Why Lamont left – and what happens next?

25th October, 2014 11:05 am

Johann Lamont’s resignation was a surprise, if only in terms of timing. Politicians – especially party leaders – rarely resign in newspaper interviews released over the weekend. Yet it seems this decision had been coming for a while. This was not something that transpired over a matter of days, but weeks, months or even years (depending on who you speak to).

Lamont has made the right decision to step down. She was facing increasing fire both internally and externally, and didn’t look likely to lead Labour to success in the 2016 Holyrood elections. Having seen out the independence referendum, and playing her part in keeping the union together, she has stepped down to allow Scottish Labour – and Scotland – to debate the future of the party and the country. It’s believed that Lamont had expressed doubts about her leadership role well before the referendum, but had decided to fight on. Only a few weeks ago, she told the Scottish Shadow Cabinet “I am going nowhere”.

Events have since taken a different turn.

So how will Lamont’s leadership be remembered?

johann lamont

Let us start with the positives, and despite what her detractors might say, there are many. Lamont was the first Scottish Labour leader elected in the aftermath of the party’s brutal 2011 defeat – under new rules. She chose to stand despite knowing that she would face the fight of her life in the ensuing independence referendum. She steadied the ship at a difficult time for the party – especially in terms of Scottish Labour’s transition into a more autonomous section of the party – and hit back at Salmond, using First Minister’s Questions to land some successful blows.

And yet it seems that the greater autonomy for Scottish Labour that brought her to power –including an internal row over the selection of Scottish MPs – was part of what brought her time as leader to a close.

Lamont is also believed to have felt sidelined by the debates around future Scottish powers both before and after the referendum. During the campaign itself, I saw Lamont speak on a couple of occasions. She was impressive and passionate – in all honesty, far better than I had expected – and yet compared to other Labour figures, sightings of her were all too fleeting.

The final straw (in Lamont’s own words) appears to have been the sidelining of someone else. The Daily Record reports that the national party “moved to replace Scottish Labour general secretary Ian Price with their own candidate without even the courtesy of a phone call”. It’s obvious why that would be a serious issue, but the muddled nature of where power lies in Scottish Labour means it’s likely that decision was less clear cut that some (perhaps for their own purposes) will seek to make out.

But if we’re being brutally honest – and the severity of the situation in Scotland demands that – Lamont wouldn’t be leaving if she thought she was the right person to lead Scottish Labour back to power in 2016, or ‘stop the bleeding’ in 2015 (likely against a newly Westminster-focussed Salmond). She hadn’t connected with the Scottish electorate, she wasn’t cutting through, and with a new SNP leader bedding in, things risked getting worse rather than better.

So Johann Lamont has gone. That’s the right decision for her and for Scottish Labour. And yet the manner of her resignation isn’t entirely helpful. Leaving whilst accusing “London” of interference is – in the current Scottish political climate – the equivalent of chucking a grenade into a room that you’re leaving.

But it also suggests a level of exasperation on Lamont’s part, at feeling powerless to change things at a time of real turmoil, and of frustration with the competing priorities of the Scottish party and the national party. Yet within Lamont’s statement there is one key line which shouldn’t be overlooked “I do not believe in powers for power’s sake. For example, I think power should be devolved from Holyrood to communities”. Lamont appears to understand the struggle that politics faces in connecting with a disenchanted public, but evidently didn’t feel she could or would be able to make that connection.

It’s to be hoped that when people think of Lamont’s time as Scottish Labour leader, they don’t dwell on how she left the role. She should be remembered as someone who led the Scottish Labour Party through a difficult time. She will be remembered as one of those who fought a long, hard campaign for the United Kingdom.

But what Scottish Labour needs now, is fresh blood. A new leader will be sought to lead a party that many both inside and outside Scotland consider bordering on “basket case”. A vigorous and vocal debate will be had about what the future holds for Scottish Labour. But out of that process must come someone who can take the fight to the SNP, stop the party’s loss of working class support, articulate what Labour is for in Scotland, and what Scotland’s role is in modern Britain. They may face an even tougher task than Lamont did.

Who will be brave enough to step into the breach this time?

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  • barry

    The only way that the Scottish Labour Party will be taken seriously by the Scottish electorate is if it is independent of control by UK Labour, organisationally and politically. The Scottish electorate increasingly see UK Labour as a “cuckoo in the nest” offering policies which are designed to favour Labour’s electoral advantage in Westminster, not in Scotland. Take Labour’s offer on Devo Max, for example. It’s the least generous of all the national party offers for one reason only – because Labour wants to protect its voting advantage at Westminster. Scottish Labour voters also see Labour proposing policies which are designed to attract southern English voters (policies about being tough on welfare or on the EU, for example) which simply don’t appeal to Scottish voters. Many left of centre voters are asking a simple question – who represents my interests best – the SNP or Labour – and increasingly they see the SNP as the party they wish Labour could become.

    The overwhelming majority of the Scottish electorate (that includes yes and no referendum voters) now look to Holyrood not Westminster. Scottish Labour has one last chance to solve this issue before the historic and intellectual heartland of the party goes down the drain. Replacing the person at the top with a different person just isn’t going to work.

    • treborc1

      It’s the same in Wales a few months ago when they asked people will you be voting for Miliband they said why? many said we have our own parliament now why would we want to interfere with England votes, this is growing people are not seeing this as a national election any more but an English election.

      If Miliband had sacked one of the Welsh leaders advisor all hell would have exploded it may still do so in Scotland.

      • wobble

        Actually most wouldn’t have given a toss….one less of the taffia

    • Socialismo

      I’m English, and I know I’d vote SNP if I were in Scotland.

    • wycombewanderer

      How can scottish labour be independent of Westminster if they take the party whip at Westminster?

