Tomorrow's Scotland

Tomorrow's Scotland

Tomorrow's Scotland

Tomorrow's Scotland


The establishment of the Scottish Parliament was marked by a wave of expectations, hopes and dreams for a better Scotland and a different kind of politics. Tomorrow's Scotland assesses how successful devolution has been in living up to this promise.



The Scottish Labour Party has been involved in the process of initiating a widespread constitutional reform programme at a UK level since 1997; and after decades of campaigning, the Scottish Parliament has been established. This has changed dramatically the role of Scottish Labour, bringing it into coalition government with the Liberal Democrats; however, it also carries with it the potential to evolve into a more competitive and pluralist politics, which in the future may be less Labour-orientated.

In the hundred and fourteen years of Scottish Labour’s existence, its electoral fortunes have fluctuated – as have those of the Labour Party in the UK – but the Scottish Labour Party has gradually strengthened its position as the leading party in Scotland. It has contributed across the spectrum of Scottish public life, producing a range of national leaders who have played significant roles in Scotland and Westminster. The party has been crucial to the politics of the Union, developing a vital role in representing Scottish and British interests, emphasising Scotland’s contribution to the Union and the Union’s contribution to Scotland. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament brings new opportunities and challenges: to its electoral position, its leadership and its ability to advocate both Scottish and British interests.

Surprisingly, the Scottish Labour Party has been relatively ignored by contemporary political analysis. Most studies of Scottish Labour have looked at it historically – its origins, the contribution of the ILP, Red Clydeside – or at its relationship with Scottish nationalism. This reflects the orthodoxies of political analysis, which emphasise the primacy of Westminster politics and ignore the territorial dimension of political parties. This chapter looks at Scottish Labour in a number of ways: it examines its contribution to Scottish politics; looks at its role as a sub-section of British Labour; views it as a case study of territor-

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