“We didn’t listen” – Jim Murphy launches campaign with apology to the Scottish people

1st November, 2014 10:13 am


Jim Murphy will officially launch his campaign for the Scottish Labour leadership with a speech in Edinburgh today. He will focus on the Party’s failure to listen to the public, leading to subsequent defeats in 2007 and 2011.

Murphy will use the experiences from his 100 towns tour, where he spent 100 days going around Scotland holding street meetings to campaign for a No vote this summer, to talk about the appetite for change around the country.

“I want to apologise because twice Scots have said they didn’t think we were good enough to govern in Scotland – in 2007 and 2011.

“We didn’t listen to them. That has to change.”

However, the contender does not go so far as to lay the blame with previous Scottish Labour leaders, praising them as “proud and passionate servants of our party and our country.” And he highlights that, despite poor performances in Holyrood election, Scottish Labour have continued to perform well in both Westminster and local elections (although recent polling shows that may be changing). It is not Labour ideals that have been rejected, he says, “it’s our vision for Scotland – or more truthfully our lack of vision.”

Murphy’s campaign has kicked off with a high media profile, with a positive profile in yesterday’s Guardian and several television interviews, and is the bookies’ favourite to win the contest. Today, he becomes the first candidate to make a major speech on the campaign. Neil Findlay, meanwhile, became the first candidate to win a trade union endorsement yesterday, with ASLEF throwing their support behind him.

Nominations from elected representatives opened yesterday, so expect to see a flurry of MSPs, MPs and MEPs make their preferences known in the coming days.

UPDATE: Unite union have responded to the speech, saying they would like to hear more policy from Murphy. Pat Rafferty, the Scottish Secretary of the union, said:

“Mr Murphy needs to put away his Irn Bru crate and start setting out what he stands for.

“This is an election about who can best deliver for working and community Scotland.

“We sincerely hope it will not be much longer before Jim Murphy tells us what policies he is promoting.

“Unite’s members want to know what he will do to reverse falling wages, attack poverty and defend our services. What matters is, whoever succeeds, what he or she will do in power.

“Unite’s representative members will soon decide who to nominate on behalf of our union. On the basis of this speech, it is extremely difficult for them to find much to find hope that Jim Murphy is offering the genuine, positive change in Scottish Labour they seek.

“We urge him to use the coming days and weeks to give Labour voters much more substance to go on.”

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  • robertcp

    Why should Labour apologise to voters that chose to vote for another party? Murphy seems to think that Labour owns those voters and voting for the SNP was an aberration. Maybe they just preferred the policies being offered by the SNP.

  • Jamie Smith

    Too late for apologies from Murphy. Labour politicians like Murphy were only too happy to do the tories’ dirty work during the referendum. Labour seems to be equally willing to support the tories’ policies of WMD renewal and welfare cuts.
    Nobody in Scotland believes a word Murphy says anymore. “Scottish” Labour have only themselves to blame. Does it really think parachuting in a London Labour Blairite will improve its reputation in Scotland?

    • monty61

      Mindless gnat drivel.

      How exactly is supporting the union the Tories’ dirty work?

      And while he is certainly a Blairite the guy lives in Glasgow there’s no parachuting going on at all.

      • Rodric Selbie

        Mindless Britnat drivel.

        Supporting a political construct before your Country is dirty work

        Get this straight in your napper, there is no such thing as Scottish Labour, they don’t exist, not even registered, they collect their wages from Westminster, they were promoting a NO vote to protect their wages and golden handshakes, all normal folk without ulterior motives can see there is plenty parachuting going on, but just you continue to believe all your beloved Westminster peado coverup lies, obviously this is convenient for you…

      • Doug Smith

        The clueless Labour Party delivered for the Tories in Scotland. And, for their trouble, were shafted by Cameron after the result was announced.

        Many of us during the campaign said Miliband/SLP should present a Labour vision for Scotland.

        But alas, likes moths to a flame, Labour couldn’t resist the lure of the party whose policies they love to mimic.

  • Theoderic Braun

    Blimey! What a laugh! One incredibly overused New Labour reply/riposte to any/all questions about personalities and policies used to be: We’re listening. I well remember poor old Gordon Brown pulling this phrase out repeatedly like a gun from a holster. Besides being dishonest is Murphy amnesiac as well?

    • treborc1

      Trouble is when Brown drew his gun out, he shot himself in the foot.

  • David Pavett

    As a Blairite’s Blairite it seems likely to me that Jim Murphy would be the kiss of death to Scottish Labour. The SNP must be praying for him to be elected as leader. The only way for Scottish Labour now to have a future is by moving out of Westminster’s comfort zone by turning to the left. Without that SNP rhetoric will continue to sound more attractive than Labour’s tired clichés about “one nation” and “responsible capitalism”. Who really believes that stuff?

  • Dan

    Just a lot of the usual platitudes strung together. What change does he think is necessary? In what way does he think Scottish Labour didn’t listen to people? What would he do differently?

    Maybe the written text of this speech doesn’t do it justice – maybe his funereal speaking style somehow enlivened it. But it seems to me that if Jim Murphy is the answer then I really shudder to think what the question is. Like David Miliband, it just seems this is another thing where the Westminster bubble have convinced themselves through mindless groupthink that this is a great saviour despite no evidence whatsoever that the public think the same way.

  • barry

    Let us hope that Trades Unions aren’t allowed to dominate this election. Their vote ensured that we elected the wrong Miliband at Westminster. Now they seem to want to do the same thing in Scotland. Thank goodness we have someone like Jim Murphy willing to stand up to them over their antics in Falkirk. Most UNITE members didn’t vote Labour in 2010. Why should they have one third of the vote in this election? One person one vote should be the principle. Not this Medieval farce.