    • Michael Murray

      If the people of Scotland had voted “yes” your argument would have validity. But they didn’t.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Why would not the most intelligent and ambitious Labour MSP hold back at this stage, knowing there are two Scottish Labour disasters coming in the 2015 Westminster and 2016 Holyrood elections, to keep their candidacy safe for when the next sacrificial carcass has been hauled off the stage?

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      ‘knowing there are two Scottish Labour disasters coming in the 2015 Westminster and 2016 Holyrood elections’

      You ‘know’ that they’re going to be ‘disasters’ do you?

      Did the local Shaman tell you?

      • David Lewis

        It does not look too rosy though does it?

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          I don’t know- you best ask Jaime he ‘knows’.

          • Hearthammer

            Do you really think you’re going to be the biggest party (in seats) in Scotland after the 2015 & 16 elections? Really?

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            ‘The future is unwritten’ – Joe Strummer, 1976

          • gunnerbear

            “Gimme the future
            Gimme the future.
            Won’t be makin’ the mistakes
            Our fathers made” – Meatloaf (Modern Girl, 1984)

      • Socialismo

        I don’t know, but thinking about my own feelings, if you have two likely Socialist Democratic parties on the ballot, why choose the one that’s let you down and is run from another country?

        Only a hunch — but I think a lot of true socialists are going to keep an eye on the polls and won’t tactically vote Red unless the alternative is Blue.

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          Glad to see it’s only a ‘hunch’.

  • Michael Murray

    Gordon Brown is the obvious replacement.

    • treborc1

      Fine let him stand then and let him fight a real election for once.

      • Michael Murray

        You seem to have forgotten that he led the Labour Party in the 2010 general Election and spectacularly prevented Cameron from passing the winning post.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          I think the Scots are welcome to the Gordon Brown. It would perhaps improve matters for both Scottish Labour and The Labour Party across the UK if he stopped trying to be a British political figure. And the normal population not in Scotland could be assured that the former PM will never again be a part of their lives.

          • David Lewis

            Actually I think we would all quite like it. He is endlessly fascinating in a sort of `behind the sofa’ way.

        • Matthew Blott

          You’re right to point out that Brown has stood for election. You stopped making sense when you referred to his performance as spectacular.

          • Michael Murray

            Spectacular because everyone expected Cameron to win and Gordon was subjected to unprecedented vilification. That was Cameron’s best shot as all the BNP/UKIP trolls on here know.

          • Annette Kupke

            Unprecedented vilification. You mean like what Labour did to Alex Salmond?

          • RWP

            So spectacular that Labour had its worst result since the nadir of 1983

          • Michael Murray

            But in 1983 we hadn’t enjoyed three successive terms in Government. In 2010 we had and so could expect to have been chucked out and the Tories achieve a significant majority. But Gordon Brown kept Cameron well short of the winning post and he had to rely on his Lib Dem stooges to haul him over the line. The greedy, grasping Tories haven’t won a Commons majority for 22 years. Let’s try and keep it that way. By the way, could someone tell me what the point of the Tartan Tories is now that the People of Scotland have overwhelmingly decided that they want to stay in the bosom of the Union?

          • Socialismo

            Everyone expected Cameron to win because, frankly, Brown (my favourite PM in my lifetime – not saying much) made a complete mess of the run in.

        • David Lewis

          `Spectacularly prevented Cameron’? Like Kinnock `spectacularly’ nearly won his general election?

          I just love Labour List. It is in a parallel and special place somewhere in the ocean of space..

          We look upon it in rapture and wonder.

        • wycombewanderer

          Clegg did that Brown led labour to its worst result ever

        • gunnerbear

          The expenses scandal killed Ol’ Cast Iron – the Great British Public took the view they were all lying, thieving, cheatin’ scum….which in the case of our local MP was spot on………it was the NOTA party that gained the most votes…..

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Yes, please, if it will keep him in Scotland.

    • David Lewis

      Oh yes please!

    • Grouchy Oldgit

      Gordon Brown is one of the most under-rated and unluckiest PMs to arrive just as the 2008 crisis broke. His response may well have prevented the fallout being even worse. He is a man of genuine principle and worthy of another attempt at high office under hopefully easier circumstances, although it will need considerable ability to avoid a wipeout of Scottish Labour.

      • Michael Murray

        You and I are as one on that.

      • gunnerbear

        He helped engineer the f**kin’ crisis with his lax regulations and poor policies….he even admitted as much when he apologised…..plus he helped smash the pensions framework……

    • Jamie Smith

      The tories would welcome him with open arms.

  • treborc1

    “she’d “had enough”, according to colleagues
    last night after discovering that Mr Miliband had sacked Ian Price, her
    general secretary, without telling her.

    I’m pretty sure this would be the last straw for any leader, when a leader of the labour party in England sacks somebody without due notice to the leader of another country.

    I think if this was Wales and I think Scotland will be seeing this as out side inference, too what we are told are devolved countries we have not seen the end of this one yet.

    Lamont will I’m sure now have her say in the media and on TV so look out for the sparks to fly, after all the next election for Wales and Scotland is not until 2016 the English election for Miliband is seven months away.

    many people have already said they think elections in England should be for England, we have our own parties now. devolution for you.

  • DRbilderburg

    Oh how they the New Labour faithful cheered as the branch they were sitting on was the same one they were applying the chain saw to that wonderful Establishment victory didn’t they crow as they enjoyed their brief moment in the Sun bouyed by all the Right wing rags love in Viva Labour huzar as they partied long into the night despite the fact their vote had collapsed and it was a train crash They truly showed their bright blue colors.
    if it were possible for me to vote for Nicola Sturgeon i would the only Socialist party in Scotland is the SNP

    • Annette Kupke

      Actually, the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Socialist are a good deal more socialist than SNP. 😉

      • DRbilderburg

        Forgive my ignorance 22 Years since i stepped foot over the border I followed the referendum with great interest, but all the focus was on the SNP Labour They Labour shamed the Scottish people and were an embarrassment, why not just keep the fight clean and say we think you’d be better off in the Union but either way we will recognize the will of the Sottish people and if they vote to leave should we come to power in 2015 we’ll do everything we can to see you through the transition.. Instead they acted like the playground bully

        • Annette Kupke

          Are you trying to reply to me? I’m afraid I cannot make out what you are saying due to broken syntax.

