Pete Wishart’s bid for the Scottish Labour leadership

pete wishartPete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, has written a pretend speech as if he was standing for leadership of Scottish Labour. He has been kind enough to agree to share it with Labour Hame’s readers. He thinks there’s a key policy shift that will turn around the party’s fortunes. Have a guess what it is.


“Ladies and gentlemen, comrades, members of the press. Today I announce my candidacy for the leadership of the Labour Party of Scotland. These are exciting and challenging times. After that crushing defeat in May, it is time to rebuild and renew, to slay sacred cows and chart a new way ahead.

Yes, our disastrous defeat in May was down to poor leadership and a total failure to connect with the people of Scotland. But more than that, we were beaten so comprehensively because of a more fundamental problem, and that is for the past 10 years the Scottish Labour Party has been at least 10 steps behind the ambitions of the Scottish people. We have tried to disparage that ambition, neuter it and hold it back. With me as your leader, we will never be put in that position again. I promise to you to work with the grain of Scotland’s constitutional ambitions.

More than that I want to lead that ambition, to work with its flow, to realise its potential. I want to lead a new Scotland, secure in its own skin dependent on nothing other than the endeavour and the creativity of Scots themselves.

This is why, comrades, that one of the first things I will do, as your leader, will be to review our historic opposition to Scottish independence. As your leader, I want us to consider all constitutional options for the future of our wonderful nation. I pledge to you that I will commission a review of our opposition to independence and full fiscal autonomy and if it finds that this is what our nation requires I will support it wholeheartedly and redefine our party and bring it into line with the aspirations of the Scottish people. It is time, comrades, to put our opposition to independence aside, to look at the national interest, and to work for a new and better future for all the people of Scotland.

Comrades, it is clear that there is a new national consensus in our nation. Scotland wants further, deeper constitutional change and it is time for us to climb aboard. I will continue to oppose the SNP, every government needs effective opposition, but my opposition will be considered. I will lend support in the national interest but question when required. But comrades, the day of the knee jerk ‘SNP bad’ to everything the SNP do must come to an end. We can not define ourselves in respect of others. We must find our own agenda, our own voice.

It was the Labour Party that delivered the Scottish Parliament. It is the Labour Party that has, throughout the decades, championed the values of social justice and equality. Comrades, are we seriously saying that we cannot build on these fine founding principles in an independent Scotland – an independent Scotland that we can shape according to our values? I say no comrades, No… Enough is enough, it is time to get with the national project.

The alternative is continued Tory Government in Westminster, unwanted by the Scottish people and alien to our values. Are we really saying that it is preferable to have a Tory Government running all these reserved responsibilities, rather than having them returned to Scotland and put under the democratic control of the Scottish people in our, in Scotland’s Parliament, in a Labour controlled independent Scottish Parliament?

I will never again allow our once great party to campaign with the Tories, saying no to Scotland, to invent reasons why the Scots aren’t creative enough to make a success of our independence. I will not allow anyone to talk down my fellow Scots any longer.

Comrades, our illogical and pathological hatred of the SNP has blinded us to what is right for the people of Scotland. It is now time for that to come to an end. It is time to be on right side of history, to do the right thing. Comrades, the time is right for Scottish Labour to climb aboard the new Scotland. Vote for me. You know it makes sense…..”

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34 thoughts on “Pete Wishart’s bid for the Scottish Labour leadership

  1. Self indulgent waffle from Peter. While I admit we could try a more positive campaign, there’s always going to be a negative slant when you’re the main opposition to the party in power, and showing the SNP’s very clear shortcomings is part of our job as is exposing their Socialist veneer to be just that, a veneer as well as telling the country of all the good things we can and want to do (and indeed have already done)

    I also assume that when their next leadership election (coronation?) comes around, Peter will be in a position to argue against the SNPs highly negative and combative tone towards the Labour party? Not that Peter himself takes part. No sir.

    Finally, Peter, I see you want Labour to “consider all constitutional options”. I find this rich coming from a party who have rejected the Indyref result and have also rejected the new Scotland bill before it’s even happened – if anyone isn’t considering all the options we know who it is.

    1. OK James you think Peter is waffling. Whether you disagree or not with the argument it is a persuasive piece of rhetoric. I ask you, if you had read this without knowledge of the author, would you still dismiss this as waffle?
      If its so much waffle, why not try a retort? Gives us your speech to why you should be next leader of the SNP.

