Scotland has already had its ‘Corbyn moment’

corbyn-arrest-rob-scottThe SNP’s initial response to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader was confused. The party didn’t know whether to love-bomb him or carpet-bomb him. On Saturday 12 September, shortly after Corbyn’s victory was announced, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “If Lab can’t quickly show that they have credible chance of winning UK election, many will conclude that [independence is the] only alternative to Tory gov.” But the next morning, her deputy Stewart Hosie told Sky News that Corbyn had “voted with the SNP more than any other Labour MP” and indicated that he would be happy to work with Corbyn in the Commons. 

In one respect, Corbyn – who arrives in Scotland today on a brief post-conference tour – poses a challenge to the SNP. For years, nationalists have traded on Labour’s rightward drift under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. During the independence referendum, the SNP even argued that separation was the only way to protect ‘real Labour values’ in Scotland. But Corbyn’s socialist credentials are stronger than those of Sturgeon. With a Bennite at Labour’s helm, Sturgeon can no longer legitimately claim that nationalism is the sole keeper of Scotland’s social democratic flame. 

Beyond that, however, Corbyn will struggle north of the border. As analysis by Craig McAngus, a Research Fellow at Stirling University, shows, there is a heavy overlap between the Scottish left, the SNP and support for independence. Drawing on data from the British Election Study, McAngus highlights two important facts. The first is that Scots on the far-left of the ideological spectrum – individuals who, under different circumstances, might find Corbyn appealing – voted SNP in large numbers at the general election in May. And the second is that the these voters are, of all groups in Scottish society, the most dissatisfied with the result of the independence referendum. 

McAngus’s research confirms something that has been apparent in Scottish politics for a while. Divisions over independence are not strictly constitutional: the fault-lines break along a left / right axis as well as a more conventional nationalist / unionist one. In other words, many Scottish socialists are now wedded to the idea of breaking-up Britain, and there is very little that Scotland’s shrinking tribe of leftwing unionists can do to change their minds.  

This is obviously bad news for Jeremy Corbyn, who needs to show that he can ‘win Scotland back’ in order to give his long-term electoral strategy an early boost. But it is much worse news for Kezia Dugdale, the new Scottish Labour leader, who, while still at the very early stages of her career, has been handed a potentially career-ending task. All the momentum is flowing in the opposite direction. Not only is Sturgeon on course to maintain her majority in 2016, she is on course to increase it. Support for independence is slowly rising. Sturgeon’s approval ratings remain sky-high. At this rate, Labour will be lucky to return 30 of its current tally of 37 MSPs

Corbyn’s internal critics will leap on Dugdale’s failure. If Jeremy can’t win among the anti-austerity Scots, how on earth is he going to win in the conservative south? But it’s worth remembering that it was Blairites, not Bennites, who presided over the decline of Scottish Labour and figures from the party’s right – notably Jim Murphy, Alistair Darling and Better Together director Blair McDougall – who bear responsibility for the miserable, self-destructive campaign Labour ran in defence of the Union last year. By contrast, Corbyn’s unionism is lukewarm. The Islington North MP barely featured in the referendum debate and – crucially – seems to acknowledge the right of the Scottish Parliament to determine Scotland’s constitutional future.

The SNP is currently trying to work-out how and when to stage a second independence referendum. Astute nationalists recognise that certain conditions will have to be met before any decision to hold another vote is made. The two overriding conditions are that support for independence registers above the 50 per cent mark for a sustained period and that Yes strategists develop a water-tight account of Scotland’s post-UK currency arrangements. Both are achievable within the next few years.

In the not so distant past, the transformation of Labour into a mass membership party of the socialist left might have made life difficult for the SNP. Not today. Now, Nicola Sturgeon can watch the rise of Corbynism from a relatively healthy distance, safe in the knowledge that it is a largely English phenomenon. Besides, Scotland has already had its ‘Corbyn moment’ – and Sturgeon was its principle beneficiary. 

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  1. Muscleguy says:

    I agree with this as a formerly tribal Labour voter in NZ, England and Scotland but also Yes (formerly DevoMax) I see no reason to go back to unionist Labour and most especially the still heavily Blairite Scottish party.