          • DRbilderburg

            i’m not surprised I take little interest in Scottish Politics outside of the the referendum lived there 22 years ago Much has changed Good luck to the greens and socialists you’ve more choice than us

          • Annette Kupke

            It’s the lack of punctuation that makes your post hard to follow. But I gather that you’re supporting out cause, so thanks for that. 😉

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Who should we look to as an idea of what a UK Green government might look like?- Ireland 2007-2011 when they helped to bankrupt the country (by putting the debts of the banks on to the national balance sheet) and then voted to cut old age pensions and make poor children pay for visits to the doctor or Jason Kitcat’s disastrous mismanagement of the council down in Brighton? The nation should be told.

          • Annette Kupke

            I know little about Ireland, but I do know that they rank considerably higher than the UK on the UN Human Development Index, have a higher average income and a much, much smaller rich-poor gap.
            I do know a fair amount about Germany, where the Green Party has been in various coalition governments since 1985, both at Land and Bund level, usually with the social democrats. There are complaints that they are not as radical anymore as they used to be, but on the whole they have performed credibly. Obviously, they could have done better, but they still did much, much better than UK Labour. But that’s not hard, nothing in Germany (well, West Germany anyway) since the war has been anywhere near as rubbish as the last few UK governments, Labour and Conservative alike. Even the much-despised Chancellor Kohl I don’t loathe as much as Tony Blair. Angela Merkel is practically a communist compared to New Labour.

          • gunnerbear

            Yep, the Greens in Germany – stood up like Sixth Formers and screamed, “Shut down nuclear power…shut it down now…..” and like idiots German politicians gave in………the real result was that the grown-up engineers had to step in and sanction more coal production to make sure Germans had enough energy at a cost they could afford. And then the German Greens went, “Ohh…….” (as they cranked up all their electronic goods to complain about just how unfair the real world is as they had to swallow the results of the law of unintended consequences).

          • Annette Kupke

            Ah, ich sehe wes Geistes Kind du bist. Naja, die Dummen sterben nicht aus. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. Find a physicist and ask them to explain to you about half-lives, then ask yourself what gives us the right to burden all coming generations of humankind with our toxic waste. FYI: The German government finally caved in and accepted what the majority of the people of Germany – only a fraction of them Green – had wanted for a very long time, many since before Chernobyl. The Gorleben movement always has been the central point of that debate, and one of its heroes is a Conservative, and an aristocrat to boot, Andreas Graf Bernstorff. Further FYI: Nuclear energy accounted for only 15% of energy production in Germany in 2013. Renewables had risen from 8% to 25% in ten years and keep rising; renewables have filled most of the gap left by nuclear. (“Der Ausfall von acht AKW wurde in Deutschland vor allem durch Wind, Sonne und Biomasse aufgefangen – der Zuwachs war fast drei Mal so hoch wie bei der Braunkohle.” Die Welt, 12.03.2012). Germany also has a significant electricity overproduction and companies consider closing power station because of this. Never let facts get in the way of your prejudices.

          • gunnerbear

            I hate to be picky but I don’t need a physicist to explain to me about half-lives of material. Incidentally, massive amounts of power are generated for tiny amounts of waste….and since Greens are always wittering on about how their windmills will get super efficient in decades to come…..I’m going to claim equally that technology will find a way to reduce the n-waste problem even further – my supposition is that microbes will do the job very efficiently. As to coal, might I suggest that this report seems to indicate that lignite isn’t going away “German coal use at highest level since 1990” (Stefan Wagstyl, FT, Jan 7 2014). Once again, fossil fuels are underwriting the base-loads because fossil fuel plants are stable and can be switched in and out for the days it is not windy enough or too windy or too rainy. As to CCS – the major plant has now been tried in Canada…..and the Canadians (nice people) have now realised what engineers have talked about for some time……with CCS you either (A) need to accept less output for a given size and cost of plant if CCS is installed or (B) build a bigger (usually one third larger) plant to run the CCS system and match the baseplate power output of an equivalent non-CCS power station. Either way CCS is ruinously expensive…..just as the Canadians have found out and the Scots govt. is finding out as it trials experiments at Peterhead. (“JOHNSTONE: Clean coal best bet to stop climate change” Bruce Johnstone, The Leader-Post, October 4, 2014). Of course if the Greens really wanted to cut carbon emissions they’d go for small modular reactors (SMRs) and CHP plants – but that’s maybe a bit too boring and conventional for them.

          • Annette Kupke

            If you know about half lives and still think it is okay to leave behind toxic waste that will be lethal for hundreds of thousands of years, never minding that recorded human history is only a few thousand years, then I have nothing else to say to you.

          • gunnerbear

            “If you know about half lives and still think it is okay to leave behind toxic waste that will be lethal for hundreds of thousands of years,” See, there it is….who knows what the technology will be like in 20 years time for dealing with waste. After all, Greens are always promising huge jumps in efficiency and reductions in cost when it comes to Green power (even though that has yet to happen) so if the Greens are allowed to claim that, then I’ll state that scientific progress will deal with the problem……..after all we went from no powered flight to the Moon in the span of a single lifetime.

