‘Scottish Labour is dying’ Len McCluskey warns Starmer offer workers ‘nothing’

Scottish Labour 'has more chance if independent' says McCluskey

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Len McCluskey, who spent a decade leading the UK’s largest union, urged party chiefs north of the border to “grasp the nettle” and back holding a second independence vote. He made the plea as he called on Anas Sarwar’s Scottish Labour to adopt a more “imaginative approach” to policy, warning that without a chance of tack “Labour could be lost to another generation in Scotland”. Westminster rules mean the Tories do not need to hold another general election until December 2024, but Mr McCluskey, speaking during a visit to Scotland to promote his recent autobiography, believes the vote could take place in October next year.

Speaking to BBC’s The Nine, Mr McCluskey said: “Scottish Labour is dying on its feet, it should have stagnation stamped on its forehead.

“They have nothing to offer ordinary Scottish workers at the moment.

“I’m frustrated because I love Scotland so much, I’m frustrated that for well over a decade we’ve been asking Scottish Labour to wake up and smell the coffee and they didn’t in 2007 when a certain Nicola Sturgeon won Government.

“They didn’t in 2011 when the SNP won Holyrood against the system as no one party will win overall.

“In the referendum in 2014, we pleaded with them to support Devo Max in a way to unite people, they dismissed us with arrogance out of hand.”

Mr McCluskey, who was closely aligned with previous Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was “deeply worried about the Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Starmer”, accusing the UK leader of “attacking” the left-wing of the party.

The former Unite general secretary told PA Scotland: “The Scottish Labour Party is in a worse position than the rest of the national Labour Party, the Scottish Labour Party is stagnating and has done for a while now.

“It is completely out of touch with ordinary working-class people in Scotland, we have lost thousands, droves and droves of Labour voters have moved over to the SNP.

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“And that has been going on for some years now, Scottish Labour weren’t listening to the trade unions, they certainly weren’t listening to me when I was general secretary and telling them to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Mr McCluskey said he had predicted Labour would lose “significant numbers” of seats in Scotland in the 2015 election – when it ended up with just one MP.

And he claimed since then “nothing” has changed within the party.

“I believe Scottish Labour really needs to grasp the nettle, they need to talk about independence question,” he stated.


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“They should support a second referendum, even if they are not declaring at this stage whether they support independence or not.

“But they have to have an imaginative approach, they should, in my view, embrace the concept of federalism and devo-max, to try to breathe some new life back into the party, otherwise Labour could be lost to another generation in Scotland.”

He continued: “I know comrades in Scotland can say, ‘what the hell has it got to do to with you, keep your nose out’ but Scotland is very close to my heart.

“I come from Liverpool, I’ve got Scottish blood in me, and all my life I have looked up to Scotland and the radicalism of Scotland. It breaks my heart what is happening at the moment, as all I see is stagnation.

“That is what is stamped on the foreheads of literally all the leaders of Scottish Labour. And I appeal to them to rub that stagnation off, start to talk about imaginative, radical alternatives.”

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