Mr McLeish today hinted that his successor had been thwarted in his
attempts to run a "more positive campaign" and could not therefore be
held entirely to blame for Labour’s election result.
"I think he would have liked himself to have had a more positive campaign," said Mr McLeish.
to his own devices, Jack McConnell would have wanted to have had a more
distinctive Scottish flavour to his agenda. That did not materialise,
and that’s why I think the campaign was negative." (Guardian)
A glance back at the record supports McLeish’s thesis. Witness this piece from August last year by Joan McAlpine:
Anonymous voices in his own party complain
that he is just, well, too Scottish. These mutineers suggest Mr
McConnell has reverted to the true colours of his Scottish Labour
Action student days, when he campaigned for autonomy from London.
evidence? Not only did he commit the heinous crime of supporting the
likeable underdogs Trinidad and Tobago in the football World Cup (along
with the bulk of his countrymen); Mr McConnell has threatened take his
90-minute nationalism into the real world. We are told he plans a
Zizou-style assault on the constitutional settlement. Reports suggest
he wishes to enter next year’s Scottish election campaign promising
more powers for Holyrood and keeping his English colleagues at
claymore’s length – ie safely south of the Border. (Herald, via Joan McAlpine)
The Brownites ultimately got their way, Labour fought the election on a status quo platform and were duly thumped by the SNP. Now Labour are again talking about more powers for Holyrood, except this time from a much weaker position.
McConnell’s most like successor is Wendy Alexander, Douglas Alexander’ sister and Gordon Brown’s original candidate to replace McLeish. It will be interesting to see whether she can establish the autonomy of Scottish Labour in the way that Rhodri Morgan has done in Wales.