      1. Yes, I would. Because apart from the fact it’s written with a smug “we wiped you off the map” tone it also reduces everything to the simplistic nonsense of “evil Westminster”, and nonsense about “saying no to Scotland”.

        Look, I have no deep fear of Independence and no hatred of those who deeply wish it. It just doesn’t feature as something of high importance to me one way or the other. I certainly do not prescribe to the view, though, that it’s a magic cure-all or the only way to a progressive future. I do not believe Independence is necessary. I do believe there are greater things to be worrying about.

        And that brings us onto your suggestion that I write a speach as if I were running for SNP leadership; I can’t. Why? Because a quick scan of the SNP constitution and aims tells me everything I need to know: the SNP is a single-aim and single-policy party. Where would someone like me fit in there? Someone who doesn’t think the party’s only stated aim is themost important thing in the world? I’m not adverse to it, but I’m not interested in focussing in it. And maybe that’s why Peter should keep his nose out. He has one aim: independence and only the interests of 5 million people at heart. Labour has the interests of everyone on this island at heart, hell everyone on this continent by being a member of the largest centre-left bloc of MEPs in Brussels. The Labour Party will not reduce themselves to selfish sounding slogans like “it’s our oil!”.

        1. James, you have your own fixed narrative, that the SNP are a party with narrow fixed interests where as Labour are not. That belief is the foundation of your politics. It is the place on Scotland’s political landscape the SLP have decided to raise their colours and fight. SNP equals one interest and 5 million, Labour equals ‘ the interests of all the people of these islands’.
          But your interpretation is flawed and Scotland now understands that Labour’s logic is flawed too. The error is that independence is not narrow minded, it is the opposite. All the SNP want to do is make our governance more logical. We want to be part of the 500 million Europeans. Equals. We want to get rid of Westminster because it has become surplus to requirements. Devolution created a conundrum, Westminster or Holyrood? We don’t need both. And within that puzzle lies Labour’s dilemma. The SNP want Scotland to look after its own affairs and be part of the global community. Labour is trying to fit its policies around an illogical constitutional structure and in so doing is getting tied in knots. Labour supporters can see it, if SLP leaders can’t understand where they are taking their party then they won’t have any supporters left.

  2. Sorry Pete, I won’t be voting for you because I don’t think the problems with Scotland, or Scottish Labour for that matter, begin and end with independence. All the best with your campaign though.

    1. But all the problems pertaining to being an insignificant ignored minority within an unbalanced criminally corrupt despotic disunion are relevant to our present situation and predicament. What kind of member of this insignificant ignored minority suffering within this unbalanced criminally corrupt disunion of unequals should’nt feel there is something badly wrong remaining in this predicament?
      Wouldn’t any member of this suffering minority not have to be touched with insanity to actually support this predicament?

      1. Mike, with all respect that just sounds like an incoherent rant. You want independence? That’s fine, but you need to win over those who weren’t won over last time and you’re not going to by ranting at Labour members using language most associated with SNP fundamentalists who usually demand UDI. Just shouting that we’re somehow “suffering” and in a “predicament” with no context isn’t going to further your cause.

        1. I grant you that its a rant but don’t call it incoherent because the message is clear enough and I know you are fully aware of its credibility and truth. The UK of GB is nothing but a despotic criminal rogue state with institutionalised criminal corruption at the very heart of its establishment. The corruption extends even as far as the media. There are levels of State controlled media that would embarrass North Korea.
          We all have to go online to get to at least a semblance of reality.
          The UK establishment are guilty as sin of Murder extortion grand larceny paedophilia and High treason! And supporting the established order with eyes wide open to its activities is complicity!

          There are a lot of people in this country who seriously need to wake up!

  3. Come to think of it, where are all the new laws that were going to be rushed through the Westminster parliament after the referendum?

  4. If the initial comments turn out to be typical, which I suspect they will, SLAB will continue on the road to oblivion. You may not want to go as far as Mr Wishart but had you supported a second question in September and stayed away from the Tories you could have ‘won’ and kept many of your WM seats. And it would have been risk free as the Tories and Lib/Dems would never have granted the second question!
    With strategists like Murphy and McTernan at the helm you had no chance although many including your ‘editor’ I really believe deluded themselves into believing their strategy was a winner.

