Scottish Labour Party

Scotland and the "second referendum"

The SNP victory – or SNP-Green victory – in the Holyrood election of 6 May 2021 was a mandate for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The fact that the SNP did not get an absolute majority of seats or an absolute majority of the popular vote is irrelevant. The Holyrood voting system is designed to stop one party gaining an absolute majority of seats (and the SNP fell only seat short of that). And no one ever argued that the 1945 Labour government had no mandate because it failed to win 50% of the popular vote. The elections held on 6 May also strengthened Sturgeon’s position in three...

Scotland: a weak Labour campaign

Sections of the media and the right wing of Scottish Labour have hailed Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar for having run “a good campaign” in the 6 May Scottish election. But Scottish Labour lost seats in the election, and ended up with a (slightly) lower share of constituency and regional list votes. Its overall score of 20% was only slightly higher than its poll ratings before Sarwar became leader. Sarwar did not make any election gaffes and was articulate in the televised party leader debates. But the lack of improvement is the surprising thing, given that between 2017 (when Richard...

Sarwar disrupts Scottish Labour

Anas Sarwar was elected Scottish Labour leader at the end of February. Within a fortnight he had ousted Hollie Cameron as the Labour candidate for Glasgow Kelvin constituency and appointed Kate Watson as a campaign manager for the Holyrood election in May. In an interview with the pro-SNP (and indie-fundamentalist) National newspaper Cameron had said that if the people of Scotland wanted a second referendum, then they should have one. That referendum might take place during the next five years, she continued, as the need to ‘rebuild Scotland’ after the Covid-19 pandemic did not preclude the...

Left back Lennon

The 30 January Emergency General Meeting of the Campaign for Socialism (CfS — Scottish Momentum) agreed to support Monica Lennon for elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party. The ballot runs from 9 to 26 February. Lennon is not a member of the CfS and has not sought its support. Nor is Lennon overly left-wing. Lennon was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, having previously been a councillor in South Lanarkshire. She backed Richard Leonard in the 2017 leadership contest and led the campaign against period poverty which led to Holyrood legislating for free period products. In...

Another setback for Labour in Scotland

Richard Leonard resigned as Scottish Labour Party leader on 14 January, only four months after surviving a vote of no-confidence, and just four months before the next Holyrood (Scottish Parliament) election. There are three (overlapping) versions of why he resigned. Version one (The Times): Labour Party donors, including William Haughey (West of Scotland businessman) and Robert Latham (who donated £100,000 to Starmer’s leadership campaign) threatened to withold funding unless Leonard stepped down. Version two (LabourList): The "balance of power" shifted on the Scottish Labour Executive...

Scottish Labour - why did GMB abstain?

On the eve of the 12 September 2020 meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee, Gary Smith, Regional Secretary of the GMB union, announced that the GMB would be abstaining on the motion of ‘no confidence’ in leader Richard Leonard. “Richard Leonard’s Own Union Refuses To Back Him Ahead of Leadership Vote,” read the headlines in the Scottish press. According to Smith: “At a time like this, our members would not thank us for getting bogged down in an internal Scottish Labour party issue, a party for which many of them no longer vote for.” “Bogged down”? But all the two GMB...

Scottish Labour: mobilise to push back

The campaign by the right wing of the Scottish Labour Party to oust Richard Leonard as leader, which began on the day he was elected in late 2017, reached a climax on 12 September with the tabling of a “no confidence” motion for an Executive Committee meeting. Signatories to the motion included Suzan King and James Adams, “representatives” of CLPs in Glasgow and Central Scotland. They had no mandate from members to have signed it and had made no attempt to obtain one. Other signatories to the motion who had no mandate and had made no attempt to obtain one included Jacqueline Martin (USDAW)...

Indicted for opposing cuts

Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated by the leadership of Glasgow City Council Labour Group against Matt Kerr, who is a candidate in the Scottish Labour Party deputy leader ballot running from 21 February to 2 April. At a City Council meeting a fortnight ago the minority SNP administration proposed a cuts budget. The Labour Group also proposed a cuts budget, with the usual homilies about it being "less painful", "the fault of Holyrood underfunding", "our cuts not as bad as yours", etc., etc. Matt, a Glasgow Labour councillor, decided that he could not vote for either of the cuts...

Scottish deputy: a clear choice

If only Scottish Labour could be as right-wing as it used to be, then people would vote for it again. This pretty much sums up the platform of Jackie Baillie MSP in her bid to be elected Scottish Labour Deputy Leader. But as the hustings in Glasgow on 17 February confirmed, this involves a breathtaking ability to deny reality. Baillie denied that housing legislation passed by the Labour-Lib-Dem Holyrood government (1999-2007) had extended the “right to buy” to Housing Association tenants. But it did. Baillie boasted that the same Holyrood coalition government had initiated a massive...

The general election in Scotland

Speaking at last Saturday’s #indyref2020 rally in Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon pledged that there would be another referendum on Scottish independence in 2020. This was the first pro-independence rally to have been addressed by Sturgeon since the run-up to the 2014 referendum. But it was not the first time that she has promised another referendum. Sturgeon first promised a second referendum immediately after losing the 2014 one. She has been promising one ever since. In the 2017 general election campaign, for example, she initially called for a second referendum “in the autumn of 2018...

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