Murphy resigns as Scottish Labour leader

16th May, 2015 2:12 pm

Jim Murphy

Today the Scottish Labour SEC met to discuss the party’s future after the near wipeout last week. Leader Jim Murphy faced a no-confidence vote, after several MSPs and affiliated unions called for him to go.

Murphy won the vote – but only narrowly – by 17-14.

Update: Despite winning the confidence vote, Murphy has resigned.

UPDATE II: Watch Murphy’s statement below:

And here’s the text of the speech:

“As I said at the Scottish Labour Executive this morning after our terrible defeat, both north and south of the border, I am under no illusion as to how big our defeat was, or how big our challenges are. But I believe a leader of this party has a bigger responsibility to party members than to leave without a plan for those who follow in the future.

It would be wrong to leave behind division and the same problems that have dogged the party for a decade, or arguably more.

That is why it was important to have the backing of the Executive today. And I am glad to have their backing, the backing of two thirds of MSPs and of all but a handful of the forty defeated Labour MPs from last week.

I wanted today’s vote of confidence, not out of personal pride or political ambition for me. I want to ensure stability and make sure that there is a plan for rebuilding, rather than the poisoned legacy for the next generation, as has happened far too often in the recent past.

We need that sort of plan to build on the residual strengths and support we got from hundreds of thousands of Scots last week.

The Executive of the Scottish Labour Party will meet again next month.

For that meeting I will work with colleagues to prepare a comprehensive report covering:

A plan for earning back the trust of Scottish voters. A strategic overview of the voters we need to win back, and the challenges we face as a party on the ground ahead of the next two sets of Scottish Elections.  A clear understanding of Scottish voters’ concerns and aspirations.

A plan for reshaping the Scottish Labour Party, using all of our talents, widening our membership and ensuring the best possible range of talents from our membership and beyond. And above all, defending the rights of Labour party members and putting them back at the heart of our organisation. We should have a system of one member one vote as the UK party has, has for the election of leaders.

A fresh assessment of our policy platform, preparing for using new powers and then bringing them closer to voters and out of Holyrood. Looking at also how we defend solidarity across the UK in the face of rising nationalisms, both north and south of the border. And the challenges of mitigating the threats from a Tory Government, and the challenges of poverty, poor educational attainment, and ill health.

I am clear that the answer to the Scottish Labour Party will not be found in tinkering with our constitution. We need to think far more deeply than that.

No option in the report I will produce for next month’s meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive will be off the table…except the status quo.

It is clear that the small minority who didn’t accept my election as party leader by the majority 5 months ago also won’t accept the vote of the Executive today and will continue to divide the party if I remain.

Today I received more support from the Scottish Executive members that when I stood for election five months ago.

So when I table that report at next month’s meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive, I will also table my resignation as Leader of Scottish Labour.

It will be for the party executive to decide whether they accepts the reforms proposed, but a party in such urgent need of reform blocks those changes at its further peril.

I want my successor in place over the summer and to be able to start campaigning for 2016 and beyond, with a party that has clear a clear purpose and platform, and where the leader knows that he, or she, will be able to lead with an authority that can never be challenged, into 2016 and beyond that election because it is an authority gained by a one member, one vote arrangement.

I know that in the past few days, and I have become used to this over the last few years, I have been at the centre of a campaign by the London leadership of the Unite union in blaming myself and the Scottish Labour party for the defeat of the UK Labour party in the general election. That is a grotesque insult to the Scottish Labour party.

It is a grotesque insult to our thousands of volunteers, from someone who pays occasional fleeting visits to our great country.

The trade union movement, and individual trade unionists, is a source of enormous strength and moral purpose for our party.

There will always be those who criticise the links and the precise relationship between the trade unions and our party but I am clear, the Labour Party’s problem is not the link with the trade unions, or even the relationship with Unite members, far from it.

It is the destructive behavior of one, high profile, trade unionist.

One of the things about stepping down is that you can say things in public that so many people in the Labour Party only say in private.

Whether in Scotland, or in the contest to come across the UK, we cannot have our leaders selected or deselected by the grudges and grievances of one prominent man.

