I have been involved in developing the case for progressive federalism for nearly 10 years when it became clear there would be a referendum on independence. The Red Paper Collective was established by bringing together trade unionists with activists and academics to create a response. It didn’t start from a commitment to federalism. But having rejected everything else it was the obvious answer. It became even more obvious in 2016 after the referendum on membership of the EU
Veteran Scottish Football Commentator Archie MacPherson and Labour Peer Lord Foulkes, who were both last week calling publicly for the head of Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard MSP, really should take a good look at themselves.
Mr. MacPherson, a ‘proud Labour supporter’, seems to think that a Westminster MP (the only Scottish Labour MP in Westminster) should be leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
I mean no disrespect to Ian Murray MP but does Archie really think that the SNP and other opponents wouldn’t have a field day if we had the leader of the Party not in the Scottish Parliament but based at Westminster instead?
How would that help us in Scotland? The SNP would run and run with this and who would blame them?
It’s astonishing that not only does Mr. MacPherson want ANOTHER leadership change – because we haven’t had enough of those, eh? - but he also seems to conveniently forget that we lost far more MPs under Jim Murphy MP (when we also were reduced to one MP) and that it was under the leadership of Kezia Dugdale MSP (whom I voted for against Ken MacIntosh MSP) that we fell to third place in Holyrood.
Lord Foulkes, on the other hand, seems eager to ‘install’ Jackie Baillie MSP as leader, so should we just completely ignore the members of the Scottish Labour Party who voted Richard Leonard in and have someone appointed undemocratically?
Jackie Baillie is an excellent MSP but it is for her to decide if she wants to put herself forward for the leadership and if she does then it must be by the members that she is elected.
Contrary to what has been implied, Richard Leonard is far from invisible in Scottish Politics. Indeed, to cut through as much as he has done in this strange world of SNP ‘daily updates’ and extreme media deference toward the Supreme Leader, sorry First Minister, would normally be applauded for a ‘third party’ leader.
There will be those who argue over Richard’s leadership but it was not under Richard that we became the third party in Holyrood, a position that in itself profoundly limits influence and exposure no matter who is leading.
Whilst Nicola Sturgeon and Jackson Carlaw squabble over their different forms of regressive nationalism, Richard Leonard is fighting for a National Care Service, for jobs, for the rights of workers, for the NHS, for our public services and for action on poverty. A Real Labour voice with Real Labour values.
It’s not Richard Leonard that will push Scottish Labour towards irrelevance, it’s these ‘high profile’ Labour men who call for a Leadership change every time they don’t get their way and therefore play right into the hands of the opposition.
Kevin McGregor was Scottish Labour's 2019 General Election Candidate for Kilmarnock and Loudoun