MaryFeeMSPPortraitMary Fee MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment & Cities, says this is no time for turning in on ourselves.


The general election result last Thursday was a disaster for the Scottish Labour Party. It was awful. Really, really bad. Devastating. There can be no sugar coating it. Although 700,000 Scots stuck with us, more than double backed the SNP.

But what is even worse is that all Scots have been landed with another five years of the Tories. That’s another five years of foodbanks, austerity and zero hours contracts.

People in Scotland need an effective and strong Labour Party standing up for their interests. We need to accept defeat, dust ourselves off and start on the long road to regaining the trust of the people of Scotland. We won’t do that if we spend the next few months with a leadership contest.As a member of the shadow cabinet and former chair of the Labour group of MSPs, I speak to colleagues regularly. From my conversations with fellow MSPs it’s clear there is overwhelming support for Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale to carry on as our leadership team.

They have only been in office for five months – it’s going to take a lot longer than that to rebuild the trust we have lost as a party over the last decade or so. The idea that everything will be okay if only we get rid of the leadership team who produced the most energetic and professional election campaign the Scottish Labour Party has had in years is ludicrous.

The Labour Party is at its best when we are representing the aspirations of the people of Scotland. That’s when we are listening to what Scots all across this great nation of ours are saying and setting out how we will transform it. But the Labour Party is at its worst when we engage in self-indulgent navel gazing or when we turn in on ourselves.

The only way we can restore the faith of the people of Scotland in our movement is by working together – that means elected representatives, trade unions, party members and those who support us uniting around a common purpose, that of making Scotland the fairest nation on earth.

The process of rebuilding can’t just be about the party or its leadership. It has to be about Scotland. We forget that at our peril.

So we need to get back out into our communities across Scotland listening to people, responding to their concerns and explaining how we can make this the fairest nation on earth. That work is already under way. There is no time to lose.

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10 thoughts on “No time to lose

  1. I have absolutely nothing against Jim or Kezia but Jim is neither MP or MSP and no matter how passionate he is we need leader in Scottish Parliament. I think you are foolish to think the Members are backing this decision. I think we’ve been ignored in the decision. That of course is only my humble opinion which hasn’t been asked for officially
    Ignore your electorate at your peril. I think it will take a lot of years to get back to a healthy LP in Scotland. I have always voted Labour and that probably won’t change but an awful lot of people I know have unfortunately changed. Very difficult to regroup!!

  2. What a load of introspective claptrap. All that talk bout “the people” and you seem to have no idea what they think. Non Labour Party people cannot get involved in Labour politics, every ‘public meeting’ in my area was vetted or behind closed doors. Ask “the people” about Jim and Kez. Ask them about the lies peddled during the referendum campaign, the fear that was generated on false premises. Ask them about MPs who took their vote and then forgot about them for 4 years. Ask them about the urban sink holes where Labour have been in power for decades. Labour in Scotland is dinning out on old glories. “The fairest nation on earth” redolent of typical New Labour sound bites, you have learned nothing. You are correct in one thing, this is about Scotland. A Scotland that realises that the Labour Party is being pulled two ways; left for Scotland and right for England. How to reconcile this? If you are giving advice to Labour in Scotland I fear they will languish outside of power for some time.

  3. I totally agree not a contest of leaders but the right people need to be in the right places to make it work. You can’t make policys until you find out what people are actually concerned about. Totally agree there is no time to lose as already council in west lothian are proprosing the way community centres are run, without even finding out what communitys use these centres for etc they put them in different groups how can propose something about community centres when don’t know how they will impact communitys, this is why people give up they aren’t listened or asked anything that effects them. So I agree ask the people in community of concerns etc before making a plan

  4. A party can’t represent the people if it isn’t the voice of the people if it isn’t the voice isn’t going to be the voted.

  5. I do go on when I get started but it could be that people voted snp not because of what was on manifesto but what was on offer that they could big change westminster and that got people excited. But if people actually think what labour offered wasn’t that bad but wasn’t exciting or different from other partys. I do think labour maybe needed this because maybe got a little lazy and lost what labours meant to be but also needs to mordernise the party.

    1. You don’t get wiped out just by being ‘a little lazy’ ….

  6. I’m afraid Jim has to go he has lots the confidence of not only the electorate but quite a bit of the membership as well, its not credible that he know stays in position, more so while unelected. If the MSP feel that keeping Jim on is the best idea then then they have failed to listen during the General Election campaign.

    The CfS meeting last night almost unanimously voted for Jim to resign, two unions and 3 MSP have also done the same whole Jim remains silent on the issue. If he doesn’t want to resign he should be out there defending his position and his record, not telling people its disloyal to speak out in back room meetings.

    I think we need to accept that whoever is in charge come 2016 there isn’t going to be time to get a lot of support back. However, I would respect someone stepping up to the mantel and starting to make the changes that the party needs, will it make a difference, I honestly can’t say.

    But with Jim still in post no one is listening, we can’t move forward with the ghosts of the past and no I’m not say Jim was to blame for Thursdays defeat, our problems go far beyond what happened on Thursday, though even be the targets Jim had set himself he didn’t live up to them.

  7. Beyond belief! The Labour Party in Scotland has just been handed its arse but let’s not hold anyone responsible, especially not the people who constructed and led the campaign that resulted in the almost complete wipe out of Labour Party MPs. No, all that’s needed is more effort, no need to waste time discussing what went wrong. After all it’s not like there’s another election soon. Ms Fee urges us to “get back out into our communities across Scotland listening to people, responding to their concerns”. Large sections of those parts of Scottish society the Labour Party used to call its own have just let us know exactly what they think of the current Scottish Labour Party and its leadership. It would be perilous to ignore that.

  8. How do you argue against a leader without being disloyal? I’m holding my head just now looking at the national party. Where is the debate about policies? Its straight into a beauty contest – who will win the next election… Not what is Labour about?

    Labour needs a clean bill of health, and you can’t do that with a leader telling people this is what they want. Lets take drink at football, may friends in labour think this is a crazy idea, one that no one is demanding, yet our leader came out with it in the run up to the election – I don’t recall EVER being asked about it? So can I now say “Lets drop that silly idea?” Nope, cause then my leader would be put down, and the media would love that bloody nose….

    Have the debate – then pick a leader who can lead on the policies, lets stop the find the leader and then follow the, blindly. PLEASE

  9. In my eyes it is, not being about the public enough, not having a good campaign, not having the proper people in the right places, not having people to represent at polling places etc etc but maybe a different word incompetent

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