where hard work is rewarded. One where education is the bridge from poverty to prosperity. One where no one need fear sickness or frailty or isolation or idleness.

A decent, civilized Scotland where our enemies are fear and doubt and our allies ambition and hope.

Scotland couldn’t hear us but what the people saw looked to them like a tired old political machine which was more about itself than it was about them.

And to be fair they’d been trying to tell us that for some time.

If any one of us ever deluded ourselves into the thought that Scotland was a Labour country last May must finally have shaken us out of that delusion.

The task now is to make Labour Scotland’s party again. Let me be clear.

The people trusted us with their support when we offered them the chance to improve their lives and we delivered on it.

When we gave the people the chance to own the land their homes are built on, brought justice to the workplace, healthcare to their homes. When we built schools which weren’t just buildings but bridges to a better life.

We need to show our ambition again.

I want to build a party which is open to all. One which doesn’t wait for people to join, but opens up and stands with the people.

I want to start the process now so that in twelve months time we are putting in place the candidates who will win back Scotland’s trust.

Some of them won’t be in the party right now. Some might be but don’t think they have a chance of being a candidate. Some we know well. We will reach out of the party and reach in to find the people who share our values, our ambition and our commitment to Scotland.

I will open up the Shadow cabinet and include in it people whose right to be there is their expertise and their ambition for Scotland.

I will call on the best talent we have, wherever it comes from, to help us re-shape our policies so that we can re-shape Scotland.

There has been a lot of talk about sectarianism this week. But I was struck by one commentator who said that the real sectarianism which scars Scotland was not religious but was the sectarianism between the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP. The visceral hatred he said we had for eachother.

Let me be clear. I do not hate the SNP. I just love Scotland too much to believe in separation. And to disagree with the SNP is not to talk Scotland down it is to seek a better future for Scotland.

The SNP have won the right to hold a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. They should get on with it. Waiting is holding Scotland back.

They should get on with it – with one question – and let the people’s voice be heard.

Separation and devolution are two completely different concepts which cannot be mixed together. One is not a stop on the way to the other.

I want to have the referendum now to confirm once again, that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people and nothing else.

Once that is done we can focus on how we refresh and renew the current settlement so that it can better reform and renew Scotland.

Donald Dewar was right when he said devolution is a process not an event. But devolution is not a process which ends with the event of separation.

So if we need new powers to renew Scotland then we will campaign for them and deliver them. But not because more powers in themselves are a good thing. Not because we have a rigid dogma and blind faith like the nationalists.

Our starting pointing is always that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland and our end point is always what is in the interests of the people of Scotland.

And let me say that devolution should not stop at Holyrood. You don’t de-centralize power from one place just to centralize it somewhere else.

So I want to look at how we reform and renew local government so that power is closer and more responsive to communities.

Our task is a great one not just because of how far we have fallen. Our task is a great one because of the challenges facing the people we seek to serve.

The economic policies from the Tory-led government at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood are making a desperate economic situation worse.

We will stand up to both administrations to defend Scotland but we won’t just be defensive. We will be imaginative and we will be candid.

We are no longer living in an age of plenty and won’t be for some time to come. We need to challenge ourselves to find new ways of delivering social justice in an age when resources are scarce. We need to remember equality isn’t just for when the sun shines – its even more important when the roof leaks.
The challenges which we as a party, as a country, as families and individuals face are huge. But we must address them with hope not fear, ambition not dread.

And as a party we should not be suspicious of change because we are the party of change. We cannot say we want to change the world but we won’t change ourselves.

The task has always been hard but the rewards are great. The chance to serve the people of Scotland. There is no greater privilege.

And to get there we must push ahead with change.

People have labeled me many things in this campaign. Some flattering. Some less so.

But if you want a label which accurately reflects my beliefs there is only one. I am Labour – Scottish Labour. And that is what we all must be.

We have to remember the unity of purpose which brought us to Labour in the first place. The belief, the knowledge that, it is by common endeavour we will build the just society we seek.