          • Socialismo

            Isn’t the difference that if the jumps in renewable efficiency don’t come, we can build coal, oil, nuclear and any other kind of power plant. But if we create tonnes of Nuclear waste and the technology to deal with it doesn’t materialise, we’re a bit f*cked?

            Personally there are some types of extant nuclear technology like LFTR that I’d happily see built, but the benefit of a technology selected during the Manhattan project because of its propensity to produce weaponisable waste doesn’t seem like something that helps us.

            Even at the outer reaches, we can hardly say “We in the West can have Nuclear Power Stations, but you Persians and Arabs mustn’t”, instead we end up in a hypocritical stalemate telling Iran that they mustn’t enrich Uranium, whilst using depleted Uranium shells and claiming that it’s all safe and clean.

          • Dave Postles

            Magnesium chloride solar panels are already in the pipeline. By comparison, there is considerable debate about whether the decommissioning and storage costs were included in the strike price and costs of Hinkley Point.
            At least wave and tidal power is in British control, unlike the Chinese ownership of nuclear which they are funding via EDF.
            We currently have five power stations out of commission.
            There are three paramount principles about energy: (i) we have energy security – not owned or operated by foreign entities; (ii) the sources are renewable; (iii) the long-term consequences are predictable – whatever solution is predicted for nuclear waste will be hazardous.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “I do know a fair amount about Germany, where the Green Party has been in various coalition governments since 1985, both at Land and Bund level, usually with the social democrats. ”

            Quotes from the German Green Party’s MEP:

            “”When a little girl who is five or five-and-a-half starts undressing you, it’s fantastic. It is fantastic because it’s a game, an absolutely erotic-manic game.””

            That’s the German Greens: people who think sex with five year olds doesn’t disqualify a man from representing them.

            Say what you like about Nigel Farage, at least he isn’t a paedophile like Danny Cohn Bendit. The German Greens could expel him from the party. They don’t. Scum.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            What a surprise! Another English Green who knows ‘little about Ireland’ and more specifically knows absolutely nothing about the record of The Irish Green Party while in coalition government there from 2007-2011. It’s become like a period of history that has been wiped from the minds of English Greens in the fashion of Stalinist Russia. An event air brushed from history in a party that is completely unable to reflect critically on its own performances in office.

            It’s also as if Ireland is not a proper country with Greens viewing Ireland through the lenses of old style colonialists.

            By the way Ireland is still completely f**ked thanks to the actions of the Fianna Fail/ Green government there in 2007-2011 and faces 8-10 more years of austerity. As I have indicated the Irish Green Party were extremely keen on austerity when they were in government and especially keen to make pensioners and sick children of the poor pay while their approach towards the casino bankers in Allied Irish Bank and The Bank of Ireland was much more benign. In 2010 the Irish Green Party were richly rewarded by losing every single seat they held in the Irish Parliament ( The Dail). Hypocrisy/ double standard sick bag anyone?

          • Annette Kupke

            Oh, how lovely it is to make assumptions about people you don’t know. I have never been English in my whole life. I am German and I live in Scotland. I take about as much interest in England as the English take in us. nfm

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            OK you’re a Scottish/German Green who has erased every trace of the disgraceful record of the Irish Greens in government from the historical record. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen, eh? Those who don’t forget it leave the Green Party- Look:

            http://www.redpepper.org.uk/why-i-resigned-from-the-green-party/

          • Dave Postles

            Not much succour for Labour there, though!

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Fact is no Green will discuss what happened in Ireland and you know it.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            The only response to criticism of The Greens record in Brighton is to criticise Labour over Iraq. Look:

            http://notesbrokensociety.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/dont-mention-the-war-greens-iraq-and-godwins-law/

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            I’ve suddenly thought why you might want the people of the UK to vote for the Greens.

            As you know the Green Party along with its coalition allies Fianna Fail obligingly agreed to put the debts of the Irish banks on to the national balance sheet. Given that the collective debts of the Irish banks were 4-5 times Irish GDP obviously the country became bankrupt. They had to go cap in hand to your fellow countrymen and women in (yep you guessed it) Deutschebank ( remember them- you know the bank that deliberately lied to the IMF about the extent of their involvement in US sub prime mortgage debt) turning the country into a financial dependency of Germany overnight. Thousands upon thousands of Irish people died in the war of independence from Britain between 1916 and 1923 (including a civil war) only for your pals in the Green Party to turn into a German dependency in a matter of months. The consequences of the actions of the Irish Green Party were not funny. The country had an unemployment rate of 14%, tens of thousands of Irish men and women emigrated, there was a 50% collapse in the price of houses and the male suicide rate went sky rocketing.
            Perhaps you want Greens in the UK to bankrupt our country just as the Irish Green Party bankrupted Ireland so that the country’s finances can be taken over by Frankfurt- I don’t know perhaps you should tell us. Nobody in The Green Party will ever tell you anything about the record of the Irish Greens – they don’t want to discuss it and for those of us with family in Ireland ( my niece’s husband is still unemployed after 6 years) The Green Party is a swearword.

          • Annette Kupke

            “Perhaps you want Greens in the UK to bankrupt our country just as the Irish Green Party bankrupted Ireland so that the country’s finances can be taken over by Frankfurt” Please go and see a doctor, you suffer from delusional/paranoid disorder. I’m out of this mad house. Bye.

          • Dave Postles

            Sorry to see you leave, but understandable.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Absolutely typical of all Greens. You select one sentence out of so many as a means of avoiding a discussion about the disastrous record of the Green Party in government in our nearest neighbouring country

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Thank you for your insults and your avoidance of the issue of The Green Party’s record while in government in Ireland.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            But of course not only is a discussion of the record of the Greens in Ireland off the table- a discussion of the Greens record in Brighton (which is the only council in the UK that they run) is also completely off limits. Look:

            http://notesbrokensociety.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/dont-mention-the-war-greens-iraq-and-godwins-law/

            The Green Party never, ever criticises itself.

