Former Edinburgh MP Mark Lazarowicz compares two potential approaches to the local election campaign.
There are two ways in which Scottish Labour can oppose the SNP in the upcoming local government elections.
- Campaign on a positive agenda for the local council area.
- Highlight each candidate’s programme for their own ward.
- Point out SNP government failures in local government – for example lack of finance, educational achievement, over-centralisation, shortage of homelessness accommodation, failure to tackle poor urban air quality, lots more money for motorways and bridges but not so much for cycling, walking, and buses – but recognise that there have also been successes and achievements.
- Promote positive policies for local government across Scotland.
- Highlight the hard work and achievements of local councillors (if they don’t have any, change the councillor!).
Result: election is focused on local issues, the SNP government’s record is scrutinised, some hope for success if the local Labour programme meets local needs and the local record deserves it.
- Run round in circles getting hysterical about ‘#indyref2’.
- Imply (either directly or by nod-and-a-wink) that everyone in the SNP/Yes campaign is motivated by racism or xenophobia.
- Spend all day on social media searching for cybernats with 3 followers on Twitter and 8 facebook friends who’ve said something outrageous and then denounce them as widely as possible.
- Claim that the SNP government has done ‘nothing’ progressive in 10 years.
Result: local elections ignore local issues and become polarised between pro-independence and pro-union sides; Labour effectively writes off half the voters, and gets ‘trumped’ by the Tories as the most pro-union party; Labour gets squeezed between the Tories and the SNP.
I wonder which option might be best?