The leader of the Scottish Labour Party doesn’t serve at the grace of Len McCluskey and the next leader of the UK Labour Party should not be picked by Len McCluskey.

The Labour Party has been, and always will be, a second family to me. I’ve met many of my best friends, I’ve laughed and cried – this week. Won and lost, with Labour people and they are the best people I’ve ever stood with.

But far more than the immense pride I’ve felt in standing with the remarkable people in our party is the pride in our values.

That feeling of being part of a great cause. And the knowledge that the work you do is not for yourself but for the betterment of people whose names you don’t know and whose faces you will never look upon.

That is what it means for me to be Labour. To commit yourself to a cause that was there long before any of us were born, and that will outlive any election defeat or one person’s leadership.

A society and economy where the strong use their strength to look after the weak.

A community where strangers look after each other as if they were family.

A home for everyone where children are safe, and their minds and mouths are nourished.

Scotland needs a strong Labour party; Scotland needs a united Labour party.

We have been the greatest force for change in our nation’s remarkable history.

The Scottish Labour party will rise again. It will be under someone else’s leadership and I am confident about my party’s future.”

Meanwhile, this is how Unite responded to Murphy’s resignation:

“Jim has done the decent thing.  Scottish Labour needs to recover, re-engage and reform.  It can now begin that process.”

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  • paul barker

    Or has he ? He seems to be saying that its up to The Executive to accept his resignation – “plese sir, can I resign “. Is he hoping to do a Farage ?

    • Derek Barker

      Seriously deluded man, just go now Murphy, you’ve no right to try and write a final swan song.

    • new_number_2

      The clowns in the NEC would probably plead with him to stay as well.

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      Fibs done well last week, didn’t they Paul?

      As the supporter of a party with no principles whatsoever- it’s called doing the right thing- you wouldn’t understand.

      • uglyfatbloke

        Jim should have done the right thing last week.

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          No argument with that, mate.

          • uglyfatbloke

            Is nobody else distressed that there were 17 people who voted for him?.

          • Ken Burch

            They probably figure if he goes, they’ll get the boot next.
            Still amazes me that most of the defeated Scottish Labour MPs wanted him to stay. Why would anyone be loyal to the idiot who cost them their own seats?

        • Doug Smith

          Earlier, I’d say. But Murphy’s narcissism knows no boundary.

  • Matty

    The right decision to resign. Good luck to our Scottish comrades.

  • DangerousK88

    Right decision.

  • bettercallsaul

    Given the narrow margin in the confidence vote, he made the correct decision to stand down. In the great scheme of things it will make no difference, UK Labour’s position north of the border is untenable.

  • swatnan

    No seat anywhere, not even on the local Council Jim. You have to resign.
    The only Scots Labour MP should now be made the Leader of a Group of One.
    No danger of splits I hope.

  • Ian Young

    Just wondering what Labour’s next election MSP candidates will look like. Some impressive talent is now available. And Jim Murphy.

    • Dez

      McCluskey clones.

      • Ken Burch

        What’s so terrible about being like McLuskey? All the man is guilty of is fighting like hell for the working people of the UK…that’s what a union leader is supposed to do.

  • new_number_2

    Good riddance. When there are people in the party actually willing to give Jim Murphy a vote of confidence despite everything that’s just happened it’s no wonder Labour is in the mess it’s in.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    With the Tories preparing a budget in July in which the working classes, the poor and the disabled of this country are going to be completely shafted while gargantuan handouts are going to be given to billionaires north and south of the border- is this item really newsworthy?

    • reformist lickspittle

      Yes it is.

      Labour needs a revival in Scotland.

      This is the first step – the first of many that are needed, mind.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        What’s needed is for politics to move to the street.
        First up – demonstration on 20th June.

        • reformist lickspittle

          Protest has its place, yes.

        • Ken Burch

          Hear, Hear!

    • CrunchieTime

      Wow, I’m impressed Bill. I never knew that George Osborne held you in such confidence as to make his budget plans known in advance to you. I look forward to you posting up all the facts ASAP.

      Honestly, this announcement by Bill has got me so fired up that I can barely contain my excitement. I can’t wait, hell yes!

    • bettercallsaul

      If Labour supporters continue spewing that out that rubbish and Labour will never regain power again

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Somebody else who failed GCSE English.

