Harris admits defeat in Scottish leadership contest

11th December, 2011 10:16 am

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Tom Harris has admitted defeat in his bid for the leadership of the Scottish party, but not without throwing a barb at the party. The MP told Scotland on Sunday:

“Realistically speaking I am not sure that the Scottish Labour party is prepared to take as radical a step as having an MP as its leader yet.”

“My message has been that Labour is in really deep trouble and that we need to think outside the box. There is no indication that the party is prepared to do that yet and I don’t know why.”

Harris has faced an uphill struggle throughout the leadership contest, without the backing of MSPs, constituency parties or trade unions held by his rivals. The result will be announced in one week.

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  • I think Scottish Labour have had the sense to realise that whatever the problems, the answer is not to choose a divisive Blairite MP not in the Scottish parliament. 

    Scottish Labour needs to recognise that Holyrood and the rise of the SNP has changed the agenda, and the choice of a Westminster MP associated with the Blairite ultras would be a major mistake

    • Anonymous

      I love the thinking out side the  box remarks….

    • Andy

      It’s also worth noting, Mike, that Harris failed to secure the backing of even a single MSP in his leadership bid. The Nits would run rings around him for that reason alone.

    • While I disagree with Tom on some of his policies, I think he has got the politics spot on. As someone else has said, SNP seem to do “Labour” better than we do. This is where Tom actually scores very well, he knows what we have to do to take on the SNP. One of the many reasons why we lost the election in Scotland was we were trying to take on the tories, and position ourselves as anti-tory. Thats why it matters less whether the leader is a blairite or not. That is not the battle we need to fight.

  • Daniel Speight

    In a year of mostly bad news sometimes there have been small glimpses of bright light.

  • Ken Macintosh for me. Johann, although more than capable, is too closely associated with past failures and I don’t think she can shake them off.

    I just hope it’s a clear cut result and Ken doesn’t end up losing on the basis of the Union vote!

  • Franwhi

    It’s amazing that the last Labourlist post on Scotland was on the 17th November particularly in the midst of a Scottish Labour leadership election. Talk about moribund.
    I agree that Tom’s not the answer although I’m not sure who is… However I think he is to be applauded in one sense for daring to mix it up a bit in the first place. I fear whoever wins will be pushing a political elephant uphill because the SNP seem to do “Labour” better than Labour these days

  • Hamish

    The only glimpse of light will be when Labour embrace Scottish Independence.

    • Dave Postles

      Scottish independence.  It grieves me to say so, but I believe you are right.  An association with the Nordic countries will be beneficial.  You will replace ‘England’ for inward investment for access to the single market – the rest of the world is only interested in the UK as a point of access to the single market.  You will have immense energy resources which can be linked into a network grid of the North Atlantic. 

      • Dave Postles

        I actually meant the North Sea grid!

    •  And so abandon it’s principles? Yea, I’m sure you’d love that.

      • Anonymous

        Principles seem to have placed it in a mess, sadly people now do not want the labour way, so you find out why and then you change,

        •  Yes, try “being left wing”. It’s what I’m advocating, if you missed that.

          • Anonymous

            Left wingers died out with Wilson for god sake.

      • Hamish

        Would that be the principle that every nation has the right to determine its own affairs apart from Scotland?

  • Anonymous

    Tom Harris talked and wrote sense. He looks and acts normal.

    That debars him as a Leader.

    (see E Mlliband as a contrast.)

  • I agree. If Tom Harris had wanted to take this direction, then he should have stood for Holyrood last time. That is now the centre of action in a devolved Scotland. However, I think were it not for the fact that he is out of favour at Westminster  he would not have expressed interest in this post – and hasn’t before. 

    It is an issue for Labour that young activists in Scotland still seem to want to pursue a Westminster rather than Holyrood career

    • Franwhi

      ..and the not so young like M Curran and C Jamieson who have moved onward and upward from Edinburgh to Westminster. Do they believe Holyrood is a “sand pit” on the way to bigger and better things ? I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to serve in the devolved administation of your own country unless you felt your career was more important than your constituents.   

  • John Ruddy

    Theres a different reason for that. The MSPs have never wanted an MP as leader.

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