Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard should spare the party its dilemma over 'loyalty' – Brian Wilson

Loyalty to the many who need a Labour Party is more important than supporting an inadequate leader, writes Brian Wilson
Richard Leonard needs to consider how low support for Labour has fallen in Scotland (Picture: John Devlin)Richard Leonard needs to consider how low support for Labour has fallen in Scotland (Picture: John Devlin)
Richard Leonard needs to consider how low support for Labour has fallen in Scotland (Picture: John Devlin)

Demands for “loyalty” from a besieged leader should be treated with suspicion. Loyalty to whom or what?

It is not an ethical dilemma which troubles the Tories. A leader perceived to be a loser is dispatched with minimum gratitude and maximum ruthlessness.

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Labour worries about these things and Richard Leonard should not prolong its dilemma. I suspect he is being done no favours by a cadre who insist he must stay, regardless of consequences.

In this respect, he may be little different from Jeremy Corbyn, on whose tide he was swept into a position he never expected to hold and in which he has proved decent but inadequate.

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So where does “loyalty” now point? That is a question for all of us who hold Labour membership cards but also for Mr Leonard himself. He can read the numbers.

Some who have called for him to go have given large chunks of their lives to advancing Labour’s cause and the generations whose prospects it has transformed. They too should expect loyalty to that legacy.

I spent a disproportionate part of my own past in draughty village halls, building support in the Highlands and Islands where, not long ago, Labour had constituency MPs and MSPs.

In last year’s European elections, under Corbyn-Leonard, Labour won four per cent of the vote and under ten in Scotland as a whole. Four per cent, Richard. Is that what I am supposed to be loyal to?

There is not the slightest sign of improvement and loyalty now has to be prioritised. To an individual? Or to the many who need a Labour Party, rather than the few who regard electability as an optional extra.

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