          • Socialismo

            I’m a bit confused — would you expect The UK Labour party to take responsibility for the misdeeds of the New South Wales Labor Party?

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Ireland is next door to us- New South Wales is 13,000 miles away. Ireland is a separate country. New South Wales is a state within a country. The two examples are not equals.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Goodness, Bill, you do go on and on about those Irish Greens. It is as though you are obsessed by them.

            No one else cares about them.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            3 points:
            Look in the Irish community in Britain many of us have family in Ireland where the economy was completely destroyed by a disastrous coalition of the bankers, developers, Fianna Fail and the Green Party. The Green Party in the UK should say that this period in government was disastrous but it won’t. Lots and lots of Irish people live in the UK and IMHO it owes that apology to them.
            When Labour criticises the Green Party’s record in running Brighton Council it doesn’t defend its record it brings up Iraq which happened over 10 years ago and which the current Labour leader has said on countless occasions was a mistake

            The Green Party never ever criticises anything it does. It presents itself as the party of sugar and spice and all things nice but many examples of its record when it gets office aren’t great. No problem with that- all governments and councils make serious mistakes. The question is why won’t The Green Party or any of its members say:’ Look we messed up there’. The fact is it can’t and it won’t.

          • Socialismo

            I’m worried you’re having a nervous breakdown. The UK Green Party has no say over the Irish Green Party, it has no say over the German Green Party, in fact, being even more democratic than the Lib Dems, it basically barely has any say over itself.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            How about the Green run council down in Brighton- that been good, has it?

          • Socialismo

            Err, yes? It’s not been smooth, but it’s certainly been good.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Sorry for delay in replying couldn’t stop laughing at that comment.

            Not funny for the binmen though, was it?

            http://socialistunity.com/brighton-gmb-members-vote-to-break-kitcat/

            There’s another bin strike planned:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-29472370

          • DRbilderburg

            No problem. The Referendum i found interesting because the stakes were so high, personally i was gutted at the no result, a chance to break free from the Westminster BS.. Illegal Wars., Globalists ect ,but alas it wasn’t to be
            The no vote was seen by New Labour as a New Labour victory, when even to a village idiot such as myself it seemed obvious that it was an Establishment result, and a train crash for New Labour
            i was canvassed by Labour last week, i live in the south of England, they were old school and fine people, but IMO they are being let down by the spinners and aparachiks, who are absolutely obsessed with forecasts, image, and celebrity That i know from personal experience

      • Socialismo

        And all three are more Socialist than Labour. The only reason I’m still Labour is that with first-past-the-post there’s nowhere left to go.

        • Annette Kupke

          That is a fallacy! In Scotland, four parties (LibLabCon and UKIP) are now competing for the 55% who voted No. SNP or Green will win easily, especially if there is to be an alliance. In the rest of the UK, consider this: According to Vote For Policies website with a sample size of over 430 000, 25.8% of people prefer the policies of the Green Party UK-wide, 5% ahead of Labour in second place (SNP is not listed there, presumably because they have no UK manifesto). All people need to do is forget about strategic voting, especially about voting Labour to keep Tories out (what’s the difference anyway?) and vote for the policies they really want, and voila, a Green government! Campaign for this! Pledge to vote for policies and convince everyone you know to do the same! You don’t need to name any parties, just ask people to consult Vote For Policies, find out what their result is and stick to that. All that is holding people back is the ingrained habit of strategic voting between two parties of self-serving right-wing authoritarians. Vote them both out!

          • gunnerbear

            Sorry…..I can’t afford a Green Govt. I don’t want to live in 1658.

          • Annette Kupke

            You can afford an uninhabitable planet, yes? Have another one tucked away in the spare room, have you?

          • gunnerbear

            Well we know what Greens are like though don’t we?Demanding all the toys the modern world can provide yet they want the average man and woman to priced out of having them. Hmm…..wasn’t it Greenpeace for example demanding air travel be chopped yet it was Greenpeace managers that commute by aircraft. I’m Blue Collar, working class, and I simply can’t afford Green power – give me cheap coal any day of the week. The firm I work for is buckling under the tens of millions of pounds that ‘green regulations’ cost – bills our competitors simply don’t face.

          • Annette Kupke

            Why not base your comments on the actual Green policies, rather than your imaginary assumptions of what “everybody knows”? FYI, ecotricity provide green energy at the same price as your current energy supplier.

          • gunnerbear

            Err…Ecotricity only survives because it gets huge slabs of subsidy and I thought that some of the smaller companies were exempt from the ‘infrastructure renewal’ type levies that the ‘Big Boys and Girls’ have to pay…I’ll be happy to stand corrected though. One green policy, ” by re-thinking industrial processes to reduce the ‘energy intensity’ of products.” Pray tell, how do you exactly plan to reduce the energy intensity of something like steel? The reason I ask is that thousands of highly skilled jobs are in that industry and high energy costs (and green regs) led to the closure of the al-smelter in Northumberland with a serious loss of jobs. “Restructuring the UK energy system will significantly boost employment.” – that’s weird, everywhere else green jobs have cost normal jobs. There was even a study done in Spain which showed that up and even in the US local states have told Pres. O’ to go away when he wanted to pour federal regulations on to US heavy industry because the locals could see jobs going. I see another Green plan is to have a low carbon transport system…..may I enquire what the f**k that transport network is going to be made out of? Or even how the power for ‘electric cars’ is going to be generated (leaving aside how inherently dirty batteries for such vehicles are). Mind you there is this ‘green gem’, “It will aim to maximise quality of life for all within both environmental limits and availability of employment.” – so then how are you going to keep thousands employed in a deindustrialised economy? I take it you’ll be the first to give up your PC, car, modern living arrangements and revert to the horse and cart. Greens – simply communists painted Green…..and of course most Greens somehow always seem to think that they should be the ones making the decisions for the working class…..