  5. Read the word ‘comrade’ and thought, ‘this must be a spoof as it can’t be anyone in Labour.’

  6. Let me guess.
    Is the pete master plan
    “Keep telling everyone you’re left wing progressive, without having one example of a left wing progressive policy enacted in eight years of government. Then engage in a series of meaningless dog and pony show gestures to distract from that 8 year record of government as the media (read establishment conspiracy) become very interested in it”

  7. Thanks Pete for your take on what the Scottish Labour Party needs. There’s a bit of sneering in it that I don’t like so if you were one of the candidates I wouldn’t be voting for you. However you did make me think what Is needed now.

    All through the GE the party came out against FFA saying that there is a £7Bn bigger hole in Scotland’s finances than it would have if it had the same fiscal position as the UK. Well I reckon that that hole is the responsibility of the Scottish Labour Party as I don’t ever remember them shouting loudly between 1997 and 2010 for developing a regional policy to level that playing field by investing in Scotland’s infrastructure and industry to a level that would close that gap. It might have been 10y to close that gap, but it would have been Scottish Labour policy to rejuvenate our economy and stop the southwards drift of our youngest most productive people while receiving the older wealthier (due to house price differentials) though less economically active citizens from the southern part of Britain. So the challenge for Kez or Ken is to get the electorate listening again by having a real plan (not policy wank words) to close the deficit gap within 3 Scottish parliaments. Only then can they say they can stand up for Scotland and not play second fiddle to the economic bias of the SE of Britain.
    PS Welsh Labor r ought to be doing this too, as should Mancunian Labour.

  8. The SNP are running the bus to Independence. Once we arrive the Green Party will take over the steering wheel( along with Nicola and all we fellow travellers). What could be more obvious?

  9. After watching the televised Scottish Labour Leaders debate the other night full of generalised sound bites and the lack of policies it sent me to sleep. I don’t want to sound unkind but I found both the candidates to be a tad wooden and what’s on offer is lacking meat on the bone ie policies and ideas and so on that showing I think Pete is in with a very good chance.

  10. The speech the other leaders wish they could have made if it wasn’t for the absolute control of their true leadership in London.

  11. When Keir Hardie and Robert Graham set up the Scottish Labour Party, they had certain principles and objectives as Socialists.
    It is doubtful if either would be members of the present Scottish Labour Party, in fact they would not be welcome—- Home Rule ( the proper version), elimination of poverty, education, gender equality, progressive taxation etc etc—-Labour do no more than pay lip service to those objectives.
    Hardie, as the first Labour MP, would look at the nature of those serving in present day Westminster with astonishment at the lack of working class representatives.
    Too harsh? Perhaps, but the fact that the only Scottish Labour MP in Westminster is a right winger, representing Morningside, tells its own tale.

    1. Where to start with this?

      Peter Wishart and the SNP are no more socialists than I’m a panda. The truth is the SNP are as centrist as centrist could be;the SNP has to unify right and left wingers under its banner in order to make nationalism a force in Scotland.

      If you could name a single redistributive policy idea the SNP have implemented in its whole 8 year term in office I’ll be all ears. Frankly the shouts of the “SNP are left wing and the Labour party are red Tories” is an easy soundbite for the SNP membership to learn and repeat but there’s absolutely no basis.

      On your last point: there’s no such constituency as “Morningside”, so yes Ian does represent Morningside but he also represents Gilmerton, Moredun, Newington and so on. A real mix of affluent and not so affluent areas. Student areas. To call him a Tory just because there’s a well off district within his larger consituency would, by your strange logic, make the SNP MPs who represent Edinburgh’s New Town Tories. SNP MPs representing Aberdeen – are they Tories?

      Don’t be so childish.

      1. In spite of the Labour lie that it was they who abolished tuition fees it was in fact the SNP. In spite of the fact that Labour lie about supporting universal benefits they don’t but the SNP do. The SNP froze and have kept frozen local taxation. They have brought back free prescription they have abolished bridge tolls but most importantly they have kept out a Tory run right wing Labour party from running and ruining the Scottish Parliament! Now that is as progressive as any left wing party can be!
        I said this before but Duncan the Tory keeps censoring the truth.

