political-trevor057Prof Trevor Davies, chair of Edinburgh Northern & Leith CLP, says we should ask to be judged on how well we work together.


So – Scottish Labour has another corner to turn, another chapter to write, and, soon, a new voice to lead us and speak for us

Whose ever that voice might be, let us all now stop talking about “Scottishness”. That doesn’t define who we are and never has. We’re Labour first and Scottish second. We’ve been trapped into that debilitating nationalist frame far too long. It’s a competition we can’t win and never should have joined. Let us leave it to the SNP to explore that political dead end, defining themselves as who they are against, blaming others. Scotland didn’t vote for nationalism – it voted for union.

Let us instead speak directly and with passion about fairness and equality, about justice and prosperity. Let us speak too about allowing everyone the voice to shape their own futures – in their communities, workplaces, cities and through the Scottish Parliament.

Let us say we will dismantle and block the power of those remote elites who govern our lives – in banks and broadcasters, boards and bureaucracies.

Let us ask to be judged, not on how “Scottish” we are, but on how well we work together to better the lives of us all, and on how well we contribute to the world about us.

Let us ask to be judged, too, on how well Scotland and Scottish Labour plays its full part in the well-being of the whole United Kingdom, working together, learning and sharing. And on how well Scotland plays its part in the world, as it always has.

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18 thoughts on “Labour first, Scottish second

  1. Agree with almost all of this but, willy nilly, there has to be a specifically Scottish dimension to thinking and policy because what’s true for some parts of the UK may not be true for others, e.g. monetary policy fashioned for the London housing boom…We need to be, HT GBrown, as federalist as poss in policy-making: like Bavaria or Saxony in Germany, including their SPDs

  2. “on how well we work together to better the lives of us all, and on how well we contribute to the world about us.”
    Failing on an EPIC scale there then!

  3. This letter neatly encapsulates so many of the reasons behind Scottish Labour’s current woes.

  4. What a load of bull, Scotland is a vastly different country from the rest of UK, has woken up and nothing will ever be the same again. No one is getting back in their box and change has to happen, the status quo is not an option and this is what your advocating. No wonder the party is dying in Scotland, it is an out of touch disgrace.

  5. Spot on. We must define ourselves based and what we want to achieve and how we will do it.

  6. This party first mentality ignores the devolution created by the Labour Party. Part first led by a Westminster master creates a clear conflict of interest. The trust of the people who elected is polluted when you defer from their needs to Westminster leaders needs. Change or die. You need to be independant in Scotland or face becoming irrelevant.

  7. You still think (or purport to think) independence is about nationalism.

    Stuck in that mentality, what you’re really saying is “Labour first, reformist second”. It will be the death of you.

  8. “Let us say we will dismantle and block the power of those remote elites who govern our lives – in banks and broadcasters, boards and bureaucracies.”

    That includes Labour and its media for me.

  9. “Labour first, Scottish second.” This I have always known but I have understood it to be Labours darkest secret. Never did I imagine that I would hear such an open admission.
    Scotland knows that Labour put The Party before Scotland at the referendum. Why? Because Scottish Labour supporters voted Yes. The Labour Party said, ‘vote NO’. So determined were they to defend the union (and Labour’s place within it) Labour stood on the same platform with other unionist parties against the wishes of its life long supporters. That is not a good idea in a democratic poll.
    There is no dispute with the result. Labour was on the winning side, but at what price?
    I believe that because Labour put party first and Scotland second (and judging by Prof. Trevor Davis’s article is proud to admit it) Labour in Scotland has committed political suicide.

    1. The vast majority of Scottish Labour supporters voted No. Indeed, according to the YouGov polling immediately after the referendum, more SNP voters voted No than Labour voters voted Yes. The vast majority of our “lifelong supporters” agreed with the party’s stance. Until you can recognise that, you won’t get past the referendum result.

  10. Many of us voted No precisely because we think Scotland – and social justice/fairness/equality – are best served inside the Union (with the rUK and EU) and Yes would have exposed the Scots, especially the poor, to economic instability and financial chaos

    1. Empty slogans. Are you suggesting that “the poor” (I presume you’re not including yourself in that category) are doing well under the present neo-liberal government, or that Labour in power in Westminster would mean anything other than more austerity and more wars? Not that Labour are going to be in power anywhere for the foreseeable future, of course.

  11. Duncan, I don’t need to get past the referendum result because I knew with a week to go that the silent No vote was too strong. And I fully accept that a good number SNP voters voted No. Disappointing I admit but on reflection I wasn’t surprised. The rich (and comfortable) voted NO, the poor voted Yes.
    So please lets stick to facts: and the indisputable fact is that Labour’s heartlands voted Yes, check the ballot returns for Dumbartonshire, Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Dundee. The question is will those voters (Labour and SNP) that voted against the advice of the party they normally support return to fold?
    With regard to the article above, can I ask if you, are happy to endorse Prof.Trevor Davis’s statement ‘Labour first, Scottish second’? Is this a sentiment you recognise amongst Labour members?

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