This short blog sets out why we want members to support us in our bid for election to our party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) to represent the South Scotland and Lothian Regions. The ballot opens on Friday 28 January and closes on Friday 18 February, and you are being asked to elect two members to the SEC (one of which must be female).
The May 2022 Council elections will be a huge challenge for our party, but to make gains we must remain united and focus on taking our positive message to the electorate. We both feel that factionalism is a barrier to our party regaining trust in Scotland, so our approach on the SEC will always focus on unity.
We have both campaigned for the party and have played key parts in getting Ian Murray MP, Daniel Johnson MSP and several new Councillors elected. This has taught us that we must listen to voters and offer them a positive alternative to both the SNP and Tories. Voters want to understand what our priorities are, and we need to present them concisely.
Although confidence in our UK and Scottish Leadership is growing, there is more to do. We are both fully committed to improving accountability and transparency within our party. Within that context, we make these four key pledges to you:
- Where possible, we will consult members on key issues before the SEC meets.
- If invited, we will attend your CLP meeting to listen to members.
- We will each provide a written report to members after each SEC meeting.
- We will expect the General Secretary to investigate any leaks to the media from the SEC.
Our party needs to unite around the challenges today, not the divisions of yesterday. Voters will not forgive us if we indulge in infighting rather than having positive policies on the covid recovery, climate change and the housing crisis. We are committed to taking our party forward.
A message from Sheila Gilmore
I have experience at nearly all levels of the Party: Branch Secretary, CLP Chair, Election Agent, Councillor (1991-2007), and MP for Edinburgh East (2010 and 2015).
I campaigned for devolution, and still feel there is much more we could achieve through it. The Party needs to be clear on our opposition to independence and develop a strong positive narrative on why we believe the people of Scotland benefit from remaining part of the UK.
Good policy is important, but we need to turn that into action through electoral success. I am Campaign Co-ordinator for my constituency and was Campaign Manager for Daniel Johnson in May, when we increased the majority and vote share. In 2017 I was election agent for Ian Murray when we substantially increased the Labour vote. While every constituency is different, and one size doesn’t fit all, we need to learn from where we win, including in local councils.
I support our current leadership team, but aim to be a ‘critical friend’ when it is needed. Leaders need constructive challenge. They need to hear what members are thinking and experiencing through active and well connected CLP representatives.
After years of opposition both in the UK and Holyrood, and with smaller representation in Councils, we often struggle to get our voice heard and have limited resources. We need to find ways to stretch those resources further and make them work more effectively.
My enthusiasm and commitment to the Labour Party remains undimmed through all the ups and downs I have lived through. It is those qualities I would bring to the Scottish Executive.
A message from Dr Scott Arthur
We are now on our third Scottish Leader and third General Secretary since I joined the SEC, but I’ve never seen it more united, and I am committed to it staying that way – unity is strength. I’m keen to stay on the SEC to give members a say, but also to help Anas and Jackie take our party forward. I support them fully, but I take very seriously my job to give members a voice.
Additionally, I believe in transparency within our party at all levels. This is why I, unlike many SEC members, issue a report to party members after each SEC meeting and have attended several CLPs. Recent reports are here: https://tinyurl.com/ScottsSECReports (case sensitive link).
As a proud Labour Councillor, I never miss an opportunity to remind the SEC that winning in Local Government is the first step to us winning in Holyrood. That is why I stood in 2017 for election as a Labour Councillor – my Ward forms part of a strong Labour foundation in the Lothians where Labour Councillors work effectively with Ian Murray MP and our MSPs (Sarah Boyack, Foysol Choudhury Daniel, Johnson & Martin Whitfield) to take our party forward.
The May 2022 Council elections are key for our party and the people in our communities that need Labour in power. If re-elected to the SEC, I’ll ensure our party puts everything it has into working with the Trade Unions to win as many Wards as possible, and the support those Councillors after the election. From there, we can start the campaign for Westminster and Holyrood.