In response to the utter meltdown within the government over Brexit as reported in the Times today, John McDonnell for the Labour opposition is making a speech in which he will powerfully urge the government to have a nice Brexit that is nice to people and not a nasty one that is just plain nasty to everyone cos that wouldn’t be nice. He is, of course, not opposing Brexit as such but he’d like it to be nice please if you wouldn’t mind. He will not do anything nasty like vote against the government or anything icky like that.
It is a bad joke. There is no opposition to a government that is falling apart with its own incoherence and both Labour and the Tories fall back on protecting their respective electoral bases from UKIP while Farage is being interviewed over a Full English Brexit by Piers Morgan on exactly how Theresa May should butter up Trump in order to save British Trade from jumping off a cliff.
It is surely obvious to the most benighted, SNP-hating member of Scottish Labour that there is nothing to be looked for from the Mother of Parliaments. The government will press ahead with an entirely unscrutinized reflex spasm of an invocation of Article 50 simply because they can think of no better way to cover their own divisions…and UK Labour will go along with it because some of them think it’s what Tony Benn would have wanted, and some of them think they’ll get their party back when Corbyn fucks up the next election…
Even if Corbyn WINS the next election, Brexit will go essentially unchallenged. There is no solution to this except a Scottish solution. Everyone must see that.
So there will be those who yell for Indy Ref 2 now as if that would save us – but it won’t work – the electorate will simply not stand for it, not in times like these, not with this level of uncertainty. In the long term, with luck and good management, we are looking at a future of energy self sufficiency from which we can negotiate our way in the world with some possibility of success. But right now? Independence by 2020 after a second referendum is a pipe dream and a distraction from what is actually happening to these actual islands of the coast of actual Europe across the water from an actual President Trump.
So what i propose is this. Starting right now, today, in the Scottish parliament debate on Brexit, we start to work towards an accommodation between the SNP and Scottish Labour. (Yes…I know, pigs might fly – but Hillary will never lose the election, okay?)
Take a deep breath, and starting today, right now, in the debate on Brexit at Holyrood, we have to ask Scotland’s politicians to do better, to think beyond their tribal bases and assumptions about each other, and bite the constitutional bullet.
Scottish Labour have to accept that only a strong Scottish negotiating position in collaboration with others in these islands can secure our future relationship with both Europe and the UK being on anything like bearable terms. On immigration, on trade, on tourism, on energy, we have to be FUNCTIONALLY independent from UK policy. Now, you can call that what you like, federalism or a New Union, I don’t give a damn, I really don’t. There HAS to be a united negotiating position…which means that Scottish Labour HAVE to get behind Nicola Sturgeon one hundred percent, in public as well as quietly and actually exercise that autonomy that they were granted (without thinking about it) by Jeremy Corbyn.
And in return, the SNP have to agree to park Independence. Yes. Not just Indyref 2 before 2020, the SNP have to undertake here and now to park any move towards Independence until a fresh mandate is sought in the Westminster elections in 2020 and the next Scottish Election in 2021.
That’s the only possible deal. That’s the only way both parties can serve the people who elected them, and who voted on both sides of the referendum debate. That’s the way they can both serve Scotland. But they both have to do it and they both have to mean it. Or we’re screwed.