Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour Party’
If Independence is a State of Mind then we have to fundamentally change
Sunday Mail, November 8th 2015
Years ago the dream was that the Scottish Parliament would usher in a new politics.
It was going to be different from adversarial Westminster – consensual, caring, thoughtful, leading to better debates and laws.
Much of this was wish-fulfillment. There has always been mutual scorn between Labour and SNP – aided by the fetishisation of tiny differences, given they agree on so much. But in recent years all of this seems to have got worse. And the last week in particular, was a new low.
In the previous seven days, Labour and SNP crossed swords on the replacement of the UK nuclear ‘deterrent’ Trident. Scottish Labour debated the issue at their conference for the first time since 1998 and came to the same result – opposing nuclear weapons and voting for disarmament. Read the rest of this entry »
Will the Real Scottish Labour Party Finally Stand Up?
Sunday Mail, November 1st 2015
Scottish Labour met this weekend. This used to be the key political gathering in Scotland. No longer. But the party is in better spirits than many would think after the May 2015 wipeout.
It is a party changing. It has a new leader. Lots of new members. And more autonomy after a ‘concordat’ was signed last Monday with British leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The party hopes that the tide is turning against the SNP and that its Teflon quality and Sturgeonmania have finally peaked.
If Labour is to come back from its wilderness years, it has to understand why it has ended up where it has – when it once seemed so powerful? It has to ask why do Scots not trust or listen to Labour? And what, realistically, can the party do to change all this? Read the rest of this entry »
Where does real political power sit in Scotland? And where do we want it?
Sunday Mail, September 6th 2015
The Scottish Parliament is one of the central pillars of public life.
It has become the unquestioned landmark and focus of domestic politics in the country. People look to it, want it to have more powers, and generally trust it much more to look after their interests than Westminster.
That is all good and well. Yet, when people think of the Scottish Parliament what they tend to have a vision of is not the reality, but the broad idea.
The idea of the Scottish Parliament is an unqualified positive. It has changed Scotland, how we think of ourselves and how we want to be governed. But because people follow little of the debates at Parliament they don’t know much about what it actually does.
The reality of the Scottish Parliament’s actions is that it hasn’t directly done that much to change Scotland – in its decisions or debates. And nor is it where political power can be found. Read the rest of this entry »
One Year on from the IndyRef: Making the Scotland of the Future
Open Democracy, September 2nd 2015
Scottish public life has dramatically changed in recent times – the SNP 2011 first landslide, the independence referendum, and the 2015 tartan tsunami.
Yet Scotland, like everywhere, is about more than politics. In this and other areas there have been huge changes, but also continuity and conservatism, the balance of which we are still trying to make sense of, and with huge consequences for the future of Scotland and the UK.
Take the indyref. It didn’t come from nowhere. It came in the context of wider change in Scotland – of the decline of the traditional establishment and the old unionist order, and of the potent culture of deference, authority and of people knowing their place which for so long hung over large aspects of society.
The indyref changed many things. But it has become a well-worn cliché to say it has changed everything. What it has done is act simultaneously as a spike, watershed and a catalyst to further change in public life. It will take years to establish the balance between these different forces and, nearly a year after the vote, the pattern of these different dynamics and their impact is still evolving. Read the rest of this entry »
Kezia, Jezza and Indy: Where are the Big Ideas of the Next Scotland?
This week the SNP hit a new high mark in the polls – 62% for next year’s Scottish elections. Elsewhere Kezia Dugdale was elected Scottish Labour leader as the Jeremy Corbyn bandwagon came to much acclaim north of the border.
What do you with popularity? It is a question politicians seldom have to answer. The nearest equivalent to the SNP now is Blair’s New Labour – which, less we forget, was once hugely popular.
There is the question of where opposition comes from and what form it takes? The same poll – with the SNP on 62% – put Labour on 20%, Tories on 12% and Lib Dems on 3%. These are the three great parties of pre-SNP Scotland and each is now reduced to tiny, impotent rumps. All are likely to face a difficult election next year.
The Greens are doing well, there will be a new left party and even the attempted return of Tommy Sheridan, but none of these will sweep the board.
The more important challenge is what drives and shapes Scottish politics, and what, if any, are the big ideas which inhabit and inform public life? There is, of course, one indisputable big idea: independence. But this raises the issue of what kind of independence and even more crucially, independence to do what and create what sort of society? Read the rest of this entry »