Why there cannot be a Corbynist Labour Party in Scotland

10668906_328475067326712_244829102761671118_oOne of the most exhilarating things about the referendum for the Yes movement was the sheer number of new people and organisations we got to know. From the referendum, lasting friendships have developed as diverse political movements once strangers came together in common cause. Underpinning the whole debate were the people themselves, many of whom came into political activism for the first time as a result of the atmosphere of possibility and the deeply held hopes for real social change. For once our vote was to count for something.

These networks and relationships managed to generalise a progressive outlook based on left wing values. There are so many fascinating elements of this movement. Resolve and determination are characteristics of mass movements of course, but decline and decay are also classic symptoms of defeat that inevitably bed in. Not so with the independence movement. There is now a permanent layer of support for Independence of around half the population. Much of this is ready to mobilise again in a future referendum.

And that is why there cannot be a Corbynist Labour Party in Scotland. The essential point of Corbynism is to build a social movement around the party. This is of course a good idea, and must be supported unequivocally in England as he takes the fight to the Tories and the establishment in general. But it is not possible for this to happen in Scotland because the social resources needed to achieve this are terminally alienated from Scottish Labour.

The hopes invested in Independence as a means of opposing austerity and ending Tory domination were betrayed by the Labour Party. The leadership of Scottish Labour are not only a million miles away from the socialist substance and experience of Corbyn, but they played a pivotal role in the betrayal.

Generations have been lost. Just look at the statistics. In a recent poll for TNS 59% of 16- 34 year olds support independence. The basis of this support will vary, but the common themes of democracy, anti-austerity and a more egalitarian society will no doubt be common themes.

Generations have been lost. Just look at the statistics. In a recent poll for TNS 59% of 16- 34 year olds support independence. The basis of this support will vary, but the common themes of democracy, anti-austerity and a more egalitarian society will no doubt be common themes.

This helps to define the precise and real contradiction between Corbyn and Scotland. The politics Cornyn identifies with are located within the support base for independence and as such – especially in Holyrood elections – are cut off from each other. The social base for Corbyn’s left wing ideals are to be found in the communities which voted Yes and would do so again tomorrow. So too are they to be found in the local anti-cuts groups, and the unions, where SNP trade union members now outweigh the entire membership of Labour in Scotland. These massive shifts and movements of opinion cannot be rubbed out. They have to be confronted directly and engaged with.

And that is where the second problem for Scottish Labour comes in. Their leadership just can’t engage on a big enough level and in a broad enough manner with independence supporters. Kezia Dugdale may be young, but is already too tarnished with her support for the Union at a time of austerity and Tory rule. In addition she stood too close to Jim Murphy – an obvious error, but one carried out as a result of being continually out of touch with the profound change that has taken place in Scottish society.

This combination of factors makes Corbyn’s position on independence a barrier to developing his wider politics in Scotland. Here it is important to restate the general support the independence movement should have for his attempts in Westminster. Having been through the media mill ourselves, we are in a good position to defend him from the toxic smears of the corporate media and the BBC. At the same time independence is central to overcoming the parameters of the British State. In a previous article I use the slogan ‘divide the state- unite the movement’ to sum this up.

So – the fire of Corbyn cannot spread to Scotland in the same way. This we know. But that does not mean Scottish politics does not need an opposition. It means there is an opportunity emerging here and now to construct a parliament in which the opposition itself is also pro-independence. That is why Holyrood 2016 is not only another stepping stone towards independence, but it can be an arena in which the diversity of our movement as a whole should be represented. The pro-independence radical left should have the objective over time of taking the Labour seats in parliament, especially via the second vote. If we succeed in that we will have done two things: strengthened the case for independence, and created a left block of real allies for the movement in England.

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  1. Big Jock says:

    Yes agree, I think Slabour could slip quite close to the Tories in 2016.

    Ultimately Labour UK will do two things. The first is more likely, and that’s get rid of Corbyn, and lurch back to the right. The second is they split from left to right and form two parties.

    Either way they are not going to win any election soon. By that I mean in the next 10 years. So Scotland with possibly 70MSP’s, 56 MP’s and control of the councils. Will just look and feel independent.

    The electorate will show this in the opinion polls. Expect indi to be 60% by next May.