          • gunnerbear

            The Greens are also against academic selection and want mixed ability teaching – the sort of disaster that results in children not being able to read and write after 11 years of full time education whilst also failing to develop and stretch the brightest and most able. The Greens also think that Uni. should be for all…..what an idea….what a load of total b****ks. Universities are supposed to be for the brightest and the best….not to study Golf Course Management and drink beer for three years on the taxpayers purse. If the Greens really wanted to improve Uni. they’d advocate chopping the numbers going, chopping the useless courses and then there would be no need for fees as the costs would be much lower with say only 10-15% actually going to Uni. Of course thanks to massive de-industrialisation under the Greens, they’ll be f**k all for the non-uni types to do other than maybe work in the fields to try and grow stuff……I wonder which political groups children would be all be going to Uni…..

          • Tokyo Nambu

            Allowing Pascal Husting to commute by air from low tax Luxembourg to rather higher tax Amsterdam because he wasn’t willing to pay Dutch income tax and wasn’t prepared to mix with the proles on the train is Green policy. They only changed their mind when they got caught. Hypocrites.

          • gunnerbear

            Of course Greens are hypocrites. They can’t be anything but hypocrites as they use all the toys modern industry can provide and then bitch about everything provided for them. I’d much rather Greens just thought, “Wow, this toy is great….made by industry…” and went on their way.

          • Socialismo

            Sorry, I should have specified, I’m in England. If I were Scottish, I’d vote SNP.

          • Annette Kupke

            Well, you could have a look at Vote for Policies and see what you get. I do feel sorry for people in England, with a choice between More Of the Same and More of The Same and Whatever Gets Us Votes and Fascists. But you have a Green Party too!

          • Socialismo

            Brighton has a Green Party — in a straight Red/Green fight, I’d take the Greens, but in the real world I’d increase the likelihood of a Tory.

          • Annette Kupke

            What you really need to fight for is proportional representation.

        • MikeHomfray

          The SNP are a Nationalist party and no nationalism can be socialist

          • Socialismo

            You can keep saying it if you like look a what he SNP have done, then look at what New Labour did. If you can convince yourself that there was a stronger Socialist thread in the PFI wielding, University Charging, NHS Privatising, Competition obsessed New Labour than the SNP, best of luck to you.

            I’m honest enough to say Labour is the least worst option in a first past the post system. I’m a member so I can vote in the hope it reflects my views, rather than light Toryism with the daggers sheathed, but frankly, I know that the whole system is so skewed that voting Labour is simply the slow button to Neo-Liberalism, but any other option puts you on the Conservative fast-train.

            This is what voter apathy looks like.

          • Annette Kupke

            Move to Scotland, dear. 🙂 I’ll welcome you, and you can join a left-wing party here and vote it into Holyrood via proportional representation.

          • Annette Kupke

            Yes, sure. Everyone living and working in Scotland, whether Scottish, English, Irish, Welsh, European or whatever, got to vote in the referendum. Pure nationalism.

          • wobble

            Adolf would disagree……

  • Hamish Dewar

    “The final straw (in Lamont’s own words) appears to have been the sidelining of someone else. The Daily Record reports that the national party “moved to replace Scottish Labour general secretary Ian Price with their own candidate without even the courtesy of a phone call”. It’s obvious why that would be a serious issue, but the muddled nature of where power lies in Scottish Labour means it’s likely that decision was less clear cut that some (perhaps for their own purposes) will seek to make out.”
    What is that convoluted paragraph supposed to mean?
    The clear thing is that power in Scottish Labour does not lie in Scotland.

    • David Battley

      I believe the most literal translation would be: “don’t worry your pretty little heads about these nasty complaints she’s made and trust that the Party knows what’s best for you”…

  • Markham Weavill

    So Ms Lamont has gone and in doing so has knifed the Westminster based Labour elite.

    Reading and listening to the media she was hung out to dry by the lot of them. That’s what will resonate with the electorate. It will reinforce the view that anything that happens outside the M25 is of little interest to the metropolitan elite regardless of where their constituencies lie.

    The only way Labour in Scotland can take it to the SNP is to have policies that disaffected Labour voters feel reflect what they want for themselves and their families. It sure ain’t austerity lite.

    • Socialismo

      That was clear from the referendum — it just felt like all of the Scottish Labour Westminster politicians were horrified that they’d have to at the little table with Austria if they were dragged out of the UK when they wanted to sit with Germany.

  • rwendland

    Looking at the Scottish Labour Party accounts, it looks like the salary of the Scottish General-Secretary’s is paid by the National Labour Party, rather like how a Regional Director is paid.

    I cannot find a copy of the Scottish Labour Party Rule Book online to see what the proper procedure for selecting or sacking the Scottish General-Secretary is. Does anyone have a copy of the Scottish Labour Party Rule Book to tell us? It seems like firing the Scottish General-Secretary was handled like firing a Regional Director.

    The National Labour Party Rule Book doesn’t say much about the Scottish Labour Party, only using that exact phrase in two places, preferring the term “Scottish executive”, which is used in four places. No mention of a Scottish General-Secretary here, except as the equiv of a Regional Director in operating various procedures. It does read as if the Scottish Labour Party is regarded as a subservient organisation in the Rule Book, with little more status that a Regional Office – this probably needs to be change now we have a Scittish Parliament with real power.

  • Peter Thomson

    Having damned Ms Lamont with faint praise may be it is time to wake the Labour Party to just exactly how close to the end Scotch Labour now is.