No divisions of geography or institution. No cliques or factions because we simply cannot afford them.

Scotland is our country and our cause. We must unite. We must embrace change. We must stand with the people of Scotland. We must represent all their hopes and aspirations and be the means of fulfilling them.

Together we will change the Scottish Labour Party, win the chance to serve the people again and make Scotland the country we all know it can be.

Let’s get started now.

I want to change Scotland. But the only way we can change Scotland is by changing the Scottish Labour Party.

It is a huge privilege for me to be elected the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party, but if there is anything which dwarfs the scale of that privilege it is the scale of the challenge which faces us if we are to get the chance to serve Scotland again.

What bolsters me is that you, the party have given the mandate to change.

While I am leader nothing will be off limits – there will not be one policy, one rule, one way of working which cannot be changed. Our one test will be what is in the interests of the people of Scotland – not what is in the interests of ourselves.

The process of change has started with my election. I am the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I will lead all sections of the Scottish Party remembering always that it is the people of Scotland we serve and not the institution in which they ask us to do service. Whether in your trade union, the Co-op party, your community every part of this movement has a part to play.

I would like to thank Ken and Tom for the way they conducted themselves in this contest. At the start of this campaign there was a suggestion that one of us would emerge as the ‘change’ candidate. The good news for Labour supporters everywhere is that we were all change candidates and Ken and Tom will play a major part in the change which has to come.

I am proud of this party. I am proud of what we can achieve together when we get it right. From the NHS to the Scottish Parliament to the Minimum Wage from re-building almost every school to giving working mums and dads child care, I am proud of the way we have changed people’s lives.

But it is not enough for me to feel pride, or those of us with party cards to be proud of this party. We need the people of Scotland to feel pride in this party and support us not because of our achievements in the past but for our vision of the future.

And we won’t get the chance to change Scotland unless we change ourselves.
That means we have to change the way we do things.I will reach out to people across Scotland who may never have thought themselves to be Labour – maybe not even thought themselves to be political – but who share our values and ask them to join our task.

And we need to reach back into those communities who used to support us and win back the trust and reassure them their faith in us will be repaid.

People who want to build a prosperous Scotland that can pay its own way.
A wealth creating Scotland that uses that wealth to build a fairer Scotland.
A Scotland determined that not one Scots’ talent is wasted.
A Scotland that challenges all Scots in every part of society to be all that they can be and which creates the conditions in which we can all reach our aspirations.

An ambitious, successful and more equal Scotland.

Last May, Scotland didn’t let us down, we let Scotland down.

Scotland couldn’t hear us. We didn’t have a story which people could hear.

Let me tell you our story.

A story of a Scotland of opportunity.

One where hard work is rewarded. One where education is the bridge from poverty to prosperity. One where no one need fear sickness or frailty or isolation or idleness.

A decent, civilized Scotland where our enemies are fear and doubt and our allies ambition and hope.

Scotland couldn’t hear us but what the people saw looked to them like a tired old political machine which was more about itself than it was about them.

And to be fair they’d been trying to tell us that for some time.

If any one of us ever deluded ourselves into the thought that Scotland was a Labour country last May must finally have shaken us out of that delusion.

The task now is to make Labour Scotland’s party again. Let me be clear.

The people trusted us with their support when we offered them the chance to improve their lives and we delivered on it.

When we gave the people the chance to own the land their homes are built on, brought justice to the workplace, healthcare to their homes. When we built schools which weren’t just buildings but bridges to a better life.

We need to show our ambition again.

I want to build a party which is open to all. One which doesn’t wait for people to join, but opens up and stands with the people.

I want to start the process now so that in twelve months time we are putting in place the candidates who will win back Scotland’s trust.

Some of them won’t be in the party right now. Some might be but don’t think they have a chance of being a candidate. Some we know well. We will reach out of the party and reach in to find the people who share our values, our ambition and our commitment to Scotland.

I will open up the Shadow cabinet and include in it people whose right to be there is their expertise and their ambition for Scotland.