    1. John says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself. Scotland will look and feel like an independent country who is being starved to death by Westminster. I only hope Corbyn’s demise comes very soon before much more damage has been done to our country. I think Corbyn has become a useful distraction to take the focus away from the corrupt establishment. Corbyn will hang on for as long with his principles being jettisoned as he is forced to compromise. So I really do hope the Labour right wingers don’t hang about too long.

    2. Alex Beveridge says:

      Yep, I think the first of your scenarios is what will happen Big Jock. If that takes place, then the Labour party in Scotland, especially Dugdale, can resume her rightful, in every sense of the phrase, position, and not have to tie herself in knots trying to sound like a socialist.

    3. antoniocasci says:

      Labur can be right or left handed but North sea oil price dropped fifty % from
      the price Mr Alex Salmond believed appropriate (113 dollars per barrel)

  2. neil scott says:

    Taking the fight to the SNP…

  3. Jim Bennett says:

    Whilst I agree with the general position that the Jonathan takes, I think that he underrates what may happen with Labour…and it poses a problem for his political bloc.

    – YES voters will tend to align with the SNP
    – The Greens are the most organised and consistent “left” grouping in Scotland and their alignment with YES will bring them further support
    – Former Labour Party members will see Alex Salmond’s criticism of Corbyn refusing to sing the UK Anthem and Fergus Ewing’s attack on Corbyn’s plans for nationalising the power companies and think “WTF?”. A minority of these may well cross back to Labour.

    Why would someone vote for RISE when they have the SNP or Greens as electable blocs on the YES side?
    Why would someone vote for RISE when they could vote for a potentially electable Labour list candidate committed to nationalisation and getting rid of Trident on the social justice side?
    Why would someone vote for RISE when, if radical YES politics is their bag, we have TUSC and Solidarity as well?

    I know the Labour Party in Scotland have been/are a bunch of cynical opportunists who’ve done precious little positive over the past 20 years. However, I suspect that some, a minority, of former Labour supporters, who shifted to vote SNP, may well be attracted back to Labour by Corbyn’s positioning. That doesn’t mean that they would stop supporting independence.

    Labour will still pick up 20% or so of the vote next year. The Corbyn effect may well stop them from complete melt down. This poses the biggest difficulty for Jonathon’s RISE bloc.

    1. Taranaich says:

      ” Why would someone vote for RISE when they could vote for a potentially electable Labour list candidate committed to nationalisation and getting rid of Trident on the social justice side?”

      Because unlike RISE, Scottish Labour/Better Together just ran a General Election campaign and referendum where they were mocking the SNP/Yes for the very notion of getting rid of nuclear weapons. People aren’t going to forget that the loudest voices in favour of retaining nuclear weapons in Scotland were Labour (Robertson, Murphy, Donohoe etc). Will people really respect candidates who are so easily willing to about-turn on such an issue just because they have a new leader?

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        In a theoretical election between Neil Findlay and Fergus Ewing an old leftie like me would be faced with some difficulty.
        A nationalist Tory vs. a unionist Socialist. There’s the rub!

        1. Wul says:

          I voted SNP in spite of my heart being closer to the Greens and maybe SSP. But, for me, its SNP all the way until we get independence. When I finally get a vote that matters. I’ll use it to express my politics. Until then, I’m hell bent on supporting the only party that’s got a chance of winning me a say in how my country is run.
          I’m also keen to give a very strong message to the Eton boys; get it right f****n’ up ye!

          1. Triffid says:

            I would say that voting for the Scottish Greens would also advance independence, as they could pull the last of the unionist left – the Sarah Boyac’s into YES. It was wrong for No voters to say that their heart said Yes but head No. It is wrong to say heart says Green but head says SNP.

  4. Peter E says:

    I live in Edinburgh and paid my £3 to become a ‘Labour Supporter’ and I voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election.

    After the result was announced I was asked by an email-out in the name of Kesia Dugdale to become a full member of the Labour party.

    The Corbynista message and stance is very attractive to me, however I responded that I do not wish to join Labour in Scotland at this stage. I agree with you that joining the Labour party in Scotland at this time is a confusing and futile thing to do.

    I am concerned that we do a have a strong opposition in the Holyrood parliament and can only see the Green party as likely to provide the edge that we now require.

  5. JBS says:

    “The pro-independence radical left should have the objective over time of taking the Labour seats in parliament, especially via the second vote. If we succeed in that we will have done two things: strengthened the case for independence, and created a left block of real allies for the movement in England.”

