Scottish Labour’s Dilemma

Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision generated a wave of commentary regarding the strategic impasse of the independence movement and Nicola Sturgeon’s future as leader of the SNP. (You can read my pessimistic take, for the New Left Review’s Sidecar blog, here.) But amidst the crashing constitutional debris, one salient political fact seems to have been overlooked: Scottish Labour is, and remains, fucked. 

Why? Because for the past few years the polarization of Scottish politics along hard Yes vs No lines has principally benefited the SNP and the Tories. Because in a country obsessed with constitutional politics the party lacks a clear constitutional identity. And because, despite the media’s fawning, Anas Sarwar is a weak leader who has learned nothing from the bruising experiences of 2014. 

This analysis might sound counter-intuitive given current polling trends. Recent surveys put Scottish Labour ahead of the Tories on both the Holyrood and Westminster ballots. The margins aren’t that small, either. In October, YouGov gave Labour a 19-point advantage over the Conservatives in Scotland, with the next UK general election scheduled for 2024. 

Not losing to the Tory Party – whose leader Douglas Ross can barely marshal majority support among his own base – should not constitute success for Scottish Labour, however. Under Sarwar, the party has styled itself, and wants to be seen, as a credible governing alternative to the SNP. But in order for that to happen, Labour needs to shift the public’s attention away from the constitution and onto prosaic domestic concerns like education and the NHS. 

Last week’s ruling has made that task harder. Between now and the next British election, all anyone is going to talk about in Scotland is ‘plebiscitary thresholds’, ‘involuntary unions’, and ‘democratic mandates.’ This dynamic gives the SNP a coherent message going into 2024: vote for us if you want independence. It gives the Tories one, too: vote for us if you don’t. Labour, on the other hand, is stuck. Sarwar is an anti-independence politician who appeals to middle-class unionists but has conspicuously failed to cleave Yes voters away from the SNP – voters he is going to need if he wants to become first minister. 

This fact was underlined by a piece of research published last month by Savanta ComRes, which showed that the recent rise in Scottish Labour’s popularity was directly dependent on the shrinking of the Tories’ vote share. The figures – which put the SNP on 46 per cent of the Westminster vote, Labour on 30 per cent, and the Tories on course for a total Caledonian wipe-out – illustrated how Labour was still “fishing in the unionist vote pool” rather than gaining from the nationalists, ComRes research director Chris Hopkins wrote. “And even with 30 per cent of the vote, without taking votes from the SNP, it’s unlikely that Labour would gain many more seats in Scotland,” Hopkins said.

Labour’s response to this problem will be to pitch a slate of constitutional reforms that, it claims, can cut between the ‘nationalist extremes’ of Sturgeon and Ross and bolster the powers of the Scottish Parliament without harming the Union. That pitch is in fact already starting to take shape. 

According to a report in the Financial Times on 22 November, Gordon Brown’s forthcoming constitutional review will recommend abolishing the House of Lords, loosening the fiscal constraints on English regions, and “beefing up the Electoral Commission.” Scotland, meanwhile, will get a little more leverage over the tax-raising powers it currently has and a consultation “into a limited extension of Holyrood’s ability to borrow money.”

And that’s it. That is Labour’s plan to federalize Britain: a barely updated version of the reforms floated in the run-up to 2014 and a rehashed pledge to scrap Westminster’s feudal upper chamber. The FT goes on to imply that Brown’s Scotland proposals were watered down in the face of criticism from Starmer’s team. “Some shadow ministers have been concerned that the report could recommend deeper autonomy for Scotland, provoking a backlash from certain English regions,” the piece said. Either way, the plans are incredibly feeble and demonstrate how little Labour has adapted to the realities of Scottish political life since 2014.

No doubt Sarwar hopes that the current period of SNP dominance is coming to an end because independence has been taken off the table in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. But waiting for Scottish nationalism to decompose of its own volition isn’t much of a strategy. Nor is there any guarantee that the end of independence will lead to the end of SNP hegemony at Holyrood. 

Instead, after 2024, the SNP can reinvent itself as a party of radical Home Rule, committed to strengthening the Scottish Parliament without (for now) explicitly breaking up the Union. You can see this transition starting to take place. Speaking outside Holyrood last week, Sturgeon said the independence movement, whose clear goal is to break up Britain, was now a “democracy movement”, which is a much vaguer and more politically malleable concept. (As Stephen Noon has argued recently, Home Rule also fits neatly into the party’s gradualist orthodoxy.) 

