Two Stirling university students have produced an article evaluating the current and future situation of Scottish Labour after the party was left with just one MP after December’s general election.
The article called ‘What Now for Scottish Labour’ outlines where Scottish Labour have previously gone wrong, possible routes to take and how to improve in the future.
Daniel Deery and Cian Ireland behind the article are ILP members based at Stirling University. Daniel is chair of Stirling University Labour Society and Cian is the student union liaison officer for Scottish Labour Students.
Both were on Stirling student Mary Kate Ross’s campaign team for the Stirling seat back in December. In the article they mention that a lot of valuable time was wasted on showing canvassers with less experience the ropes.
Times are tough for Scottish Labour, but the piece gives a clear analysis of the party’s past failures and steps for moving forward.
It remains unclear what the future holds for Scottish Labour with Ian Murray, Labour’s last MP in Scotland, receiving backlash last week for defending British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic whilst attacking Nicola Sturgeon.
Brig caught up with Deery and Ireland.
In the article they mention a route Scottish Labour must go down is deciding a position on Scottish Independence, but it doesn’t pay off electorally.
Brig asked: Do you think after the unprecedented times of the pandemic and how the UK government has handled it that this is something that could change?
The guys explained, “Our position must be to unite the working class on each side of the divide. The news today coming from the leadership concerns us as it does the opposite of this.”
“Despite the evidence showing our loss in support has consistently been mostly from independence supporting people, our party wants to compete over a section of the working class with the Tories.”
“This is problematic even before we discuss the ideological considerations and how important self-determination is to socialism. As a result, we argue for a position that, while respecting that the majority of our membership is unionist, realises we must unite working people around socialism and not add to the divide and refuse people their right to self-determination.”
Following this Brig asked: What can more senior and experienced members of the Scottish Labour party do to ensure young active members are prepared for future elections and canvassing?
In response they told us: “First and foremost, there is a need to hold campaigning sessions outside of election time which would give us the opportunity to teach canvassing and campaigning skills outside of the election window.”
“This would take the burden off us during the election of training newer members when we need to focus on maximising that time as much as possible.”
“If we look to what CLPs like Maryhill have been doing with year round and an energised young activist base there is a blueprint for renewal of our machine, we just every party to have the resources and training to follow their lead.”
Finally, Brig asked Deery and Ireland what advice they had for students looking to get involved in the Labour party.
“Get involved, regardless of your position on independence. We need to shift the party position here for sure, but join us in fighting for socialism, worker ownership and radical change that the working class needs, and not just the politics of flag changing and waving.”