Last week Ed Miliband and Iain Gray asked myself and Jim Murphy MP to lead a root and branch review of Labour in Scotland. There is a determination across the Scottish Labour Party to learn the lessons of the Scottish Parliament election defeat on May 5th.
In addition to working out how best to represent people across the Lothians as one of Labour’s three list MSPs, I have spent much of the past few days thinking about how we make the most of the review that Ed Miliband and Iain Gray have asked Jim Murphy and myself to co-chair.
If last night’s Edinburgh South West CLP meeting is anything to go by there is a real appetite to learn the lessons of our defeat and to come back stronger as a party. We had a great turn out of members and a lengthy and positive discussion which ended up with a focus on what we need to do to win the elections in Edinburgh City Council next year. Over the past few months the SNP/Lib Dem leadership of the council has been under fire over their flawed care and support tender, the pressure on school budgets, increases in primary school class sizes way beyond the 2007 election promise of 18 pupils and the continuing controversy over the management of the tram project on their watch.
The results in Edinburgh on polling day were astonishing as the Tory vote dropped, the Lib Dems collapsed and the SNP overtook us in all seats bar Malcolm Chisholm’s North and Leith. However, as my Agent Councillor Andrew Burns pointed out, we actually fought strong local campaigns in every seat in the city and secured both a rise in votes and a higher percentage of the popular vote than in 2007.
I’m particularly interested in the different experiences across the country and am very keen that we get the widest range of views sent in.
You can feed in your ideas by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can go on line to www.scottishlabour.org.uk and take a look at the questions we’ve asked people to think about.
There’s also the meetings being held as part of the Refounding Labour consultation where you can discuss how we move forward with other members.
You can find details of the times and venues for these meetings on the Scottish Labour website.