    I have found new homes to go to. Like RIC who are still here. I was at a meeting just this week of RIC. I’m watching RISE with great interest but I can always do what I have long done, give my second vote to the Greens. SLAB? not even under consideration. Sorry Jeremy but that is the new reality. Best of luck down in Englandshire and if you really want to know how to reinvigorate the non voters, RIC knows how. Whether we tell you, or whether your paternalist party has what it takes to do the necessary are open questions. But if you want to be PM you need to find those answers and change your party in a very major way.

  2. Cllr Paddy S Hogg says:

    Excellent piece. The key for the next referendum, to make the benefit of Independence robust, will be the kernel plan of a Central Scottish Bank that will guarantee a Scottish currency such as the existing Scottish pound. To tie us into the monetary control of the Bank of England for 5 yrs is not a wise plan by any variation. A new Scottish bank allows the freedom to choose QE for infrastructure and so on. So, a central Bank has to be a core plank of the new proposal for INdy2. Otherwise full Federalism could become appealing to radical Scots. Do Labour here have the sense to argue passionately for that? Mmmmm. The war going on in British politics just now that is not talked about is the war between Corporatism Vrs the People’s Democracy: which one will survive? Westminster democracy is a sham controlled by the agents of Corporate Finance, the Greedy Ultra Right wing Tories who have moved so far to the right they have normalised what verges on Neo Liberal Semi Fascism. Corbynism in England is an attempt to get democracy back from the Neo Feudal tribe who are socially engineering austerity to control and suppress the real economy to suit the gambling casino financiers. The Tories are cowards in foreign policy who cowtow to every whim of American Imperialism and their chessboard game of regime change which has ravaged the middle east to rubble in the name of Freedom and Democracy. Where absolutism exist in Saudi Arabia and the other royalist oppressive regime democracy and any form of freedom is under the iron boot of brutal oppression and blood cult ‘justice’ of the sword, akin to the blood cult madness of ISIL, the offspring of American unintended consequences. The key driver in Scotland is the fact that the SNP have sought to reflect and voice the concerns of the people at the grass roots and articulate that and seek to sort grievances and apply what the populace want. As long as that process is kept true and Corporatism is kept at bay – since it will always seek, like a cancer to take control and kill democracy – then, the dominance of the SNP will continue. A key Labour problem is that they have so many ridiculously massive egos where their grandiose self image blind them from seeing the reality: the marketing politician of the Blair era is becoming a Dodo. But still they strut and bellow their divine stupidity as political analysts unaware of their opponents Achilles heel or how to articulate the collective voice of a nation who lost trust in Westminster long ago.

    1. stephy says:

      Cllr paddy s hogg: you are right on the money!! Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂

    2. ScottieDog says:

      Agreed re currency and central bank but there is a hell of a lot of work to do in the meantime. Whether there is another indyref or not, we have to get comfortable with alternative currencies and schemes such as scot pound and the various other schemes we should start such as those existing in Germany.

      “Lender of last resort ” during indyref was framed as Scotland Being bailed out by the person on the London street rather than what it actually is – the central bank issuing reserves via keystrokes. All of that needs to be addressed.

      “How are we going to afford it?” Another common (rightly so) question.
      The answer is certainly not by being constrained by a foreign central bank very closely tied to UK treasury.
      The answer of course is by having our own sovereign currency. That’s how the UK can afford a bigger debt mountain than Greece – we are a currency issuer. They are not.

      We have to look at sectoral balances and how we are continually creating private debt bubbles.
      We need to look at MMT and we need to look at other proposals for monetary and banking reform.
      Lots to do and not that much time.

      1. Cllr Paddy S Hogg says:

        Bang on Scottie! We need to learn the lessons and correct what we got wrong, even if that was misunderstandings among our own team and not be so naive that we didnt expect the whirlwind of paranoia and fear unleashed upon our people. An Empire never lets go a complicit colony with out a war; an we were in a propaganda war with all the media weaponry aimed musket shot right down the barrel at every utterance we made. But Independence has to be more than a vision; we want a better society with a better way of doing politics and we NEED HONEST politicians with PRINCIPLE who will apply the letter of their principles. Cronyism and nepotism eventually kill every movement, so both must be erased and people must be judged on ability. But that can hopefully be sorted post-Independence.

