There haven’t been many days in the last decade where it has been easy to be a member of the Scottish Labor Party.
So it might not come as a surprise to hear I am still smiling after last week’s local government elections.
We pushed the Tories out of second place and into third in both share of the votes and number of seats, and while I was delighted – I don’t aspire to come in second place.
I am in politics because I want to make our country a better place, and I know to do that Labor needs to win elections again.
I’m a realist, I know that won’t happen tomorrow. It isn’t likely to happen before my next column either – but I want the Scottish Labor Party I lead to change lives.
Because as I travel around I see a country that is hopeful for the future; outward-looking, and full of potential but looking for leadership and a politics which is focused on providing the support this country needs for people to realize their dreams and for the next generation to have the opportunities they deserve.
That’s the job of politics – giving people the power to change their lives for the better.
But in Scotland, our politics has lost sight of that.
For too long we’ve had our politics dominated by parties who want to put people in boxes – Leave or Remain, Yes or No – and only govern for half the country that agrees with them.
They want to divide Scotland into two camps and convince them to dislike and distrust one another.
But Thursday’s election showed that things can be different and that there is a better future we can choose.
It can’t be delivered by the Tories.
The warm and welcoming party Ruth Davidson tried to spin into existence is dead.
Replaced by the same old nasty Tories, with no answers on things that really matter but grudge and grievance.
And it can’t be delivered by the SNP, who have spent fifteen years stoking bitterness, division, and anger – all to try and achieve the one political aim they’ll put before everything else.
I believe that Scottish Labor is the alternative to both of these bad choices and that where they offer division we can offer hope and optimism, guided by a belief that Scotland’s best days are ahead of it.
But as we head towards a future general election the question on the minds of so many people will be ‘how do we get rid of Boris Johnson and the Tories?’
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon will try to pretend that it is a fight between England and Scotland.
But the next election isn’t a fight about the constitution – it will be Boris versus Britain, and Britain must win.
Because it won’t be enough to just oppose the Tories – it will be about replacing them.
Only one party can do that – the Labor Party.
It is my job to make sure that when that time comes, we are worthy of your support.
That is my mission – day and night.
Not to be a party of protest – to become a party of government, so we can make people’s lives better.
‘Politics is about choices’
If politics in the last few months have been dominated by anything it has been the cost of living crisis – and the skyrocketing price of energy bills.
Last week again we saw the oil and gas companies making billions directly from your pockets.
In the first three months of this year Shell made profits of £7.3bn and BP made £4.9bn – that it works out at £94,128 a minute.
The SNP has repeatedly failed to back Labour’s proposed windfall tax – and Tory negligence is pushing hundreds of thousands of families into despair.
Both of Scotland’s governments are behaving like rabbits caught in the headlights – but every second we waste will see shareholders’ profits rise as household incomes sink.
Labor has set out a plan to do things differently, one that could save you £1000.
Politics is about choices.
The Tories could levy a windfall tax tomorrow and bring down your energy bills.
In the Queen’s Speech this week, they could act to slash price rises and support families across the UK.
So watch very closely and if you don’t hear the words ‘windfall tax’ you’ll have heard all you need to know about whose side this government is on – and it’s not yours.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.