I will call on the best talent we have, wherever it comes from, to help us re-shape our policies so that we can re-shape Scotland.

There has been a lot of talk about sectarianism this week. But I was struck by one commentator who said that the real sectarianism which scars Scotland was not religious but was the sectarianism between the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP. The visceral hatred he said we had for eachother.

Let me be clear. I do not hate the SNP. I just love Scotland too much to believe in separation. And to disagree with the SNP is not to talk Scotland down it is to seek a better future for Scotland.

The SNP have won the right to hold a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. They should get on with it. Waiting is holding Scotland back.

They should get on with it – with one question – and let the people’s voice be heard.

Separation and devolution are two completely different concepts which cannot be mixed together. One is not a stop on the way to the other.

I want to have the referendum now to confirm once again, that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people and nothing else.

Once that is done we can focus on how we refresh and renew the current settlement so that it can better reform and renew Scotland.

Donald Dewar was right when he said devolution is a process not an event. But devolution is not a process which ends with the event of separation.

So if we need new powers to renew Scotland then we will campaign for them and deliver them. But not because more powers in themselves are a good thing. Not because we have a rigid dogma and blind faith like the nationalists.

Our starting pointing is always that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland and our end point is always what is in the interests of the people of Scotland.

And let me say that devolution should not stop at Holyrood. You don’t de-centralize power from one place just to centralize it somewhere else.

So I want to look at how we reform and renew local government so that power is closer and more responsive to communities.

Our task is a great one not just because of how far we have fallen. Our task is a great one because of the challenges facing the people we seek to serve.

The economic policies from the Tory-led government at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood are making a desperate economic situation worse.

We will stand up to both administrations to defend Scotland but we won’t just be defensive. We will be imaginative and we will be candid.

We are no longer living in an age of plenty and won’t be for some time to come. We need to challenge ourselves to find new ways of delivering social justice in an age when resources are scarce. We need to remember equality isn’t just for when the sun shines – its even more important when the roof leaks.
The challenges which we as a party, as a country, as families and individuals face are huge. But we must address them with hope not fear, ambition not dread.

And as a party we should not be suspicious of change because we are the party of change. We cannot say we want to change the world but we won’t change ourselves.

The task has always been hard but the rewards are great. The chance to serve the people of Scotland. There is no greater privilege.

And to get there we must push ahead with change.

People have labeled me many things in this campaign. Some flattering. Some less so.

But if you want a label which accurately reflects my beliefs there is only one. I am Labour – Scottish Labour. And that is what we all must be.

We have to remember the unity of purpose which brought us to Labour in the first place. The belief, the knowledge that, it is by common endeavour we will build the just society we seek.

No divisions of geography or institution. No cliques or factions because we simply cannot afford them.

Scotland is our country and our cause. We must unite. We must embrace change. We must stand with the people of Scotland. We must represent all their hopes and aspirations and be the means of fulfilling them.

Together we will change the Scottish Labour Party, win the chance to serve the people again and make Scotland the country we all know it can be.

Let’s get started now.

I want to change Scotland. But the only way we can change Scotland is by changing the Scottish Labour Party.

It is a huge privilege for me to be elected the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party, but if there is anything which dwarfs the scale of that privilege it is the scale of the challenge which faces us if we are to get the chance to serve Scotland again.

What bolsters me is that you, the party have given the mandate to change.

While I am leader nothing will be off limits – there will not be one policy, one rule, one way of working which cannot be changed. Our one test will be what is in the interests of the people of Scotland – not what is in the interests of ourselves.

The process of change has started with my election. I am the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I will lead all sections of the Scottish Party remembering always that it is the people of Scotland we serve and not the institution in which they ask us to do service. Whether in your trade union, the Co-op party, your community every part of this movement has a part to play.

I would like to thank Ken and Tom for the way they conducted themselves in this contest. At the start of this campaign there was a suggestion that one of us would emerge as the ‘change’ candidate. The good news for Labour supporters everywhere is that we were all change candidates and Ken and Tom will play a major part in the change which has to come.

