Labour’s rout in Scotland. A considered piece from EUP here. One factor not mentioned is Labour’s gradual move to the right in the UK as it allowed itself to be drawn into a dance where the music was chosen by others in order to win over Middle England. Scotland has remained consistently left of centre – and Labour has all but vacated that space.
Three years ago, Gerry Hassan and I published a book entitled ‘The Strange Death of Labour Scotland’. We envisaged that, unless radical steps were taken, Labour’s influence in Scotland would steadily decline. Speaking personally, I did not envisage a total rout at the polls. Why did it occur? And what does it signify for Labour’s future north of the border?
It is too early to offer a confident answer to the first question, so what follows is tentative.
To understand Scottish Labour’s plight, one needs to make a distinction between long-term historical forces and contingent political factors. In ‘The Strange Death’ we chronicled the steady unravelling of the social and institutional supports that, for a generation and more, had sustained and underpinned Labour rule in Scotland: council housing as the dominant form of housing tenure, high trade-union membership and a Labour-dominated local government.
From the late 1970s, slowly and unevenly…
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