    No, sorry. SNP for me, constituency and list.

    I’ve had this feeling over the last couple of months that Bella Caledonia is turning into the webcomms arm of RISE. I wonder why it is that I’ve had that feeling?


    1. Muscleguy says:

      Yet again Severin Carrell got it wrong in the Guardian. RIC are not part of RISE. They facilitated it, acted as honest brokers and a neutral space where those in RISE could negotiate the alliance.

      I’m in RIC and I’m still not a member of any party. RIC will remain open to those of any party or none.

      1. JBS says:

        Never thought I’d find myself defending Severin Carrell, but here goes.

        What you say, Muscleguy, is true. However, it’s easy to see how people might have gleaned the impression that RIC was part of RISE. In the 25 August 2015 issue of The National, Cat Boyd wrote:

        “When we launched Radical Independence in November 2012, many people told us it was “pointless” and “divisive”; but by the end of the campaign it was difficult to find one person in the independence movement who did not see its value.

        Through trust, cooperation, openness and enthusiasm, we built a campaign within a wider movement that put socialist politics at the heart of the debate. By continuing in that spirit, the traditions of our movement will remain alive long after 2016.”


        It seems that Severin Carrell was not the only one caught out.

      2. JBS says:

        Actually, I’m a bit confused now, Muscleguy, and since you are a member of RIC maybe you can help clear things up for me.

        Please take a look at the following, from Jamie Szymkowiak’s Twitter timeline. It appears from an exchange he had with RIC Inverclyde earlier this month that at that time RIC Inverclyde was preparing to become part of RISE:


        However, the RIC Inverclyde Twitter account is very much active, and the tweets that Jamie Szymkowiak screenshotted have disappeared from their timeline. I wonder what happened there. A simple mistake, perhaps. A failure to communicate.

        But if you look again at the exchange Jamie Szymkowiak had with RIC you’ll find something else, and this is what’s really got me confused. You’ll notice that the Radical Indy Abdn account tweets: “Local groups are fully autonomous. It’s a decision for Inverclyde”. I have questions about this, and if you, or someone else from RIC, would take the time to answer them I’d be very grateful.

        Can you confirm that, as Radical Indy Abdn says, “Local groups are fully autonomous?”

        If that is the case, does it mean that any RIC group could become part of RISE if it wished, and if RISE would have them?

        Have any of the local RIC groups actually joined RISE?

        1. JBS says:

          Nah? Tumbleweed, huh? Never mind, I’ll ask Cat Boyd the next time she pops up on this site.

          1. Allan Armstrong says:

            The relationship between RIC and RISE/Scottish Left Alliance

            There has been some confusion in the press concerning the relationship between RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance and the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC).

            RIC is a movement which has united people from various socialist organisations (including the SSP); members of the Greens and the SNP; individuals from various movements and people who are not in any political party. RIC played a very signifant role in the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign.

            RIC’s positive role has also been recognised by many others, inclusing the STUC, which backed the RIC-initiated Solidarity with the Greek People demonstration in Edinburgh on 15th February. RIC was asked by the STUC to co-sponsor its Anti-Austrity Rally in Glasgow on June 20th.

            RISE supports RIC as an autonomous organisation with a continued and vital role to play in Scottish radical politics. RISE members will continue to work in RIC. RISE fully supports RIC’s 5 Principles:-

            1. For a social alternative to austerity and privatization
            2. Green and environmentally sustainable
            3. A modern republic for real democracy
            4. Committed to equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability or sexuality
            5. Internationalist and opposed to war, NATO and Trident

            Although many of those involved in the creation of RISE have been involved in RIC from the outset; RIC by its very nature as wider movement took no part in the creation of RISE.

            RISE has developed out of the Scottish Left Project , which has brought several socialist organisations together (Democratic Left, ISS, RCN and SSP) as well as socialists who are not in any existing organisation. RISE had its official launch in Glasgow on August 29th and its founding democratic conference in November.

          2. JBS says:

            Doesn’t answer any of my questions. In fact, it reads like a press release.

  6. leavergirl says:

    Sorry, I am confused. Are Scottish Greens for indy?

  7. Kevin Adamson says:

    So, does this represent a change from the pre-launch hostility to left-wing SNP members to tickling them under the chin? I’m afraid I am completely unconvinced.