    I read Mr Russell havering ignorantly about the SNP on Labour List then John McTernan having a hissy fit about the SNP in the Scotsman, this says only one
    thing to me – Labour are stuck in the past and can not deal with the increasing pace of change in Scottish Politics. Labour are still stuck fighting Blairite Jim Murphy vs McCluskey Unite battles in Scotland. The axing of Ian Price stinks of Jim Murphy backstabbing to get rid of Lamont who is in the Unite Camp.

    Labour wonks in London have to wake up to the fact – Scots do not zip up the back. A message the Scottish electorate have been trying to get through to them since 2007 when Brown’s response to an SNP minority government was to have a hissy
    fit, cancel the Peterhead CO2 capture project and hack £22 million out of the Scottish Budget.

    Labour’s continuing response to the growth of SNP support in Scotland has not changed since 2007; Brown, Darling, Murphy, Hood, Davidson, Alexander et al are still throwing their toys out of the pram and in denial about what is happening in
    Scotland. Not even hanging on to their jobs in Westminster by their finger nails in a 11:9 vote has focused their minds. To anyone who has watched Jim Murphy in action in what he sees as his ‘Scottish Fiefdom’ the only word to describe his behaviour with respect to Scotland is – ignorant.

    Here’s why Brown will not turn up in Holyrood – Jim Murphy will block it with Darling’s support. Darling is not an option as he would cement Labour’s Scotch region’s decline – the talk in Scotland is just how at risk Darling is to an SNP swing in May 2015.

    So who does that leave?

    Jackie (I can not keep to my brief) Baillie, Iain (The Grey) Gray, Keiza (I’ll go native) Dugdale, McCliesh (that would be a clear sign of desperation), Wendy ‘Planet Brain’ Alexander, Lord ‘Gorgeous’ George Foulkes … just who in Labour’s Scotch Region can cope with Nicola Sturgeon and a cohesive SNP Party at Holyrood?

    YouGov recently had Labour in Scotland 1% point lower than the Conservatives in Scottish GE voting share.

    In 2006 I wrote an article in Labour List warning the disaster which was coming for its Scotch Region if the rise in SNP support was not countered by moves to meet the declared wish of Scots in poll after poll for fiscal autonomy.

    Labour is now where it is because it took its eyes off Scotland on the presumption their Scottish electorate would continue to vote for monkeys wearing red rosettes.

    Murphy and McCluskey’s power struggle over the Falkirk selection processand the
    risk it caused to 10,000+ in and related to the Grangemouth refinery opened a lot of ordinary ‘Labour’ peoples’ eyes to just what the ‘Party’ actually thought of Scotland. The Better Together Campaign was the breaking point, for many, as Labour’s Scotch MPs lied and fought for their seats of privilege on a Tory ticket: not in the best interests of the Scottish people. Lamont’s sense of being stabbed in the back by London is a reflection of how many ex-Labour supporters in Scotland now feel.

    Time for Labour List readers to face up to reality with respect to Scotland. Labour is in decline, possibly terminal, as the distinctly socialist Scottish Green Party grows in strength. The conservative Scots in the middle are happy with the SNP (social democrat / left of centre policy base) in Government in Scotland – they play a steady hand and are seen putting Scotland first and foremost in a way none of the Lab-lib
    coalitions at Holyrood ever did.

    The problems for Labour in Scotland are deep seated, the party is split along Jim Murphy / McCluskey lines, there are further cracks between the West Coast and
    East coast wings of the party, with out funds from London the Scottish Region is on its fiscal uppers, the active membership is in decline as seen in the need to bus in Labour supporters from England during the recent Tory paid for referendum campaign. Labour is up against a level of continuing political activism I have never seen in Scotland in my 60 years on the planet – little of it Labour friendly.

    Labour can not paper over these cracks because they are now ever widening fault lines in Scotland which will only increase to gap as Mr Miliband chases the Tory’s and UKIP ever rightwards.

    In 2006 I asked the Labour party to take a long hard look at itself before it lost out to the SNP in Scotland; in 2014 I am now telling the Labour Party it is about be terminally damaged in Scotland if it does not embrace full fiscal autonomy for Holyrood and end Jim Murphy’s malign hegemony its the Scotch region.

    • Annette Kupke

      It would also help it Labour-friendly persons would not refer to the country of Scotland as the “Scotch region.” And perhaps review your use of the term “the Scots.” Interestingly, the SNP pretty consistently speaks of “the people of Scotland” rather than of “the Scots.” There are lots of people living here who are not Scots and who, like myself, completely embrace the Scottish independence movement. Because, fancy that, it is not a nationalist movement, it is a grassroots democratic movement. And non-Brits living in Scotland are an interesting ingredient in the mixture, because as a general rule, we don’t give a rat’s posterior about the Queen and the flag and all that nonsense. Many of us come from genuinely democratic countries with – gasp! – genuinely social-democratic Labour parties. We see a politically unjust situation and easily come to the conclusion that Scottish independence is the most direct way to fix it.

    • gunnerbear

      “cancel the Peterhead CO2 capture project….” An excellent decision….if made for the wrong reasons. CCS is b*****t – it means the powerstation has to be at least a third larger or lose a third of it’s output to keep CCS going – either way it’s way more cost for far less output……just as the Canadians have found out….which is why that tool Ed Davey is such a f***kwit for offering taxpayers cash to keep the project going.

    • MikeHomfray

      As much as I dislike Murphy and his ilk I don’t really see anything much here which is pro-Labour
      We are not a nationalist party and full fiscal autonomy is effectively independence

  • robertcp

    I do not live in Scotland and do not care if its devolved government is led by the SNP. More SNP MPs would not be a disaster either.

    • Paul Adams

      It would be a disaster if they helped deprive Labour of an OM or even helped prop up a minority Tory Government (and I wouldn’t put it past the scumbags if it suited them!)

