United, we rise
Ben Procter says Scottish Labour must be realistic about its plight and the challenge it faces, and must approach the future united if it is to survive at all.
There is no denying the scale of the challenges that lie in front of the Labour Party. For us to achieve a majority of one in the next General Election there would need to be a national swing in the range of 14 – 16%.
A swing of that magnitude would be larger than the swings to Labour in 1987, 1992 and 1997 combined. To call it a Herculean effort would be an understatement.
In Scotland, as many have already pointed out, the results paint a far worse image. There were a number of reasons why voters felt that they couldn’t trust us with their vote in this election. And after losses in every election in Scotland since 2007 (barring 2010) we really do need to identify the root causes.
To suggest that the Labour Party rulebook or our internal structures are what lost us support is not just sticking our heads in the guillotine but offering to pull the lever ourselves.
It is only right that there is a review of what we got wrong, but by this stage we have nearly had as many reviews of the Scottish Party as we have had leaders since 1999.
This one must be different or it may be our last.
For starters, the review must have clear terms of reference. It should be about the results of the election, and should set out a clear set of options as to our next steps.
There must be a clear and impartial outside perspective as far as possible, and that is why it should be led by an external body and not by an elected representative who owes fealty to the leadership team or has personal desires that would gain advantage from an antagonistic approach.
And finally, it must present a long term plan to rebuild our party with clear milestones.
Now, less than 18 months out from the next Scottish Parliament elections, it would be foolish to think we can leapfrog back to being the largest party in Scotland with ease – but if Scottish Labour is to survive we must use that time wisely and as a springboard for the years to come.
We’ve seen the difference a Labour government makes, and we know how much better, brighter and more prosperous Scotland could be with a Labour-led government in Holyrood.
We are all on #TeamLabour. We all joined to make a difference and deliver a fairer and more just Scotland.
United we rise, divided we end.