Scottish Labour Party

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...

Scottish Labour right is wrong to attack McDonnell

In 2014, the Scottish Labour right wing virtually destroyed Labour in Scotland by allying with the Tories in “Better Together”. Now, in 2019, they’re back for a repeat performance. The 2014 class collaboration with the Tories resulted in: the loss of 40 out of 41 Westminster seats in 2015; the loss of 13 Holyrood seats in 2016, leaving Labour a poor third behind the Tories; and the loss of a raft of council seats and control of Glasgow City Council in 2017. The fact that it now turns out that a majority of Tory Party members are happy to see the break-up of Britain in order to achieve Brexit...

Scottish Labour, the Euro-elections and long-term decline

In Scotland Labour’s share of the vote in last Thursday’s EU election slumped to just over 9%, costing it both its sitting MEPs. It came fifth overall, just one percentage point ahead of the Greens. In 2014 Scottish Labour had won 26% of the vote. In some local authority areas Labour did far worse. In Edinburgh Scottish Labour came sixth, with 7% of the vote. In the Scottish Borders it also came sixth, with less than 3% of the vote and less than one percentage point ahead of Change UK. Even in Glasgow, where Labour managed to come second with 15% of the vote, its share of votes fell by over...

Scottish Labour and the Glasgow council issue

The long-running campaign for equal pay for Glasgow City Council women workers, finally settled in February 2019, is on the agenda of the Scottish Labour Party annual conference, taking place in Dundee on 9-10 March 2019. A motion submitted by the Scottish Labour Women’s Conference – tabled at that conference by the GMB, which represented many of the low-paid women – notes the resistance to equal pay for local authority women workers, “including during years of Labour power”. It describes last year’s Glasgow City Council equal pay strike, probably the largest equal pay strike in British...

Glasgow equal pay: accounts to settle

Last October, the lack of progress in settling a long-running dispute at Glasgow City Council led to the biggest equal-pay strike in British history. On Monday 21 January, over 250 women members of the GMB employed by Glasgow City Council attended a meeting to hear an update on the campaign. The previous week the media had reported that agreement had been reached with the now SNP-­run Council in a dispute stretching back to 2006, when the then Labour­controlled council introduced a new pay scheme to address gender-­based pay inequalities. Refusing to adopt the pay scheme used by all other...

The crisis of Scottish Labour

The Crisis of Scottish Labour A Survation opinion poll carried out in mid-November found that Labour had a 1% lead over the Tories in England and a 17% lead over the Tories in Wales. But in Scotland Labour was on just 23%, a poor third behind the SNP (40%) and the Tories (27%). As with any opinion poll, the precise figures are open to challenge. But as far as Scotland is concerned, the figures reflect the experiences of many Labour canvassers on the doorstep. Two overlapping factors explain the polling figures for Scotland. Firstly, the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence resulted in a...

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