In one sense, Richard Leonard's departure as Scottish Labour leader is an unalloyed Bad Thing, because it proves once again that he's been leading a branch office rather than an autonomous Scottish party. It really ought to have been possible for a Corbynite to lead Scottish Labour while a centrist was in charge in London, but instead we see internal devolution being exposed as a fiction again as the change of direction at UK level is replicated by compulsion in Scotland.
What isn't yet so clear, though, is whether this is a Bad Thing for the independence movement and for the SNP, because there's not much doubt that Anas Sarwar, who was Leonard's centrist opponent last time around, has the makings of an even worse leader. I suspect the 'moderates' have learned their lesson and that they'll put up Jackie Baillie instead, but if by any chance Sarwar stands again we should back him all the way.
If Baillie wins, Scottish Labour will have a confident and articulate leader for the first time in many years, and I suspect she would perform well in the TV election debates. But I also suspect she may learn the hard way that people have simply stopped listening to Labour, and that the person at the top doesn't make a huge amount of difference.
Yes! Get in!https://t.co/WcMQwsjObU— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) January 14, 2021