        Why don’t you try reading back your inane comment?

        • Derek Barker

          Seems the Blairites in Scotland have been A-Blair-ated Bill.

      • Ken Burch

        It’s the truth. Everyone who isn’t a millionaire loses if more cuts are made.

  • Heidstaethefire

    He managed to get 17 numpties to vote for him? If labour has one iota of sense,it will also clear out his two sidekicks, McTernon and McDougal.

  • A bit of common sense

    Time to seperate Scottish Labour, either that or watch it die if a Blairite is elected national leader.

  • Tommo

    Great shame. Good man forced out by the extreme left and unions.

    • Jimmy Sands


      So he’s gone then. Why is Len still here?

      • Derek Barker

        Why are you still here, have you no shame your ilk has all but killed off the labour movement in Scotland.
        I’ll tell you this boy! like it was in the begining so it shall be again, the trade unions will be the voice of reason and steadfast iron against the political elite who have distroyed countless lifes.

        • Jimmy Sands

          Ashamed of what? I voted for David.

          • Derek Barker

            David who?
            Jimmy,sometimes people make footprints in the sand and the tide comes and washes the footprint away but it won’t stop another making a footprint again.
            You maybe delighted with zero hour contracts and abusive low pay,I say you’ve kicked the lion to hard and the roar won’t cause Industrial deafness, it’ll cause mass strike action.Not because Industrial action is a first resort, it is a last resort but we reached that last resort 5 years ago

          • Jimmy Sands

            Great. I’ll hold my breath over here while you get on with that shall I?

          • Ken Burch

            Which one? Miliband or Cameron?

            Hard to tell them apart since they pretty much agree on everything.

            And no, Ed didn’t owe it to his brother to stay out of the leadership race. Most people in the party wanted a choice, and David M. was not simply owed the job.

            There’s no reason to think the election would have come out and differently if the other brother had been leader, and no reason to think that other brother’s policies would have been recognisably Labour or even “progressive” at all.

          • Jimmy Sands

            I never said he was owed the job. I said I voted for him. You disagreed and this is the result. The fact you don’t think Cameron is that bad explains why you don’t seem to mind very much.

          • Ken Burch

            I think Cameron is horrible. But David M. and the rest of the Blairites, all of whom agree with Cameron on everything but a few trivial side issues and none of whom support the People’s Assembly, don’t. They would be content with power-in-name. They don’t care about anyone on benefit, or about working people. Blairites serve only the 1%.

            If David m. had replaced David C., you wouldn’t be able to tell the government had changed hands at all.

            Thank you, if nothing else, for admitting it was a despicable slur to say that Ed “stabbed his brother in the back”.

          • Jimmy Sands

            I’ve no problem with Ed standing. I don’t dislike him. Good bloke. He just wasn’t someone I could sell on the doorstep as PM. Same problem we had with Kinnock. Nothing of course compared to McCluskey who in the country as a whole is probably about as popular as anthrax. As for the People’s Assembly, if a student union for the middle aged is your bag you could always try the SWP.

          • Ken Burch

            People who support austerity aren’t going to vote Labour under any possible leader. If you want more cuts in benefit, you have no humane or progressive views on anything.

          • Jimmy Sands

            Actually if you want more cuts in benefit, then choose a leader who can’t beat the tories.

            Oh wait, you did.

          • Ken Burch

            Labour ran the most right-wing campaign possible. It goes without saying David M. would have lost badly, too-he had no appeal to anyone beyond what Ed had, and would obviously have had the same personality flaws.

          • Ken Burch

            This from someone who thinks Scottish Labour should have stayed with a leader who just proved he will never be able to beat anybody. And Len McCluskey had nothing at all to do with SLAB Murphy’s total failure at the polls.

          • Ken Burch

            The People’s Assembly represents millions across the UK, people of all ages, races and sexual orientations, as much working-class as anyone else, and . It’s taken up the grassroots fight against austerity Labour SHOULD have based the last campaign on.

            What is your objection to an all-out campaign against the Tory agenda?

            Electoral politics are not the beginning and end of democracy.

      • Doug Smith

        Probably is has something to do with Len being elected by members in a one-member-one-vote election.