I am proud of this party. I am proud of what we can achieve together when we get it right. From the NHS to the Scottish Parliament to the Minimum Wage from re-building almost every school to giving working mums and dads child care, I am proud of the way we have changed people’s lives.

But it is not enough for me to feel pride, or those of us with party cards to be proud of this party. We need the people of Scotland to feel pride in this party and support us not because of our achievements in the past but for our vision of the future.

And we won’t get the chance to change Scotland unless we change ourselves.
That means we have to change the way we do things.I will reach out to people across Scotland who may never have thought themselves to be Labour – maybe not even thought themselves to be political – but who share our values and ask them to join our task.

And we need to reach back into those communities who used to support us and win back the trust and reassure them their faith in us will be repaid.

People who want to build a prosperous Scotland that can pay its own way.
A wealth creating Scotland that uses that wealth to build a fairer Scotland.
A Scotland determined that not one Scots’ talent is wasted.
A Scotland that challenges all Scots in every part of society to be all that they can be and which creates the conditions in which we can all reach our aspirations.

An ambitious, successful and more equal Scotland.

Last May, Scotland didn’t let us down, we let Scotland down.

Scotland couldn’t hear us. We didn’t have a story which people could hear.

Let me tell you our story.

A story of a Scotland of opportunity.

One where hard work is rewarded. One where education is the bridge from poverty to prosperity. One where no one need fear sickness or frailty or isolation or idleness.

A decent, civilized Scotland where our enemies are fear and doubt and our allies ambition and hope.

Scotland couldn’t hear us but what the people saw looked to them like a tired old political machine which was more about itself than it was about them.

And to be fair they’d been trying to tell us that for some time.

If any one of us ever deluded ourselves into the thought that Scotland was a Labour country last May must finally have shaken us out of that delusion.

The task now is to make Labour Scotland’s party again. Let me be clear.

The people trusted us with their support when we offered them the chance to improve their lives and we delivered on it.

When we gave the people the chance to own the land their homes are built on, brought justice to the workplace, healthcare to their homes. When we built schools which weren’t just buildings but bridges to a better life.

We need to show our ambition again.

I want to build a party which is open to all. One which doesn’t wait for people to join, but opens up and stands with the people.

I want to start the process now so that in twelve months time we are putting in place the candidates who will win back Scotland’s trust.

Some of them won’t be in the party right now. Some might be but don’t think they have a chance of being a candidate. Some we know well. We will reach out of the party and reach in to find the people who share our values, our ambition and our commitment to Scotland.

I will open up the Shadow cabinet and include in it people whose right to be there is their expertise and their ambition for Scotland.

I will call on the best talent we have, wherever it comes from, to help us re-shape our policies so that we can re-shape Scotland.

There has been a lot of talk about sectarianism this week. But I was struck by one commentator who said that the real sectarianism which scars Scotland was not religious but was the sectarianism between the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP. The visceral hatred he said we had for eachother.

Let me be clear. I do not hate the SNP. I just love Scotland too much to believe in separation. And to disagree with the SNP is not to talk Scotland down it is to seek a better future for Scotland.

The SNP have won the right to hold a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. They should get on with it. Waiting is holding Scotland back.

They should get on with it – with one question – and let the people’s voice be heard.

Separation and devolution are two completely different concepts which cannot be mixed together. One is not a stop on the way to the other.

I want to have the referendum now to confirm once again, that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people and nothing else.

Once that is done we can focus on how we refresh and renew the current settlement so that it can better reform and renew Scotland.

Donald Dewar was right when he said devolution is a process not an event. But devolution is not a process which ends with the event of separation.

So if we need new powers to renew Scotland then we will campaign for them and deliver them. But not because more powers in themselves are a good thing. Not because we have a rigid dogma and blind faith like the nationalists.

Our starting pointing is always that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland and our end point is always what is in the interests of the people of Scotland.

And let me say that devolution should not stop at Holyrood. You don’t de-centralize power from one place just to centralize it somewhere else.