  8. Alt Clut says:

    I think that Jonathan has it just about right.

    What concerns me is that some pro independence people don’t seem to understand that, with all his limitations, Corbyn is the best channel that there is at present in rUK for the same rejection of neoliberalism that has enabled the SNP to enter the political ‘big time’.

    Many of us see independence as a necessary vehicle for a more equal and humane Scotland. Am I interested in an independent Scotland run by old style ‘tartan tories’ – not much if at all.

    To me Corbyn holds an outmoded view on the question of self determination of nations in post cold war Europe. Why on earth would we want to be part of a decrepit, aggressive, neoimperialist state run by an out of control, self serving minority ? None of the old, twentieth century arguments for the UK hold any more – all of us who voted YES know this with every fibre of our being.

    Corbyn should be strongly supported for not singing the National Anthem. “Long to reign over us…” – question answered in one phrase.

    We will need to be critical of Corbyn and take different positions from him on many occasions but let’s not blind ourselves with unthinking antilabourism. The movement that Corbyn is trying to cobble together, in the midst of a storm of fire from the same British establishment that is our principal opponent, is the best ally we are likely to get before our next referendum.

    It’s dead simple – don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

    1. Jim Bennett says:


    2. wee e says:

      “We will need to be critical of Corbyn and take different positions from him on many occasions but let’s not blind ourselves with unthinking antilabourism. The movement that Corbyn is trying to cobble together, in the midst of a storm of fire from the same British establishment that is our principal opponent, is the best ally we are likely to get before our next referendum”

      It isn’t anti-Labourism so much as anti-PLP-ism. The fact is that the Labour Party is that hollowed-out shell of “wet” Toryism. The Blairite entryists of the 1980s and 90s became the party even, finally, in Scotland. The last of Corbyn’s ilk was excised in Scotland in the run-up to last year’s election.
      Corbyn and his ilk are a very few survivors from a former era who have no real power base anywhere in the UK, and they face overwhelming opposition from the Labour members of every UK parliament. Nor do they have much support amongst the people who control the party at constituency level.
      And their ideas about Scotland are firmly rooted in the 1970s.

    3. Tam says:

      Good points Alt. How many voices during the Yes campaign took on the real enemy of Scotland’s people, Neo Liberal economics? Who had a strategy to end it? Debates were often very limited. We were to be tied to the B of England’s apron for several years if we won Independence, but could have borrowed money ourselves? mmmmm. So QE for the People, ie infrastructure was NOT EVEN CONSIDERED. Was Independence an end in itself? Would socialism just appear out of the mist? I dont think so. Some politicians are principled and in it for the right reasons. The few. Some are out only for themselves and will grab all they can get. these are ideologically neutral dumbos who sit and say nothing at meetings but wait watch and plan their smash and grabs. Some are, sadly, thugs. Some in the SNP are unashamed Tartan TORIES……. unworthy of trust. Many people will fear the phoenix rise of the ghost of Keir Hardie but that will take a principled and intelligent leader in Scottish labour. None yet in sight.

  9. Bill Low says:

    If Scottish Labour are to survive, then they need a strategy to so do. They need to play a much longer game. Accept the inevitability of independence and look to be ready to offer alternatives in the new society that will emerge. Where will the SNP be when independence is achieved? The one uniting factor for the party will have been realised and almost inevitably divisions will emerge between left and right. Any opposition party that has its act assembled will be in a strong position to capitalise on this. Of course the Tories will be so tarnished with their love of austerity and the flawed narrative that they will have little hope of being that party. So to Kezia my advice would be to develop a strategy for 2017 and beyond.

  10. Big Jock says:

    No disrespect to older people. But just heard the grannies brigade saying they voted no to protect themselves, on BBC. So when you get old you become selfish apparently.

    1. Ned Kay says:

      No, Jock,
      When you get old you get scared of dying in poverty!

    2. Wul says:

      As you become older you may become more fearful, particularly of big changes. Some older folks still have respect for what politicians tell them. They remember the creation of social security and the NHS which the UK gave us.
      Of course the “No” campaign knew this and was happy to strike fear into their old hearts. Despicable.
      Having said that, I remember being in the supermarket the next day and looking at some oldies and thinking unpleasant thoughts. A useful lesson in the way that bitterness can get a grip on the heart.

