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Can Kezia win Scottish Labour freedom?

Byline: David Clegg THE HEART OF POLITICS

KEZIA Dugdale is the latest in a long line of Scottish Labour leaders to promise the party will be more autonomous on her watch.

The Lothian MSP has even managed to convince UK boss Jeremy Corbyn to sign a joint statement vowing all Scottish decisions will be taken by her.

Anyone who witnessed Scottish Labour's year-long agonies over the bedroom tax will know just how desperately the party needs more room to manoeuvre on policy.

Ed Miliband wasn't sure what to do on the key issue, so troops in Scotland were forced to haud their wheesht about the despicable Tory cut.

That left the field wide open for the SNP to steal the social justice mantle by vocally and unequivocally condemning the attack on the poor.

That's arguably as much to blame for Labour's current plight as their involvement in Better Together.

But can Kez realistically hope to do anything to change the current set-up? After all, it's a problem as old as devolution. Glasgow Uni politics student Aidan Kerr has unearthed quotes from Scottish Labour worthies stretching back to John Reid in 1999 all promising the same thing.

Corbyn is more relaxed than his predecessors about internal differences but with a big fight over Trident in the offing, it can't last.

And when a conflict finally does break out, those who hold the purse strings will inevitably win out.

Scottish Labour's campaign and staffing operation is massively dependent on cash from down south.

In the end, he who pays the piper is likely to call the tune.

CAPTION(S):

DILEMMA Kezia Dugdale

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 29, 2015
Words:270
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