Saturday, 12 February 2011

Labour's 'immature' budget vote

An article in today’s Times newspaper and an online article by the New Statesman reveal ‘startling’ splits and problems within the Scottish Labour party only weeks before the Scottish Parliamentary election says the SNP’s Campaign Director Angus Robertson.

In today’s Times newspaper a queue of anonymous party sources criticise Iain Gray for deciding the Labour group should vote against the SNP Government’s budget, saying he was led by an ‘immature minority’ within the party and that they should have accepted what John Swinney offered them since it met their demands and would let them look like they were acting in the ‘national interest’.

And in an online article in the New Statesman it is revealed by Dan Hodges that Labour’s draft manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections is ‘uncosted’ - confirming SNP criticisms of Labour’s burgeoning policy announcements – and that the UK party will put all additional capacity into the Welsh Assembly elections with only one additional party staff member seconded to the Scottish campaign.

Commenting Mr Robertson said:

"These reports just show that in May, voters will have a choice between a responsible, experienced SNP government aiming to protect Scotland’s progress by creating jobs, investing in essential public services and helping family budgets – or a divided and hypocritical Labour party putting immature political opposition before the people of Scotland.

“The revelations show Iain Gray was led on the Budget vote and that he isn’t even capable of leading his own group of MSPs, never mind Scotland.

“It just proves that they were offered all they wanted – and more – and put puerile political opposition before the national interest.

“It is obvious many of his MSPs are unhappy and have startlingly resorted to making known their unhappiness with Iain Gray’s leadership.

“The New Statesman is equally revealing in showing a lack of confidence in Iain Gray’s leadership by his London bosses who don’t believe the Scottish campaign is worthy of significant additional resources.

“Their revelation that their draft manifesto is uncosted only confirms what the SNP have been saying – that they have an uncosted wish-list of fantasy policies. They don't have a credible alternative for Scotland and their budget vote shows they are hypocritical, inexperienced and inconsistent.”


Notes

1. Today’s Times headlines with:

“Labour split by ‘immature’ minority vote on Budget”

The introductory paragraphs read:

“Deep divisions are merging in the Labour Party at Holyrood after its decision to vote against the Scottish Government budget this week, with criticism aimed at Iain Gray, the leader, for failing to take control.

“Some senior voices in Mr Gray’s Holyrood group of MSPs say that he simply acquiesced in the decision and “allowed himself to be led by immature voices within the shadow cabinet.”

One MSP source said:

“What we should have done, given that we got most of what we wanted, was to say that while the budget was still imperfect, we would vote for it and be seen to put the national interest before the party interest…

“…That would have been the mature thing to do. Iain was not driving the ‘No’ vote. Instead he allowed himself to be led by immature voices in the shadow cabinet – he let it run.”

2. In Dan Hodge’s online article in the New Statesman it says:

“Labour's Scottish election campaign has also suffered an additional setback after the manifesto was produced without costings, and has had to undergo a comprehensive re-write…

…The squeeze is also creating tensions in the run up to next May's local elections and Scottish and Welsh Assembly elections. Scottish officials have reportedly been informed only one additional party staff member will be seconded for the Scottish assembly campaign, with all additional capacity being directed to Wales, where it's believed Labour may secure an outright majority.”

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