        • Jimmy Sands

          Actually elected by about 10% of Unite members.

          Obviously that’s the sort of electoral magic we need to tap into.

          • Ken Burch

            Still, a clear majority of those who did vote. It’s not as if McLuskey has no legitimacy as leader or as if any significant number of Unite members want a more conservative person as leader.

          • David Battley


          • Ken Burch

            If they wanted him out, there most recent newsletter would not have said they still thought Len’s election was a good thing.

          • Jimmy Sands

            What “previous General Secretary?”

          • Ken Burch

            previous UNITE leader, then. Most internal trade union elections have low voter turnout.

            And there’s no way to anathemise Len and still fight for the rights of working people.

            Ever union leader in the history of the UK has been hated by the sort of people who hate Len. If you’re leading a union and Tories and Blairites approve of you, it means you’re a useless failure.

            There’s no one to his right in the labour movement who represents a worthwhile alternative to what Len and UNITE do.
            Certainly no one who’s ever been worth a damn to the people they were elected to represent.

          • Jimmy Sands

            “Ever union leader in the history of the UK has been hated by the sort of people who hate Len.”

            True, but Len has found whole new swathes of people to be hated by. I can’t think of any union leader since Scargil who has consistently engaged in this sort of destructive attention seeking behaviour. I don’t doubt it plays well to his core base, and that in a union where 85% can’t be arsed to vote that may be all he cares about, but do you ever stop to reflect on how it plays everywhere else?

          • Ken Burch

            What behavior? Speaking out against all the flawed assumptions behind right-wing economic and budgetary policies? Trying to organise the UK’s decent, ultimately humane majority against the ugliness of the Cameron agenda?

            What would you have had him do instead? Be totally servile and deferential to the right? Give up on everything he ever believed in by backing David M.(a Tory in all but name) for the Labour leadership? Pretend that the bosses are worth “cooperating” with?

            No one but total reactionaries hates Len that deeply.

          • Jimmy Sands

            How about constantly boasting that he would take is personal piggy bank away if Ed didn’t fall into line? How about telling the papers that Ed was lying about not dealing with the SNP? Not to mention tacit support for SNP? Falkirk ring any bells? Just off the top of my head. Do a google search. The man’s been a human wrecking ball and I’m fed up with it.

          • Ken Burch

            Everyonr knew Ed would have to work with SNP is some capacity. Totally ruling any parliamentary alliance at all meant giving up on Labour being able to govern at all. Only people who would never have voted for Labour anyway were actually offended by the idea of some sort of Labour-SNP parliamentary arrangement.

            And it wasn’t McCluskey’s fault that Ed had no compelling narrative to his campaign and was too scared to challenge the basic assumption behind Tory economic and budgetary policy.

            Nor was it McCluskey’s fault that Murphy destroyed Scottish Labour’s chances by agreeing to Westminster Labour’s demand that Scottish Labour position itself to Sturgeon’s right on the bulk of the issues.

            What Scottish and Westminster Labour both need is glasnost and the total restoration of internal party democracy, the power of the constituency parties to choose their own candidates and to deselect unacceptable sitting MPs, and an open invitation to all who were driven away or silenced in the 1985-1997 Anti-Left Inquisition to come back and be part of the process of revitalisation-not just “back to the Nineties”.

            Blairism is an extinct political idea. The need isn’t for New Labour, or Old Labour…it’s for Next Labour.

          • Jimmy Sands

            So back to the 80s then?

            That’ll get the tories rattled.

          • Ken Burch

            No, not as simple as back to the Eighties. It’s not as if the only options are Blairism or bring back Militant.

            Labour needs a new grassroots model, focused on things like co-ops, workplace democracy, social ownership and democratic control of the financial system.

            We now know that strict market economics can never co-exist with any meaningful level of social or economic justice. We also know that old-style bureaucratic management was the problem with nationalised enterprises, not the fact that they were nationalised.

            And no one is talking about taking everything out of private ownership(which wouldn’t even have happened in the Eighties, but let’s leave that aside for now).

            The main point should be giving as many people as possible some of the say in the decisions that matter, and treating everyone with real dignity and respect…neither discarding anyone as “deadwood” or treating anyone as if she or he is a god who walks the earth just because that person is lucky enough to get rich.

