Scottish Labour’s SEC Notes – 6th of June 2020

Chair’s Welcome
Welcome to Jackie Bailey MSP, Jenny Marra MSP, Ian Murray MP & Baroness Meta Ramsay in their new SEC roles.

General Election 2019 Review
David Conway & Linda Stewart presented their review which primarily focused on the experience of candidates (inc sitting MPs). A survey was also issued to CLPs, Trade Unions, affiliates and staff.

  1. What went well (in order) – Locals activist support, optimism (manifesto), events, hustings, social media, fundraising, TU support & national organisation.
  2. Problems (in order) – Voter targeting, lack of preparation nationally, infighting, unrealistic manifesto, poor manifesto communication (lacked clear message), Scottish narrative squeezed, poor internal communication & candidate selection.
  3. Popular Themes (in order) – Austerity, WASPI, New Green Deal, nationalisation, local issues/candidate & NHS.
  4. Problems in the doorstep (in order) – Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit, Independence (position not clear), manifesto (too many policies and now clear message) & broadband policy.
  5. What needs to change (strategic) – We need a clear message, better research, better targeting and less infighting.
  6. What needs to change (operational) – Better support for candidates, clearer strategy in Scotland, better training, select candidates earlier, organisers need better local knowledge (party needs to listen to local members more) and take clearer ownership of disciplinary issues in Scotland.

It was agreed that these finding should be considered alongside the Open Labour review which should be published next week. Jackie Bailey will discuss the review with the newly form election team and will report back to the SEC.

Away day agenda item: Constitution
The focus of this was Richard Leonard’s paper on the constitution, and Ian Murray MPs suggested amendment. The key addition being:

“Scottish Labour, does not support independence. We believe that the 2021 elections must be about electing a Government and a parliament that will dedicate its entire focus to rebuilding Scotland’s economy, public services and communities after the devastating impact of Covid-19. That work must be the focus of the next Scottish Government and so we will be going into that election in 2021 with a Scottish Labour party position that is not for a second referendum.”

Ian Murray MP

Richard was clear that Labour’s position can’t be about defending the status quo, but must be about continuing democratic reform (devolution of power from Westminster & Holyrood to communities). The policy should be set by the party in Scotland. Richard made the point that the lasting impact Covid-19 will have on the economy (esp youth unemployment) and mental health in Scotland, will mean that the constitution must come second (at least) in Scotland’s political discourse. Labour must have a clear message on the constitution, but rebuilding lives and the economy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis must be paramount.

This was followed by a discussion about Richard’s paper, and Ian’s amendment (which Richard was happy to accept). There was a move to delay a decision, but the SEC agreed to back the paper with Ian Murray’s amendments.

SelectionsScottish Parliament Constituency Selections
In total, 21 seats from the early selection tranche have candidates. The following are still outstanding:

  1. On pause we have – Dundee City East; Eastwood (AWS); Glasgow Pollok (AWS); Kirkcaldy (AWS); Motherwell & Wishaw (AWS); Renfrewshire North & West (AWS); and, Uddingston & Bellshill.
  2. Yet to begin – Almond Valley; Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley (AWS); Cowdenbeath; Dunfermline (AWS); Glasgow Anniesland (AWS) Glasgow Kelvin (AWS); and, Midlothian North & Musselburgh.

We also have 35 seats not in the early-selection tranche that need candidates: Aberdeen Donside; Aberdeen South & North Kincardine; Aberdeenshire East; Aberdeenshire West; Angus North & Mearns; Angus South; Argyll & Bute; Ayr; Banffshire & Buchan Coast; Caithness, Sutherland & Ross; Clackmannanshire & Dunblane; Falkirk West; Galloway & West Dumfries; Inverness & Nairn; Kilmarnock & Irvine Valley; Linlithgow
Mid Fife & Glenrothes; Midlothian South, Tweeddale & Lauderdale
Moray; Na h-Eileanan an Iar; North East Fife; and, Orkney Islands. CLPs have yet to be consulted on AWS status of these seats.

Inability to hold face-to-face meetings is a real challenge to completing the selection process. The party is setting up software to run selections online. It was therefore recommended that Scottish parliamentary selections re-start from July 2020 starting with the paused first tranche seats.

Selections – Holyrood Regional List Selections
These should get underway in August. Jackie Bailey will consider how BAME, LGBT+, disabled and female candidates can be better supported in the selection process. In the longer-term, it was agreed that The Gordon Aikman Leadership Programme (or similar) should be restarted to develop candidates from the widest possible diversity of backgrounds.

Selections – By-election Selections
A number of by-elections are in the pipeline:

  1. Livingston South (West Lothian) – 1st Oct 2020
  2. Ellon and District (Aberdeenshire) – 1st Oct 2020
  3. Leaderdale and Melrose (Scottish Borders) – 29th Oct 2020
  4. Kincorth/Nigg/Cove (Aberdeen City Council) – 5th Nov 2020
  5. Aird and Loch Ness (Highland Council) – 5th Nov 2020
  6. Craigentinny and Duddingston (Edinburgh City) – 12th Nov 2020
  7. Thorniewood (North Lanarkshire) – 19th Nov 2020
  8. Fortissat (North Lanarkshire) – 19th Nov 2020
  9. Perth City North (Perth and Kinross) – 26th Nov 2020
  10. Perth City South (Perth and Kinross) – 26th Nov 2020
  11. Clackmannanshire East (Clackmannanshire) – TBC
  12. North Isles (Orkney Islands) – TBC

To select candidates the party will use the same software platform that is being used for Holyrood Regional List Selections.

Selections – SEC Elections
Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the 2021 Holyrood election, it was agreed to defer elections to the Scottish Executive Committee for all sections until after the Scottish Parliament elections next year. This means the new SEC would be endorsed by Scottish Conference in Spring 2022 and a SEC Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Treasurer would be elected at its first meeting in May 2022.

Scottish Conference
Scottish Labour Conference was due to take place 23–25 October. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis a provisional hold had been extended on venue and accommodation without going to contract. Nonetheless, it was agreed to postpone the traditional “in person” meeting. The party will arrange an online alternative to provide a platform for members, affiliates and elected reps to engage with some of the policy and political discussions which conference provides.


One thought on “Scottish Labour’s SEC Notes – 6th of June 2020

  1. I note there are a few Council by elections. Can we try to organise visits to help by the Party in general and Councillors in particular. There are no easy seats but if we can ahve agood representation it can assist and will show the party caring about these areas.


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