Lamont lament

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Was Johann Lamont misplaced as leader of Scottish Labour in the turbulent years since the 2011 ­Holyrood election?

It is pertinent to ask whether her resignation was due to personal deficiencies or real structural problems within Labour at both Holyrood and Westminster level (your report, 25 October).

It is equally relevant to ask whether the party can overcome this embarrassment a little more than six months before a general election.

In the run-up to the independence poll there can be little doubt that she was sidelined by the Labour hierarchy. Douglas Alexander, Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy – all Westminster MPs – fronted Labour’s case for staying within the United Kingdom. This was probably due to the perception that Ms Lamont lacked the gravitas, the leadership qualities to put the case credibly on behalf of her party.

When the stakes were as high as they were, with the jobs of 
Labour MPs in London being put right on the line, the case had to be put by the big hitters – none 
of whom seemed to come from Labour’s team in the Scottish 
parliament.

The idea that the party had autonomy north of the Border following Ms Lamont’s election three years ago has been shown to be a complete sham.

Yet under her stewardship, there were some impressive electoral successes at both local and by-election level.

The European and referendum results and recent opinion polls were mediocre enough to start the alarm bells ringing.

On balance, Labour’s sixth leader at Holyrood since 1999 did not measure up, but there is now a serious challenge for her party to show that it is serious about giving its Scottish organisation real 
freedom.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

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