      2. James, you seem to have confused me with someone else, or you are just confused. I am not a member of the SNP. I have never been a member of the SNP. Its not my job to defend them or their policies.
        I was a member of the Labour Party, and joined probably before you were born. I now vote for the SNP as I see the UK going to a place I am uncomfortable with, with no way to change it. I can use my vote to go elsewhere.
        I never claimed Morningside as a constituency, but I am correct in saying Murray represents that area as an MP, and that Murray is on the right wing of the Labour Party. I only mentioned Murray as a counterpoint to my referencing Keir Hardie.
        My point about Keir Hardie is that his principles would sit uneasily with a modern Labour Party which repeatedly uses Hardie as a figure in Labour’s pantheon of hero figures.
        I am not a member of the SNP. I have never been a member of the SNP
        I think others have had to use a form of these words half a century ago, in the USA.

        1. Why are you correct in saying Ian Murray is right wing? You can just say “because I say so”.

          1. The right wing of the Labour Party, is what I actually stated.
            I am happy to stand by that statement.
            If you have proof to the contrary, I will happily change my assertion.

  12. I’d be more likely to support Pete’s argument if he could show that Scotland would be wealthier if it left the UK. He can’t. Game over.

    …and trotting out the sad old line about “Labour working with the Tories” in #indyref makes matters worse. Labour sided with the Scottish people.

    1. “…and trotting out the sad old line about “Labour working with the Tories” in #indyref makes matters worse. ”

      On salmond happily telling everyone the SNP would be happy to campaign alongside the tories on the EU referendum…..from the nationalists not a peep!

    2. How could it possibly not be wealthier? Within the union we get Devo less than the max possible which in financial terms is revenues and income “LESS THAN” the MAX POSSIBLE!!!!
      The idea in financial terms with regards to devolution is to GIVE BACK revenues and income raised in Scotland but sent to WESTMINSTER!!!!
      Therefore with Full Independence comes FULL REVENUE AND INCOME not LESS THAN FULL REVENUE AND INCOME!!!!

      It really is that simple to see through the Project fear lies and utter garbage.

      1. Everytime one of you shreiks “Westminster!!!” how long after Independence will it be before people in Glasgow or Aberdeen shreik “Holyrood!!!”?

        Or when the North of Scotland gains independence from the Central Belt how long will it be before the people of Inverness shreik “ABERDEEN!!!”?

        1. At least it will be OUR Hollyrood and if we don’t like it we can change it.
          What justification can you find for supporting the idea of keeping Scotland within the clutches of the corruption of Westminster in relative terms when we have NO ZERO NADA control or influence to change it?

          Do you actually realise out utterly ridiculous your attempt at a justification was?

  13. As usual, Pete Wishart conflates Scotland with the SNP and independence: Labour did NOT say No to Scotland, it said yes to a Scotland within the UK as the best vehicle for delivering a fairer, more modern, socially just society/economy. This could never be a Labour speech as the end-game is independence for its own sake, not to change the world…

    1. I am old enough to remember Brian Wilson nodding most emphatically, on the BBC, that he preferred a Thatcher government to a Scotland that was partially self governing .
      Now David, you assert Scotland is going to be, under a Tory government for the next generation or so, ‘a fairer, more modern, socially just society’ blah blah etc
      So, how is that going, David ?

      1. I made no such assertion, and it is wilfuuly disingenuous to suggest otherwise. I do not share Brian’s views and never have: see Red Paper of 1975. As an anti-Tory for 55 years, I find this comment typical of puerile politics in some parts of this country.

        1. David, we have a Tory government, do we not? It looks, given the infighting within Labour, and the collapse of support for the Liberals, that they will be in power for many years to come—–perhaps for a generation.
          Given that, I see no difference between your assertions of a “fairer, more modern, socially just society, etc”, within that context, and Brian Wilson’s contentment with a Thatcher government ruling Scotland.
          Peurile? 55 years anti-Tory? Yea, right !

    2. “it said yes to a Scotland within the UK as the best vehicle for delivering a fairer, more modern, socially just society/economy”

      Indeed and once again we have yet another right wing extremist Tory Government delivering that fairer more modern socially just society/economy.

      What planet are you people on?

  14. James Wow what? Would you like just a little glimpse into the activities you are complicit to?

    This is what YOU support! This is what you’re willing to ignore in order to protect what you want to believe the UK of GB is in spite of all the overwhelming evidence proving that it isn’t what you think it is or want it to be!

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