    • Dave Postles

      You’re damn lucky that the unions continue to support Labour.

      • barry

        The SNP seems to do very well without them.

        • barry

          Sorry. I’m not saying that TUs shouldn’t be in the party but they shouldn’t have any say over policy or who is elected other than as individual party members. They certainly shouldn’t have “block votes” either in elections for political posts or on policy. I’m a proud Trades Union member myself but that shouldn’t give me or some Trades Union officer two votes.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            But the trade unions founded our party and have financed it for decades. In fact in the post Blair fall out they have been our biggest financiers by far. Why shouldn’t they be given a big say in internal leadership elections? We’re not the Fib Dems ffs.

          • Doug Smith

            At the Special Conference the Labour Party voted to end the link with the unions. It’s time for the unions walk proudly away from the LP. Let the Blairites to go begging to their corporate chums.

          • treborc1

            If the Unions were to just walk away from the silky skills of Miliband, then really we would have to start all over again the Unions are as much to blame for the mess we are in today as is labour, but to walk away give up and state OK we are gone would allow Blair to win.

          • Daniel Speight

            Yes that’s quite right. To walk away from Labour is to give it up to the Blair clone carpet baggers with their Oxbridge PPEs.

          • Doug Smith

            That has happened already, at the Special Conference.

            By remaining, as window-dressing, until the Implementation Committee finishes its work only provides the Blair clones with funds and an undeserved credibility.

          • treborc1

            He’s a Blair-rite who of course hate socialism….

          • barry

            “Because they finance us” cannot be a reason to hand over one third of the votes in an election for party leader to any individual or group. There is also the question of legitimacy particularly in a Scottish context. A majority of UNITE members didn’t vote for Labour in the 2010 general election. A very large section of UNITE members vote SNP and there was a significant breakaway from the union (including 40 UNITE officials) who voted yes in the referendum. Here is an organisation that places a huge slab of votes on behalf of members who don’t vote Labour and don’t sympathise with Labour. How on earth can this be fair?

          • Steve Stubbs

            “Because they finance us” cannot be a reason to hand over one third of
            the votes in an election for party leader to any individual or group”

            It is called buying votes. The party is moving to OMOV and that should have been used in this election as well. But it gives the unions one last bite at the cherry to stick with the block vote system, and install their own sock-puppet.

            Time the unions formed another party called the Trades Union Party, and left labour alone to get on with the future, while they march to oblivion.

    • treborc1

      Well it was good enough for Blair until he went out of power, Blair ran to the Unions for money when labour ran into issue with donations.

    • leslie48

      Maybe but there were plenty of us who thought we would get a vision, a narrative that would somehow have an appeal to the many in this country who want a more social democratic society like Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, even France and Germany. We had no idea we would have Balls freezing CB as a key piece at conference. There has to hope for the electorate , some emotion or else we are lost. Harold Wilson offered something else to old Tory Britain. Ed can do that but also the Party strategists need to pull their fingers out of their b*ms and get moving like the Tories strategists such as Lytton Crosby.

  • DRbilderburg

    An ageing New Labour faithful, and an empty talent pool, a toxic mix which is Scotlab,, sometimes you have to move on. The SNP now has the momentum, and the rest have nothing to counter it

  • Monkey_Bach

    Considering what the Scots are busily saying about him it’s probably best if Murphy stayed deaf.


    • BillFrancisOConnor

      Serious question. Would you like Sarah Teather to stand?

      • treborc1

        God your really boring, the issue is Teather is a young lady who was new to politics had done nothing and pushed into the limelight, lets see ah yes same as Miliband.

      • robertcp

        Isn’t she in another party?

      • Doug Smith

        Who would you back, Bill, Findlay or Murphy?

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          As you know you’ve got the ability to see into the future when it comes to elections- Who’s going to win?

          • Doug Smith

            No. Who do you support: Findlay or Murphy?

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Well you don’t want to answer my question so I’m not going to answer yours.

          • Doug Smith

            Murphy will win.

            Do you support Murphy or Findlay?

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            OK. Well I’m not keen on Murphy. But I don’t know anything at all about Findlay. I didn’t even know he existed until his name was mentioned as a possible candidate last week. But I couldn’t see me voting for Murphy were I a party member in Scotland.

          • Doug Smith

            Cheers for that.

            As someone who has never, and never intends to vote Tory, I could never support/vote for Murphy.

            Nor could I support a party that entered into a coalition with the Tories, as Labour did in Scotland.

  • Markham Weavill

    I’ve just watched the Andrew Marr Show.

    Compare and contrast the interviews of Murphy and Salmond and then weep for Scottish Labour should Murphy become their leader.

  • leslie48

    When Labour national figures stop beating up their own party and Prescot is another one maybe the party will recall they have an election upcoming and its time we had a vision about a less unequal nasty Right Wing society but then I think our former leaders have gone bonkers and entirely lost the plot. For goodness sake attack Tory policies not each other. The Daily hate Mail or today the headlines in the Sunday Mail are nasty to labour without Murphy and Prescott’s ranting.

  • uglyfatbloke

    Can’t you just hear the gnats rejoicing at the prospect of Murphy as Labour leader?

  • TilyT

    I don’t want to just be listened to. I need to be heard. I don’t want to be governed. I want to be represented. I want Scots views acted on. I don’t want you listening to me and other Scots and then using that to craft sound bites to convince us to vote for you, so you can enact policies that have no relation to what people said.


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