Leaked document praising Scottish Labour election campaign branded 'nonsense'
A leaked briefing paper, which was drafted ahead of a meeting of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) this week, praised the contribution of "community organisers" instead of more traditional party activists during the December election campaign.
The Community Organising Unit (COU) was set up by senior Labour officials in an attempt to build grassroots support for the party. But some party critics claimed it undermined the existing system of regional offices staffed by veteran activists.
The document claimed that in Scotland - where Labour lost all but one of its MPs - there was a smaller swing away from the party in seats where the COU were present.
Labour's one gain at the election, the London seat of Putney, was "directly attributable to the Community Organising Unit", according to the paper.
"In Scotland, the average swing away from Labour was -8.38 per cent, versus an average in COU areas of -6.3 per cent, for a difference of two per cent," the document said.
"The COU held fewer events in Scotland relative to other parts of the country, and these events were not especially widely distributed geograhpically, with a focus on Glasgow and the surrounding constituencies.
"In Glasgow, seats where the COU was active performed relatively well".
Brian Roy, a former general secretary of Scottish Labour, dismissed the analysis. "Traditional ground war is fought by the best and most experienced campaign organisers I have worked with," he said in a post on social media.
"This nonsense is an attack on them and a desperate justification for what Community Organisers have described to me as 'a failed project'. Take some responsibility please."
In response, Ian Murray, Scottish Labour's sole MP, said: We need to listen to Brian. He was one of the very best organisers the Labour Party had. If anyone knows how to organise the party to win again it’s him."