The present group of Labour MSPs are unrepresentative of the Labour Party in Scotland and many
have chosen not to adapt to the changed political climate.
1. The cleansing of the panel of candidates for the first Holyrood election by Donald Dewar, his
allies and collaborators, to reduce the influence of those from the left, local government,
trade unions or with experience and who might have stood up to him and his acolytes.
2. The over-representation of career Blairites on lists, in circumstances where they were not
expected to win, but did.
The subsequent low turnover has left much of the Group in a time warp, more attuned to the 1990s
than the present day.
Unfortunately, the Group had made the problem worse by becoming insular, being more oriented to
the Holyrood Parliament than the Labour Movement.
Many within it have become too engrossed in internal rows and ignore why they were selected.
They, or their candidates, have lost elections. They should get over it or get out.
Some should change or be changed.
What Is To Be Done?
The membership profile has changed as the Party has expanded. While sitting members will
automatically and rightly start future selections with the huge advantage of incumbency, there will
be opportunities for more representative candidates to fill vacancies. There will also be the chance
to replace those who have been consistently gratuitously disloyal or disruptive.
There will have to be steps taken to stop abuses of the membership system, such as seen recently,
but the next selection round will produce changes simply because of the huge changes in the
Range of candidates
There needs to be a conscious effort made to widen further the pool from which candidates are
drawn. Existing efforts should be continued, but even with present efforts there is too much
replication of existing patterns. In particular, Labour has not managed to help sufficiently those with
working class life experience and backgrounds. Too often, our efforts to widen representation by
gender, race or sexual orientation benefit the socially confident and privileged, rather than those
who are multiply disadvantaged.
What Is Not To Be Done?
We must not seek organisational solutions to political problems. We must avoid the tempting trap of
becoming as sectarian as the Blairites and Labour’s traditional Right Wing were, and continue to be.
Our objective is not to create a political 'Exclusive Brethren’ but to make the Labour Party a
genuinely broad church, which, while it has limits, has also tolerance.