Congratulations to Johann Lamont and Anas Anwar on their election as leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. Scotland needs a strong labour party that contributes to a political culture where the needs of working people are addressed.
It is very early but initial signals that the SNP are to be considered as serious opponents rather than an enemy is to be welcomed. Labour’s pledged reconnect with those communities that have been taken for granted is needed.
For the new leadership’s aspirations to be reached Labour Party at all levels will need to take part in political debate and to campaign alongside others on the issues that matter. Two things may inhibit this approach.
The first, as acknowledged by Johann Lamont, Labour has become little more than an electoral machine. In the run up to May’s local government elections it would be good to see Labour do more than simply oppose the other candidates. Ideas on what local councils can do to resist cuts and build connections with the communities is desperately needed.
Secondly there is a need to imaginatively engage in the debate on Scotland’s future. An entrenched defensive of the Union will not be enough. In the context of Cameron’s separatist attitude to Europe there is a need for something positive. Thinking about how new approaches that can defend against global neo-liberalism would be a good place to start.
Labour need to meaningfully take part in the alliance for a better way.