Sunday, 2 November 2014

May the best man win

 This week we have seen the press in full flow, talking up Jim Murphy as the next leader of Labour in Scotland.  In fact, in reading the papers or watching TV news you would be hard put to learn that there are two other candidates for the position, since there has been little or no coverage of their views. This may be partly because Mr Murphy has the advantage of being someone the media has actually heard of, given his profile as a Westminster MP and member of the shadow cabinet.

The only other candidate who has been given anything other than a name-check is Neil Findlay, who is being backed by Unison.  Sadly Sarah Boyack has garnered very little interest from anywhere.

 Mr Murphy launched his campaign in Edinburgh, and offered an apology to the Scottish people for not listening to their views, given that the Scottish electorate had not voted for a Labour majority in 2007 and 2011.  He stated that Labour in Scotland needs to change to take account of this.  Almost immediately after this speech, Unison made their announcement that they would not be supporting him, and Unite said that Mr Murphy would have to do an awful lot more to convince them.  Not the flying start he was hoping for then.

The press are making much of Mr Murphy's part in the Better Together-No Thanks campaign in the recent referendum, although the following quote from the Guardian is fairly typical of the mainstream media:
 We saw that during the referendum when he was the street-fighting star of the no campaign with his gutsy “100 Towns in 100 Days” tour of public squares where he used an Irn-Bru crate as his soapbox and made himself a martyr to Nationalist egg-throwers.
 No exaggeration or inaccuracy there.

Mr Murphy's campaign sees the return of some members of the Better Together campaign, with Blair McDougall and Rob Shorthouse both being involved in an advisory capacity and, according to the Sunday Herald, Alastair Darling and several other members also being involved.  He also has the support of John McTernan, which may prove to be something of a double-edged sword.

So far two people have announced their candidacy for the deputy leadership position: Katy Clark MP and Kezia Dugdale MSP.  It would appear that Ms Clark will campaign on a joint ticket with Mr Findlay and Ms Dugdale will campaign along with Mr Murphy.  Many of the unions seem to be supporting the Findlay/Clark ticket on the basis that they will provide an alternative to the market-driven policies currently espoused by Labour.  Given that the unions account for one-third of the votes in the electoral college method used by Labour in Scotland for internal party elections, this is not good news for the Murphy camp.

I think I need to send out for more popcorn - this one looks like it may have more twists than a downhill slalom.

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