Leader: Scottish Labour’s invisible man

Richard Leonard has a far lower public profile than his predecessor, Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin
Richard Leonard has a far lower public profile than his predecessor, Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin
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Richard Leonard wants to win the battle of ideas. And says he is making progress.

But the man who has been leader of Scottish Labour for a year now needs to win the battle to be recognised first.

Before writing this Scotland on Sunday conducted a completely unscientific poll asking eight readers about Richard Leonard. The most common response: “Who’s Richard Leonard?”

Amid the backdrop of Brexit, and the ongoing grumbles about Scotland not being properly represented, Nicola Sturgeon is the pre-eminent voice, alongside Ruth Davidson,

Scotland needs a strong Labour party and there is scope for the Yorkshireman to make his mark; but he hasn’t been able to get his message across, however strong that message might be.

Even in the Holyrood chamber at First Minister’s Questions he’s looked weak.

Indeed, Scottish Labour has made the headlines more for removing members of the shadow cabinet and its weak stance on Brexit.

Modern politics, like it or not, is about personalities. Kezia Dugdale was able to connect with voters, but Leonard looks a novice by comparison.

Ideas are important, but if few people are listening this counts for nothing.