So I want to look at how we reform and renew local government so that power is closer and more responsive to communities.

Our task is a great one not just because of how far we have fallen. Our task is a great one because of the challenges facing the people we seek to serve.

The economic policies from the Tory-led government at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood are making a desperate economic situation worse.

We will stand up to both administrations to defend Scotland but we won’t just be defensive. We will be imaginative and we will be candid.

We are no longer living in an age of plenty and won’t be for some time to come. We need to challenge ourselves to find new ways of delivering social justice in an age when resources are scarce. We need to remember equality isn’t just for when the sun shines – its even more important when the roof leaks.
The challenges which we as a party, as a country, as families and individuals face are huge. But we must address them with hope not fear, ambition not dread.

And as a party we should not be suspicious of change because we are the party of change. We cannot say we want to change the world but we won’t change ourselves.

The task has always been hard but the rewards are great. The chance to serve the people of Scotland. There is no greater privilege.

And to get there we must push ahead with change.

People have labeled me many things in this campaign. Some flattering. Some less so.

But if you want a label which accurately reflects my beliefs there is only one. I am Labour – Scottish Labour. And that is what we all must be.

We have to remember the unity of purpose which brought us to Labour in the first place. The belief, the knowledge that, it is by common endeavour we will build the just society we seek.

No divisions of geography or institution. No cliques or factions because we simply cannot afford them.

Scotland is our country and our cause. We must unite. We must embrace change. We must stand with the people of Scotland. We must represent all their hopes and aspirations and be the means of fulfilling them.

Together we will change the Scottish Labour Party, win the chance to serve the people again and make Scotland the country we all know it can be.

Let’s get started now.

Johann Lamont MSP is the new Leader of Scottish Labour. Follow her on Twitter @JohannLamont. More information on the leadership election can be found at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk and a video of the speech can also be found here.


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20 thoughts on “Johann Lamont’s Acceptance Speech

  1. Congratulations Ms Lamont.
    It is a fresh start, and it is right we have a team that will keep Scotlands flag flying as part of the Union Jack and help us to strengthen our bond within the UK.
    Being a part of Great Britain, I would like to see Scottish Labour raise its British profile to re-affirm our intentions.
    Wishing you and your team every success in finally laying to rest the nonsense of the Seperatists.

  2. “Scotland is our country and our cause. We must unite. We must embrace change. We must stand with the people of Scotland. We must represent all their hopes and aspirations and be the means of fulfilling them”

    The people of Scotland voted overwelmingly for more powers for Holyrood, that would be a good place to start and not a moment to soon.

    1. I fully agree. I have repeatly stated that don’t assume all Labour voters support the union in it’s current format. We would not be having Tory cuts forced upon us if we had increased control of our revenue.

  3. Well again congratulations to Ms Lamont but I would had liked her to come out fighting for substantial more powers to Holyrood. Most voters in the Labour party support this although I prefer Devo Max and ultimately independence.

    In her speech she should had put more effort into attacking Cameron than Salmond, the Scot’s don’t fear the referendum or Salmond, it’s Cameron who really pulls the purse strings for all of us!!

    “People have labeled me many things in this campaign. Some flattering. Some less so”

    Unfortunately in politics charisma plays a big part in peoples voting habits and how the leader engages with people can make of break them!! Blair Cameron Salmond all have this in abundance and were/are winners. Gordan Brown/Iain Gray and countless Tory leaders did not and look what happened to them!!

  4. First let me congratulate you on winning the race to be leader of Labour in Scotland and I sincerely wishyou all the best.

    You say….

    “While I am leader nothing will be off limits – there will not be one policy, one rule, one way of working which cannot be changed. Our one test will be what is in the interests of the people of Scotland – not what is in the interests of ourselves.”

    I say
    Fine words and no argument with that…

    You say……
    “People who want to build a prosperous Scotland that can pay its own way.
    A wealth creating Scotland that uses that wealth to build a fairer Scotland.
    A Scotland determined that not one Scots’ talent is wasted.
    A Scotland that challenges all Scots in every part of society to be all that they can be and which creates the conditions in which we can all reach our aspirations.

