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)

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.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

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.

Read More

Read More
Richard Leonard comes out fighting as fourth MSP calls for him to quit

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.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.