Wanted; Branch Office Manager, no experience necessary.

Oh well, you might be tempted to say. Here we go again, another year another Labour leadership election. It seems to be that falling on your sword after yet another defeat of historical proportions is now part of the Labour Leadership 101 Course.
It’s getting harder and harder to remember all the “Leaders” the Branch Office has had. And yet even in that simple sentence we have the root cause of their problem. Branch Offices have “Managers”.
“Leaders” can only lead when they can do three things:
• recognise your own problems and develop solutions
• take the necessary steps to implement them
• inspire people to follow them and you.
Only then can you have a “Leader” rather than a Branch Office “Manager”.
And therein lies the root of Labour’s problem. Despite all the guff we heard last year about being loved, valued and wanted etc, about being part of one big family of Nations and yes about being Better Together, the simple truth is the even the Labour Party in London do not like, do not value and certainly do not trust Labour in Scotland.
And who can fault them on that?
Labour in England has been seduced into believing that only by pursuing the votes of so called “Middle England” can they hope to succeed, only by being more attractive to the softer tory voter can they win. The simple truth is that in doing so they have abandoned and betrayed their own natural voters who are increasingly staying away from the Polling Stations and simultaneously giving the racist idiocy that is ukip the appearance of a rational, sensible voting choice. Making farage look sensible is no mean achievement, but not one to be proud of.
And yet it could all have been so different.
For weeks building up to the election the right wing rags of the Express and Mail were busy fermenting fear and hatred of the SNP as some bunch of kilted socialist invaders coming to rape and pillage our way across their green and pleasant land. And then came the first debate.
Nicola not only blew away her opponents, she demonstrated that there is an appetite for sensible left of centre solutions to the problems which England faces just as much as we do. In doing so Nicola opened a window of opportunity which Milliband could not even see far less use!
The window of opportunity opened then for Labour to say to England that they will work with anyone to lock the tories out and in doing so give some hope to the beleaguered communities across the whole of England who were crying out for an alternative to the tories. To say that the fear and hatred which the tories were working feverishly to create was completely opposed to what they were saying in the Referendum debate, and that he stood by the his words that Scotland was an equal member of the Family of Nations. But the moment passed, the window closed and Milliband is a footnote in history.
But we are where we are and Labour now needs to identify where they go from here.
It is blindingly obvious to anyone who was involved in the election that Labour in Scotland do not offer the kind of policy and moral leadership the people of Scotland want. They are thirled to whatever comes out of Milbank Towers and simply have to accept it. Trident renewal, referendums on Europe, the bedroom tax or any of dozens of issues Labour cannot make policy for Scotland which is different in any way from that in England or Wales and don’t even bother to stand candidates in N Ireland.
Now we have the fascinating sights of Labour MSP Alex Rowley publicly calling for a fully autonomous Scottish Labour Party which regarded UK Labour as a “sister party” not its boss.
Rowley said: “We cannot move forward if we can’t have our own views in Scotland.
“Some of the people who are looking at this need to realise we are not a region of England.
“We’re a country in our own right. We’re a nation in our own right.
“Our relationship with the UK party needs to be built on that clear understanding.”
Yet these are exactly the same people who campaigned hand in hand, arms linked with the Tories to tell us we were “Better Together”.
How can it be right for Labour to build a relationship built on recognition that “We’re a country in our own right. We’re a nation in our own right.” when they seek to deny Scotland the ability to build on that self same foundation?
And this is the fundamental issue which Labour needs to address. Are they seeking to be Scotland’s voice in the UK or the UK’s voice in Scotland?
It would be fundilymundily madness to go into the 2016 elections arguing that Labour in Scotland needs to be able to decide it’s own future and direction, working in partnership with their comrades in England and Wales and simultaneously argue that Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid do the same as a Nation.
But would you bet against them doing just that?


This was submitted by Stephen Bird, SNP activist and Councillor. Stephen will hopefully be joining our team later this month to replace Alison Thewliss who was successfully elected to Westminster and has her hands full with the new job.