JohannqwigM3dW Lamont sets out why she is backing Kezia Dugdale to be the next Scottish Labour leader.


We would wish we were not here.

Scottish Labour is still in shock and we have many questions to ask of ourselves, arguments to reflect on and changes to make. That will not be done quickly and cannot be for elected politicians alone.

If Labour’s commitment to the values of justice and equality are to heard again, the process of recovery must be shaped by those who have stopped listening to us.

Electing a new leader will not be enough but the right leader, supported and encouraged, can guide and drive that change. This job cannot be a zero hours contract but a long term, long haul appointment.

It is hardly the easiest of jobs. Indeed, I have reflected that too often our party comes together to elect a leader and then steps back, arms folded, waiting to be disappointed. We cannot allow that luxury now. Choosing a leader must be for the long term. There is no quick fix, no gimmick, no short term ploy that will match the respect we need to show those who have turned away.

So why do I support Kez?

She is bright, talented, compassionate.  She is brave. She is wise enough to have taken time to decide whether she wants the job. As our education spokesperson she revealed a creativity, harnessed to a focus on what worked, not just what sounded good. She is a campaigner,  recognising  the abilities of those who understand the problems facing too many in our communities and have already developed answers. Her campaign on taking on the scandal of pay day loan companies has, even in opposition, offered protection to those in debt.

She is all of these things but critically she is part of the post referendum generation, shaped by that debate but not scarred  by the arguments of the pre Scottish Parliament generation – hers is the generation charged with healing divisions and responding to a changed Scotland.

Her instinct is to co-operate and that is good. Her politics are grounded in making a difference and tackling inequality and that means she can be a powerful voice for action over rhetoric.

She can give Labour a strong voice, a modern voice  in our new Scotland. And if she wins, it will not be for us to fold our arms and watch; it will be for all of us to roll our sleeves up and together take responsibility for past failings and for the challenge the future so clearly presents. And in my view Kez is the woman to lead that change.