Scotland

Jim Murphy's chief of staff

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The new leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, has appointed John McTernan as his "chief of staff".

Read on, then, for this excerpt from the Morning Star (6 March) which tells you what you need to know about McTernan.

McTernan was speaking at a breakfast meeting at the conference for Policy Exchange, a Tory-leaning think tank. The whole event was paid for by the Stock Exchange.

McTernan poured praise on Thatcher. He said: “She changed the economic structure for good. As in forever. But also for good. It’s a good thing she did what she did.”

The new leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, has appointed John McTernan as his "chief of staff".

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Class interest, not patriotic interest!

Author: 

Ann Field

On Saturday 6 March a special conference of the Scottish Labour Party voted by 69% to 31% for a constitutional amendment declaring it to be a party which “works for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland.”

The bulk of the opposing votes came from Unite and Unison, plus a scattering of local parties. According to unconfirmed reports, the GMB voted for the amendment, and the CWU and ASLEF abstained.

Winning a third of the conference to a vote against the amendment was no small achievement.

Jim Murphy’s re-writing of the Scottish Labour party's constitution is a transparent exercise in squalid opportunism.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Edinburgh fights cuts

On 12 February 2015 the City of Edinburgh Council, a Labour-SNP coalition, passed a budget with £22 million of cuts which will see a reduction of 1200 jobs from the council workforce.

Fiona Menzies from Edinburgh East Save Our Services told Solidarity: “This did not go unmarked. Community and trade union activists both lobbied outside the council and delivered inspiring deputations inside. People can get some idea of the range of groups and the arguments being made by watching the deputations on the council webcam.

Edinburgh Council, a Labour-SNP coalition, has passed a budget with £22 million of cuts which will see a reduction of 1,200 jobs from the council workforce.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Around the world: 

Publications: 

How not to reverse Labour's fortunes

Author: 

Anne Field

He’s promised to bring back the sale of alcoholic drinks at football matches.

He’s pledged to make Labour the true patriotic party, patriotically committed to the patriotic interests of patriotic Scotland. And he’s been photographed jogging along the Clyde wearing a Scotland team football top. But none of this has been enough for Jim Murphy, the recently elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party, to achieve a reversal in the party’s poll ratings.

The Scottish Labour Party has alienated many of its core voters by failing to offer a radical alternative to the politics of privatisation, anti-union laws and austerity. But the growth in support for the SNP and its portrayal of independence as a cure-all panacea is not a shift to the left.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Scots, Wha Hae Wi Murphy bled!

Author: 

Anne Field

Newly elected Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has produced his own version of a new Clause Four for the Labour Party in Scotland.

(To be more accurate: he claims that it is all his own work. In fact, it reads like an entry in a primary school competition (“Write your own clause four and win a gold star!”) which has been pulled out of a hat at random.)

The first part of the new, Scottish, Clause Four is the verbose and vacuous Blairite Clause Four adopted by the Labour Party in 1995, albeit with a reference to Scottish Labour and “the people of Scotland” thrown in.

Jim Murphy’s message to Scottish Labour members at last month’s rally where the result of the leadership contest was announced should have been: “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for oblivion!”

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Next steps for Labour in Scotland?

Author: 

Dale Street

2014 closed with the election of Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale as leader and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Murphy won 56% of the total electoral college vote (split three ways between: MSPs and Scottish MPs and MEPs; individual Labour Party members; affiliated trade unions), against 35% for left-wing challenger Neil Findlay. The third candidate, Sarah Boyack, won 9%.

In the deputy leadership election Kezia Dugdale won 63%, against 37% for left-wing challenger Katy Clark.

The left in the Labour Party and the trade unions in Scotland should follow up the leadership contest by organising a Scottish Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory in May’s general election.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Limited tax powers for Scotland

Author: 

Dale Street

The cross-party Smith Commission on further Scottish devolution — set up following the “No” vote in September’s Scottish referendum — published its report last week.

The Scottish Parliament will have the power to set its own income tax rates and the income levels at which these are paid. Around half of VAT receipts will be allocated to the Scottish government’s budget. Control over Air Passenger Duty will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The cross-party Smith Commission on further Scottish devolution — set up following the “No” vote in September’s Scottish referendum — published its report last week.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

Back Findlay/Clark!

Neil Findlay MSP and Katy Clark MP are standing for the leadership and deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

Neil Findlay MSP and Katy Clark MP are standing for the leadership and deputy leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Unions back Findlay and Clark

Author: 

Dale Street

In an article published on LabourList on 13 November, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey summed up the prospects for the Scottish Labour Party if Jim Murphy is elected leader. The ballot opened on 17 November and closes on 10 December.

“Jim Murphy is the candidate of the past and the candidate of division. His victory would be all the SNP’s Christmases come at once.

Labour in Scotland, like in the rest of the country, needs to re-connect with its working-class base. The two candidates who can achieve this are Neil Findlay for leader and Katy Clark for deputy leader.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

Around the world: 

The exaggerated death of Scottish Labour

Author: 

Vince Mills, Campaign for Socialism and Red Papers Collective

The quote (actually a misquote) attributed to Mark Twain that reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated, could equally well apply to the Scottish Labour Left.

The vast majority of socialists in the Scottish Labour Party campaigned for and voted “no” in the referendum campaign. This in itself was enough for many in Left groups outside the party to consign it to the dustbin of history, rather perversely given the long anti-nationalist history of the socialist movement.

The Scottish Labour Left is far from a historical footnote. It may actually be on the verge of its most important hour.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Pages