Anas Sarwar is standing for the leadership of the Scottish Branch of the Labour Party. We reckon that it is highly likely he will win. Odd in a way though, as he not so long ago rather stumblingly denounced the Scottish parliament as a dictatorship.
Just a year after demanding, as a co-signatory of a letter to Mr Corbyn, that Jeremy quit as leader of the party, and backing Owen Smith for leader, he has now decided that JC is the man to be the next prime minister.
Of course, it’s not fair to single him out for criticism on this matter. Many of Jeremy’s lieutenants were critics before they became devoted followers. Kezia Dugdale has, herself has had an up and down relationship with Mr C and heaven knows, she wasn’t the worst.
Mr Sarwar seems to me to be a strange choice for leader of the Scottish branch given that Scotland is generally accepted to be a little more left wing than most of the English branches. Indeed just after the Scottish referendum, Maggie Curran, then an MP and Shadow Scottish Secretary, promised us a more left-wing approach to politics as she sadly surveyed the areas which had most staunchly voted for independence and found so many of them to be traditional working class, solidly Labour voting areas.
(Then they elected Blairite, Jim Murphy, a man to the right of many Tories… So much for left-wing…so much for Curran’s promises.)
Mr Sarwar is a dentist and a businessman with a multi-million-pound stake in the family business. He was privately educated as are his children. He can’t claim like Mr Murphy to have slept in a drawer as a wean. That said, no one doubted Tony Benn’s socialist credentials despite him being the son of a Viscount!
But now it has come to light that there is no trade union recognition at Sarwar’s family firm, which is a bit embarrassing because only a few days before that it was reported that his firm doesn’t pay the real living wage, a wage policy on which Labour has been campaigning.
The message seems to be rather inconsistent, doesn’t it?
Does he believe the parliament in which he serves to be a dictatorship?
Does he, or does he not, really support Mr Corbyn?
Does he or does he not support trade union involvement in companies?
Does he, or does he not, support the real living wage upon which Mr Corbyn has been campaigning?
If he still believes that Scotland is run by a dictatorship, and he became first minister, what steps would he take to ensure that Holyrood became democratic (remembering that the whole Edinburgh system was set up by the Labour Party under Blair and Dewar)?
If he doesn’t support trades unions, why is he in the Labour Party? If he does, why doesn’t he invite them into his company to ensure the best deal for his employees? I mean employees deserve the best conditions affordable, even if they work for Sarwar, right?
If he doesn’t support the real living wage, why is he campaigning on it? If he does, why isn’t he insisting his company pay it? After all, surely his employees are just as important as other employees, and just as likely to be in need of a living wage, right?
Signed: Confused of Minguin Towers.
*In the interests of fairness we should say that there is an alternative candidate, whose name has been mentioned by the press on so few occasions that we can’t remember it. This reminds us of the election of Jim Murphy when Neil Findlay and a couple of others also stood, but no-one much paid any attention to them.