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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Red Wendy takes the Labour helm
Andrew Black
Political reporter
BBC Scotland news website

Friday, 7 September may have been declared as the Scottish Government's Green Energy Day, but Friday 14 September was most definitely Red Wendy Day.

Wendy Alexander
Ms Alexander said the party had to re-connect with the public

Wendy Alexander has taken over the Scottish Labour leadership - unopposed - and had no sooner done so than set out a series of far-reaching organisational reforms of the party, to reconnect with supporters and rekindle lost memberships.

The Paisley North MSP was unveiled as leader at an event at Glasgow's Lighthouse venue. Labour MSPs and members of the party faithful piled into a room to hear her acceptance speech, with the wicked media made to sit at the back.

First the formalities were dealt with. A party official confirmed popular suspicion that Red Wendy had received "100% support" to become leader.

Then a short tribute film, entitled "All About Wendy", was shown on a large plasma screen, which included contributions from union officials, someone described as "her old boss" and one lady who suggested the former Scottish minister would "knock a few people into shape".

I will work tirelessly to ensure that Scottish Labour reflects your concerns
Wendy Alexander
Scottish Labour leader

Since Red Wendy was named Scottish Labour's leader-elect in August, she's been on a tour around Scotland - and has come to the conclusion that the party has to both re-connect with those activists who have lost faith, while finding new support.

She has vowed to regain power at Holyrood but in the meantime, she said, would hold the minority SNP government to account for every broken promise and ditched election pledge.

"Now the SNP are in power", she said, "it appears that not only did we not know where the money was to come from - they didn't know either".

However, in opposition, the fiery MSP promised sometimes to be constructive, sometimes to give credit where it was due - but always to act in the best interests of Scotland.

"Loosing hurts," said Red Wendy, but the journey back to government had begun.

Wendy Alexander
Ms Alexander said she had no problem with 'Scottish Government'

"To get there we must win back the trust of the Scottish people," she said.

"And to win that trust, we must listen to them and show that we have listened to them by reforming our own party."

Those reforms include calling in Patrick Macdonald, a former chief executive of John Menzies, to review party organisation, a new think tank to breathe fresh air into the policy-making process and sending activists to campaigning technique school.

Red Wendy, always ready to prove her independently-minded credentials, said she had no problem with the SNP-championed term "Scottish Government".

Sitting beside her was defence secretary Des Browne, whose Westminster government will continue to refer to the Holyrood administration as "Scottish Executive".

And there was even praise for Red Wendy's predecessor and former cabinet colleague Jack McConnell who, she said, had made Scotland a better place - despite having not seen "eye-to-eye" on every issue.

In the final offering of her acceptance speech, she said she had received the message loud and clear from the people of Scotland, concluding: "I will work tirelessly to ensure that Scottish Labour reflects your concerns."


SEE ALSO
Alexander leads Scottish Labour
14 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Second chance for Alexander
15 Aug 07 |  Scotland

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