      1. Willliam Findlater says:

        Wait a minute you folks. I am 77 years young and have been an SNP member and YES since I can remember. That’s a long time I can assure you. In talking with lots of my peers it wasn’t the thought of pensions being lost or NHS collaboration across borders being denied it was the lack of planning for our currency that meant more to my buddies and rightly so!! Personally I just want independence knowing that things will work out, as they do for every other country in the world that goes on their own. But please recognise that some forward planning was missing for Ref 1 and I certainly hope there’s more organisation going into the next one. Just stop getting on the old folk – they want the best for the young folk too so just give them something to bank on. Right?

        1. Clive Scott says:

          Like you William I am in the minority of the 65+ demographic that voted Yes. I can understand the “have nots” succumbing to the despicable threats made about the security of their state pension but there were an awful lot of “haves” who refused to see any further than their garden gate, care not a whit for the less fortunate majority, and are content with the Britnat status quo.

          Much more ground work needed on pension and currency fundamentals before Indyref2 unless the plan is to wait until most of the current 65+ have passed away.

        2. stuart jackson says:

          yes William, I think your right about a lack of planning, I would also say you might even of got a lot of no voters if you had a independence max option, i.e. our own currency and a stronger plan for a nationalised future infrastructure, instead of compromise and compromise max. when I started to say what I would personally like for an independent Scotland there seemed to be a lot of people who had a similar opinion, but were pretty disenchanted rightly or wrongly with the white paper.

  11. Frank says:

    I generally agree with Jonathon’s criticisms of Scottish Labour, although it is problematic to claim that there is a ‘permanent layer’ of support for independence around one half of the population. You can’t solely rely on opinion polls to make this claim and the truth of the matter is that nothing in politics is ‘permanent’. Also, Corbyn needs to reach out beyond the movement; this is the problem with the far left; they talk only of the movement and often ignore the actual voters.

    Corbyn might also claw back some yes voters. I know of many trades unionists who voted yes, who re-joined Labour just to vote for Corbyn. Meanwhile, Salmond’s attacks on him as ‘infantile’ for not singing songs about feudalism will not play well to a left wing audience – and neither, as someone else pointed out earlier will Ewing’s remarks about the energy companies. Is the SNP’s social democratic paint stating to peel off?

    As for Rise, the difference between what the far left says about itself and how it performs in elections is enormous. I still think that Tommy Sheridan has a good chance of getting back in, and he is not even a part of Rise. In fact, given that Glasgow is the best area for the far left, and Sheridan is standing in Glasgow, Rise will struggle to get even one MSP elected.

  12. Bill Low says:

    No Big Jock, vested self interest exists in everyone. Just look at the young Tories and their friends. I am old and voted yes as I saw that as the future for all, but I do understand the fear of many of the other ‘oldies’ who only now in their old age have some degree of comfort and are reluctant to see it prejudiced. Blame the power of the right wing press to spread fear and despondency.

  13. bringiton says:

    As a Scottish senior,I voted yes along with many others of my generation.
    The “problem” was with middle class Scots of all generations who saw no need for change as they were doing just fine under the present constitutional arrangements.
    Corbyn is irrelevant to Scotland as the “British” Labour party try to decide what they need to do to gain votes in England in order to be in power at Westminster.
    Any Scot who thinks this will prevent future sutuations where the monarch and her cousins (Cameron and Osborne) rule Scotland is living in lala land.
    England Tory subjects,Scotland not.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      I don’t want to be picky but…
      Alex Salmond (reflecting SNP policy) is a monarchist. Jeremy Corbyn is a life long republican of such conviction that he refuses to sing the national anthem.
      Tell me, which one exactly is facilitating the monarchy’s continued rule over Scotland?

      1. bringiton says:

        Whichever view you pick,at present,we Scots have no say.
        The referendum was entirely about us Scots having the democratic right to determine our future governance…..or Not.
        Most of us,apparently,decided that democracy was not for us and we would rather depend on voters in another country making decisions on our behalf.

        1. Malc says:

          Us ‘Scots’ did not vote No.

          The people living in Scotland who were eligible to vote, voted No.

          Completely different. ‘The Scots’ did not vote No.

          1. Triffid says:

            That’s totally unacceptable racism there. People who live in Scotland are Scots. No ethnicity to it. Where your parents come from or where you were born doesn’t mean you own the country any more or less than anyone else.

