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Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour’

Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland: What he should say about Broken Britain

Gerry Hassan

New Statesman, August 23rd 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is in Scotland. He has problems understanding Scotland and the changing dynamics of the UK. Here is the speech he should give while here.

The backdrop to this speech is that Corbyn and his team have not been seen to understand Scotland or understand its distinct politics. The Scottish party, despite making six gains at last year’s general election (up from one seat in 2015), finished third in the polls, and no sign of recovery under Richard Leonard’s leadership looks on the cards – with the party regularly in third place in the polls behind the SNP and Tories.

Since last year’s election, the Corbyn leadership have begun to recognise that Scotland matters if they are to win a general election. Eighteen of the seats which Labour needs to win to form a majority government – and all of them need to be won from the SNP.

Scottish Labour has not gained from the Corbyn surge. It has had no major inflow of new members as in England and Wales. The people who would have joined a Corbyn led Labour in Scotland had already joined the SNP which after the indyref – expanded fivefold. Labour need to understand and reconnect with the energy and activism of left-wing independence opinion, and if it is to be listened to – develop a different politics on the constitution and future of Scotland and the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Kezia Dugdale and the Jungle that is the Scottish Labour ‘Family’

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, November 22nd 2017

The big story of the last few days in certain quarters hasn’t been Zimbabwe, allegations of child sexploitation in Govanhill on Glasgow’s Southside, the saving of BiFab, or the election of Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour’s ninth leader. And not even Alex Salmond’s weekly programme on ‘Russia Today’.

Instead our airwaves, papers and social media have been obsessed with news that Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour’s outgoing leader, will appear in the TV reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. This entails spending up to three weeks in the Australian jungle doing such purposeful things as eating insects and kangaroo testicles and living in close quarters with reality TV stars – all in the aid of tabloid front covers and higher audiences. And doing this while remaining an elected MSP.

This caused a huge stramash when announced by ‘The Scottish Sun’ on the eve of the latest Scottish Labour contest result. This was seen by some as an act of deliberate sabotage – indicative of Dugdale’s displeasure at how she was treated while leader and being constantly undermined by internal critics. Read the rest of this entry »

Labour could be the future but is feeling a bit too self-satisfied with itself

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, September 26th 2017

This week the Labour Party Conference gathered in Brighton. It hasn’t been in such good spirits for many a year – with the highest membership of any party in Europe, and the biggest increase in its vote in a UK general election since 1945.

The spirit in many respects is a little too upbeat. Corbyn’s Labour did not actually win the June election, despite Theresa May’s campaign being the most inept by a major party in living memory. There is too much backslapping, feeling smug and self-congratulatory, and the conference opened to delegates singing the now mandatory semi-football chant of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’. Leadership cults and worship are never advisable: imagine the Nats doing this under Salmond or Sturgeon at her peak, or the Tories under the imperial reign of Thatcher?

Labour has earned the right to be taken seriously again. There is a good chance it will form the next UK Government. But it does need a big further shift to do so – needing 64 seats for a bare majority and cannot forever duck and dive on Brexit. The biggest UK political issue in decades hasn’t even been properly debated at conference, as the Eurosceptic leadership of Corbyn and McDonnell want to square their opinions with a hugely pro-EU membership and concentrate on Tory divisions. This isn’t sustainable or serious politics at such a time of crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Scottish Labour after Dugdale and what comes next?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, August 30th 2017

Scottish Labour used to offer certainty. It had its differences and divisions, but it was in the business of running Scotland, dominating local government and town halls, and was concerned with administration, holding office and doing practical things.

That seems a long time ago. Where did it all go wrong for Scottish Labour? The resignation of Kezia Dugdale means the party has gone through a staggering eight leaders in eighteen years, and will by the end of this year have a ninth.

Scottish Labour’s neverending crisis continues when things are looking up for the British party. Corbyn’s June election recovery made all of this more likely as Dugdale was on record as not supporting Corbyn in both his victorious leadership contests and many of Corbyn’s supporters haven’t forgotten or forgiven this.

British Labour are now making the political weather. The June election and rise in the party’s vote and seats, depriving the Tories of their majority and confidence, has given Corbyn a sense of belief. It has been an amazing transformation, for pre-June Corbyn was widely treated by the media with scorn and condescension. Suddenly such people are having to take him and the prospect of a Labour Government seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

Does the appeal of Corbyn in Scotland hold the keys to Downing Street?

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment, August 28th 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has been causing waves in Scotland, as he has been across the entire UK. A five-day visit has seen him get lots of coverage and in places crowds, while annoying his political opponents.

It wasn’t always so. Pre-election Corbyn had written Scotland off as hostile and unfriendly territory. Now it is back in play – after six Labour gains in June from the SNP, along with a small rise in their vote – all against everyone’s expectations.

Corbyn’s trip saw him visit eighteen constituencies – thirteen current SNP and five Labour gains in the June election – drawing criticism from the Nationalists that he was avoiding Tory seats.

This ignored that of the 64 seats Labour needs to win for a bare majority eighteen are in Scotland and all are SNP held. The magical 64th – East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow has a 3,866 SNP majority. It is not until Labour’s 96th target seat that you reach a Tory one – Renfrewshire East (formerly Jim Murphy’s seat) currently held by the Tories with a 7,150 lead over third place Labour. Read the rest of this entry »

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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