I've beaten the odds all my life, now I want to help Labour do the same
Labour will only win again if it stops dwelling on the past and instead looks to the future, says Labour deputy leadership candidate Ian Murray MP.
People like me from the Edinburgh housing estate where I grew up are never told we can end up in Parliament. But I did.
Throughout my whole life, I’ve beaten the odds.
I’m the son of a single parent, who went to university at the age of 16, becoming the first in my family to make it there.
I vividly remember how it happened. Walking along a window-lined corridor at school, I bumped into the assistant head who asked me if I fancied going to university summer school. He said it might open up a place at uni for me.
But there was a snag as I was a grade short and my music teacher, Mrs Alison, told me there was no way I was passing my exams by playing the drums.
“Can you sing?” she asked me. Good enough to get a C and make the grade for university, it turned out – although the songs I sang will remain my secret forever.
I know what it takes to beat the odds to win and that’s why I’m running to be deputy leader of the Labour Party.
I’m the kitchen porter who ended up running my own pub. I’m the football fan who led the effort to save my team from bankruptcy. And I’m the MP who survived a nationalist wave that wiped away all my Scottish colleagues - not once, but twice.
Never again do I want to feel like I did at 10pm on 12 December, when the general election exit poll was released.
Like every Labour member across the country, I was exhausted from campaigning, and then devastated as I watched our party lose for the fourth time in ten years.
As a party member, losing feels terrible. But it feels worse for every person and every family who now must deal with five more years of the Tories.
We let them down, and it can’t ever happen again.
I’m standing to be deputy leader because I want to change our party so that we can win again and transform people’s lives. But I won’t be able to do it alone.
The party must come together and listen to people in the seats where we lost and understand what we got wrong. And we must change the way our party works so that we are a party for the whole of the UK.
Never again can we stray from our values and never again can we face both ways on the most important issues of our time.
We are a pro-UK and a pro-Europe party, and we should be proud of that. Not just because that’s what is best for our country; but because it goes to the very heart of our Labour values of solidarity and internationalism.
I believe Labour can win again. But we will only turn things around if we stop dwelling on the past and instead look to the future – not just for our party, but for our country and everyone who lives here.
What does the future of work look like with automation and artificial intelligence? How do we cope with an ageing population? What skills will our young people and changing workforce require?
These are some of the questions I will be exploring during the campaign.
I know what it takes to beat the odds and I am determined that Labour will win again.
* Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South