From Paisley with love
DOUGLAS ALEXANDER pens a welcome letter to LabourHame
Okay, tartan kitsch has never been my look of choice – and you do look a bit like a Bay City Rollers Tribute site. Yet I want to welcome your arrival and share with you my hopes for the renewal to which you can contribute
Firstly, this is a site where together we can discuss the defeat Scottish Labour suffered last month – given the risk for all political parties is that you can experience electoral defeat without necessarily understanding it. I hope it will be a site where a spirit of reflection and civility informs those debates. The wearisome and adolescent aggression of so many of the ‘cyber-nats’ should find no echo here.
I hope you’ll also allow us not simply to reflect but to look ahead. Of course there are organisational lessons to be learned and applied, and the review being led by Sarah and Jim, the potential for early action. But, I believe that at root, the result on May 5 must be understood through the frame of politics and not simply organisation. For over a century our party has stood, in one form or other, for social democracy and home rule within the United Kingdom. One of the ironies of last month’s result is that, despite the scale of our defeat, those ideas still represent represent the views of the majority of mainstream Scotland. So let’s start again the debate and the conversation about how to reconnect our beliefs to the aspirations of modern Scotland.
Last night I was at a Party meeting in Paisley discussing the results. This morning I was knocking on doors in Greenock. Of course that vital work – of discussing, debating and campaigning with party members will continue, but this must be a site of not simply introspection but renewal of new ideas as well as new analysis.
It was the late great Robin Cook who, in a different time and a different context, said “Renewal is more than a job for the man at the top.”
In that spirit of shared endeavour let’s get to it.
Douglas Alexander is the Shadow Foreign Secretary and served in the last Labour government as Secretary of State for Scotland, Transport and International Development. Follow Douglas on Twitter at @DAlexanderMP.