Socialist Worker

Scottish Labour candidates have no solutions

by Angela McCormick
Issue No. 2113

The position of leader of the Scottish Labour Party is up for grabs – in a tightly controlled internal election.

The election comes after Wendy Alexander was forced to step down last month.

The nationwide search for talent in Scottish Labour has produced three long-serving career politicians as candidates.

Each one is promising more of the same, with empty soundbites about “leadership”, the “people of Scotland” and being “bold”.

They all back neoliberal policies. Andy Kerr planned the closure of Accident & Emergency services in Monklands and North Ayrshire. Cathy Jamieson supported an electronic tagging system and Anti-social behaviour orders. Iain Gray wants a new generation of nuclear missiles to replace Trident.

There is no left candidate, though Bill Butler is standing for deputy leader.

The party is split between those who want it to be the main defenders of the unity of the United Kingdom and those who, while opposing independence, want greater devolution.

That seems to translate into the belief that the Labour leader in the Scottish parliament should lead the Scottish party rather than Gordon Brown.

It seems that those at top of the Labour Party who are able to learn the lessons from their recent defeats at the hands of the Scottish National Party (SNP) are few and far between.

However, former finance minister Tom McCabe MP – while not standing – may just be getting there.

He has called for a “leader who will ask why we are not taxing gas companies” or abolishing council tax.

On the SNP, he said, “They have delivered on enough to keep people believing that they are in pursuit of change.

“They have swept away bridge tolls and are on their way to abolishing prescription charges. Most importantly of all, the SNP still promise to remove the burden of the council tax.”

His comments at least move the issue onto policies and begin to publicly question New Labour’s kamikaze commitment to right wing attacks on their core support – the working class.


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News
Tue 5 Aug 2008, 17:37 BST
Issue No. 2113
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