Barrie PicBarrie Cunning, running for election to the National Policy Forum, says the future survival of the Scottish Labour Party is dependent on Labour becoming a members’ party, and members deserve a better deal.


Most members by now will have received their ballot papers for both the UK Labour leadership election and the National Policy Forum election.

I believe that the future survival of Scottish Labour depends on the party becoming a real members’ party, and ensuring that party members are actively involved. For too long party members have been taken for granted, overlooked and undervalued, and I believe party members deserve a better deal and I want to ensure that this happens.

For too long policy making has been top down and this has to change. I want to see Labour party members be involved in every stage of policy making and be at the forefront of everything the party does. I want to see party members steer the direction of the party and be at the centre of taking us forward.

As I wrote in last week’s Sunday Post it goes without saying that the Labour party needs to reconnect with the people of Scotland, but the party has to reconnect with its members first of all if it wants to avoid becoming irrelevant. I firmly believe that the future survival of the Scottish Labour Party is dependent on this happening, and that’s why I’m standing for the National Policy Forum.

I’m not standing as part of a slate or a collective, but as an individual who has been a Labour Party supporter since the age of 16 and someone who wants to make sure that the Party is true to its roots.

If elected I would make it my priority to meet with all CLPs in Scotland and engage with members directly, and feed this back to the Scottish Executive Committee. As a CLP Secretary for Ettrick Roxburgh and Berwickshire I’m keen to see CLP members engage and support each other and would be interested in establishing regional CLP events where local members can discuss policy issues and interact with one another. An event like this would also enable National Policy Forum representatives to directly engage with local members and get an understanding of what matters to members. 

In short, I believe members deserve a better deal and I believe I can deliver this. 

If members have any questions I can be contacted on the following:

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9 thoughts on “Members deserve a better deal

  1. This article couldn’t be more wrong if it set out to be wrong deliberately.
    The success of the SNP is down to the fact that people perceive the SNP to be a Movement more than a party. They are the movement of change away from the status quo we have endured for decades.
    By presenting yourselves to the electorate as just another political party of members you actually take away any reason they would want to vote for you.
    The days when people voted for the red rosette is over because they no longer believe that Labour is the “MOVEMENT” they used to be. You are now just another “PARTY” of members of the existing establishment in spite of the fact that its the SNP in Government.
    You cant be a movement if you limit your discussions and ideas to members only.

    Think about it. Then think about it a lot more.

    1. Mike, while I agree with you that the days of Labour taking Scottish votes for granted are definitely over, I also believe that Barrie is correct to point out that the first thing Labour has to do to have any chance of recovery is to create a party which is run by its rank and file members. That, alone, will not solve its problems but it is a necessary first step.
      However, the thing about the current leadership election which astonishes me is the arrogance of Labour’s MPs. The bulk of them appear to feel quite comfortable telling their journalist friends how they are going to undermine Corbyn when the Party’s membership elect him as leader. They have even split into two strategic camps, “the Maquis” who intend to undermine him from inside the various committees and groups and “the Gaullists” who will remain aloof from his appointments and attack him from “outside.” Two groups but one goal, to ignore the democratically elected party leader and overthrow him.
      I’m astounded that these MPs feel so confident in the strength of their own positions within the Party that they can simply ignore the wishes of their rank-and-file in this way.
      I think that Labour is in for a very turbulent few years no matter how the vote goes.

      1. You’re getting tied up and distracted by technicalities when its the big picture you should be trying to fathom.
        Learn from your enemies success! For decades the SNP was the party of Independence now they are “A MOVEMENT” of social change who want Independence.
        So whats the difference? The appeal to a lot more people than those who simply want independence. The difference is no borders no distinction between members and non members no boundaries between them and the public. The SNP have successfully reached out over the perceived boundaries of party distinction and embraced non members by taking the same journey they wish to travel on. They are not telling the public this is our journey take it or leave it.
        You witnessed it yourself when the No campaign tried unsuccessfully to state that the SNP was the Yes campaign and the Yes campaign was the SNP. Its possible members of the No campaign really couldn’t distinguish between them and right there is why they are light years ahead of Labour in Scotland.
        Don’t forget who it is your trying to win back. You will never win over the pro Independence support of the SNP but neither will you win back those who are convinced the SNP is on the same journey they want to travel on while we are still part of the UK.

        Like I said you really need to think about it a lot.

        1. I will go away and think about it, Mike, but I’m not sure about this “journey” stuff. It all sounds a bit too evangelical for me.
          I think the SNP have been doing so well because the independence referendum persuaded so many Scots that their best interests would be served by Scottish independence. The reason that this was a mostly working class group was because the Yes camp was able to demonstrate that independence was a means to a fairer, more prosperous and more democratic Scotland. Labour, on the other hand, could only offer Scots more right-wing London rule by governments, their own included, which did not have Scotland’s interests at heart.

  2. Am I wrong in saying there is no Scottish Labour Party ? Only the Labour Party in Scotland.

    1. No you’re not. And that’s Labour in Scotlands other huge problem. Labour cannot serve the best interests of any constituent part of the UK if its trying to serve the best interests of all of them because they are not compatible. Each constituent part of the UK is in direct competition with the other for limited resources. The pro UK argument is in trying to convince us all that there is pooling and sharing when in reality there isn’t. The so called pooling and sharing is badly unbalanced because of the unbalanced demands of the constituent parts of the UK.
      Scotland cannot be democratically served by the UK because its a minority constituent part. Devolution is the pro union way of trying to rebalance this unbalance but its something that can never be fine tuned to a point where balance can be achieved hence the total confusion and controversy over the various levels of constitutional separation.
      There is no satisfactory level of Devolution which is capable of reaching the fine tuned point of equilibrium.
      If you cant accept this point with respects to the UK try applying the principle at EU level.

    2. ‘Scottish’ is proper adjective in this context. Like any other large group which differentiates regions for ease of categorisation. Scottish Labour, Scottish Unison ..

  3. It’s a shame that this site is censored and does not post comments that may be constructive and critical.

  4. I have no intention on joining debate on the election failures and causes, which were many not least the difference between Labours £!.2 million campaign and promotion fund Vs £7 million plus spent by SNP. What;s done is done it’s tomorrow and the future that counts and that means bringing in new idea’s and a new approach not just within the leadership but within membership and all aspects of the party.
    NPF is a vital part of the party, with the new Scottish leadership we have a more balanced team than we have had for some time the NPF much also contain balanced views and input. If members keep flogging a head horse the only thing we’ll achieve is to remain static, The challenge ahead is huge and may not produce the results we’d all like but retaining our MSPs and adding a few on would be amazing and this must be our focus. It’s people like Barrie who can help make the difference between sink or swim, people who understand what the members and electorate want and need and will deliver. This negativity must end and the party must think like the people and listen to them not simply work on assumptions. Balance is the key.

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