  3. old battle says:

    Corbyn will find a very divided left in Scotland with some of his old comrades on both sides of the YES/NO binary. The LEFT in Scotland is essentially pro-Indie. The line-up in terms of numbers would be:
    The Greens, The SSP/RISE (if all SSP are now RISERS), Solidarity/ Hope Over Fear, The SWP, Socialist Party, & some ultra fringe republicans AND elements within the Labour Party as well as a fringe within the SNP. (Trots & New Left are pro-Indie)
    The LEFT pro-UNION/ Pro-NO group was dominated by the Communists (yes they are still around though there is break away Scottish CP that is pro Indie) as well as Left elements within Labour (see Scottish Left Review) as well as the TUSC group. The NO Left tend to be a non-Trot, Morning Star “tendency.”
    Corbyn will find it a challenge not to listen to folk like Fox and Cat Boyd while holding hands with the ‘Blairight’ Dugdale. But he should listen to prominent voices within the STUC who voted YES.
    His firm and long standing commitment to Irish nationalism and indeed to the wider anti-imperialist cause should prevent him from blindly singing from the British Union song-book. There are real opportunities awaiting should he speak with NS or one of her confidants.

  4. muttley79 says:

    But Corbyn’s socialist credentials are stronger than those of Sturgeon. With a Bennite at Labour’s helm, Sturgeon can no longer legitimately claim that nationalism is the sole keeper of Scotland’s social democratic flame.

    As far as I am aware Nicola Sturgeon has always been a social democrat rather than a socialist. She leads a party that is against nuclear weapons, rather than being a leader of a party which supports Trident. Corbyn has already ruled out things he campaigned on. It is fairly obvious that the PLP is leading Corbyn rather than the other way around. It is shaping up to be in The Candidate movie mould.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Agree Muttley – Corbyn is nothing if the the PLP and Labour’s NEC don’t agree with him. McTernan announced that on Corbyn’s election – ‘let’s control the NEC’.

      So as long as Blairites keep control in the PLP and NEC, which they do, then all those people who registered to vote have just wasted £3 on the hope of an anti-austerity, anti-Trident ticket.

      It’s been very evident in this week’s conference – a rejection on a Trident debate but Labour announced it’s full backing for Trident renewal through the National Policy Forum in an attempt to avoid negative headlines. McDonnell tells Labour MP’s to support Osbourne’s Fiscal Charter (more austerity) just go to prove that the Blairites are still in control.

      This is the real battle ground, and as long as Labour’s hypocrisy over what it’s leader says and what it actually puts down as policy is firmly in the public gaze then Sturgeon shouldn’t have to many sleepless nights.

    2. dunderheid says:

      Nicola Sturgeon leads a party that is against nuclear weapons in Scotland not nuclear weapons per se given that the official SNP policy is for an independent Scotland to join NATO…an alliance whose fundamental basis is nuclear retaliation. Basically the SNP are the ultimate Nimbyists….happy to profit from nuclear defence but unwilling for it to be in their back yard.

      1. Gordon Adam says:

        I tend to agree that the SNP are probably more opportunistic than ideological on left-wing issues. They support NATO membership because it’s perceived as risking the centre to oppose it. They oppose Trident for the most part because it’s in Scotland – I suspect if it were in say Essex they wouldn’t have much to say about the issue. Certainly you rarely hear them making the case for cutting other forms of defence spending, which suggests it’s not simply about the cost of Trident for Scottish taxpayers.

        Corbyn is left-wing because of his ideology, even when it means supporting policies that are problematic for his efforts to win the next election. I suspect his party will force him to compromise on that to some extent, but I don’t doubt his principles as an individual.

        1. tartanfever says:

          Gordon – (Corbyn) ‘ I don’t doubt his principles as an individual.’

          Disagree here. He’s the leader of the Labour party, he causes no fuss when any debate on Trident is removed to save any embarrassing headlines and says nothing when Trident renewal is sneeked through in an obscure paragraph in a very long policy document.

          If those are Corbyn’s ‘principles’ in action then I’d be very concerned as a Labour voter looking to him for a new direction.

          I also hear he’s just dropped plans to remove tuition fees as well as re-nationalising the energy industry.

          1. muttley79 says:

            Corbyn lied on the SNP privatising the railways and Cal Mac. Even if it was down to a briefing from one of the monkeys in Scottish Labour, he still had the chance to correct it, but unfortunately he choose to keep on lying.

