The nominations are over and the debate begins

jim2Jim Murphy MP welcomes the official start of the election campaign for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.


The nominations for Scottish Labour leader have now closed. The debate amongst party members and colleagues in the trade union movement properly begins today.

The broad range of support I have received so far from colleagues in the Scottish, UK and European Parliaments proves that I can be a unifying figure to bring the Scottish Labour Party together again. As you can see from the list of nominations I have the most supporters from all three Parliaments.

The fact that I am backed by so many MSPs, MPs and MEPs shows that the days of division in our party can and must be a thing of the past. Some people might be surprised by the breadth of support that I have received, including people from every corner of our country and every part of our party. It’s a great sign that Labour is moving on from our two shattering Scottish Parliament election defeats.

As many people know I’m a football fan (I’ll be playing against a BBC team tomorrow morning with Phil Neville and Robbie Savage in their line-up). Sometimes in the past the Scottish Labour Party has seemed like a team that enjoyed tackling its own players in public. If a football team did that the supporters would soon turn away and the team would end up playing in an empty stadium. Those days are over for Scottish Labour. This is a fresh start.

I want a Scotland where we don’t judge people by whether they were a Yes voter or a No voter in the referendum. I will take the same approach with my party as I do with my country. If I’m elected Scottish Labour leader I will bring everyone together. Once the contest is over it’s finished – no matter how individual members and trade unionists vote in this contest we will all be on the same side. Each of us is determined to get rid of both the UK and Scottish governments.

We are fortunate in this contest to have three strong candidates. If people support Neil or Sarah, I want those supporters and ideas in our team.

If people consider themselves to be Old Labour or New Labour, they will still have a role to play in the Scottish Labour Party that I want to lead.

And if people consider themselves to be left wing or right wing, they will still have a role to play in the Scottish Labour Party that I want to lead.

New or Old, left or right. I don’t care which you are. If your goal is to elect a Scottish Labour Party that wants to tackle the big challenges facing our country then we can work together.

What Scots want is a Scottish Labour Party that they are proud of again and that will stand up for those in need and help families get on in life.

I have three clear priorities for Scotland if I am elected leader and the Scottish Labour Party candidate for First Minister.

Firstly, the referendum campaign was passionate but on occasion divisive. Families across Scotland disagreed with one another, and even in our own party some people reached different conclusions. Going around Scotland on my 100 towns tour campaigning for a No vote, it was clear that wounds would need to be healed once the Scottish people made their decision.

I will unite Scotland around a vision of more powers within the UK. That’s what the clear majority of Scots voted for in the referendum and I am determined that that’s what Scotland will get.

Secondly, we need to increase prosperity in Scotland. I want there to be as much money as possible to spend on the schools and hospitals that we all depend on. The pressures our public services face are huge. The only way to deliver the standard of health and education that Scots rightly expect, and deserve, is to have a thriving economy which generates the wealth needed to fund our NHS and education system.

I want businesses large and small to be successful, to employ more Scots. Without a growing economy bringing in the tax receipts we can’t help those most in need.

Thirdly, I am determined to carry out an assault on poverty, including for those in work. Too many families in working class communities, like the one I was born into, are just one pay packet away from serious trouble. If the washing machine breaks down or the car fails its MOT, they just wouldn’t be able to balance the family budget.

The task facing the Scottish Labour Party is enormous. So too is the challenge facing Scotland. But there is nothing wrong with Scotland that can’t be changed by the people of Scotland working together.

I want the Scottish Labour Party under my leadership to be driving that change.

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7 thoughts on “The nominations are over and the debate begins

  1. As a family who have come from a working class background and who have dealt with major challenges to achieve some notable successes we have had a quite a unique perspective of how hard it is to progress in Scotland. There is a poverty of aspiration and closed-mindedness that permeates large swathes of society. The mantra that we have encountered on our journey from all social classes is “Who do you think you are?”
    Surely in this modern age it no one should question the desire of another person to be all that they can be or try to block their movement?
    So in answer to the question a reasonable reply would be, I am nothing; I am a process, and it’s open to change.
    It would seem that for many in this country the process is stuck and has been for many years. What would you do to change that and to rid us of not only a poverty of wealth but aspiration as well?

  2. “I will unite Scotland around a vision of more powers within the UK.”

    Mr Murphy, There an image going around social media, showing that Labour is proposing the most limited devolution proposals from all the parties – even the Tories.

    Then I read in the Herald that you are backtracking even on income tax devolution. It just looks terrible.

    Just saying ‘more powers’ isn’t enough. We can’t just offer platitudes and soundbites – People want powers to be SUBSTANTIAL.
    To be able to do things differently if we want, not just extra responsibilities without competitive powers.

    In my view, we are making the same mistakes all over again.
    Why are we ALWAYS on the back foot on extra powers ??

    Why can’t Scottish Labour be bold enough to give the Scottish people what they actually want? Devo-Max or Federalism.
    A Scottish parliament with REAL powers, but within the stability of the UK.

    If not, the Nats will hoover up votes from people who don’t want independence, but see them as the best chance to get a genuinely strong Scottish parliament.

    I do not agree that devolving major tax powers will lead to further division between Scotland and the rest of Britain, but that it will actually STRENGTHEN the union, once Scots are content with the constitution.

    We have a chance to regain the initiative and kill off the SNP once and for all, and yet again, it looks like we are putting our heads in the sand.

    I understand there are considerations with the Barnett funding formula, and the EVEL issue, but these can be overcome when Labour is in power.
    A replacement for Barnett is long overdue anyway, with a transparent mechanism that pools and shares according to need.

