angellAhead of the Progress campaign tour to Scotland’s central belt, Richard Angell – director of Progress and founder of @lab3seats –  outlines why UK Labour are keen to rally round.


The result in Scotland in May 2015 was a blow for everyone in the Labour movement. No one predicted it would be a near total wipeout. In Scotland itself fellow members are left with nearly no parliamentary representation and were plunged into not one but two leadership elections. Now you are straight back in the firing line trying to make the case for Labour against a resilient and insurgent Scottish National party.

You have had to take the loss, feel the pain and do it all again. Doorstep by doorstep. And, if some accounts are true, the environment seems even more aggressive towards us than last May, which in turn was worse than the referendum before it. I hear your pain.

In England, and no less Wales – where the party is facing its own elections for the assembly in Cardiff Bay – we look on with a combination of horror and disbelief. Worse still, we feel powerlessness.

There is a feeling that we are upset over someone else’s loss, intruding into something private. We are sometimes talked about as if we are sister parties not the same party and we are not; this is the SNP and their separateness argument winning. We too looked up to the Jim Murphys and Douglas Alexanders of this world; we too cannot believe that seats once held by towering figures like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are no longer Labour, let alone not even marginals; we too miss the 40-odd Labour MPs that should be sticking it to the Tories when the SNP are too busy sticking it to the Westminster system itself.

I went to Edinburgh and Glasgow on the Progress listening tour and my colleague Matthew Faulding went to Aberdeen. At each of these events, someone would say, ‘I know you [in England] will not care about our problems …’ We both were horrified. I think everyone in the Labour party south of the board cares deeply about our fellow Scottish Labour and its fortunes. It is not that we do not care; it is that we do not know how to help.

We can give our tweets, Facebook timelines, the odd bit of cash (I assume all donations are welcome) and shoe leather. So, again, the Progress team is coming up to do our small bit. It does not feel enough, but a better idea is not out there.

Kezia Dugdale – elected on a whopping 72.1 percent of the vote – is energetically rushing round the country, holding up a mirror to the so-called ‘anti-austerity’ rhetoric of the SNP who want to cut more and tax less than Labour and fighting for what we most care about: the best start for every child. Her aspirational home ownership offer has the right to be heard by every voter. I know Scottish Labour are rallying round their overwhelming choice. It is time now we all did.

So I for one am not going to sit out this fight. I have the minibus ready. Everyone is welcome, bring a friend, and for first timers there is training provided. Anyone who wants to join in can do so here.

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14 thoughts on “Never think we don’t care

  1. Richard so you are the bright spark came up with the idea of getting your Progress Blairite right wing organisation of the Labour Party UK to trudge up to Scotland and sabotage any chance of Kezia Dugdale getting any scraps of dignity from the polls predicted wipeout of the Scottish Labour section Red Tories at the Scottish elections. This move is on a par with the previous Better Together campaign and it is just as toxic as the folks of Scotland see no difference between the policies of the Labour Party UK and the Tories they are indistinguishable in their eyes so to parachute in your Progress Blairites is a disaster however as Kezia Dugdale is if I am not mistaken is a Scottish Blairite so it is no surprise and desperate times call for desperate measures in this case you have just guaranteed that the Scottish Labour section Red Tories will be beaten into 3rd place by their sister party the Blue Tories who will come in 2nd place with the SNP a triumphant 1st place in the Scottish elections.

    “Everyone is welcome, bring a friend, and for first timers there is training provided.”

    This has got to be the funniest thing I have read in yonks who would bring somebody along to put them through the mangle on the doorsteps of Scotland saying take another look at Scottish Labour section Red Tories and getting humiliated and laughed at come on never mind the training the por sods will need some counselling to get over the humiliation and ear bashing.
    Anyway I wish anybody who voluteers to knock on the doors the best of luck although I am not sure whether they are brave or foolish.

  2. Ha ha ha, it’s always nice to end the week on a joke and this article certainly does that, trying to imagine a couple of tractors like brown & darling as towering figures (boak).

    As for labour sticking it to the Tories that’s the biggest joke of the lot, you actually have to vote against them not vote with them or abstain, as for you from the south giving a monkeys about anything in Scotland , we saw that in action during the Scotland bill when labour voted hand in hand with the tories and libdems against every amendment down in Westminster.

    A joke tour fa a joke party, enjoy your visit.

  3. “We too looked up to the Jim Murphys and Douglas Alexanders of this world; we too cannot believe that seats once held by towering figures like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are no longer Labour,”

    And that is why nobody is going to believe you feel anybody elses pain.
    A whos who of right wing Tory ideology right there.

