Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour Party’
Seven Suggestions for Scottish Labour to be the Party of Change
The Scotsman, April 20th 2013
It seems to be the age of seven questions as Tony Blair once again acts as an uncomfortable sage for Labour and Ed Miliband.
With Labour meeting in Inverness this weekend and the party’s Devolution Commission interim report out, it is time for Scottish Labour to assess where it is and what it needs to do to change and to start shaping the political weather.
Here then are my seven observations and suggestions for you Johann:
1. Careless Talk Costs Political Lives
Your ‘something for nothing’ speech has gone down in political mythology; not quite the ‘Sermon on the Mound’, but cast that way by opponents. There was a point to your argument, but strategically and tactically, it was ineptly executed. There was no preparatory work, of building advance positions, and signing up significant allies prior to the speech.
The language was counter-productive and damaging to Labour. ‘Something for nothing’ might work as a soundbite from your spin-doctor Paul Sinclair or in a ‘Daily Record’ editorial, but it deeply hurts Labour by embracing right wing populist rhetoric. Read the rest of this entry »
We may be anti-Tory but the ideas of conservatism are everywhere
The Scotsman, April 6th 2013
Two laments have been constant in Scotland in the last decade. One is that our politics are not what they used to be; while another is that our media isn’t up to the task it once was (along with that our football is going down the pan!).
This yearning for the past and an unspecified ‘golden era’ in public life which never was has become a sort of national pastime. It is wrong, dangerous and debilitating, and the reasons for so many of us thinking this way need to be put in historical context.
The characteristics of public life go back at least to the Acts of Union agreed between a pre-democratic Scotland and England which defined and protected an autonomous Scots civil society. This centred Scots identity in the union around ‘the holy trinity’ of education, law and the kirk, prioritising institutional dominance of public life and institutional identities as our main mark of difference. Read the rest of this entry »
Let us recognise that we are One Scotland: The Vision of Self-Government
The big day was finally announced.
It was, when it came, an emotional moment and I will admit I had a tear in my eye but then I am a bit of a quiet sentimentalist, aided by it all occurring on my birthday.
There has been a long journey to get to this point; but it is about us as a nation, what we aspire to, how we see our future, our values, and importantly, how we get on with each other even when we politically disagree. But it can be said that this says something about who we are, and what we have so far collectively decided as a nation.
There is also an immediate backdrop of division and sniping with the trading of insults between Labour and SNP dominating ‘the Big Day’. This illustrated that part of this debate is still about who speaks for the soul of anti-Tory Scotland.
At First Minister’s Questions, Alex Salmond cited Labour MP Gordon Banks as having agreed with George Osborne on something, while Johann Lamont retorted by alleging that SNP MP Stewart Hosie had said something suspiciously pro-Tory. Read the rest of this entry »
The Scottish Press, Generation Gridlock and Living with Crony Capitalism
Scottish Review, March 21st 2013
The Scottish media and press are not exactly in a healthy state; facing pressures and constrictions from every angle, from the expectations and demands of an independence referendum, to disappearing audiences and revenues.
This is the backdrop to Leveson, the Scottish ‘expert’ response (the McCluskey report), and the debate so far.
Twenty years ago, the atmosphere was completely different, filled with the air of self-congratulation and smugness of everything being labeled ‘Scottish’ and the press defined by ‘Real Scots Read the Record’ versus ‘Rise Now and Be a Nation’ ‘Scottish Sun’.
How things change as Alex Massie’s poignant lament for a world slowly withering made clear. As he also pointed out, parts of the Scottish press with their limited, dwindling resources have been trying their best to do a decent job, unnoticed by large parts of their potential audience.
Yet there are many siren, certain voices who revel in the current situation. The most prevalent strand is that of a nationalist viewpoint who feel independence has not historically and still does not get a fair deal, from what has been until recent decades, a liberal unionist press. This allows them to embrace a rather unattractive schadenfreude and talk of the demise of a declining, failed industry. Read the rest of this entry »
Do we want to tell a story of Scotland’s ‘Good Society’?
The Scotsman, February 9th 2013
‘We are all social democrats now’, Scots politicians might say – Salmond, Lamont, Rennie, even the occasional Tory seeking redemption.
Scotland is a land imbued and shaped by social democracy, but which has spent little time or energy in defining this in terms of its philosophy, values and practice. And increasingly this matters.
To Labour, social democracy has always been what it says it does from the local Labour council to Labour in government. To the SNP a catch-all populist party, social democracy has become part of its mission as a centre-left party, but not something it has ever reflected upon in-depth.
Both of these parties sit across a large part of the political spectrum, containing egalitarians, pragmatic managerialists, social conservatives and neo-liberals. Think of Wendy Alexander’s New Labour strictures or the SNP’s Mike Russell who argued that the first years of independence could see the size of the state slashed. Read the rest of this entry »