    One things for sure – If we go into the General Election on these current proposals, we are going to get absolutely HAMMERED in Scotland, regardless of who is in charge.
    And then another 5 years of Tory rule, and another set of apologies for not listening to the people.

    It’s time to turn this around.
    Please reconsider for the good of the party.

  3. I am intrigued by the vague platitudes suggesting a plan of uniting Scotland around a vision of more powers within the UK
    Perhaps as a Westminster MP who has concentrated on his own agenda you can not appreciate how cheated both YES and NO supporters feel This has spurred on a new determination to win Independence There have been numerous reports that well over fifty per cent of the Scottish Electorate would vote for Independence. There has been an unprecedented surge in membership of pro YES parties The membership of the SNP is fast approaching 100,000 and is now the third largest party in the UK
    It is within this political arena that Scottish Labour is forced into finding a new leader.
    The new leader needs to be beyond reproach. Honesty and sincerity must be paramount.
    A believable and trustworthy candidate is vital if Labour is ever to even think of making a political comeback in Scotland
    Some of Mr Murphy’s statement comes over as being slightly confusing He states:
    ‘I am determined to carry out an assault on poverty’ If this was the case why is it recorded that he failed to turn up to vote against the incideous BEDROOM TAX which inflicted greater poverty on families already struggling to survive
    I believe the next leader of The Scottish Labour Party needs to have a proven record of fighting for Social Justice . A person with integrity and who has life experiences on every level I believe NEIL FINDLAY has displayed a genuine desire to strive for a fairer society rather than pursue his own agenda
    Unfortunately, Mr Murphy, your campaign is somewhat overshadowed by past actions
    Such as your enthusiastic support of The iraq War, Support of the expensive and potentially lethal implications of Trident.
    And of course the lingering whiff of Blairism which will never really fade I don’t expect
    I think if Labour is to ever see a resurgence in Scotland ….or indeed the UK it has to put forward a candidate who is beyond reproach and will ensure the people of Scotland work
    together to bring about social justce. I believe that candidate will be NEIL FINDLAY MSP

  4. “And if people consider themselves to be left wing or right wing, they will still have a role to play in the Scottish Labour Party that I want to lead.

    New or Old, left or right. I don’t care which you are.”

    I’m far from branding myself left wing but I can’t believe a Labour leader would countenance not caring and accepting right wing views.

    If the Labour party stands for anything it needs to have principles, surely. If it’s a movement, it can’t be a party for everyone. That’s just daft.

  5. I was very impressed with your 100 day tour of Scotland and the fact you were prepared to stand up against baying mobs determined to stop you from using your democratic right to free speech in this country.

    For too long Scotland has been taken down the wrong path by an SNP Government who puts their passion for separation from the UK before the needs of the Scottish people.

    The Labour Party is full of good people who want a more equal society, one that increases our prosperity, and looks after the important things like Education, Health and Job Creation.

    I decided last week it was no longer enough for Labour Supporters like me to just turn up on polling days and just put my X in the box.

    The scourge of Nationalism is growing in this country and all it needs for it to succeed is for Labour supporters to stand by and do nothing.

    I have now joined the party, and I encourage other Labour supporters to do the same.

    We need to get behind Jim Murphy, he is a well known candidate, a man of great political knowledge and skills, who has experience at the highest levels of Government, someone who can bring all the sections of our Party together, and most importantly a man who can stand up tall despite the vitriol flung at him by the Nationalists.

  6. I am a socialist, a trade unionist and a working -class Glaswegian. In the run up to the referendum, I sought to attend Better Together meetings in order to talk about a post-no Scotland. There were no meetings. There were street events. The street is not the place to discuss something as fundamental as the future of this country. I attended three Yes undecided events open to all. I did not manage to attend any of Jim Murphy’s 100 Towns events. I considered them to be nothing more than street theatre, anyway. The Irn Bru crates stopped being impromptu within a weekend and were symbolic of cynical political calculation and as real as Mr Murphy’s man of the people act.
    I managed to get to one closed Better Together event in Coatbridge where I questioned the legitimacy and value of closed events in undisclosed locations to an invited audience. I was treated harshly. What has This to do with Jim Murphy? His campaign is being managed by Blair McDougall. Blair McDougall’s conduct of the BT campaign was an affront to democracy. That Scottish Labour think that an arch-Blairite who voted for the welfare cap and has been a vociferous opponent of devolution is the answer to their problems in Scotland is unfathomable to me.
    I am traditional, centrist, old Labour. I first voted for another party (the SSP) in Glasgow East in 2008. I have not voted Labour since. I distrust nationalism and have never voted SNP in my life. I voted yes! Watching Labour having an internal Scottish leadership campaign, entirely divorced from the realities of their unprecedentedly poor poll ratings, makes me think I am watching the death throes of a party that has left me behind. I wanted Labour to persuade me to vote against
    independence and to offer a vision of a United Kingdom I could vote for. I was excluded from the debate. I wanted to vote for a party I believed in again and I was excluded from influencing their decisions. The architect of the campaign was Blair McDougall. He supports the perfect example of a Labour machine politician, Jim Murphy. Mr Murphy will lead the party to electoral oblivion in Scotland. As I write, Glasgow City is seeking to find £100 million of cuts. I regularly contribute to food banks and I teach hungry children of parents victimised by austerity, benefit cuts and the dismantling of the post war settlement. If Jim Murphy is the answer, I think I shall never vote Labour again.

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