      2. muttley79 says:

        Yes, the SNP is against Trident and nuclear weapons. Yes, the SNP is in favour of NATO now, but how many states are part of NATO, and how many have nuclear weapons? I await your response with considerable interest.

        1. dunderheid says:

          Firstly the fact that other countries are free riders when it comes to nuclear defence is no excuse for the UK to do the same.
          Secondly there are very valid reasons why most of the other major European countries do not have nuclear weapons (Germany for obvious historical reasons; Italy because for most of the cold war period there was a significant risk it would elect a communist government and therefore would not be allowed to go near nuclear material by the USA; Spain because until the mid-80’s it was a fascist dictatorship and economic basket case)

          1. dunderheid says:

            And as a further point which has occurred to me I think that Germany and Italy in fact have the right under NATO nuclear sharing protocols to take tactical control of US short range nuclear weapons that are still based in their countries.

      3. tartanfever says:

        dunderheid – ‘NATO…an alliance whose fundamental basis is nuclear retaliation.’

        Funny, doesn’t say that on NATO website,

        ‘POLITICAL – NATO promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and cooperation on defence and security issues to build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

        MILITARY – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – NATO’s founding treaty – or under a UN mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.’

        1. dunderheid says:

          You’re right the website of NATO doesn’t have a big banner saying:

          “DON’T NUKE US OR WE’LL NUKE YOU (WE’RE TALKING TO YOU RUSSIA..YES..YOU HEARD RIGHT)

          But given that NATO was an organisation concieved and developed as a mutual defence organisation against a nuclear armed enemy I think its pretty much a given

      4. John Page says:

        Dunderheid

        The black menaces carrying these weapons pass my window on a regular basis………I don’t want them on the Clyde. I don’t want them anywhere but as a first step I am happy to see them away from here. I am indifferent as to whether you or anyone else thinks I am a Nimby. And please don’t give me any crap about Putin…..

        John Page

        1. dunderheid says:

          I don’t just think you’re a Nimby…| also think you are a selfish coward…happy for others to make the sacrifices and difficult decisions demanded by a world in which nuclear weapons exist so long as you can sleep soundly in your nice comfortable waterfront house….

          1. John Page says:

            Dunderheid
            Tell me about those sacrifices and difficult decisions…….safe in a bunker in London while we close schools and hospitals because of the wasted £100bn and bear the risk of everyone in the West of Scotland getting vapourised……the difficult decisions are working hard at peace and diplomacy rather than making money out of bombing people as the default decision.
            Someone asked you above for a positive vision for unionism……you have just given us a nightmare out of Dr Strangelove.
            The people who make the real sacrifices are those who don’t make big bucks out of the military industrial complex but who try to heal broken lives and communities by the hard never ending work of compassionate peacemaking

            Anyway, after the last couple of days of thick fog I am enjoying beautiful views of the sunny Firth of Clyde with a resolve not to engage further with such a toxic contributor as yourself.

            John Page

  5. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Even if Corbyn defeats the Blairites and becomes PM (they are huge ifs), the certainty is the Tories will be back!

  6. bringiton says:

    British Labour toadying to English voters who are happy to keep Trident so long as the biggest stock pile of nuclear weapons in Western Europe remains in someone else’s country.

  7. J. R. Tomlin says:

    It doesn’t help Labour when Corbyn makes demonstrably ignorant and/or dishonest statements about the Scottish government and the SNP and Kezia Dugdale makes equally dishonest claims about the level of literacy amongst Scottish school children. In order to recover, Labour in Scotland needs to be an honest opposition, setting out the SNP’s REAL weaknesses, which, like any party, they do have. One has to be baffled at these ‘tactics’ which haven’t worked in the last eight years, and certainly aren’t going to suddenly start working now.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Unionists/British nationalist politicians in Scotland simply cannot get over their hatred of the SNP. That is why they constantly shout about the SNP being bad. This is no different to what they did with Salmond as well, essentially they ran a hate campaign against him during the referendum campaign, with all the dictator jibes. They either already hate Sturgeon as much as Salmond, or they will very soon, particularly if their dire, hate fuelled, and negative politics keeps on being rejected in Scotland.

