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 socialismandhope.com priced £12.99 plus P&P.