New Labour, New Parliament

Douglas Fraser

in The Scottish Labour Party

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780748617845
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672097 | DOI:
New Labour, New Parliament

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In October 2000, Scottish Labour moved to its third headquarters in as many years, using part of the AEEU office in Glasglow's West Regent Street. The new office would be called John Smith House. The new location and name sent a message: here was Scottish Labour living cheek by jowl with a trade union, the very part of the Labour movement from which Tony Blair was distancing himself. And here, with the naming ceremony, was a reminder that Scottish Labour was closer to the values of Blair's predecessor. That was a particularly significant at a time of turf wars between Labour minsters at Westminster and those at the year-old Parliament in Edinburgh. This chapter argues that with devolution very much the legacy of Blair's predecessor, it created tensions within the Blairite ‘project’. While setting up the home rule institutions must be seen as a major constitutional achievement, Labour still managed to inflict damage on itself in selecting those members it wished to have elected to the new Parliament. Three leaders and First Ministers within thirty months, the novelty of the coalition government along with external pressures, were to test the inexperienced Labour MSP group. The chapter analyzes what went wrong for Labour's selection, what went right, and the changes forced on it with the arrival of Scottish home rule.

Keywords: Scottish Labour Party; Parliament; Tony Blair; John Smith House; Scottish home rule

Chapter.  8476 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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