Scottish Labour Leader Runners and Riders

The dust is settling following the brutal ousting of hopeless Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard at the end of last week. Even as questions swirl around Leonard’s donor-engineered resignation, two leading candidates have emerged.

  • Anas Sarwar (Constitution spokesman)
    • Blairite candidate. Multi-millionaire. Sends kids to private school. Runner up in the last leadership election. Despite attracting the most MSP nominations, Sarwar lost the membership vote to Richard Leonard by 9,516 to 12,469. Now the man who couldn’t beat the man who resigned for being too unpopular seeks to re-popularise his party…
    • Readers may remember Sarwar as the man who touched his microphone while pleading for others to not touch their microphones. He also once sent out an email saying “we should redistribute wealth from the many to the few”. Oops.
  • Monica Lennon (Health and Sport Spokesperson)
    • Left-wing candidate. Abstained on independence referendum vote. Successfully campaigned for councils to be obligated to provide tax funded menstrual hygiene products. Close to Richard Leonard. Definitely the left of the SNP. Lennon suffers from ailurophobia, an irrational fear of cats.
    • Once said she would “like to go back to the 1960s.” No relation to John.

And there’s another name that keeps floating around…

  • Gordon Brown (Former Prime Minister)
    • Dark horse. Some in Scottish Labour have been urging Brown to step up as the party’s only big beast left. He won’t. Though he has been stepping back into the fray with his new think tank “Our Scottish Future”, which has pointed out failures in the SNP’s coronavirus response. Not another Scottish Labour leader, yet perhaps he is gearing up to be a less partisan figure in the constitutional debate…
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Scottish Labour’s 2021 Disaster Election Plans Revealed

Scottish Labour has many things to learn about Scotland and its voters, however Guido reckons they should prioritise learning one fact: that Regus-serviced office walls in Glasgow aren’t soundproof, and bear this in mind next time they hold a big election strategy briefing. One co-conspirator happened to be in the room next door to Scottish Labour’s big meeting and diligently transcribed it through the wall for Guido readers…

Despite Richard Leonard’s public confidence, telling the New Statesman this morning that “I’m not contemplating loss” of seats in the 2021 election, the party’s Scottish organisers are very much accepting they are in “losses” territory for next year. Private polling has revealed the SNP and Scottish Tories are close to their “structural target ceiling of target voters” whereas Labour is “closer to their structural floor.” Labour admitting they have a floor of support north of the border is presumptive…

Guido also learns Labour privately acknowledge that 2021 losses in Scotland will make Starmer’s route to power near-impossible, requiring the party to win seats like Jacob Rees-Mogg’s North East Somerset with a Tory majority of 14,729 to find a path to No. 10. The best the Scottish party is hoping for next year is to leapfrog the Tories into a very distant 2nd place behind the SNP…

According to Labour’s pollster, part of Labour’s failure to recover in Scotland is due to voters seeing Labour and the SNP as indistinguishable on issues other than the constitution; with Scottish Labour losing “young, hardcore Remain young mothers in the central belt”. 

When it comes to the 2021 campaign, Scottish Labour will focus on three promises aligned to three main priorities of “middle Scotland” with a “line” on the constitution. Most likely along the lines of “Covid plan, Jobs plan, NHS plan”…

Looking again ahead to 2024, Guido learns Scottish Labour will float a formal federal devolution settlement for the party’s election manifesto. After the call ended, the organisers were heard joking about how their main worry is stopping the SNP stealing their ideas – Guido can’t imagine that’s a top desire of the Nats…

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Labour Condemn Youth Wing over “All Cops are B*stards” Row

The official youth and student wings of Scottish Labour have broken with the party’s official line to declare on social media that “All Cops are Bastards” following the Black Lives Matter protests. While Sir Keir is desperate to improve the party’s electability, young members are still raging Corbynistas…

Defending Labour student Maliha who posted “Hope everyone at Trans Pride is having a wonderful day! Stay safe and ACAB my loves” the official Scottish Labour Students doubled down, Tweeting:

The Scottish Young Labour movement – separate from Scottish Labour Students – has since backed the organisation following its anti-police rhetoric, extending “full solidarity” to Scottish Labour Students and their chair Mariam Shaaban who supported the anti-police attack. Shaaban is no stranger to controversy, previously making news when praising Boris’s admission to intensive care…

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said “Obviously this does not reflect the view of Scottish Labour or Richard Leonard.” and Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf branded the ACAB tweet “disgraceful”According to The Sun, Labour is now distancing themselves from their own youth wing…

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Richard Leonard Facing Scottish Labour Party Ultimatum Following Reeves Gaffe

The leader of the Labour Party in Scotland (and one of the last senior Corbynistas in a leadership role) is hanging to his position by a thread today. The coup against his leadership started yesterday with three Labour MSPs publicly calling for Leonard to resign, and a fourth joining the calls later on. Today UK Labour Shadow Cabinet member (and general calamity) Rachel Reeves waded in, saying the Scottish leader should “consider his position”, later rowing back to tweet that “matters about Scottish Labour are for Scottish Labour”. Oops.

Now following Reeves’ reverse ferret, LabourList’s Sienna Rodgers is reporting that Leonard has been told he has “lost the majority of the group”. Labour only has 23 MSPs so just 17% of his parliamentary party have so far publicly called for him to go. He is digging in, insisting the party still backs him. One to watch…

UPDATE: Starmer is now publicly backing Corbynite Richard Leonard, despite Rachel Reeves’ slip this morning…

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Scottish Labour Elect “Bully” to NEC

Controversial Labour activist Michael Muir was voted onto the National Executive of Scottish Labour yesterday to represent young members in the party. But young members familiar with Muir don’t seem particularly happy about the result…

Guido has previously covered his attempt to shut down the City of London, and the allegations of anti-Semitism from the Oxford University Labour Club executive on which he sat. Muir was acquitted of anti-Semitism charges by the party NEC in 2017, over-ruling recommendations by the compliance Unit.

When even Owen Jones isn’t Socialist enough for you, you know you’re off the edge…

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