  14. Big Jock says:

    Yes my dad is 74 and voted yes. He has been SNP all his life. It was more the older people’s comments that rankled. ” Well we huvnae got as much time left, if I was 18 I would have voted yes”.

    So why not vote yes for the youngsters who have to live long after you are gone.

    1. bringiton says:

      Totally agree.
      I couldn’t work out why people with a short expectancy of life would bind future generations to London rule unless they really hadn’t thought things through.
      Perhaps they did allow the English media to do the “thinking” for them.
      Life is diverse,thank goodness,so please don’t tar us all with the same brush.

    2. Bedar says:

      I’m not sure there were really many old people who thought in that way to be honest. Any older person I spoke to simply believed it was the right choice. And in all honesty, there are some pretty reasonable reasons to avoid supporting independence on economic grounds: the currency question was uncertain, the GERS figures aren’t particularly supportive of the idea we’d have more resources (that’s only been the case in four of the last 16 years), the oil price is unstable and would necessitate some kind of reserve fund, it could have a negative impact on the cost of servicing the debt, etc. That isn’t the end of the debate and I voted Yes because I thought on balance we could achieve something more than the raw economics would suggest in the long-term, but these are real issues and I respect people that weighed up the facts and came to a different opinion to my own. It’s possible for two informed people to disagree.

  15. Big Jock says:

    Oh I know that. It was the oldies in my work who angered me. What about my pension and these youngsters know nothing brigade. Ironically the young folk knew everything about the economy and these old yins worried what Gordon was saying. Like I said there are exceptions like yourself and my good dad

    1. Wul says:

      Big Gordo flew in and gave the fearties permission to vote “No”, even as they knew in their hearts it was an act of craven self-interest and fear.
      Still, what is a democracy if not everyone’s right to vote in what they see as their own interest?

  16. Drew Campbell says:

    I was intrigued by the line “build a movement around a party” when referring to a Corbyn-led Labour Party. So far I haven’t heard him mention the key action that could actually build a movement for real and permanent change: reform of the voting system. FPTP evolved grudgingly into the world of universal suffrage then in the 80s took control again as opposition to neoliberalism splintered everything but the monolithic Conervative Party.

    It won’t solve everything – not by any stretch of the imagination – but a fairer, more proportionally representative voting system for Westminster could be an irreversible change for the better. People would get behind it, especially if it was something like the d’Hondt system employed by the Scottish Parliament as there is already a working example that also retains the constituency link. Add in abolition of the House of Lords too and people would rally to it.

    Worth a try, otherwise he’ll be characterised as a Stalinist. Much more difficult when arguing for genuine democratic reform of a clapped-out, corrupted system

  17. George Mckenzie says:

    I am old,my wife is old and we both voted yes. An opportunity to allow our grandchildren a decent chance in life.
    Every pensioner should have been given a copy of “Wing Wee Blue Book” would have explained most aspects that concerned them
    With Indy2 let us hope an update of the book be published and widely distributed

  18. Gordon Adam says:

    There’s an awful lot that is potentially contestable in this kind of narrative. We speak a lot about there being a “permanent” base of support for independence, but I don’t see much evidence for why current opinions are “permanent” or deep rooted. People are asked a Yes/No question in an opinion poll – the fact that roughly half of them say Yes says nothing about how strong that belief is, how changeable it is, or why people are backing independence in the first place.

    Personally, I voted Yes because there were two options and I thought it was the best of the two – not because I’m irrevocably wedded to the concept to the exclusion of any other issue. It’s nowhere near as important an issue to me as the refugee crisis, austerity, the crisis in the Middle East, the environment and several other far more significant topics. That’s true of many other people and the notion that all of our opinions come secondary to support for independence (for its own sake) is incredibly wide of the mark in my view.

    The idea that there can’t be a Corbyn-esque movement in Scotland because he doesn’t support independence is therefore making a pretty massive assumption: namely that people care about independence above other issues and will refuse to back a progressive movement that doesn’t support independence even if it’s more progressive than what the SNP are offering. In reality if you back progressive politics first and independence second (or merely as a path to a progressive government) then this supposed obstacle to backing Corbyn (or someone like him) doesn’t exist.

