Opinion matrix: The uncertain future of Scottish Labour

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The weekend’s opinion pages featured much musings on the future of Scottish Labour following the departure of Richard Leonard as leader. Here’s what they had to say.

The Observer

Leadership contender Anas Sarwar claimed in The Observer that he wants to unite and rebuild his party.

He wrote: “Over the past few years, I have gained a new perspective on our politics and realised that the things we argue about mean little to people’s lives. We spend too much time highlighting our differences, rather than focusing on what unites us.

“I am determined to bring our movement together so that we can rebuild our party. That is why I will put my name forward to be the next Scottish Labour leader.”

The Sunday Times

Alex Massie argued in The Sunday Times that it will take more than a change of leadership to turn Labour’s fortunes.

He wrote: “If changing leader were the solution, even Labour might have blindly stumbled upon the answer by now.

“When you have simultaneous problems of policy and positioning and leadership you either solve them concurrently or you do not solve them at all.

“Leonard never seemed to know what he actually wanted to do with the Labour Party, so it was little surprise he did little of anything. You can’t sell an empty wrapper to the electorate.”

Scotland on Sunday

Euan McColm claimed in Scotland on Sunday that Labour must offer voters something that is achievable now.

He wrote: “I have no doubt that some Labour activists will want to see Leonard’s successor come up with a new constitutional offer.

“There will be pressure to talk about ‘Devolution Max’ and other variations on that theme, but experience should tell the party that there is little to be won by rearranging the deckchairs.

“Rather, Scottish Labour, if it is to avoid extinction, must find the confidence to talk about what it could achieve in the world as it is.”

The Sunday post

In its leader, The Sunday Post claimed that Scottish Labour must fear that things will never get better for the party.

The newspaper stated: “Richard Leonard, the latest leader of Scottish Labour, left on Thursday. For most Scots, he was also a man who was never there and it didn’t get better for him either.

“The debilitating fear for Labour in Scotland is that it never will and even worse must be the gnawing suspicion that no one cares.

“That is bad news for this once allconquering party of vision and reform but it’s worse news for those voters still hoping for an effective, leftish party with enough grit and calibre to capably oppose the SNP while shaping a new and alternative vision of tomorrow’s Scotland.”

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