Sheila Gilmore and Evan Williams say thank you to Kezia Dugdale, who has stood down as Scottish Labour leader.

 

Sheila

Thank you Kez!

As as a party we owe a great deal to Kez’s willingness to ‘step up to the plate’ in the difficult period following the 2015 general election. Under her leadership Labour at Holyrood have managed to demonstrate the failings of the SNP government, which was a contributing factor to the results in June 2017. That gloss that the Scottish Government could do no wrong has worn off, and that was a factor leading to the huge falls we saw in the SNP vote.

Kez is a tremendous role model for women, and a strong supporter of the 50:50 campaign seeking to create gender balance across all politics not just our party. We need to build on the progress we have made, not slip backwards.

In the intense 24 hour news cycles, in the glare of social media, leadership is much harder than it was in the past. As party members we need to help nurture and support our leaders. That ‘s not to say we can’t debate and disagree, because that is what politics is all about , but in a way that is comradely please.

Kez is an energetic campaigner inspiring others to get involved. Not just elections, and her childcare and pay day lending campaigns were both fun and effective. More please Kez!

But Kez is always clear that to get real change we need to win elections and she is always out there with us, cajoling us just to finish that road group, talk to a few more residents. So thank you, Kez.

And now I am off out to deliver more leaflets. See you on the campaign trail soon Kez?

 

Evan

Citizens of Rome were called upon to leave their city in a better state than they found it, and in that respect Kezia Dugdale has been an exemplary citizen of Scottish Labour.

Kezia Dugdale’s resignation as leader of the Scottish Labour Party took everyone by surprise, but keen followers of the political scene in Scotland have come to expect the unexpected from Kez.  In the coming weeks every flavour of opinion will find expression in explaining her choice; some of the analysis will be preposterous and some closer to the mark. How you feel about the differing analysis will more likely be the effect of confirmation bias than any real insight likely to come from it.

The facts, though, are that she became leader of the Scottish Labour at a time when the party had been all but wiped out in the 2015 general election. It was with some justification described as the worst job in Scottish politics. That was a characterisation that Kez never accepted, and she took on the role with a determination and clarity of purpose that some of the more cynical elements of the party sought to dismiss as naiveté. She proved them wrong and leaves at a time when the party is more optimistic and more positive than anyone predicted possible just two years ago.

As certainly as day follows night ownership of the transformation of Scottish Labour in the last two years will be fought over and Kezia’s leadership will be dismissed as having ended in failure.

For now as Deputy Leader Alex Rowley has earned the right to serve as acting leader. There will doubtless be a number of potential candidates reflecting on the contribution they can make and the opportunity they have to stamp their own personality and politics on the next few years of Scottish labour. If they, as Kez did, put service to the party first and personal ambition second, they will find a party willing to be led and in good heart. If not, they could find themselves a footnote in the relatively high attrition rate of Scottish Labour leaders.