            Labour needs an internal democratic revival and the end of elitist, focus-group driven politics in order to do this, and it needs to welcome back those it has made unwelcome.

            Just give open discussion, democracy and creativity a chance.

          • ColinAdkins

            I agree with the points you are making but McLuskey was the first elected Unite leader. Unless of course you believe that Unite is a continuation of the TGWU which for people from other traditions in the Union is the problem.

          • Ken Burch

            I was extrapolating from the TGWU results.

          • ColinAdkins

            Naughty. I hope you are not an exponent of greater TGWU.

      • Ken Burch

        His membership still wants him here. If they didn’t, they’d have chucked him out. It’s just as legitimate for Len to have a say as it was for English politicians to campaign against Scottish independence.

        • Jimmy Sands

          No one did more to push Ed for leader and the result was a disaster. He’s certainly far more blameworthy than someone who’s only been in his job for five months most of it spent with McCluskey’s knife in his back. Not that he was conspicuously loyal to Ed either.

          • Ken Burch

            David had nothing to offer beyond what Ed brought to the job(I was no great fan of Ed, for the record)but we can at least assume he would never kicked David right after he had led Labour to defeat in the vicious way David pissed on Ed.

            the 2010 result had already shown that Blairism’s electoral appeal was extinct.

            Labour needs to convince young voters who sat out this election to show up at the polls-they don’t need to try to out-Tory the Tories.

          • Jimmy Sands

            The only person trying to out tory the tories was the genius who thought putting “control immigration” on a mug was a bright idea idea. As for viciously pissing on Ed, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Ken Burch

            The vicious pissing was David M’s attack on Ed right after the election. And it’s “out-Torying the Tories” to demand that Labour move further right(it had actually never made any real leftward moves under Ed). There aren’t any remaining issues Labour can move rightwards on without simply merging with the Conservatives.

          • Jimmy Sands

            If you thought that was vicious then you really are a sensitive soul.

    • Doug Smith

      Yes indeed, a great shame. Particularly after such a magnificent achievement in the general election.

      No surprise that the modest Murphy decided to mark his ascendance by throwing in the towel after the motion of no confidence was voted down.

      • Tommo

        You cannot blame him fire the defeat. He’d only been in the job for 6 months !!!!

        • Ken Burch

          If he lost 40 out of 41 seats(including his own)this time, he had no hope of ever leading the party to any future comebacks.

          What possible case could there have been to have Murphy stay in the job?

          It’s not as if Scots are ever going to decide to give Blairism another chance-or that it was only “unions”(a group you’d think a party calling itself “Labour” should represent and listen to)that wanted Murphy out. And who exactly do you mean by the “extreme left”? People who think Labour is supposed to be opposed to most of what the Thatcherites stand for? By that standard, the vast majority of Scots are “extreme left”-and always have been.

          It should have been taken as a dire warning by Labour that the most deprived areas of Glasgow voted heavily “Yes” in the referendum. But Murphy didn’t care. He acted as if the cry of rage that “Yes” vote in Glasgow represented meant nothing.

          He refused to listen, he refused to learn, he refused to change.

          And this is the man you think should still be leading Scottish Labour?

        • Jim Fraser

          Blimey, Tommo, that’s a wee bit disingenuous. Didn’t Jim carry out the root and branch review of Scottish Labour after the 2011 defeat? As a Scottish constituency MP he was at the heart of what happened, or didn’t happen, in the Scottish Labour organisation, and was surely part of the ‘London is treating us like a branch office’ mentality that Johann Lamont complained so bitterly of. To say that it can’t be his fault because he’s only just arrived, as if as an innocent from outer space, is misguided. No doubt Jim isn’t responsible for all of the ills of the party in Scotland, but he clearly needed to be accountable for his part in bringing it to where it currently stands.

        • Andy Harvey

          He made absolutely no dent in the SNP lead in that time. He must take some responsibility for his role in the referendum – he took a brave and principled stance but it nevertheless alienated a large number of Labour supporters. He is the leader – he should take responsibility and stop trying to shift the blame on to others. However, if he puts his hat in the ring for re-election the eligible electorate might decide to give him a second chance as he had just 6 months in difficult circumstances – let them decide.

