LABOUR can win in Scotland by returning to its radical past and embracing the politics of hope under leader Jeremy Corbyn, a new left Scottish MP has asserted.
Danielle Rowley was one of the “magnificent seven” elected as Labour MPs in Scotland in June’s election.
The Midlothian MP told the meeting at Labour fringe The World Transformed how Scottish Labour can make gains by campaigning on issues that matter to people: housing, jobs and the NHS.
She explained that because the election was called at short notice, the candidates selected were largely local people, well-rooted in their communities, and voters related to them.
“We captured people’s passion,” Ms Rowley explained and told those gathered that it was the first time Labour had engaged with people on policy issues.
Grant Aitken from Scottish Labour Young Socialists said that Scottish Labour had been “toxic” when he joined, and one of the hardest tasks he faced was convincing people the party had changed under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
Mr Aitken explained that people on the doorstep had been asking: “Are you Jeremy’s Labour or are you Kezia’s Labour?”
He reminded the audience of Scotland’s radical tradition from Red Clydeside to the miners’ strike — and reconnecting with that and Mr Corbyn’s politics of hope are key to winning back for Labour in Scotland.
“We can start by electing Richard Leonard as leader of Scottish Labour: a principled socialist,” he said.
MSP for the Lothians Neil Findlay said he had waited 30 years for a radical manifesto, describing how it had “breathed life into the party.”
But he said that now is a “critical time for Scottish Labour” and urged everyone to help elect Mr Leonard, who has been “consistent in his politics, a trade unionist and activist” who lives and breathes socialist values.
“This is our moment. Let’s not fluff it,” he said.