      What was interesting about FMQs today is that Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson clearly co-ordinated their smears over Thomson. To ask questions in parliament while a police investigation is still on going shows the depths unionism in Scotland keeps on plunging. A Labour MSP even had a go at Sturgeon over the issue of domestic violence! This is a very serious issue, and yet they just cannot get over their hatred of the SNP.

  8. Gordon Adam says:

    “In other words, many Scottish socialists are now wedded to the idea of breaking-up Britain, and there is very little that Scotland’s shrinking tribe of leftwing unionists can do to change their minds. ”

    This might be true, but there’s insufficient evidence to say whether it is at this point. There are two separate motivations for someone on the left backing independence: because they support independence for its own sake (even if it led to a more right-wing government) or because they think independence is the best way to get the kind of left-wing society they want. If you’re in the latter camp (I would consider myself there) you might have been furious about the referendum result, but that isn’t the same thing as being permanently wedded to the concept.

    There’s also an issue here about agenda setting. Go back to the 1980s and independence was still very much something some people supported (a sizeable minority) yet the left didn’t rally around the SNP or take to the streets to campaign for it. The reason is that even if people supported it the issue wasn’t on the agenda. Even if people would have voted Yes in a theoretical referendum, they didn’t necessarily prioritise it over other issues.

    These are really the two key issues for me in terms of what happens going forward with Corbyn. The split between “independence for its own sake” and “independence to get a left-wing society” didn’t exist when there was a Labour party to the right of the SNP, but it would exist if Corbyn was threatening to win power in Westminster. Similarly, there was no doubt independence trumped all other issues during the referendum, but if it recedes from view that might alter the dynamic as well.

    I tend to believe the best tactic for Corbyn on independence is just to flat out refuse to talk about it and to focus on the left-right divide, which is where he’s much more credible than the SNP, who have largely been competing with New Labour on the centre/centre-left ground in Scotland for the last 10-15 years. That’s going to define Scottish politics for the next few years: the SNP feeling they have the upper hand with the left on independence, but Labour feeling they have the upper hand with the left on policy and the two parties trying to manipulate the agenda on to their own turf.

    As a final point, I would say that those on the left who do rigidly support independence should still welcome Corbyn. Having a challenger to the SNP on the left is a fundamentally good thing for those of us who support left-wing politics as it has the potential to drag the SNP into that territory even if they don’t lose any elections to Labour in the near future. I certainly think there’s a lot more reason for optimism now for the Scottish left than there was when we woke up on 19 September last year.

    1. muttley79 says:

      These are really the two key issues for me in terms of what happens going forward with Corbyn. The split between “independence for its own sake” and “independence to get a left-wing society” didn’t exist when there was a Labour party to the right of the SNP, but it would exist if Corbyn was threatening to win power in Westminster. Similarly, there was no doubt independence trumped all other issues during the referendum, but if it recedes from view that might alter the dynamic as well.

      You must have missed Corbyn furiously backtracking on the issues he raised during his campaign for Labour leader. He has said that SLAB will probably be going into the Holyrood election with no clear policy on Trident. Corbyn has also dropped his opposition to NATO, he is in favour of remaining in the EU (which is good imo but he has forced to do it), he and McDonnell have already watered down their anti-austerity policy, he has said Labour in not in favour of nationalising the utilities, and according to the FT today he has said it is likely that he would drop his plan to scrap tuition fees in England. Now, Corbyn has only been elected for a few weeks, but already it is clear he is completely in the pocket of the PLP, and the right wing of the British Labour Party. This is not likely to change, in fact their plan is clearly to let Corbyn destroy his own credibility with his supporters and voters, and sadly that of the wider left in the UK as well. We know that on the constitution Corbyn has no apparent interest whatsoever, and at the moment the UK Labour Party is as radical as the Tories on Scotland. I do not think Corbyn is more credible on the left than the SNP simply because he is not going to be given the chance to drive the British Labour Party in a left wing direction to any significant extent.

      1. Gordon Adam says:

        You’re perfectly entitled to think Corbyn will fail to bring his party to the left, but there’s no question that’s what he’s trying to do. It’s also pretty clear how he’s going to attempt to do it – by pushing for greater influence from the membership on policy.