      • Hearthammer

        It’s far more likely to be Labour propping up the Tories. After all, there isn’t the width of a fag paper between them! And when it comes to scumbags, Labour has the monopoly!

        • robertcp

          Bad luck with the referendum by the way. The SNP can now concentrate on representing Scotland within the UK.

          • gunnerbear

            Time the rest of the UK was offered a vote on whether we want the benefit soaking Jocks to be part of the UK…..

        • Michael Murray

          You can’t have rolled your own recently! Abolition of the Bedroom Tax? Abolition of the Health and Social Care Bill? The privatiser’s charter? Imposition of 50p Tax Rate and the Mansion Tax. And they’re just for starters. Pretty thick fag papers. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in what is the only people’s party sharing a smoke with the Tories, blue or orange.

          • Hearthammer

            What’s the point? It’s all gas to them! They know they won’t get elected so they can promise the earth!

      • robertcp

        Labour are unlikely to get an OM and it would be suicidal for the SNP to prop up a Tory government. The SNP’s recent success has been due to being to the left of Labour.

        • Michael Murray

          But the Lib Dem stooges were , allegedly, to the left of Labour, and they went into coalition with the millionaires party.

          • robertcp

            That is another reason for thinking that the SNP will not prop up a Tory government.

      • Michael Murray

        Yes, Cameron would rather enter into coalition with the Tartan Tories than UKIP because the Tartan Tories want to stay in Europe.

        • robertcp

          You are probably right that Cameron would quite like being kept in power by a combination of Lib Dems and the SNP.

          • Hearthammer

            The Tartan Tories? Don’t malign Labour so much! You guys are so damn stupid, it’s hilarious! No wonder LAbour’s going down the tubes when they have clowns like you two on board!

          • robertcp

            You are so damn intelligent, it is hilarious!

          • Hearthammer

            I know! That’s why I will never vote for an English party again!

          • robertcp

            As it happens, I would seriously consider voting SNP if I lived in Scotland.

    • Socialismo

      Exactly, I suspect if UKLabour had achieved for the UK what the SNP had achieved for Scotland a lot of Labour voters in England would be far happier.

      • robertcp

        Yes, Labour decided to stop being a social democratic party and the SNP filled the gap in Scotland.

      • gunnerbear

        Pity though the Jocks are doing it using English taxpayers cash. Time the same amount of money per head spent in Scotland was spent in English towns like Scunthorpe and Grimsby. Time for English votes for English Laws.

  • Annette Kupke

    ” to debate the kind of party Labour needs to be in Scotland.”
    Short answer to that: an extinct party.

  • RWP

    So Mark says Lamont’s resignation was a good thing because she “hadn’t connected with the Scottish electorate” and that “she wasn’t cutting through” … does the same apply to EdM?

    • Jamie Smith

      The bottom line is that when it comes to the crunch “Scottish” Labour will always put Westminster’s wants above Scotland’s needs.

  • Dez

    Polling shows that Ed is more unpopular in Scotland than Cameron,so Lamont is the convenient scapegoat.

    Meanwhile the SNP sit back with their popcorn laughing.

  • Poppy86

    The way things are going, it will be difficult for Labour to get any sort of majority. I feel fed up with the party so I can understand why voters feel the same.

    • Socialismo

      The worst thing is when you get to the cusp of not caring.

      At its worst you look at the two parties and just think “if Labour refuse to do anything different, when why bother to take responsibility for electing them”?

      To me the current state of Labour looks like they are going to just pause the country until the Tories swoop back in 5 or 10 years and carry on. I want to vote for a party that believes in something, that wants to protect people and support people and vocally opposes needless competition in favour of genuine, best of breed services inspired by the bes in the world.

      Problem is that’s not an option on the ballot paper, and Central Office would veto any attempt to put it there.

      How does Labour’s left wing get its voice heard, especially when a huge proportion of abstaining/disenfranchised voters share their views?

      It says everything that something as cheap and easy as repealing the rail tender system and collecting the franchises up at renewal can’t be done – even when the majority of both Labour and Tory voters support it.

      • gunnerbear

        Exactly…the loons in the Blue Mob seem to want a return to the ‘glory days’ of Thatcherism even though such plans were binned off from ’97 until ’10 and Ol’ Cast Iron is a pale imitation of an Ol’ Fashioned Blue Mobber (presumably why a huge slab of his party hate him). Take rail nationalisation for example….if any party wants to bring it in, then the best way looks like approaching the franchise holders and then buy them out (so they don’t go into ‘zombie’ mode and drop investments because they know they are out of the game in a few years time)…….but neither party is being honest…..rail nationalisation will be expensive (though maybe marginally cheaper than a private network)…. so wouldn’t it be great if one of the leaders actually said, “If you want rail nationalisation fair enough….but it won’t be free…”.

      • gunnerbear

        It’s like the NHS isn’t….the public like the idea of the NHS ‘safety net’ but then look around and hear reports pointing out that Germany’s system is better than the UKs or the Dutch one is…..and yet not a single party leader has ever said (and told the electorate in a grown up way), “If you want Dutch & German & French levels of care…..you’ve got to be prepared to pay more for real…….either in taxes or co-pay social insurance systems….”

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    There are 7 months left to the General Election, and 60 or so Scottish seats. After the Referendum, and the rise of the SNP, it would be useful if Labour did not have a blood-letting, and decide on the next Scottish Leader really quite quickly.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    There are 7 months left to the General Election, and 60 or so Scottish seats. After the Referendum, and the rise of the SNP, it would be useful if Labour did not have a blood-letting, and decide on the next Scottish Leader really quite quickly.

  • Tom Sanders

    A Labour politician who actually follows their heart rather than saying Ed is great. Breath of fresh air

  • Jamie Smith

    Labour in Scotland eagerly did the tories’ dirty work during the referendum.

    They now getting their just reward.

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