Alexander: Scottish Labour has learned the lessons of defeat

Written By: Tribune web editor
Published: September 24, 2007 Last modified: September 24, 2007

by Oli Usher

Wendy Alexander, Labour’s new leader in Scotland, slammed the new nationalist government’s motivations and integrity in her first speech to conference as leader. Ms Alexander, who replaced defeated first minister Jack McConnell as Scottish parliamentary leader two weeks ago, said that there is a “conflict of interest between the SNP and the people of Scotland”, accusing the nationalists of engaging in gesture politics.

But in a marked change of tone, she was frank about the setback Scottish Labour has suffered, admitting that the party lost touch with the electorate in the run up to this May’s election. “The people of Scotland had not lost faith in Labour values,” she said, “but they wondered whether we had lost sight of how to put them into practice.” Previous pronouncements from the party had barely conceded that Labour had lost.

She finished with a promise that Labour would regain the trust of the Scottish electorate, and learn the lessons of defeat.