Despite promising results in the rest of the UK there’s no denying that Labour’s showing in Scotland was an unmitigated disaster. Now begins a lengthy post mortem as well as the process of electing a new leader.
With Iain Gray’s presumptive successor Andy Kerr, as well as fellow big-hitters Pauline McNeill and David Whitton all losing their seats to the SNP the leadership of the official opposition is wide open. Former Cabinet Minister and senior front-bencher Jackie Baillie has been the immediate focus of press speculation. Following a stint as Wendy Alexander’s lieutenant Baillie made a name for herself taking the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon to task over C-difficile outbreaks. Glasgow MP and shadow minister Willie Bain has mooted Baillie as a “possible contender“.
However it’s Eastwood MSP Ken MacIntosh who is the “talk of the steamie”. Having overturned a notional 3,000 Tory majority in his re-drawn Eastwood seat MacIntosh impressed many with his witty and urbane shift on BBC Scotland’s election coverage on Friday afternoon. A favourite amongst grass-roots activists, his cheery persona and “family-man” image has significant appeal in the modernising wing of the party.
A (now former) MSP described Ken MacIntosh to Scrapbook this weekend “the dark horse of the leadership race” while another well-place Labour source said:
“He’s the antidote to Alex Salmond’s pomp and best communicator we’ve got. It has to be Ken.”
But with the party reduced to a rump in Holyrood the question isn’t so much who could win the leadership as who would actually want it.