Some will view it as foolhardy for a Westminster MP - and an English one at that - to offer a view on the election for the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

I'm a neighbour and I have a vested interest in the selection, because without a successful Labour Party here in Scotland we will end up with another five years of the Conservatives, who are causing so much damage to working people across the UK.

There were amazing scenes at the recent Trades Union Congress in Liverpool. The independence referendum formed a huge backdrop to the annual conference. Scotland's decision was argued over in fringe sessions and Scouse bars into the early hours for the entire week.

My Northern English comrades went head-to-head with our Scottish friends from the Yes camp. The debates were passionate but tense. No-one was in any doubt that the momentous decision in Scotland would have a profound impact on working people both north and south of the Border.

Those of us in England who were brought up to think that the only Borders we should worry about are those that limit the imagination of the working class found it difficult to understand how organised labour might be considering a Yes. Yet one thing that united all camps was the belief that the Better Together campaign was failing to capture the imagination of many Scots.

And despite the vast majority of Labour's high command being on the winning side of the referendum, there have been disastrous consequences for the party's fortunes in the opinion polls since then.

Nobody is under any illusion that there has to be a fresh start for Labour in Scotland, and fast. The clarion cry from Labour's grassroots is that we need a more open and participative culture, and a distinct reform programme for Labour north of the Border.

To gauge just how significant Scottish Labour is to the fortunes of the whole party, you only have to read press coverage in England about the recent opinion poll conducted in Scotland.

Independent pollsters Survation showed that a Scottish Labour Party could win back hundreds of thousands of SNP voters at the next General Election with a distinct change of political direction. Policies such as free nursery places for toddlers over the age of one, or bringing back Scottish rail services into public ownership are ideas that distinguish the views of the majority of Scots from views held by many in other parts of the UK.

So with so much at stake it would be foolhardy for any Labour member to ignore the debate about who the Scottish Labour Party leader should be.

I've followed the fortunes of Neil Findlay for some years. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament against the wishes of those in control of the party machine, which in itself was a great achievement.

Then he won my admiration when he took up the cause of workers blacklisted by the construction industry. I don't just mean he gave solidarity in two paragraphs of a press release, I mean he organised, agitated and campaigned.

He embodies the policies that many Scots want to see Labour championing. Many are not popular in the salons of SW1, but as Johann Lamont has in her own delicate way shown, a Scottish Labour leader who puts the niceties of London Labour ahead of their instincts is doomed to failure.

A candidate's back-story is nowhere near as important as the policies they espouse. Yet it says something about Neil that he got his hands dirty - literally - in beginning his working life as a bricklayer.

I know a lot of brickies. They have a unique resilience. There is no better school in life than a building site to teach you the values our movement is built on.

To stretch the metaphor, like building a house, building a movement requires strength, organisation, a hard-working team and a unique plan.

Don't get me wrong, I like Jim Murphy's aggressive, lead-from-the-front approach. And he can win marathons for political endurance. Yet he will be the first to know that his association with the leadership of the Better Together campaign is disastrous positioning.

Gordon Brown was right, it was a huge strategic blunder for Labour to run a joint campaign with the Tories.

As Alex Salmond has said, my party will pay the price for a generation unless we can signal that we understand the anger and disappointment felt by many former Labour-supporting Yes voters.

A leader who signals a fresh start, who isn't tainted by the decisions of the past, is one way Labour can begin to rebuild trust with our base.

Labour has a choice. It can keep digging with the old plan, or find a new blueprint.

Looking at Neil, he's certainly not a continuity candidate. He'd rock the foundations of some in the Labour establishment.

Yet isn't that what Labour in Scotland needs right now?