    An ambitious, successful and more equal Scotland.”

    I say….
    More fine words and I agree entirely.

    You go on to say…
    “I want to have the referendum now to confirm once again, that devolution is the settled will of the Scottish people and nothing else.

    Once that is done we can focus on how we refresh and renew the current settlement so that it can better reform and renew Scotland.”

    I say…
    How exactly will that be done AFTER the referendum? If, as you expect, the vote will be NO to Independence how will the Labour Party “refresh and renew the current settlement so that it can better reform and renew Scotland.”?

    You also say this….

    “Our starting pointing is always that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland and our end point is always what is in the interests of the people of Scotland.”

    I say……
    What if the people of Scotland actually vote YES to Independence, will the Labour party then, accepting that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland,
    embrace the wishes of the people and get behind them to deliver this Independence which would have been shown to be what they (Scottish people) want.

    Thank you.

  5. And there in a nutshell is your problem .There is more to Scotland than Glasgow, there is more to Scotland than defeating the SNP !

  6. Congratulations to Johann on her election and an inspiring speech (but does it have to be printed in triplicate?).
    however, one note of caution: From now on her message must be simpler, more focused and in plainer speech. She must emphasise her credentials as a proud Scot and proud parent who is totally committed to building a safer, fairer and more prosperous Scotland that will provide hope, jobs and opportunities for future generations. And she must point out fearlessly that our nation’s future is being threatened by the SNP’s ideological fixation with separation (which would be a total disaster for Scotland) and the craven implementation of Tory cuts by their Tartan fellow travellers.
    Some media commentators have dubbed Johann as “Old Labour” as if it was some sort of insult. No finer compliment could be paid!

    1. Correction:

      And she must point out fearlessly that our nation’s future is being threatened by the our ideological fixation with the union (which will be a total disaster for Scotland) and the craven implementation of Tory cuts by Tartan fellow travellers.

    2. Mr John MacLean
      Really?
      More fine words with no pragmatic detail.
      Scotland does not exist, so stop pretending that you care for Scotland.
      Labour is a British party that wants to be in a union with Britain.

    3. I would welcome a return to old Labour – Are you aware of the core values stated for Scotland by the founding fathers. I suggest you need to do some research on the values held well into the 1950’s.

  7. “They should get on with it – with one question – and let the people’s voice be heard.” Why? Who has made the decision to campaign for the status quo and not fiscal autonomy? It is a road to disaster for Scottish Labour. If Scottish Labour were to push Salmond for a second question and go on to campaign for FFA it would win the referendum by a mile.
    I really would advise Johann Lamont to think this through before she leads Scottish Labour over the cliff.

  8. No takers? Well I’ll try again.
    I’m not trying to convince Scottish Labour to back FFA to give the SNP a fall back position, ok it’s an inevitable consequence but that is not my purpose and it is naive for Labour to ignore FFA because of that consequence. The point is its the right thing to do for Scotland and for the Scottish Labour Party. Scotland wants FFA. Holyrood without it is a faux parliament. Its a start but it fools nobody, expecially Labour MPs (some can’t even hide their contempt).
    And yet it seems the decision has already been made (somewhere) that Salmond’s offer (to have a FFA question on the ballot paper) is to be declined. As a consequence the lines are drawn, on one side the SNP and on the other Labour the Tories, the campaign will be a dour and negative “The defence of the Union”. There’s will be independence.
    I know that there are many Labour activists and MSPs that are filled with dread at this scenario, and I implore them to at the very least say so.
    Norway over the last 40 years has held three referendum on joining the EU. All three have been very close (a % point either way every time), (and all to stay out, but that is not the point) If the Scottish referendum is a one question yes or no to independence ballot I think the result will also be close. If so, what then? If the result is for independence then the negotiations between London and Edinburgh civil servants begin. It will take some time to move all the machinery but there will be no going back. There will be no campaign to reverse the decision. And for what its worth I think that will be the end of Scottish Labour as a political party.
    But what if the No vote wins by a point or two. Does anybody really think that that is the end of The Nationalists. It will be a massive body blow to them but they will still be in power at Holyrood and after a time they will be back crying ‘one more push’.
    For Labour to be part of the Scotland’s constitutional dialect over the next two years they have to campaign for another way.