    “we too miss the 40-odd Labour MPs that should be sticking it to the Tories when the SNP are too busy sticking it to the Westminster system itself.”

    Except you have 232 Labour MPs sticking it to their constituents by failing to oppose their blue Tory comrades and their Blue and Red Tory austerity agenda because the Westminster system not only allows but insists Tories must be in charge.

    “We both were horrified. I think everyone in the Labour party south of the board cares deeply about our fellow Scottish Labour and its fortunes. It is not that we do not care; it is that we do not know how to help.

    Right there is where you speak volumes. Right there is where you hit the mark dead centre.
    Labour for Labour. Party first second third and last.

    With everything that is going on the Labour faithful care only about what is going wrong with Labour.

    Perhaps a bit more overt concern for Labours constituents and less concern about the party parasites having their snouts pulled from the trough and maybe just maybe a few voters may respond in kind.

    Just another delusional self deceived Labour drone with nothing new to offer.”

  4. I am more with the unnamed Shadow Cabinet Minister who stated there was an UP-SIDE to Scottish Labours wipe-out.
    That is, that——— “there are 40 less f****n’ useless MP’s”.

    Now this will be someone who worked with these Scottish Labour MP’s over a period of years, so his opinion is valid and matches the verdict of Scotland’s electorate.
    The only people who don’t, and didn’t, see the writing on the wall were Labour Loyalists and Scotland’s political journalists, who are Unionists to a man (and woman).
    And of course the BBC in Scotland.

  5. I would like to expand on my previous post because I think this gets to the heart of Labours problems and their detachment from what was once their core support base.

    “I think everyone in the Labour party south of the board cares deeply about our fellow Scottish Labour and its fortunes”

    I believe Labour was once perceived as being a party which actually thought about and cared about the concerns and social aspirations of the majority. It always had its parasitic careerists of course all parties have those but by the actions and policies of a party you can determine where their motivations and convictions as a institution lie.

    Labour once championed welfare and public service across the UK as an institution. Why?

    Because they were founded by blue collar workers and Socialist characters who were at the time immersed within a class war with Corporate bodies and Conservative management and who believed deeply in a better fairer more even relationship between management and the workforce. This broadened out to the social distinctions within the UK as a whole.

    They were the party of the socially distinguished working poor and low middle affluent and their policy direction reflected this conviction.

    They created the welfare state. The NHS. Trade Union legislation helpful to the Trade unions and believed in maintaining public services within public control.

    They grew to a point where they not only directly challenged Conservative Tory rule they overcame it and gained power and authority of Government.

    They were supposed to at that point change the fabric of the UK Institution and take away the distinctive class structure the distinctive social divide held together by an uneven wealth distribution and Oxbridge ruling elite consortium.

    But in that they failed and instead slowly became immersed within the indigenous social structure slowly became another foundation part of it.

    They could have started with the abolition of the House of Lords but instead they not only held onto this bastion of privilege and patronage they became absorbed into it.

    New Labour became inevitable. Its members became to see themselves as the privileged and patronised. Their party became their career path to the ruling elite class the Westminster Parliament harbours and nurtures.

    As an Institution the “New” Labour party became what it was created to oppose. Corporate backed Conservative elitist.

    All well and good for those who have managed to get their snouts in the establishment trough but to listen to and to read about all the wailing moaning crying whining and anger over how their support no longer believes in what they say and do and how they are fooled into believing the Socially Democratic SNP because their policies and ideology reflect the aspirations of the working poor and low middle affluent is way beyond a joke.

    Its been said time and time again that the voters didnt leave Labour it was Labour who left their voters and its about time Labour started to believe this truth instead of continuing on its path of self deceit and denial.

    If for no other reason than its going to remove all of your snouts from the trough of privilege.

    The Tory voter already has 2 Tory parties to vote for they didnt need another one.

    I think that’s the only warning I can give that may actually reach and ring a bell within Labour.

  6. RIchard thanks for giving me a good chuckle and reminice about the great comedy movie The Italian Job I cant make up my mind if you are more like the Michael Caine Charlie Croker character or the Professor Simon Peach the Benny Hill character then it dawned on me you are Charlie Croker the Minibus is hanging over the edge of the cliff onboard are the precious leaflets saying take another look at the other end of the minibus you crawl towards them reaching out the bus it rocks up and down with the musical song Things can only get better by D:Ream banging away in the background this comedy from the Progress Blairite Red Tories is the hot ticket and the funniest show in town please can we have some more.

