DESPITE evidence of declining numeracy standards, Labour 2016 hopefuls in Glasgow are certain of the answer to one sum: 13 into four doesn't go.

Once the brunt of political 'big hitter' scoffing, Holyrood's regional list is now the best political career lifeline in town after Labour's worst ever Scottish electoral performance.

But with recently redundant MPs, sitting MSPs and well-kent hopefuls and perennials all with an eye on a slot, further blood-letting in Labour's post-electoral reckoning is inevitable.

The real battle aspiring Scots Labour politicians previously faced was internal. Once selected, the rest came easy.

Now, as Labour seeks "renewal" amid predictions of seat numbers around half 1999's tally of 53 , it's unlikely we've seen an end to the party machine's trademark arm-twisting, back-stabbing and nobbling.

Everything within Labour is fluid just now. New selection rules are some way off. But as its stands, Anas Sarwar is expected to want a shot at Holyrood. He has, after all, a dynasty and powerbroker reputation to protect.

Whether or not Margaret Curran has any purchase power left, she will certainly be confident in herself she has what it takes to make a return to Edinburgh. Similarly, where now for Willie Bain?

The odds on the three constituency MSPs Paul Martin, Patricia Ferguson and Johann Lamont being returned are tight. None has signalled any intention to stand down and would likely relish the added insurance the list provides. So too already selected constituency candidates. Bill Butler, bumped from Anniesland in 2011 and selected to fight it next year and former Shettleston MSP Frank McAveety will watch with keen interest potential selection changes.

Previous rules protected sitting MSPs, which would have seen Glasgow list trio Hanzala Malik, Anne McTaggart and Drew Smith lined up again. The former two are most often mentioned as the expendable deadwood. Malik, at least, won't go down without a fight. (Smith, it has been said though, may have had his fill of frontline politics.) City council leader Gordon Matheson and South Lanarkshire councillor Monica Lennon are also mentioned as keen for a list place. That's a lot of folk, several who have been at the vanguard of previous electoral disasters, scrambling around for maybe four seats. There's little to suggest freshness.

One prominent figure said: "It certainly won't help that natural love and comradery we have for each other. It seems to be in our DNA to be destructive."

Labour sources do though repeatedly point to a lesson barely three weeks old. Likely new leader Kez Dugdale has several advantages: she's clean and is in 'year zero'.

Why not then replicate the SNP's Westminster approach and appoint similarly new faces: able councillors with experience of decision making like Glasgow's Matt Kerr or Stephen Curran, trade unionists like the GMB's Richard Leonard or STUC's Dave Moxham, business folk such as Edinburgh's Kevin Hague or leading lawyer Pat McGuire.

Returning to the past for future success is likely to deliver nothing but more of the same.