        For me, and I’ll admit I’ve been supportive of Corbyn long before he was leader of the Labour party, there isn’t much question he’s substantially to the left of the SNP. The SNP were barely to the left of Miliband in May on tax/spend policies. Both parties were fiddling around the margins, talking about austerity while still prioritising a reduction in the deficit. Neither of them at any stage showed themselves willing to back real redistributive policies like substantially increasing the top rate of tax (it needs to be closer to 80%, not 50%), substantially raising corporation tax, and drastically reducing house prices and rent (which all parties claim they want to do but never actually do because they don’t want to alienate the home owning middle classes).

        That’s the ideal. We might not get there but at least Corbyn is attempting to get there. I don’t see the SNP doing that and they’ve got a united party with a majority in Holyrood, membership numbers going through the roof, and a massive polling lead (i.e. they have all the tools to do it if they choose, they simply opt not to because they’re chasing the centre ground, as most parties with 50-60% polling numbers tend to do).

        1. muttley79 says:

          Corbyn is trying to take his party to the left by abandoning much of what he based his campaign on?

    2. Chris Warwick says:

      I agree with you on the last point. I suspect that the SNP are much more of a coalition of right and left than the Scottish press are prepared to concede. Nicola Sturgeon looks quite rattled by the warm reception Jeremy Corbyn receives in Scotland, but I think she needs closer ties with a leftward heading Labour Party to shore up her social democratic outlook within the SNP itself.

  9. Ryan says:

    There is and has been far too much focus on Jeremy Corbyn lately. He is not the Prime Minister. Why isn’t there more focus on our own government here in Scotland, the SNP? Why aren’t we discussing what the SNP are doing right and wrong? Just the other day, the Common Weal announced they are publishing their second manifesto for what the Scottish Government could do over the next 5 years after the election next year after their absolutely second-to-none manifesto they published for independence last year. Why aren’t the SNP doing the same? Why aren’t they working with experts, like the Common Weal has done, and examine what could be done to make Scotland better over the next parliamentary term? The SNP have power to make a difference here in Scotland and they, as usual, sit back and do nothing and just blame London for cutting the budget etc. It doesn’t seem to be in the SNP’s interest to make things better for the people of Scotland. Instead the centralisation, government by elite managerial-style politics from the SNP goes on and is allowed to go on. Though I do acknowledge that not everyone supports the SNP. Common Space for example, which gives people a platform to publish articles to encourage debate on issues, has published articles criticising the SNP (some articles haven’t criticised). And other journalists have criticised the SNP too who are not part of the right-wing establishment.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Ryan, it is a bit difficult to make Scotland better when the Scottish Government has had its budget cut repeatedly due to the austerity agenda from Westminster. A large proportion of the block grant goes on funding a NHS free at the point of service, unless you want this privatised then you will have to decide whether this is a good thing or not. For my own part I am very happy that the NHS in Scotland is not being privatised, unlike in England. Another significant part of the block grant goes on education spending. There is very little taxation powers available to Holyrood, and this will continue even after the latest inadequate Scotland Act is introduced. I would be interested on your thoughts on why the SNP is governing so badly, given all the constraints on them.

      1. Ryan says:

        They can scrap council tax and bring in an alternative: the best alternatives would be a mixture of Land Value tax (though not as an outright replacement for council tax), a local income tax, property tax and raise taxes on people earning over a certain amount (maybe £50k) as the Scottish Government have the power to do this and should. Order a copy of the Common Weal’s book of ideas which is released on the 8th October: it explains in that what the Scottish Government can do to mitigate the impact of budget cuts. You are not correct muttley to suggest the Scottish Government are completely powerless: they are not.

        1. elaine fraser says:

          Its also about building confidence especially in those who voted No last year . Very important and empowering to have lots of ideas to discuss and implement that will improve lives over next 5yrs. I for one am not prepared to sit about waiting for external factors beyond our control to determine how we proceed The more the Scottish government can reduce levels of inequality, improve housing, fuel and food poverty , improve transport and so on the more existing Yessers will remain committed and No voters will be persuaded that we really can do better on our own.

          1. Well said Elaine, I completely agree.

      2. Ryan says:

        Oh I forgot to mention that the SG can invest in a large social security fund too.

