Refreshed Scottish Labour will bring internationalist values, fairness and positivity to Scotland – Ian Murray MP

We have been blessed with some extraordinary political talent in Scotland of all political colours over the decades.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is focussed on the future, not the tired old arguments of the past (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is focussed on the future, not the tired old arguments of the past (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, we also have been saddled with those who are not so good, like Mike Russell.

As the world rightly stands in solidarity with Ukraine, the current SNP president believes the horrific, full-scale military invasion of Ukraine can be equated to his party’s campaign to leave the UK.

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I cannot believe it has to be said that the two are not remotely comparable.

Russell wasn’t alone among the SNP ranks in making grossly offensive remarks – although he was the most senior nationalist figure.

I imagine that Nicola Sturgeon must end each day with her head in the hands when her advisers brief her about the latest antics by some of her party.

It’s sad that fellow columnist Angus Robertson MSP, while saying there was no “direct comparison”, couldn't bring himself to say Russell was wrong. He is wrong and to deny that dismisses the very grave situation we are in with Ukraine.

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No connection between Ukraine war and independence campaign – Sturgeon

This weekend, you will see a very different approach to the nationalists’ inward-looking ideology from Scottish Labour.

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We are gathering for our annual conference in Glasgow where we will restate our internationalist values and demonstrate why solidarity is our watchword.

Scotland deserves better than two failing governments more interested in an ‘us versus them’ race to the bottom.

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Over the last two years, we have rolled up our sleeves to protect one another because we know that making this country the best place in the world means all of us working together.

Scottish Labour wants to bring our country together; to make it fairer and our communities stronger.

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Anas Sarwar will relentlessly focus on the future – not the tired old arguments of the past favoured by the SNP and the Tories.

We’re demonstrating that we’re changing ourselves as well, including a fresh and optimistic rebranding of the party.

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I know that many people turned away from Labour in recent years under the previous leadership, but with Anas and Keir Starmer at the helm, we’re now focused on the future – not the past.

Nobody thinks rebranding is going to transform things in itself or will change anyone’s vote – but this is just one part of a wider culture change that is about building a modern political party for a modern Scotland.

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This is a big step in the right direction for Scottish Labour, and it’s something Scotland desperately needs.

The SNP and the Tories are holding our country back. We need a party with true ambition for Scotland, and it falls to Scottish Labour to deliver that.

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Anas Sarwar is serious about turning the party around – we’re investing in campaign infrastructure, cutting-edge digital technology and making sure we’re building an organisation that has the energy and, most importantly, ideas to win.

This is about making clear to voters that we have changed into a modern, future-looking Scottish Labour Party. We’re on the side of everyone in Scotland.

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We will be focussing on our core themes of positivity and optimism, so that we can build the future together.

Ian Murray is the Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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