The Scottish Labour Party gathers in Dundee grappling many questions. Over the past 10 months the Scottish party has gone through one of the most traumatic periods in its history.
Scottish elections last May saw the party poll a historic low of just 29 per cent of the vote.
In the process it was reduced to 37 MSPs - of which only 15 of these were constituency members.
We lost across all regions, all age groups, all social classes, religions and genders. Perhaps our most important question to consider in Dundee is why it is that the vast majority of Scots, our natural supporters, no longer see Labour as their protector.
And let us be clear - working people at this moment in time need protecting.
There is a raging crisis in the light of the failure of global capitalism.
Yet the coalition government has accelerated the privatisation agenda in the NHS and, more widely, has seized the opportunity to initiate the dismantling of the welfare state with their disastrous austerity agenda.
In Scotland the SNP government has replicated many of these cuts and cynically used them as part of its strategy to promote independence.
Instead of challenging austerity, the Scottish government capitulates and misleadingly argues: "We can't do much about it, but it will all be all right once we have independence." Moreover, rather than call for the end to tax avoidance and tax evasion, the SNP placates its friends in the financial sector - and of course the party's pal Mr Murdoch, one of the worst corporate tax avoiders in Britain - and calls instead for cuts to corporation tax.
For the people of Scotland the consequences of the current policy courses being taken in Westminster and then Holyrood are harsh - it's not a political game for them.
The reality of everyday life is grim. Unemployment has increased by 78 per cent since the SNP government came to power in 2007 (from 130,000 to 231,000).
Youth unemployment in Scotland is now at levels which are reminiscent of Thatcher's Britain of the '80s.
Long-term unemployment among our young people has almost doubled - up from 37,000 to 66,000, while the long-term claimant count among 18 to 24-year-olds has nearly quadrupled, rising from 3,700 in May 2007 to 13,655 at the last count.
At the same time the vacancies for Scots seeking work have decreased from 33,836 to 19,394.
I'll save you the maths - that equates to one job available for every 12 people who are unemployed.
Meanwhile, the market and corporate Britain continue to show the level of greed, self-interest and corruption we all knew it possessed.
So in this context we need to consider how we intend to help and protect our people, and in the process tackle the austerity orthodoxy while also considering our constitutional future.
Johann Lamont, the new Labour leader - not, thankfully a "new Labour" leader - has without doubt silenced many cynics in the Scottish press corps.
She has given Alex Salmond a pretty torrid time at First Minister's question time, has appointed a broad range of MSPs to her new shadow team and has begun a shake-up of party backroom staff.
Most importantly, the review of Scottish Labour conducted by Sarah Boyack MSP and Jim Murphy MP devolved the party's rule book and the new leader now has unprecedented authority over the party in Scotland.
The next stage must be the development of devolved policies, and this gives Lamont and the Scottish party a real opportunity to develop distinct policies that may differ from Labour at Westminster.
In particular I am thinking of policies in relation to the economy and investment in public-sector jobs and pay.
And I'm also thinking of policies on the constitution - the recent focus on processes around the constitutional debate has been a the stuff of dreams for political anoraks and cybernats.
However, the debate has to move on and consider what type of Scotland, and UK, it is that we want to achieve and what are the best means to achieve that.
Unfortunately, in some ways the left is currently playing catch-up.
Over the last week we have had the far from progressive think tank Reform Scotland promoting devo plus and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations claiming it speaks for the civic Scotland and taking a lead in the debate.
There are exceptions. My colleague Malcolm Chisholm MSP has publicly supported options for additional powers.
But meanwhile the STUC and its member unions, which are an essential part of this debate, have yet to come to a position.
So how does Scottish Labour develop its position and take its devolution policy forward?
Do we want further powers? If we do, then to what end? What type of society do we want to create? What about our relationship with local government and communities? What about the EU?
The party has to debate these vital issues, yes with the Scottish people, but also with ourselves and we need to create a space to do that.
Over the past 10 months I have discussed these matters with constituents, colleagues, trade unionists and party members.
I am now of the opinion that Scottish Labour should begin its own debate and consultation.
We should not be afraid to hear our members' views.
We should encourage our affiliates to debate our constitutional future and feed this into the wider debate.
We should have consultation events across Scotland and bring all members together at a special conference where views can be aired and conclusions reached.
The referendum will not be held until 2014. Let us go into it with a well-argued Labour position that makes common cause with civic Scotland and, most importantly, the people of Scotland.
If this sounds like old-style party democracy then it is - there is nothing wrong with robust, honest open debate - let's have one and we will all be better for it.
Neil Findlay is a Scottish Labour Party MSP, representing the Lothian region.
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