barrie cunningBarrie Cunning of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk CLP sets out why he’s backing Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour Leader.

 

As a proud Labour member and newly elected CLP Secretary I have had numerous conversations with people about the success the SNP have had and the impact it’s had on our party since May 8th. While it’s important to acknowledge and understand what went wrong, I do think it’s time we stopped obsessing about the SNP. To put it bluntly: they won, we lost. Let’s move on.

The pending leadership contest has resulted in two good candidates throwing their hat in the ring. Ken Macintosh talks about having life experience and leading the party in a less aggressive and adversarial style and offers a more co-operative and collaborative approach.

Kezia Dugdale was Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour party for five months and yet some people in the party still claim that she isn’t experienced enough to become the next party leader. It could be said that the former leader Jim Murphy had the easy job of rallying the troops, taking part in hustings and drinking Irn Bru, but Kezia held Nicola Sturgeon to account week in week out and did a fantastic job, and on that basis alone she deserves our support not criticism.

In last night’s BBC documentary The Downfall of Labour, most of our former leaders spoke about the tense relationship Scottish Labour has had with its Westminster counterparts. In some respects the suggestion was of a sibling rivalry, with the younger Scottish Labour sibling being told to put up and shut up. The last five months have shown us that Kezia is more than competent and capable of dealing with the SNP and it’s this capability that we want in a leader. The party needs a leader who has the drive, determination, energy and vision to lead us into victory.

It must be said that victory wont happen overnight, but with Kezia we can be sure of one thing: she will devote every waking moment to rebuilding the party by engaging with members on a more local level, re connecting with the people of Scotland and advocating policies that truly are in the best interest of the people of Scotland. I believe that Kezia will work with the Scottish Government if the policies proposed meet the principles and values of the Labour party -fairness, equality and social justice – moving on from our past approach of opposition at any cost.

Kezia offers the party fresh hope: change and a new direction that has the real potential to put Scottish Labour back on the map. To put it bluntly, Kezia is key to the change that Scottish Labour needs. That’s why I’ll be voting Kezia Dugdale for Scottish Labour Leader.