Socialism and hope – a journey through turbulent times

Neil Findlay MSP introduces his new book, Socialism and hope – a journey through turbulent times, which is published on 16 September.


Over the last 6 years, Scottish politics hasn’t been a place for the faint hearted. The election of a majority SNP government in 2011 thrust constitutional politics to the top of the UK political agenda. The following years were dominated by an at times fierce and always passionate debate about the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom. For those in the front line of the referendum debate the campaign was long, at times very divisive but also an exciting and demanding experience.

This book began as a personal record of the campaign that I would write and keep for reading whilst sitting in my rocking chair with a cocoa in my latter years. It was not meant for publication. But I was soon forced by events to continue my scribbles when after the victory of the ‘No’ campaign Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont resigned and I became a candidate with Jim Murphy and Sarah Boyack in the contest that followed. (A sense of déjà vu will now come over party members given we are in yet another Scottish Labour leadership election.)

The book details that campaign and the key events surrounding it. It continues through the short lived Jim Murphy era and the 2015 election disaster where Scottish Labour was reduced to 1 House of Commons seat and its very existence was being questioned. Finally, it tells of my role as Scottish campaign manager for my good friend Jeremy Corbyn during his two successful Labour leadership elections and his role in the remarkable 2017 general election when Labour began the fight back across the country.

I also reflect on two very significant personal events that impacted on my life. The first, my wife Fiona’s diagnosis and successful treatment for breast cancer, and secondly the death of my political mentor and friend Tam Dalyell.

So what started as a few personal notes developed into this book. Socialism and hope gives an insight into one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the Scottish Labour Party. A time when the party was on the winning side in a major constitutional referendum yet the fallout from it almost destroyed the party.

Unexpectedly elected to parliament in 2011 it follows my footsteps from bricklayer to parliamentarian and gives an insight into the daily work of an MSP.

As a lifelong socialist, steeped in working class culture and life I hope my book is able to reflect my genuine love and respect for the community and people I grew up with, live beside and represent, and my deep commitment to the Labour Party and the labour movement.

I hope you will read it and enjoy it and in doing so donate to a good cause as all proceeds from the book will go to good causes.


Socialism and hope – a journey through turbulent times is out on September 16th and can be ordered from priced £12.99 plus P&P.

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11 thoughts on “Socialism and hope – a journey through turbulent times

  1. It’s great to see a true socialist get to grips the nasty business of capitalism and all that goes with it.
    Rest assured Neil I will be reading it but I think I will wait until the paperback comes out.

  2. 13 quid!

    Come on, really. If it was any good, you could publish an ebook version and sell it for £1 or £2 a pop.

  3. “Socialism and Hope” Writes a man who served willingly within a political party that ran away from socialism and hope in order to embrace what it believed to be popular Neo Liberal Conservatism. A party that sold out its root socialist ideology in order to fit in with an undemocratic FPTP voting system specifically and deliberately setup to allow Right wing Conservative minority rule through the manipulation of unbalanced constituency boundary rules and changes.
    A party that makes no bones about its loyalties and priorities to itself above all else. Who’s members constantly remind us of their willingness to serve party interests over and above all other interests in a constant display of self unawareness ignorance arrogance and complacency to the constituents they should serve first and last.
    A party that actually encourages time serving careerists to indulge in self serving time serving careers within the party.
    A party full of individuals divorced from all principle ideals convictions and sense of service.

    If you doubt my words then ask Neil Findlay how much of his book sale profits will go to help anybody in his constituency who isn’t family.

    1. OK, I get the picture, you love the Labour Party. One point I would make though about FPTP – if Labour was so fixated on it, why was the Scottish Pariament not set up in the same way as Westminster? Maybe because Donald Dewar was not as self serving and arrogant as you suggest all Labour politicians are?

      1. Specifically so unionist parties would always have an overall majority. That worked well.

      2. If Labour wasn’t supportive of FPTP then why haven’t they changed it at anytime they’ve had the power to do so?

        I used to be a Labour supporter but that was before they became the Conservative and Unionist party.

        Don’t be so disingenuous you know perfectly well Dewer setup the Scottish Parliament election system in order to prevent the SNP gaining majority control the snag being that it was setup by Labour.

        Dewer was just another atypicial Labour party apparatchik self serving careerist. Its not as if he even made any effort to hide it. None of you do.