    • Jack

      As a devotee of the right wing Henry Jackson Society the man should not even be in the Labour party, he’s an utter phoney.

    • Heidstaethefire

      Part of me is sorry to see him go, the part that supports independence. I’ m glad, however that his nasty politics, characterised by sanctimony and hectoring, and his dirty tricks department and contrived photo opp obsession have been justly rewarded.

  • NT86

    Probably for the best given the extent of Labour’s defeat in Scotland, but I’m glad Murphy took that crusty 70s throwback Len McCluskey to task. Even the SNP, who did exceptionally well in Scotland, aren’t rabidly hard left like him and his ilk. Red Len has been irritating for months and frankly needs to stop pretending he understands working people in Britain. Union fat cats like him are as reviled as bankers, for all their demands and especially after the Falkirk/Unite debacle. Blue collar workers want stability and certainty more than anything in their jobs, not some brothers in arms workers’ revolution. The country rejected the most left leaning Labour party in 25 years, and even Miliband’s policies weren’t fully up to his liking.

    Trade unions have their place in the British labour market, but they should be non-partisan at this stage. Don’t a lot of regular union members actually vote for parties other than Labour?

    • Dez

      The Tories can’t believe their luck every time McCluskey opens his mouth,just reminds voters of a place they never want to return to.

      • Ken Burch

        All McLuskey does is stand up for working people. What the hell is he supposed to do…just surrender to management?

        No one but the rich have benefited from the weakening of the labour movement.

        • Jack

          Len McCluskey would make a better Labour leader than any of those in the running. When the Tory press had kittens if he was a candidate, screeching “back to the seventies etc.” he would calmly face them down and throw their nonsense back at them and talk directly to the public. In recent interviews, for example with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, he spoke clearly and succinctly without any fudging or prevarication. Labour leadership hopefuls would do well to learn from him.

          • NT86

            Who in the public is Len talking to, outside of Unite members? A big swathe of the working population don’t even belong to a union.

          • Jack

            Len McCluskey is talking to anyone whose views chime with his, the fact that he is a union leader is neither here nor there. Union members are part of the general public just like you and me. But of course this is another Tory tactic; to try and paint union members as being somehow different because they as a group are able to fight against poor working conditions and have a spokesperson to make sure their views are heard. That alone is a hindrance to the Tories divide and conquer strategy.

  • carlos jones

    Clearly a scalp for Len, it’s his party now.

    • Ken Burch

      It’s not as if no one but McLuskey wanted Murphy gone. What possible case was there for keeping him in the job?

      Keeping Murphy as leader would have made about as much sense as keeping Nick Clegg in charge of the remnants of the LibDems.

      A leader from the left wing of Scottish Labour would have been expected to stand down after a loss of ten seats or less.

  • Daniel Speight

    We have seen all the other defeated leaders apart from Farage leave with some dignity. Not our Jim though. He can’t help but spin it right up to the end, can he? So now we know it’s all McCluskey’s fault. It has nothing to do with losing all bar one seat in the election. It’s also very noticeable that all those old Labour words and phrases like ‘socialism’ that he rediscovered during the election have disappeared back into the Blairite banned words list.

    Well Scottish Labour is lucky and has a second chance to stop the rot. Whether they take it or not is up to them now. Sturgeon will be praying they don’t so that she isn’t held to account on all those social democratic promises she made.

    • Derek Barker

      Well said Daniel, as the likes of Murphy continue the fight among our brothers they have failed to notice the climb down by Sturgeon on those so called demands,56 SNP MP’s looking to line their pockets for a full 5 years,Neil Findlay will almost certainly get plenty backing.

      • Murphy’s stunt is typical of a self-serving careerist. His ego allowed him to ignore the fact that his Blairite reputation and stance played into the hands of the SNP. Labour’s fate was sealed when Neil Findlay was defeated. Sadly, Neil has already said he won’t be standing this time.

  • Ken Burch

    Finally. There was no good reason for Murphy.
    Now Scottish Labour needs glasnost and the complete restoration of internal democracy. It needs to reconnect and reconcile with the people it has distanced itself from or driven out since 1994(and in some cases since 1985).

