Labour ‘fighting for survival in Scotland’ admits party MSP

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by G.A.Ponsonby

A Labour MSP has admitted that the party are facing a fight for their very survival in Scotland as voters move to the SNP in their thousands.

Writing in the ‘Labour Hame’ blog, Labour MSP James Kelly said the party lacked a coherent policy strategy and that the review currently being carried out by Westminster MP Jim Murphy had to deliver “real change … if the party is to survive as a credible force in Scotland.”

The stark admission from the MSP for Rutherglen will add to the woes of the party’s Scottish branch who are currently struggling to find a replacement for outgoing leader Iain Gray.

Mr Kelly lamented the lack of basic local organisation at the recent Scottish elections and described it as being so poor that “in at least one of the Labour held seats that we lost, there was no organised door knocking.”  Mr Kelly questioned how Labour can expect to win “without talking to voters”.

The Labour MSP also criticised some of his parliamentary colleagues, suggesting they could have done more, and added: “In my view, a clear responsibility in rebuilding local parties lies with elected representatives.  They need to be capable of looking beyond the arena in which they represent the party.”

Commenting SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who won the previously Labour held seat of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:

“It is damning that in some constituencies Labour tried to win without speaking to voters.  James Kelly’s comments show just how arrogant Labour were to take the voters for granted.

“James Kelly was a part of Labour’s team in the run up to May’s election.

“He was part of the team behind the policies and as an MSP surely had a role to play in the party’s organisation.”

Ms McKelvie suggested that Labour politicians appear to have spent their time looking for scapegoats for the Scottish defeat and were ignoring the real reasons for their demise in Scotland.

She added:

“The leadership election is turning into an embarrassing fiasco as no MSP wants the job and party bosses in London look to take over party operations again.

“The SNP’s success at the 2011 election was based on our record, our effective team of ministers and candidates and our vision for Scotland’s future, a vision that won increasing popular support.”

 

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