Posts Tagged ‘first minister’

Three little words: why Tom Harris is serious about being first minister

13/09/2011, 01:00:18 PM

by Tom Harris

Ah, the working class disease!

A couple of weeks ago a radio interviewer asked me if I was serious about being a candidate to succeed Iain Gray as leader of the Scottish Labour party. Ever mindful of the tendency of Scots to mutter, “I kent his faither” – in other words, “Who does he think he is?” – I mumbled something about only wishing to smoke out Westminster’s “big beasts”, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

Understandably, the SNP issued a gleeful press release stating that I was my own third choice for leader. Only ten minutes into my campaign and I had already made a rookie mistake. You have to want the position you’re going for. You have to want it bad.

And I do.

When, in 2007, Labour lost power at Holyrood by the slimmest of electoral margins possible, I realised that Labour’s position as the traditional repository of working class votes was going the same way as our briefly-held reputation as a safe haven for middle class voters – down the tubes. I felt strongly then that I could do more good for my country/countries and my party by relocating from Westminster to Holyrood at the first available opportunity. I talked it over with some journalist friends, all of whom were entirely encouraging. I also talked it over with my closest political confidante at the time, David Cairns. He was less encouraging. I’ll leave further details of our many conversations at that for the time being.


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