As part of a discussion on the Better Nation blog, Chris Jones wrote:
A couple of ideas spring to mind that would help Labour to get serious about Scotland:
- Re-organising around Scottish Parliamentary constituencies instead of Westminster CLPs – firstly to get the mindset into “Holyrood First” and secondly to ensure that where Holyrood constituencies are incongruous with Westminster that the MSP or candidate is adequately supported. Take Sarah Boyack for instance: she commands respect across the benches yet didn’t have the respect of the Labour Party to initially properly fund and support her campaign because responsibility was equally split across 5 CLPS.
- Consider breaking off the Scottish Labour Party into an affiliated model – like the CDU/CSU in Germany/Bavaria.
- Open a think-tank in Scotland that is independent from Westminster leadership in policy development terms.
- Lose the visceral hatred of the SNP – it masks the fact that there’s a lot of decent folk in the Scottish Labour Party. And, that those decent folk were just tired of the opportunist and vexatious opposition tactics that became the hallmark of the last 4 years.
I very much agree with these points. The only thing I would add is that they need to learn that negative campaigning only works in a two-party system, where being negative about your opponent necessarily will help you, but not in a multi-party system, where criticism of one specific adversary might help all of their opponents, not just you (to be concrete, if Labour criticise the Tories, that might as well make people vote SNP), so electoral campaigns need to be positive.
Also, all of these points apply just as much to the Tories, and to a lesser extent to the Liberal Democrats.