Left slate rallies support for SEC candidates after Labour breakaway

The Campaign for Socialism has asked party members to support its candidates for the ongoing executive elections after seven Labour MPs resigned from the party this week

Scottish Labour's left grouping the Campaign for Socialism [CfS] have used the Labour breakaway this week to rally members around their slate for the ongoing election to Scottish Labour's ruling executive committee.

In an interview with The Red Robin, one of the left's candidates, Mike Cowley, has said reality may not look so kindly on those attempting to split the Labour party at a moments of "unprecedented crisis".

The organised left slate is running two candidates in each region, alongside the loosely organised "moderate" slate which is also seeking to secure as many of the eight available seats as possible.

On Twitter, CfS used the split from Labour by a handful of MPs including Chuka Umunna to rally the membership around their candidates who they say are committed to supporting the party's leadership.

Mike Cowley, who is standing for Scottish Labour's executive alongside the CfS slate, gave his opinion on the current situation within the party.

"There's a rump of unreconstructed neoliberals in the Party for whom a left wing leadership and membership are intolerable glitches in the ideological matrix. As bereft of ideas or a base in the party as they are, some are more or less openly using a pliant media to inflate the significance of their behind the scenes discussions.

"Unity is strength, and while those flattered by media attention might currently regard leaving the Party as a meaningful option, contact with reality will I believe not be kind to those looking to split our Party at a moment of unprecedented crisis."

Cowley's observations on the new independent group's use of the media appeared to be confirmed after the Guardian journalist Owen Jones shared a conversation he had with a Westminster lobby journalist who said their colleagues were "loving" the new group and fawning over them.

Former leader Kezia Dugdale was critical of CfS for using the split to mobilise members in support of its slate, saying they further threatened Labour's broadchurch.

Mike Cowley said that a victory for the left in this set of elections might upset some in the party, but added that he hoped honest Labour party members would stay and fight for their ideas.

"Any advance from the left will of course be met with some dismay on the Party's hard right. But I hope honest [party members and supporters] stay and fight their corner, as the left has been obliged to do over many decades.

"However if you are lacking in conviction, supporters or ideas, then I can see how establishing a new retreat would provide some comfort for Chuka Umunna and others."

On Labour's broadchurch, Cowley highlighted that he, like other CfS candidates, was a long-time Labour member who enjoyed good relationship with members across Labour's political persuasions.

"Given the scale of the crisis in which capital now finds itself, I am confident the SEC can come together around some basic political ambitions. I think members of good faith around the country, irrespective of their politics, are content to cohere around more transformative demands when they see that the left are open, hard working, innovative, fraternal in our relationships and willing to put the work in.

"We have ideas and impetus, and if the SEC is looking for a catalyzing energy, I think even those not formally affiliated with CfS/Momentum will recognize that what we offer is something the Party would be foolish to seek to circumvent, or ignore."

Cowley also told The Red Robin that he wants to see Scottish Labour adopt an "emotional language" to reach out to voters with its ideas in a similiar way to the Yes campaign in 2014.

"Socialists often deal in data, cold truths regarding the core deficiencies of our economic and political order, and arguments based on the merits of policy alone. In addition, I'd like to see us develop a language which appeals to the same human receptors the Yes campaign successfully accessed.

"The SNP's enduring electoral appeal remains strong precisely because of an entrenched belief that despite their record on education, health, poverty and inequalities, they represent still the most hopeful and visionary impulses of the Yes campaign.

"Those illusions must be exposed. But in doing so, we should recognize that targeting the hearts of voters, as well as their heads, can pay significant dividends. [Scottish Labour] has to learn how to dream big again. I am optimistic that a left led SEC will be well placed to formulate an approach where a Socialism adapted to the 21st Century can reinstate us as the natural Party of governance in the place of our founding."

You can read the official Red Robin guide to the SEC elections here to find out more about who is standing where you live.

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