With the oft-repeated complaint about MPs and MSPs ringing in our ears – that they’ve never lived in the “real” world outside of politics – it is refreshing to find that Scottish Labour is not only holding a proper election for its leaders (rather than the SNP’s “coronation” of Nicola Sturgeon), but that at least two of the candidates have had active lives outside the political bubble.
Neil Findlay has been a brick-layer and teacher, and Katy Clark a lawyer known for her work with the poor and underprivileged. It will be interesting to see what the Labour electoral college makes of – for the first time in a long time – genuinely competing visions of the direction in which the Party should travel: left-leaning idealism tempered by realism, versus a blitz to re-take the Blairite centre ground perhaps?
Because there’s more to picking a winner than rolling dice, I am looking forward to a passionate debate, and hope that, regardless of the outcome, the losers command enough votes to ensure that Labour in Scotland moves forward on a broad front, with achievable, compassionate, and inclusive policies.
At some time (maybe sooner than we think) Labour will be back in power at Holyrood, and it must then be ready to govern.