IT IS interesting how the arguments for an independent Scottish Labour Party are similar to the broader argument about independence for Scotland.
Regrettably it appears that neither of the leadership candidates – MSPs Kezia Dugdale and Ken Macintosh – wants to embrace Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley’s idea for a wholly autonomous party north of the Border (your report, 8 June).
Their approach could well consign the party to the electoral doldrums for decades.
The only reservation I have about Mr Rowley’s view is a practical one. Where is the money to pay for headquarters, a general secretary and other key staff to come from?
Trade unions may not be prepared to finance an autonomous operation; the party’s membership is now so low it was unable even to pay voters the courtesy of a physical presence at many polling stations in the recent election.
An independent party is one that develops its own ideals and exercises genuine control over its staff and overall organisation. It appears that Scottish Labour is still wanting on the latter and has a lot of work to do on the former.
Yet if these problems could be overcome the case for full autonomy is a very strong one. It would once and for all counter the charge of “branch office” status.
It would allow the party to develop its own links with other parts of the UK and at international level on the basis of an equal and not as a subordinate.
It would help avoid the confusion over who actually leads the party (arguably Ed Miliband was more responsible for the recent debacle than Jim Murphy).
Above all it would allow it to develop its own democratic, socialist alternative in a Scottish context free of the charge that someone else calls its tune.