Following the Labour Party losing its deposit and coming fifth in last week’s Henley by-election, senior Scottish Labour officials now fear that they will lose the Glasgow East by-election, which will be called later this month.
Scottish Labour should be a bastion of Gordon Brown’s support. But the resignation of Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, a Brown loyalist, shows how deep New Labour’s crisis is.
If Labour lost Glasgow East it would be a hammer blow for Brown.
For generations Labour has taken support in Scotland for granted. Its defeat at the hands of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in last year’s elections left the party reeling.
Alexander was elected as leader of Scottish Labour unopposed because the left could not find the six MSPs needed to nominate an alternative candidate. If they fail to put one forward this time, there will be a choice of various Brown loyalists.
For the wider left in Scotland the Glasgow East by-election poses a big challenge.
Following New Labour to disaster is not an option. Surrendering working class support to the pro-business SNP is no more attractive.
The left needs to begin discussing how it can offer an alternative to the dead hand of New Labour and to the challenge posed by the SNP.