    I also think we have to be careful in making grand statements about Labour “betrayal” or predicting that the party is now so toxic nobody will ever vote for it again. My experience is that the nuances of party politics only apply to a small percentage of the electorate – the people who support parties like football teams and bitterly defend them against their rivals. Most people, as should be the case in a democracy, have no particular allegiance to a party, they simply back the party most able to implement the policies they support.

    I voted Yes in the referendum, but I agree with Corbyn more than the SNP when it comes to his other policies and I’m struggling to see why I should be so furious at this apparent “betrayal” by other people who have nothing to do with Corbyn that I should actively vote for a party (the SNP) I disagree with on core issues. That’s not a particularly sensible perspective to take in a democracy – to back one party to the hilt and dismiss others out of hand for emotional reasons.

    If Scottish Labour can’t deliver I’ll be the first one to criticise them (I certainly have no love of Dugdale) but militant partisanship and nationalism have nothing to do with progressive politics and it’s about time we separated those concepts. If Corbyn can deliver then I see no reason not to back him.

    1. Mungo says:

      Because the beauty of independence is that we get the government that we vote for every time for the rest of time ! If your suggesting we vote for Labour just because they have a new leader who is making the right noises now , then what happens when the Tories get back in to power ? All the good work is undone !
      We should vote SNP regardless of whether we agree 100% with their policies because they are the most likely to deliver independence . Once we have deal democracy in Scotland we can then look more closely at the various parties manifestos and vote for the one which most accurately represents our views ! But until we get independence we’re pissing against the wind !

      1. Mungo says:

        Also !! To continue my rant ! Lol ! You say there are other far more important things to you than independence ! Sorry but in my opinion Independence the key to everything else ! Without it we are nothing ! We have no international presence to let the world know how we feel about war , no power to decide how we will react to the refugee crisis ! without independence Scotland is just another European region !

  19. I Clark says:

    Generally I agree with what you have said here.

    You make the point – that seems to get lost at times in pro Indy pieces – that ‘ … militant partisanship and nationalism have nothing to do with progressive politics and it’s about time we separated those concepts.’

    The problem lies in the next sentence ‘If Corbyn can deliver then I see no reason not to back him.’ The chances of him being able to ‘deliver’ – however defined- are extremely low. As such, we cannot simply separate nationalism (of the pedominantly civic nature

  20. I Clark says:

    Sorry. I was still putting a reply together to Gordon Adam’s thoughtful post when I accidentally hit the post button.

    I will try to finish what I started.

    As such, we cannot simply separate nationalism (of the predominantly civic nature) from progressive politics. On utilitarian grounds, the best chance of progressive politics for all the people in the current UK state, seems to me, to lie in an future independent Scotland, which could act as a progressive example to the other countries.

  21. David Allan says:

    Continued support for the SNP will depend on a strong 2016 Manifesto ,if Labour or others produce a more coherent innovative manifesto demonstrating careful thought to new tax powers and how they can best be used in an Anti-Austerity / Jobs Creating Agenda votes will be won irrespective of stance on Independence.

    The SNP will require Imaginative proposals on Income tax bands possibly linked (to enable a means of compensating those on lower incomes) through perhaps new Local Income Tax or Council Tax Band Reviews .

    Attracting inward investment should become a priority , proposals for creating De-commissioning Yards to service the inevitable demand to scrap rigs etc. A definitive forward Policy on Fracking and Energy.

    The referendum Independence debate is over , I will always support the Independence movement, it’s now time to focus SNP effort on delivery for Scots through existing powers. A vague effort in a weak SNP Manifesto will backfire!

    I read recently about Hitachi creating their Rail Europe HQ /Manufacturing Plant in County Durham – 730 Jobs for the North East of England, UK Govt assistance provided by Dept of Business Innovation and Skills. Hitachi chose their preferred site from a possible 40 in the UK. I wonder how many if any the Scottish Govt pitched?

    One of the first contracts Hitachi received was from Scotrail – 70 New Commuter Trains.

    I would suggest that the Scottish Government now needs to work harder to deliver such rare opportunities . England is becoming the home of BIG manufacturing in our Better Together UK. If we can’t win these projects for Scotland then let’s be told honestly why we failed or how we were disadvantaged.

    Additionally I will be looking for a higher calibre of Candidate prepared to genuinely support their respective manifesto’s – there should be no place for compacent careerists in our new politically engaged Scotland.

  22. Peter Clive says:

    First draft of Corbyn’s remarks on Scotland in his big speech today …


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