Labour’s communication breakdown
It would be instructive for both the party and the public for the party to review its decision-making procedures.
Improved communication and strategy co-ordination between the party in Westminster and the one at Holyrood might be enhanced by such a review.
Do Scots Labour MPs meet at least twice a year with Scottish Labour Holyrood MSPs? Do they have a joint executive at which Scots and UK party representatives are present?
Such steps would go a long way to help generate co-ordination between the two wings of the party.
In principle, there is no reason why a Westminster MP might not be leader of the Scottish party since MPs represent Scotland as much as MSPs do.
Imaginative thinking is needed for the good of the party and the country if Labour is to overcome its Scottish problems.
I always welcome Bob Taylor’s letters to you for their clear logic and fair appraisal of the subject, but I was quite startled by his reference (27 October) to the referendum result being “mediocre enough to set alarm bells ringing” for Scottish Labour.
This seems to me to be linked to the existence of a majority of Yes voters in certain areas of traditional Labour electoral support, a situation which I found echoed by columnists in other papers: one described that scenario as “Labour failing to hold its core vote in the referendum”, while another portrayed it as Labour supporters “defecting to the Yes camp”.
Meanwhile, BBC Scotland’s presenter on Scotland 2014, Sarah Smith, bluntly stated on 20 October that Labour had “won” the referendum.
This is a nonsensical misrepresentation of the situation; indeed, among the party leaders, only the maligned Alex Salmond set the referendum in proper perspective, pointing out that it was not about the SNP or any political party, but about the right of the Scottish people to have the government they wanted at elections.
It is obviously wrong to portray the referendum as an election, for there were neither constituencies nor candidates and no party gained any electoral power from it. Concentration on specific national electoral areas is simply as irrelevant as party support: the referendum was a matter of individual choice from two options, and only the national totals are of any significance.
It’s good news that Jim Murphy is likely to be the next leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
I’m in the SNP.
Dave McEwan Hill