    2. dunderheid says:

      We should perhaps also focus on the fact the SNP seem to be preventing fraud scandals from breaking until after elections and handing out money to lobbyist chums of Salmond……

      1. Ryan says:

        Remember this from Robin McAlpine in August about the SNP conference agenda? https://commonspace.scot/articles/2100/robin-mcalpine-there-s-a-lot-to-worry-about-in-the-snp-s-party-conference-agenda-here-s-why
        “There really isn’t anything you might describe as controversial on the list, and half of the conference resolutions come from MSPs and MPs rather than from branches or constituencies.”
        “Across the whole agenda, items not being discussed at all include the economy, housing, tax, investment, austerity, banking, local democracy and health.”
        “There are nine resolutions congratulating the Scottish Government for things it has already done and another 14 based on criticising its opponents. ”
        “By far the worst is a resolution on TTIP which would commit the SNP to pretty wholehearted support for TTIP so long as public services are protected.”
        “It looks a bit like an agenda you might produce if you wanted to make sure that nothing of substance was discussed, if you wanted to leave all policy decisions to the ‘suits in the office’. And if you wanted to get your party to back TTIP.”

  10. willie says:

    In truth Corbyn will do nothing to ressucitate the devastated Scottish branch of the Labour Party.

    Yes he may have left leanings that make him superficially attractive but there the matter ends.

    Corbyn is a Unionist. He is against more powers for the Scottish Parliament. These are not endearing traits to a country in which nearly 50% voted for outright independence and many more for radical change.

    If it were not so Labour would not have been wiped out the post referendum General election.

    And support for the SNP has risen again since then because people know that only the SNP can deliver change.

    Corbyn despite his superficially attractive stance is unelectable in England. Labour is unelectable in England. And they are unelectable in Scotland.

    Look at the history – the Thatcher – Major years and now the Cameron years.

    He has no chance of ever becoming prime minister and his party are now at war.

    The voters in Scotland know this and it and it is against this background that his party will wither on the vine.

    Both unionist parties in Scotland are finished and next May will put the final seal on it.

    Corbyn knows this and that’s why his sole representative in Scotland said last week that the party would under no circumstances agree to another refererence.

    But who cares what Corbyn’s sole Blimp declare. Who are rump Labour to dictate anything. They are electorally on the margins. Finished and rejected – full stop.

  11. Fiona McK says:

    Two points:

    Corbyn does not command respect or loyalty of his labour colleagues in westminster nor the Labour Party grandees, he never will. They will curtail any changes he wishes to implement, main tool for this will be resignations in his shadow cabinet. Since his election we have all seen people he appointed to senior positions criticise him and his views.

    Living in England I detect a further drift from and indifference to labour. Some of this is thought out, for others it is project fear revisited. For some time I have been watching the tv and press demonising Putin, with Corbyn and Putin, the press can manufacture a perfect storm and throw in renewal of trident into bargain.

    Much of what Corbyn says I could agree with, however he has not a chance in England, if there is any drift back to labour the main beneficiaries are the british establishment, who runs the British establishment? the tories.

  12. dunderheid says:

    Labour…Corbyn or not…are dead in Scotland and good riddance.
    They are dead because they are a Unionist party who have spent the last 20 years condemning and undermining the results of that union; but a “Nationalist” party who doesn’t like nationalism. I’m just surprised it took so long for their hypocrisy and cant to cause them to implode.
    And as a unionist I’m personally relishing the more honest debate about independence that can be held now

  13. David Sangster says:

    It has been observed that despite some noisy exuberance around Corbyn at the Labour Conference, most of the delegates from constituency parties were of the old guard. Unless the new recruits can secure the branches and then the constituencies, Corbyn will go nowhere. Here in Scotland, we do not yet know whether the surge of new SNP members has made an impact at constituency level. If, as has been supposed, many of those intrants are left-leaning, we might expect the complexion of the Party to change accordingly, as the policies of the established leadership are challenged. For example, perhaps it is time to revisit the issue of membership of NATO, something which rankles on the SNP left. It would certainly be a bell-wether policy challenge to test the present position of the Party on the left-right axis.

  14. Clydebuilt says:

    It’s due to our previous “Corbyn moment” that many Scots can see right through Jezza’s claims of Privatising Calmac and re-nationalising the railways thrown at the SNP.

