IT was great to see the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing this week, or the Saltire Bridge as many people have started to call it after the wonderful lighting display which highlighted the structure. It is remarkable when you realise that this bridge was built without any funding from the UK Government and was completed with around £245 million to spare – enough to supply around 30 years of baby boxes. There were lots of compliments for the new bridge even from Labour politicians who until very recently had objected to it and described it as a vanity project.

However, Labour’s attention was soon drawn to yet another leadership contest with Kezia Dudgale’s surprise resignation from the branch office in Scotland. Not counting the temporary, stand-in leaders this will now put Labour on to their ninth leader in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.

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The decision to stand down as leader seems to have come as a surprise to many within Scottish politics and has already resulted in many commentators assessing the success – or otherwise – of Dugdale’s tenure in the post. She certainly inherited a disjointed and downbeat party which had suffered the massive shock of losing all but one of their MPs. However, her role as leader was hampered by many poor interviews where it seemed she was badly briefed and was making up policy as she went. The main driver of Labour policy seemed to be an instinctive hatred of all things SNP; if the SNP proposed a policy then Labour would oppose – without any thought given to the benefit of said policy. Her antipathy to the SNP came to the forefront in the recent snap UK General Election where she seemed very relaxed at the prospect of voters in some constituencies voting Conservative instead of Labour in order to defeat the SNP – a move which certainly helped Theresa May remain as Prime Minister.

Under Dugdale’s leadership Labour fell, and remained, in third place in Scottish politics, overtaken by Ruth Davidson’s strident British nationalism – leaving Dugdale to declare that Labour would never support Scottish independence. It’s been claimed that Dugdale has managed to secure freedom for the Scottish branch office but this doesn’t reflect reality. There is no Scottish Labour Party – that is simply a meaningless title attached to the British Labour Party in Scotland – the head office and official registration of the party still remains in London. Labour in Scotland can only do what British Labour allows them to do.

Labour’s attitude to Scotland has always been one of relying on a steady supply of MPs to warm the green benches in the House of Commons. There is no interest in Scotland unless it is something that can benefit the UK. Jeremy Corbyn’s recent fleeting visit to Scotland highlighted this attitude where he even mentioned Scotland as part of the “regions and nations of England”. If this lack of knowledge wasn’t bad enough his comment about it the problems of establishing a separate legal system in Scotland simply underlined his complete lack of knowledge of this country.

Corbyn has been an MP since 1983, surely in all this time he must have realised that Scotland has a separate legal system with different legislation being required for Scottish issues? Surely during the debates on English Laws for English Votes it must have occurred to him that this at least implied there was such a thing as Scottish laws? Corbyn’s visit to Scotland revealed a Labour leader that knows nothing of this country, who called for the SNP Scottish Government to offset Tory cuts yet himself unaware that it spends over £100 million per year doing this. It could be argued he was badly briefed (which I could have reluctantly accepted as an excuse on the first occasion) but the very fact that he is even having to be briefed shows exactly what an afterthought Scotland is to him. It will always be London first.

It’s not really that surprising for those of us who believe that Scotland can do so much better if left to make its own decisions. For too long Scotland has been treated as an afterthought by too many politicians in Westminster. Even those meant to be representing Scotland – such as David Mundell – seem to think that Scotland was extinguished as a nation after the 1707 Act of Union. With such an attitude how can we possibly expect such politicians to stand up for Scotland on any issue.

Changing the branch office manager will have little long-term effect on Scottish politics when you consider Labour’s attitude to Scotland. At the moment Labour seems in no rush to get a new leader with some suggesting it could wait until the new year. The only rush in this contest is from their current crop of MSPs trying to rule themselves out of being the new leader! The front runners, who will covet the job of First Minister and be responsible for issues ranging from health to education, appear to be two privately educated list MSPs, Annas Sarwar and Richard Leonard.

Although Sarwar was previously a Labour MP, and depute leader and acting leader of the Scottish branch, he brings quite a bit of political baggage with him. This includes complaining about SNP being too slow to protect people from the bedroom tax when he missed a vote in Westminster to abolish this hated tax! Richard Leonard is relatively unknown to the wider public but has strong connections to the trades union movement and was elected on the Central Scotland list after failing to unseat Alex Neil from Airdrie and Shotts. However, if they need some advice the winner of the contest could always turn to the three former leaders who are currently MSPs. It is a sign of Labour’s political demise that they now have as many former leaders as MSPs as they have constituency MSPs.

This week has shown the future for Scotland is to make our own decisions, build a bridge to the future and leave behind a Labour Party which is becoming increasingly meaningless and reckless in Scottish political life.