Can Jim Murphy Bring Scottish Labour Back To Life?

In a previous post we talked about Johann Lamont’s resignation, and we asked readers if Scottish Labour was now defunct in Scotland. 100% (21 votes) voted that yes, they were.

A few months on and the inevitable has happened, Jim Murphy – prominent in the media during the referendum campaign for his ‘100 streets in 100 days tour’ and being pelted by an egg – has become the new Scottish Labour Leader.

Jim Murphy during his '100 streets 100 days' Tour during the referendum
Jim Murphy during his ‘100 streets 100 days’ Tour for the Better Together Campaign

One of the first things he did – reported by the BBC –  was set out a new constitutional purpose for the party. The reasons he did this are pretty simple, as Johann Lamont was on her way out she forced a certain amount of blame on to the Labour Party. She essentially said that they were being treated “like a branch office” rather than a distinct political party in the interests of the Scottish electorate.

“Tony Blair rewrote Clause 4 of UK Labour to bring us closer to the centre of politics. I want to rewrite ‘Clause 4’ of Scottish Labour to bring us closer to the centre of Scottish life.” Murphy said on changing Scottish Labours Constitution

Murphy is trying to rejuvenate interest in the party, as recent polls have estimated that Scottish Labour are going to be wiped out by the SNP in the coming election.

Controversies

Murphy has accumulated quite a few controversies over his political career. When he was President of the National Union of Students back in 1996, he was accused of “intolerant and dictatorial behaviour”. This came after he suspended his Vice President for taking part in a debate on issues regarding Free Education and threatening to suspend others who took part, as Murphy opposed the idea.

Whilst these methods are a common practice in dictatorships around the world, they are not acceptable behaviour from someone such as Mr Murphy who is putting himself forward as suitable for election to the House of Commons. – Ken Livingstone, Early Day Motion 991

Ken Livingstone at the time MP for Brent East (1987-2001) and went on to be Mayor of London (2000-2008)
Ken Livingstone at the time MP for Brent East (1987-2001) and went on to be Mayor of London (2000-2008)

The biggest controversial act that has come up during Murphy’s career is definitely the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. It has been dubbed the “Abolition of Parliament Act” as it essentially removes restrictions on the Executive allowing them to pass bills and legislation without scrutiny from the Westminster Parliament, and Murphy – as Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office – was the government minister responsible for introducing it.

Not to mention the expenses scandal he was caught up in in 2012, but these days there seem to be very few politicians who haven’t been.

Murphy’s Team

With Jim Murphy set to announce his front bench team later on today, he certainly seems to be grabbing headlines and getting his face out there in the media.

What do you think, will Murphy help keep hold of Scottish Labour’s majority seats in Scotland? He did manage to secure his own seat – which is in a large Tory supporting area – and keep it with a majority, so there is support for him out there.

Is he the kind of leader Labour needs, can he stop the SNP riding the tidal wave of the referendum campaign?

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