  15. arthur thomson says:

    Well Dunderheid, I probably missed it in the past but that is the first time I recall you saying outright that you are a unionist. I am not but I would surely welcome an honest debate on the subject. Perhaps you could start to put some arguments forward for and against the union. During the referendum I did not pick up a single genuine argument in favour of the union I did not hear a single argument from unionists that acknowledged the potential advantages of independence. What I heard was an undemocratic assault that was designed to denigrate, humiliate and frighten people into obedience. It was a despicable display by the British State.

    There are genuine arguments in favour of a union, principally from an English perspective, which I believe are greatly outweighed by the disadvantages from a Scottish perspective. Nonetheless, I for one believe that the Scottish people should have the right to consider and make a judgement on without fear. I would be genuinely interested to hear your arguments for the union.

    Without prejudice to the above, your comment on Nimbyism is disingenuous. No-one in their right mind would agree to having nuclear weapons in their back yard. They were placed there without the approval of the Scottish people and they have to be removed – regardless of who thinks they are essential to their security. If no-one else is prepared to house them then they cannot exist – end of.

    1. dunderheid says:

      I’m sorry if my unionism was so difficult to detect…I thought it was pretty obvious…but I’m glad you are no longer uncertain. Obviously I disagree with your point of view on independence and on how the referendum was won and I would be happy to give an exhaustive list of those differences if I wasn’t at the current moment more exercised by the debate in this comment thread on Nuclear weapons and Scotland.

      So turning to your final paragraph: no-one in their right mind would want nuclear weapons in their backyard but plenty of people have agreed to it because they understand that to safeguard their security and that of their allies that is the sacrifice they have to make. Therefore among western democracies (where the people have been free to choose or not) the following have made and/or continue to make that sacrifice: UK, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Greece and above all USA from whom whether you like it or not all our ultimate nuclear security derives. So the SNP want to be part of NATO and benefit from the sacrifices of those countries but are not willing to make the same sacrifice for others…you’re right…its not Nimbyism…its something much much worse….

      1. Donnie McLean says:

        You can’t be very comfortable in your own skin? I genuinely feel sorry for you!

        Scots can only have made sacrifice if they classify themselves as british?

        May I suggest you go to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and tell them about the US sacrifice, of indiscriminate carpet bombing that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

      2. Kathleen says:

        Dunderheid said
        “no-one in their right mind would want nuclear weapons in their backyard but plenty of people have agreed to it because they understand that to safeguard their security and that of their allies that is the sacrifice they have to make. Therefore among western democracies (where the people have been free to choose or not) the following have made and/or continue to make that sacrifice: UK, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Greece and above all USA from whom whether you like it or not all our ultimate nuclear security derives.”

        A TV and print media that is honest about economics, war culture and what trident is, and that stops pretending that only a small number of people they call “the hard left” don’t want trident

        and

        a regular referendum on if we want trident or any other form of “ultimate nuclear security”

        would be the minimum before we can say a majority of people in the UK, (or anywhere else), have freely chosen this.

  16. arthur thomson says:

    Dunderheid, in the real world Scotland is not made secure by being the host for nuclear weapons, it is made a prime target. The notion that British nuclear weapons make us all safe is a state sponsored delusion.

    When only the US had nuclear weapons they used them. Since then the balance of power between the US and Russia and more recently China has made the use of nuclear weapons a non-starter. That is the context within which nuclear weapons have been a deterrent and it will continue to be until they are superseded.

    The notion that Britain could make a unilateral decision to use nuclear weapons is naive. The US would not allow it. And the notion that Nato would use nuclear weapons is equally naive. Neither the Germans nor any other sensible European countries have any interest in being fried and would rapidly disassociate themselves from Britain, France or anyone else who was threatening to use them. The Russians will not use nuclear weapons because they know what response they would get from the US and China – nothing to do with any British deterrent.

    Getting nuclear weapons out of Scotland is my primary concern. I have heard it said that the first function of government is security. The SNP is right to put the security of Scotland as a top priority and that security will be best served by removing all nuclear weapons from Scotland.

  17. Ryan says:

    Much of what Jeremy Corbyn says is just personal opinion.

  18. Angus McDonut says:

    “Scotland has already had its ‘Corbyn moment’ – and Sturgeon was its principle beneficiary.”

    Slight problem, Sturgeon isn’t a socialist.

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