    1. It’s amusing how many knots you manage to tie yourself in with this argument. Your concern is for Scottish Labour, of course. And only Scottish Labour could campaign for FFA, because as we know every option on a referendum has to be backed by a political party (really?). And it’s nothing to do with it being a fallback for the SNP, definitely not. And if it isn’t on the referendum then independence is a dead cert, oh yes. That’s why everyone in the SNP from Salmond down is desperately pushing for the FFA option to be put on the table, and simultaneously rowing back on monetary and head-of-state independence to try to make indy look less threatening. Oh yes, it’s all about rescuing the Labour party alright. That’s the SNP’s top priority here.

  9. Duncan, I’m not sure what your trying to say.
    Let us try and find a starting point.
    Do you believe in FFA?

    1. Really? I thought I was being quite clear. Devolution is what we have (thanks to Labour, not the UN, by the way). Changes to devolution do not require a referendum because the people have already voted for devolution. Independence would require a referendum and I support one being held on that subject. I would like to see greater fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament, which is what the Scotland Bill would give – evidence of how further devolution doesn’t require a referendum right there – but apparently the SNP are likely to turn down those additional powers. And somehow you think this means that Labour ought to be arguing to have a FFA option added to the independence referendum? Bizarro.

  10. Duncan, I don’t think its bizzare to expect Scottish Labour to define, articulate and push for FFA. It’s not the responsibility of the nationalists, it’s the duty of the unionists parties that advocate devolution to explain exactly the extent of the powers they want devolved.
    I think it is a mistake for the Scottish Labour Party not to take the opportunity that the referendum presents. You think its a trap laid by the SNP. I think it is an opportunity to take the initiative, to frame the second question, which will allow Labour to have something positive to camaign on, which will result in Labour winning the referendum. I believe that to be true and I am sure there are many Labour supporters who think the same.
    Duncan, I am a nationalist but that does’nt prevent me from taking an objective look at the oppostion parties and their policies. Just because you don’t agree with somebody it does’nt follow that you can’t learn from them.

    1. I agree that refining devolution is not the responsibility of the nationalists. Which begs the question, why are the nationalists so desperate to have an FFA option on their referendum?

      The referendum is not an opportunity for Labour. Labour can champion further devolution without needing a referendum, not least because Labour is a UK party and can act effectively in Westminster as well as Holyrood. Labour could, for example, campaign in the next Westminster elections on a platform of delivering further devolution.

      Labour is not a unionist party per se. I’ve said before I’d rather we took a step back from the independence issue, support the SNP’s right to bring a referendum forward, and respect the wishes of the people expressed via that referendum. But to confuse that referendum with a third option would do nobody any favours. Well, almost nobody…

  11. Duncan. I have been out this afternoon so please excuse any grammatical errors.
    May be we should agree that we disagree. Whether Labour wants it or not the Referendum is a reality. And I think the referendum is an opportunity for Labour. You do not.
    The nationalists are not desperate to have a FFA question on the ballot paper. Trust me, they cannot believe their luck re. May elections. They are happy to contest a one question referendum. They know they have never been so close.
    You think that the offer of a second question is a trap. I don’t. I think its a life line for Labour. In fact I think its a huge gamble on Salmond’s part to make the offer; should Labour grasp the thistle, take the initiative, campaign and win.

    I enjoy talking to you but if we are to continue our discourse please let us try and raise oabove the evryday slanging match

  12. Johann, I’m glad you are taking responsibility for all sections of the Labour party in Scotland, I look forward to hearing how you will handle the accusations of threatening behaviour in Glasgow Council and Youngs assault charges.

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