Richard Leonard Right to Act Decisively says Joe Cullinane
The Leader of North Ayrshire Council Joe Cullinane writes exclusively for The Red Robin on the cabinet reshuffle
Today marks a significant day for the Scottish Labour Party. Richard Leonard is a very inclusive, very decent and principled human being. For him to act as decisively as he has done today speaks volumes about the activities of some people at Holyrood. It is right that he now has a team around him who respect the members and their decision to elect Richard as leader. If it was the case that some were not fully on board with his agenda then he is right to have changed his shadow cabinet in a way that better reflects Richard’s politics and the wishes of the Scottish Labour membership.
Labour Party members are fed up of party disunity and in particular the inability of some within the party, including MPs and MSPs who members select and campaign to elect, to accept the democratic decision of members, supporters and trade unions to elect our party's leaders. And, they are fed up of people leaking from the MSP group meetings and their private WhatsApp groups and running parallel media operations, which have never been intended to help the Party communicate our message of real change.
Today Richard Leonard raised the unacceptable levels of poverty in Scotland at First Ministers Questions. That’s the sort of issue that the party's grassroots want our Parliamentarians to focus on: I sincerely hope that after today’s changes that the new shadow cabinet put the same effort and energy as Richard himself does into tackling poverty and inequality and making Labour in Scotland once again the natural political home for the people of Scotland.
Scottish Labour is in third place because our party lost its soul. We lost our sense of purpose and a vision which could inspire hope in working people. That's no longer the case. Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn are setting out a political and economic agenda that will radically reform our country so it works for the many, not the few. The party must unite around that vision and build on the momentum of last year's snap General Election so that Labour are ready for Government whenever Theresa May's shambolic government falls.
Richard has today strengthened and made much more united the Scottish Labour Party and made it much more electable and credible in the eyes of the electorate. It is time for Labour members to get behind Richard’s new team and help us win with our programme of real change.