Scottish Labour reshuffle in bid to claw back SNP lead

The Scottish Labour leadership try to turn round the party’s fortunes in Scotland with a reshuffle.

With the Scottish Parliament currently in recess, Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray has used a cabinet reshuffle to reassert his authority over his MSPs, amidst some criticism in the media over his performance, and the Labour party’s poor showing in the polls.

Among the noticeable appointments to Mr Gray’s new shadow team is the appointment of Glasgow Cathcart MSP, Charlie Gordon, as the Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister. A former leader of Glasgow City Council, Mr Gordon will be in a strong position to lead Labour’s efforts to reverse the decision by SNP Finance Minister John Swinney to halt the Glasgow rail link, as reported by Left Foot Forward – a move described by the current Labour Leader of Glasgow, Steven Purcell, as being inherently “anti-Glasgow”.

The reshuffle comes following a clear warning by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish that if its performance does not improve the lack of progress made by Labour in Holyrood risked the party being out of power in Scotland for a generation.

In other developments across Scotland, responding to Alex Salmond’s desire in his recent conference speech that he wanted “to make London dance to a Scottish Tune”, Conservative Leader David Cameron has used his recent press conference to conclude:

“The reason he is making these noises is that he knows that he is actually quite irrelevant in a UK general election.”

Aside from questioning how such dismissive remarks chime with Mr Cameron’s commitment that if elected next year he will pursue a devolution policy based on “maturity and respect” for Scotland, with a number of predictions that the general election could result in a hung parliament, dismissing Scotland’s First Minister as “irrelevant” could come home to bite if Mr Salmond succeeds in his ambition to secure 20 Westminster seats in May or June next year.

Meanwhile, the Director of CBI Scotland, Iain MacMillan, has branded a number of SNP policies as unhelpful to Scottish businesses.

Whilst Mr MacMillan acknowledged that “there was an attempt to build trust with the business community”, he continued by concluding that policies such as cancelling the Glasgow Rail Link, introducing minimum pricing on alcohol and preventing private sector investment in the NHS meant that:

“At the moment there are more harmful things for business than positive ones from the Scottish Government. The SNP is talking the talk, but not walking the walk.”

Reacting to his comments, a spokesman for the Scottish Government said:

“Since coming to office, this government has put in place a whole raft of positive business policies with the key purpose of supporting sustainable economic growth.”

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