  7. “holding up a mirror”

    Richard when you look into the mirror the reflection you see staring back is that of a Red Tory who’s party lost the general election because they where seen to be incompetent and not trusted in running the econonomy and indistinguishable from their sister party the Blue Tories, you are now the party of high council tax and income tax to pay for the expenses of all the Scottish Labour section Red Tory careerists and it is the folks of Scotland who you are going to hammer in their pocket to pay to keep your cronies happy, what a sad state of affairs and as you will find out at the Scottish elections the Scottish Labour section Red Tories will be wipedout out by the folks of Scotland at the Scottish elections.

  8. “So I for one am not going to sit out this fight.”

    Richard you are a barrel of laughs keep it coming comrade we are now in disco mode flashing lights glitter ball and I can just picture you as a backing singer to your illustrious leader Kezia who is belting out on the Red Tories karaoke machine the Sinitta hit single “So Macho” as Kezia shrieks to rally her demoralised visiting Blairite Progress Red Tories careerists from south of the border in England the folks of Scotland are already bolting up their doors and shining up their spyholes and preparing to blank the Blairite Progress Red Tories from entry and will punish the Scottish Labour section Red Tories at the Scottish elections.

  9. If I may relate a wee (true) tale: There is a man, in a house, in a street, who was in the armed forces and is now retired. During the referendum campaign he was told, by a Labour canvasser, that in an independent Scotland, he would not get his forces pension. He was puzzled, because his brother in Canada told him that he got his pension, no bother. So he asked a Yes canvasser who came to his door, and she took the time to check with the MoD and could assure him his pension was safe. I was at his door recently canvassing for the SNP – and he told me this tale – and, in his exact words…”Labour lied to me on my own fucking doorstep, and they are never getting my vote again.”

    Now that’s just one person and one anecdote, but I speak to voters every day, and I can tell you frankly that Labour has lost the trust of their own people in Scotland. And that’s a terrible loss, and not one to be remedied by easy words about social justice. It’s not that your people want to vote SNP pariticularly – it’s that they can no longer bring themselves to vote for a party that they feel has betrayed them. Their feelings about that ‘betrayal’ are complex and not to be ascribed to a single cause – although the ‘Better Together’ campaign provides a useful encompassing symbol, because, not only were Labour seen to be working with the Tories, but they were seen to be propagating every negative meme about Scotland that they could find. And it hurt.

    I am not one to tell you how to solve this problem – I’m just telling you that it is there. I’ll leave you with another tale – that of an elderly man, in a house, in a street. I asked him how he voted – and he said he was Labour. I noted it, and then he said ‘Come in a minute, son.’ Now that’s bad canvassing practice, but I took a small step inside his door, and he sat on his stair and he wept. And he said “I’ve been Labour all my life, so I have to vote for them, don’t I?” And I said “Yes, if you feel that way, you should.” And he wept, and said nothing, and I went on my way.

    That’s how deep it goes.

    1. “I’ve been Labour all my life, so I have to vote for them, don’t I?”

      The correct answer to question was to leave it open and let him decide for himself it is obvious if he was crying then he was not happy with the Scottish Labour section Red Tory unionist stooge careerists so you might have cheered him up by by taking some of the pressure off him by saying loads of people have voted for the SNP so don’t worry be happy.

      “That’s how deep it goes.”

      When you mentioned the above I immediately though about a wet fish and that maybe a slap on your head with it would help you in future to give the right answer.

      1. El Capitano I give you the benefit of the doubt that the Progress are a great bunch of guys it is not them personally that is the problem it is the cause that they stand for that is the problem in that they are part the Labour Party UK Red Tory Union machine who together with their sister party the Blue Tories continue to oppress the country that is Scotland by not giving the folks of Scotland the powers promised in the VOW. I need your advice if I don’t see myself as a citizen of this union instead I see myself as a citizen of a country that is Scotland as an individual could I declare that I am Scottish citizen similar to the folks in the movie Passport to Pimlico would that be legal and could I have the Saltire flag on my driving licence instead of the the Union Jack.

      2. Poor, misguided souls – suckered by the Blue Tories into betraying Scotland. Now they have no credibility at all.
        I voted Labour for 40 years until the second election of Blair then the blinkers were removed from my eyes.
        FOREVER!!! Labour in Scotland – never,until they support independence and the welfare of the people in Scotland!

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