Scotland

Opposition grows to “Murphyite” candidate

Author: 

Dale Street

When nominations closed for Scottish Labour leader and deputy leader last Friday, two candidates most typifying the politics which were rejected at the general election were standing.

Ken Macintosh had been nominated for leader by seven MSPs (just enough to get onto the ballot paper) while Gordon Matheson had been nominated for deputy leader by two MSPs and 108 councillors.

When nominations closed for Scottish Labour leader and deputy leader last Friday, two candidates most typifying the politics which were rejected at the general election were standing.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Tom Harris, Dale Street and Anne Field

Strikes over privatisation continue at Bromley Council.

Workers are on strike between 10-20 June in a series of selective strikes. Unite members in adult services and transport workers will strike from 10-15 June, library staff between 13-20 June and central council workers on 16 June.

The council's cuts plan involves outsourcing most of its services, reducing the number of council employees from 4000 to 300, and privatising 14 libraries. Unite, Unison and community campaigns organised a march through the borough on Saturday 13 June.

Strikes over privatisation continue at Bromley Council; steel workers strike; reinstate Candy Udwin; solidarity with Robert O'Donnell; Glasgow homelessness caseworkers fight on.

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Scottish Labour: turn outwards, or close down?

Author: 

Dale Street

“Can the Scottish Labour Party listen and learn from its defeat on 7 May?” asked Katy Clark, former Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, at last Saturday’s Campaign for Socialism (CfS) conference in Glasgow.

The 70-plus Scottish Labour members attending the event were clear about some of the things that Labour needed to do in response to that question. The same cannot be said of the Scottish Labour Executive Committee, meeting at the same time.

The Scottish left after the election.

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England right, Scotland left?

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

One story being told about the 7 May election is that Scotland has become left-wing, and England right-wing. Labour lost, so they say, because it was too left-wing for England and too right-wing for Scotland.

A likelier explanation is that the SNP was able to project itself as both a bit left-wing, and safe, whereas Labour’s combination of general talk against “predators” with extravagantly cautious and tiny policies left it looking neither really left-wing nor really safe.

One story being told about the 7 May election is that Scotland has become left-wing, and England right-wing. Labour lost, so they say, because it was too left-wing for England and too right-wing for Scotland.

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Unions are not to blame for Labour's defeat

Author: 

Dale Street

When Jim Murphy announced he was standing down Murphy claimed that he had been “at the centre of a campaign by the London leadership of Unite the Union, (who) blame myself or the Scottish Labour Party for the defeat of the UK Labour Party in the general election.”

“Sometimes people see it as a badge of honour to have [Unite General Secretary] Mr McCluskey’s support. I see it as a kiss of death to be supported by that type of politics… We cannot have our leaders selected or deselected by the grudges and grievances of one prominent man.”

Jim Murphy may be stepping down as Scottish Labour leader but his pernicious influence on the party is far from finished.

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Make sure Murphy goes!

Author: 

Dale Street

After surviving a no confidence vote by 17 votes to 14 at the meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee (16 May), the Party’s leader Jim Murphy tendered his resignation.

Murphy’s election as Scottish Labour leader last December was the product of a carefully orchestrated plot by Blairite MSPs and Scottish Labour MPs. Last summer Murphy was given the lead role in the Better Together campaign, in order to raise his profile. The Blairites then triggered the resignation of incumbant leader Johann Lamont’, reportedly by circulating a statement of no confidence in her.

After surviving a no confidence vote by 17 votes to 14 at the meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee on 16 May, the Party’s leader Jim Murphy tendered his resignation.

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A government for the rich

Author: 

Ann Field

The Tories are committed to cutting public spending by £30 billion over the next four years. This will mean annual cuts twice the size of any year’s cuts over the past five years. Although they have not identified all their cuts it is already clear to some degree where the axe will fall.

Policies include debarring unemployed under-21s from claiming Housing Benefit and cutting the annual benefits cap — the maximum payable to any claimant, whatever their circumstances — from £26,000 to £23,000.

The first Tory government since 1997 to have an absolute majority in Parliament will rule on behalf of the rich, the powerful and the bigoted. It will target the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick, the working class, and the one force capable of defeating the Tories’ new laws: the trade union movement.

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Where now for Scottish Labour?

Author: 

Dale Street
Jim Murphy must go. Rebuild class struggle politics in Scotland.

Winning just one seat in Scotland, the Scottish Labour Party was annihilated as an electoral force, and possibly as any kind of political force, on May 7th.

On being elected Scottish Labour leader last December, Jim Murphy said: “I am confident we will hold all the Westminster seats we have.”

In January he criticised the SNP for being “sluggish, lethargic and off the pace.” He was “surprised by their lack of energy, by their lack of response, or belated response, to a lot of the things we’ve been doing. I’m just astonished by how quickly they’ve run out of ideas.”

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The SWP's cunning plan

Author: 

Dale Street

When it comes to mealy-mouthed oleaginous opportunism, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has always been in a class of its own. And in the general election campaign in Scotland the SWP is now doing what the SWP does best.

According to an SWP leaflet produced for May Day demonstrations in Scotland: “The SWP is not calling for a blanket vote for the SNP on 7th May.”

This could mean: Vote TUSC or SSP where they are standing (as subsequently advocated by the leaflet), but vote SNP everywhere else. This would be consistent with the presence of the word “blanket” before “vote”.

Are they, or are they not, backing the SNP?

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Len McCluskey: take on the SNP!

Author: 

Ann Field

“I didn’t come to Scotland to criticise the SNP,” said Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey at a public meeting in Saltcoats a fortnight ago, organised by North Ayrshire and Arran Labour Party as part of its campaign to retain the seat for Katy Clark.

McCluskey was as good as his word.

He called for a vote for Labour. He called for a Labour government. He called for, if need be, a minority Labour government rather than one which entered pacts or a coalition with other parties. But he was not prepared to attack the SNP.

Why doesn't the leader of Unite criticise the SNP, the cuts it has made, its nationalism and lack of support for trade unions?

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