        1. Its coming out now the trouble party leaders had in getting devolution of the ground Alec Salmond has just been on STV news saying how grateful he was to Donald that he appreciated how difficult it was for him to bring the SNP on board most of whom where very opposed to devolution saw it only as a half way house etc. Kevin Pringle has also told the Sunday Times about the trouble and work they had to put in to get it past at the SNP conference to allow them to participate.
          I remember being at a pro devolution demonstration in Edinburgh I had never seen a politician being heckled before .
          Until Margo MacDonald spoke She was constantly heckled by a group of SNP Supporting Students who were mainly only there to see Deacon Blue
          It was something to do with Jim Sillars .
          Alec Salmond and Wendy Alexander have also spoken of the trouble Donald Dewar had with Labour colleagues . Tony Blair was heavily supportive. Alec Salmond had lined up Sean Connery to get involved in selling the idea .
          That got heavily curtailed when Dianna died .
          The Lib Dems did not want a ref thought the election of a Labour Government was enough
          The Tories against Say now they were expected to provide feet on the ground did not have the troops . But had huge amounts of money from business
          Wendy Alexander has said a lot of powers were not included because of opposition from groups like the church

  4. Socialism, eh? I was a working man all my life. Mining family, mining village, quarter century in the mining industry, member of the Labour Party, and you know what? I have zero idea what “socialism” stands for. And this is a Labour party which gave up Clause 4, its main reason to exist, politically.
    Is it Market Socialism; State Capitalism;is there a profit element? Who owns what: the State: the “people”: who decides what and when? Nordic countries are the happiest on earth- best health: standard of living: functioning democracy-why don’t we copy them?????
    The referendum referred to decided Scotland would continue to have zero sovereignty, or genuine power to map out its future. Instead we are now to separate from our partners in the EU because of British nationalistic sentiment in the Tory and Labour parties.
    Of course British nationalists pretend they are NOT nationalists at all. But if it walks like a dog, barks like a dog, waves flags like a…………..
    And now, thanks to Labour, the UK has the two biggest gunboats it has ever had. They don’t exist to send love and kisses to far flung places. Nor “socialism” either.

  5. If that self righteous prick Scott Arthur still reads this blog then ask him if he is socialist enough to bring up a citizens basic income local policy proposal for Edinburgh and Lothian. I’m sure his SNP colleagues will support it. They seem to be keen for it in Glasgow and Fife.

  6. This is the 3rd leadership election we have had recently.
    The membership did not ask for any of them.. I don’t know Kezia I liked and supported her. But she has resigned for her own reasons.
    It is what it is. I don’t want a labour civil war . For me one of Kezias big achievements has been unity . So lets unite around our next leader whoever it is . My vote is going to Richard Leonard . In 14 I had to retire due to ILLhealth .My line manager were all present in my home .When after a series of statutary meetings our hr lady turned to my full time GMB union rep .She said David is the first we have had who has had to take an ill health retirement the rules are complicated can you help. My guy after making a quick phone call said yes.
    The GMB Legal dept working with my companies hr people got me my pension.
    Then the GMB advised me to approach CAB for benefit advice.
    I got my benefits.
    Without GMB help I would been floundering so I am voting for Richard .
    Whoever is elected and I hope its sooner rather than later will have my full support.
    We need to as a united party show that we care about our people and are on their side. For what can be done look no further than North Ayrshire. I was at a meeting on Sunday The labour leader of North Ayrshire Council Joe Cullinane gave for me a very strong performance.
    He gave with very little notes . A full report on what is happening within North Ayrshire. He then took questions including 3 from me.
    He had no warning of the questions. He gave detailed answers on everything from new leisure facilities to GPS and the Barclay rates report.
    He was on his feet longer than the FM is at FMS questions. He took more questions than our FM does in a month of Sundays.
    Even better he actually answered them and in some detail.
    So come on lets do the day job . Do what the Labour Party for me is for and does best.
    Show we are on the side of ordinary people. Lets show people Labour will always be the party who will hold out the hand of hope and help to those who need it.
    Hold our political opponents to account for example in Angus where a coalition of Independents Conservatives and Lib Dem councillors have just told 800 workers they are losing their jobs and services are being cut.
    Staff have been told 20 per cent of the workforce will lose their jobs in the next 3 years.
    As I got told when phone polling for Labour in North Ayrshire what ye gonna dae aboot it.
    At all levels prove to people we are on their side.
    In Holyrood the FM has just announced her new plans for Government. We could and should ask why did you not implement these new policies earlier.
    Is it because your party lost a load of MPS and a stack of voters. How are you going to explain to your party Indy is off the table.
    It cant be left to our elected representatives alone . All our members need to dig in unite .
    At all levels whether its Local Authorities or Holyrood or Westminster. We have the policiies . Lets get out there and on behalf of our people
    say to our political opponents what you gonna dae aboot it. Do that and we will win because we are on our peoples side

    Anyway that’s what I think

  7. Gavin I know what you mean regarding Clause 4. I remember saying to a party member we both agreed . It wasn’t the words on a card it was the hope and belief behind it we were abandoning.
    My comrade left the party over that was still voting Labour until better together.
    Me I stayed the 2017 manifesto I have been waiting years for that All the best Gavin

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