Kezia Dugdale, the leader of the Labour Scottish branch office, is not a socialist in any realistic regard. From looking at her past to her most recent political moves, there are glaring suggestions that Dugdale is trying to shift the party to the centre right on the political compass.
We begin our case with Kezia Dugdale’s loyalty to the old Labour government. In an article on Progress, Kezia Dugdale speaks about how she was proud of New Labour in Government.
She also goes on to say…
So just from that, we know Kezia Dugdale was a strong supporter of Tony Blair when he was in government. New Labour, as most people already know, was not a socialist movement. Tony Blair began planning and started the privatisation of the royal mail, NHS, education and air traffic control. He also barely invested in social housing which was desperately needed at the time, but was not afraid of taking billions of pounds away from the NHS using PFIs. They also introduced ATOS, which we all know is now a tool used by the Tories to target those who are disabled with discrimination and physiological torture. They also introduced workfare schemes, which have pushed those who are unemployed who work for no wage and give up their labour rights. New Labour also attacked civil liberties, which resulted in thousands of new crimes, putting people in prison WITHOUT TRIAL and complicit when it came to torture. Oh, and did we mention the illegal war in Iraq? And what about the banking crisis when New Labour were asleep on the wheel?
And Kezia Dugdale is proud of it, because she is clear when she says that “I am proud of EVERYTHING we achieved in government.” (my own emphasis)
Let that be clear, everything in the paragraph above, Kezia Dugdale is proud of it.
When it came back to the 2015 General Election, Kezia Dugdale was still shouting the New Labour script, take this disastrous car crash interview on Sunday Politics Scotland.
And in terms of raising tax, she backed Jim Murphy on his own Blairite position.
And of course we have the infamous Labour mug saying…
Now fast forward to more recently, you may suddenly realise that Kezia sounds more left wing. From screaming “stop the cuts” to wanting to raise income tax for the highest earners to 50p, it sounds very appealing. But, that’s all it actually is, sound. What does her actual actions tell us? Let’s start with her backing the leadership candidate for Labour, Owen Smith.
Owen Smith, ladies and gentlemen, is far from being left wing or a socialist. To start off, in a recent interview in the Telegraph, Owen Smith said he had no areas of difference between him and Tony Blair.
And before people point out that he admits Iraq was a mistake, he told a different story to his local paper.
“We are making significant inroads in improving what is happening in Iraq. I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition, and one that in South Wales, from the Spanish Civil War onwards, we have recognised and played a part in.”
Owen Smith also accepts the idea of austerity
“I don’t think it’s realistic to say that they [public spending cuts] are wholly unnecessary. There is a very serious point that we don’t know what would happen to a government that failed to tackle its debts in the long run.”
“Where they can bring good ideas, where they can bring valuable services that the NHS is not able to deliver, and where they can work alongside but subservient to the NHS and without diminishing in any respect the public service ethos of the NHS, then I think that’s fine. I think if their involvement means in any way, shape or form the break up of the NHS, then I’m not a fan of it, but I don’t think it does.”
“We’ve had PFI in Wales, we’ve had a hospital built down in Baglan through PFI. If PFI works, then let’s do it. What people want to see are more hospitals, better services. City academies in certain parts of inner city Britain, where schools were failing, where children were not being well served, have made great inroads. I’m not someone, frankly, who gets terribly wound up about some of the ideological nuances that get read into some of these things, and I think sometimes they are totally overblown.”
He disgracefully abstained on the Tories welfare benefit cuts and also supports the idea of cutting welfare spending…
Even the Guardian newspaper reported that “the former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option.” The fact they have to actually mention his pitch will try to be left wing just highlights how he needs to convince people first he is not on the right. To be clear, your political stance can be very different from your personal belief, so it’s obvious that Owen Smith is branding himself as a left wing candidate, despite the above proving that he is almost buddies with the Conservatives.
So that’s Owen Smith, who Kezia Dugdale is backing to be the new leader. But there is something which is much more alarming. Kezia Dugdale is part of the right wing think tank, Progress. And to prove it even further, Kezia Dugdale has written multiple articles on their website that date back to 2010.
The right wing think tank also has “A message from Tony Blair” section on their website.
Even the GMB union has tried to ban Progress from the party due to their right wing leanings.
Progress have been accused of manipulating the selection process for Labour candidates, in order to push forward favoured blairite candidates.
The group have also been massively funded by Lord David Sainsbury, donating around £260,000 a year to the group.
Eventually the group was fined when they accepted donations from Lord Sainsbury, when he wasn’t even on the UK electoral register.
Infighting within the Labour party eventually got intense, with Ed Miliband trying to end the divisions deep inside the party.
Oh, and it doesn’t even end there. Not so long ago Jackson Carlaw, Conservative MSP and Deputy leader of the Tories in Scotland, sent to Kezia Dugdale asking her to help form a Tory/Labour “alliance” to oppose a second independence referendum. The source of the letter can be found here.
As far as we are aware, Kezia Dugdale didn’t directly respond to Jackson Carlaw, but she did make her position very clear after she received the letter.
So, let’s get this straight. Kezia Dugdale, who is proud of everything “achieved” by New Labour, is claiming to be a socialist, despite being a prominent figure within a dodgy right wing think tank, indirectly backs the Tories on opposing an independence referendum and supports a Labour leadership candidate who holds some serious Tory-cozy views and has almost no differences with Tony Blair?
It’s absurd. It’s ludicrous. It’s, eh, Kezia Dugdale.