    Scottish Labour must carve out its own, Scotland-based identity, the identity of a radical, grass-roots and in all-respects democratic alternative to the false radicalism of SNP.

    And it is essential for whoever takes over from “SLAB” to make an immediate and unqualified apology for the indefensible decision to join Cameron’s Tories in a negative, fear-based and essentially Thatcherite campaign against independence, rather than laying out a radical, working-class friendly alternative to both independence and the status quo.

    It’s either that, or lose the last seat in 2020. “Staying the course” is not a workable option.

  • Andy Harvey

    McCluskey over-reached by saying Murphy was the cause of UK Labour defeat, but Murphy’s bitter and twisted assessment only damages him further. Unite not only spent a great deal of money trying to help Labour win, but also had people calling members to encourage them to vote Labour and personal letters sent to home addresses to do the same. Unite is not McCluskey’s personal fiefdom but he is entitled to a express an opinion. The problem with people like Murphy is that they want the union’s money and union members’ votes but want to give nothing back in return.

  • Stanvax

    Bit strange the outgoing leader is preparing a document to reshape the future of the Scottish Labour Party, – what exactly is the point of that – call me old fashioned but doesn’t the incoming leader normally get to do that

    • Jim Fraser

      It sounds like Jim wants to have one last swipe at the trade unions and promote one member one vote for his successor’s election. Always a man to have one eye on the potential headline the Daily Record might be persuaded to run.

  • Ian

    Vote for Len’s Lad!

  • Ken Burch

    The only reason Murphy wanted to stay on as leader was to keep Scottish Labour Blairite and totally Westmonster-subservient as leader. He had no ideas that could ever have led the party to any future recovery in Scotland, and none that could even have helped Labour hold its ground in the next Holyrood election (the only parties that have any hope at all of taking votes and seats from SNP are the Greens and a unified party of the independent left-Labour, the Tories and the remnants of the LibDems are all doomed to continued long-term decline there).

  • Stewart Dredge

    Jim’s strategy throughout was wrong, based as it was on relentlessly attacking the SNP as a distraction from Labour’s own policy of “austerity-lite” at Westminster. There was a period, early in the year, when he tried to be SNP-lite where every interview he gave had to contain the word “patriotic” but he dropped this latterly to concentrate on “the SNP only want a second referendum.” Jim and his advisers seemed oblivious to the fact that most of the ex-Labour voters whom he needed to win back had been impressed by the SNP’s calls for independence. Why would they worry about a second referendum?

    As someone else in these comments has mentioned it is Labour’s unionism which is creating most of its current problems.

    Too many of its current active membership equate loyalty to the UK state with some idea of international socialism and the SNP’s very modest calls for independence as some sort of fascism. But we see no inspiring vision for a better UK, no principled proposals for a coherent form of Home Rule, only the drip-feeding of new powers to try to manouvre the SNP into a corner. Even now, few commentators in Labour List and other party sites are prepared to go beyond “listen to the voters” or “get back to Labour values” platitudes.

    Even Jim above, resigning from a position of relative strength, has little to offer. Let’s hope next month’s report contains more red-meat than how he flegged-up that report yesterday:

    ” …..plan for earning back the trust of Scottish voters. A strategic overview of the voters we need to win back, and the challenges we face as a party on the ground ahead of the next two sets of Scottish Elections. A clear understanding of Scottish voters’ concerns and aspirations.

    A plan for reshaping the Scottish Labour Party, using all of our talents, widening our membership and ensuring the best possible range of talents from our membership and beyond. And above all, defending the rights of Labour party members and putting them back at the heart of our organisation. We should have a system of one member one vote as the UK party has, has for the election of leaders.

    A fresh assessment of our policy platform, preparing for using new powers and then bringing them closer to voters and out of Holyrood. Looking at also how we defend solidarity across the UK in the face of rising nationalisms, both north and south of the border. And the challenges of mitigating the threats from a Tory Government, and the challenges of poverty, poor educational attainment, and ill health….. bla bla bla”

    Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps the report will inspire a nation. But if past form is anything to go by it is likely we are looking at yet another false dawn of Scottish Labour .


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