I happen to think, too, that Sarwar is simply not a very good politician. His counter-offer to independence – a slight tweaking of Holyrood’s tax and borrowing powers – won’t be sufficient to break the SNP’s hold over the most constitutionally progressive parts of the Scottish electorate, which, in the absence of actually exiting the UK, will expect a wholesale restructuring of the British constitution. Moreover, as a privately educated Blairite best known for working with the Tories as part of the Better Together campaign, he is almost uniquely unqualified to win over Yes voters, who are on the whole poorer and more leftwing than their unionist counterparts. It is, in addition, going to be fun watching him explain to Remainers why Scotland should never be allowed to rejoin the EU. (There is a reason why, having been hailed as the party’s saviour, Sarwar led Labour to its worst-ever result at a devolved election last year.)

Much of the press coverage since Wednesday has focused on Sturgeon’s looming exit and the apparent peaking of nationalist support. To be clear, I think the closing of various ‘legitimate’ independence pathways does alter the future of Scottish nationalism. Sturgeon won’t stick around forever and, without her, the SNP will be a less effective election-winning machine. But as the clapped-out strategists at Labour HQ know better than anyone, the process of political decay in Scotland can take decades. “I don’t aspire to second place,” Sarwar likes to say. Given the evidence above, second place is precisely where he’s going to stay.

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  1. MacGilleRuadh says:

    George Foulkes et al are getting excited about significant Labour gains from SNP – wishful thinking

  2. Maclean says:

    The UK(english) Supreme Court found the Westminster government and parliament guilty of breaching Scotlands democratic rights over many years . This also means they have broken their agreement and membership of the UN and NATO fundamental foundation which democratic is a founding principal They will also have to withdraw from a mountain of international organisation . They did give evidence and a commitment under oath to uphold all democratic rights in respect of Scotland. The breaches and abusers of these rights were , Tory, Labour and Libdems are all guilty and out and out lairs . They all do the bidding of their Westminster Colonists Masters and the abusers do like to be told their guilty , especially by their own site. Westminster and the colonists will try to spin the truth and make out it’s the other side that’s lying. Just like a Jimmy Savile excuse handbook , the Tories will seek to muddy the truth . They’re still guilty and still Abusers.

  3. James Mills says:

    Even this ”soul searching ” by a Labour adherent is conspicuously affected by tunnel vision re. Scottish Independence .
    This is simply a slightly less complacent ”If we can get rid of Sturgeon then Independence will wither ” mantra than the Unionists usually adopt – but still head-in-the-sand stuff !

    1. dave. says:

      James Mills. Actually, when we get rid of Sturgeon the Independent movement will flourish like the days when we had a true independent leader by the name of Alex Salmond ALBA, and Colette Walker ISP, plus the many true independent groups. 50% YES 2014 now still 50% under British F.M. leader Sturgeon.

      1. Alec Lomax says:

        Good auld ISP, managed to get 57 votes at an East Lothian by-election. Way to go !

  4. Alice says:

    Mr. Sarwar and his very limited troops have been fishing in the orange lodge pools which has tainted Labours image in the Catholic community……defunct Labour branches and tottering constituencies have been brought to a form of orange life despite its outright historic and current debasement of Catholic communities.

    why Mr. Sarwar do you consider it acceptable for the Catholic community to be open to such continuing disrespect by these people of the Orange Order.?

  5. Joe Middleton says:

    This article is good but the reaction blog to the Supreme Court ruling is not. Nicola Sturgeon is going nowhere until independence is achieved. Those who think she is about to quit are indulging in wishful thinking. A plebiscite election can easily lead to clear support for independence. We already achieved 50% of the vote in 2015 and the SNP is today a lot stronger. A victory of over 50% would mean the SNP could approach the UN to ratify our independence. We could and would pull out all our MPs from Westminster. In these circumstances Westminster would be forced to the negotiations table.

  6. Roland Chaplain says:

    An idea floated at the recent Climate Emergency Summit in Glasgow points to a way to reframe the whole debate around Scotland’s and Nicola Sturgeon’s future roles in relation to RuK and Ireland. The significance of the First Minister’s and Mairi McAllan’s contribution to the global level debate at COP27 around “Loss and Damage” doesn’t seem yet to have registered with many people. However, Scotland has won many friends in the nations most affected by human caused climate change. It’s blatantly obvious that Scotland should be there at COP 28 with the status of an independent nation and not just as a consultee amongst hundreds of “sub-state” bodies. That has now been recognised and I believe should become the main achievable target for campaigning in the coming year. Yes ! achievable ! BUT only if we accept that there will have to be a trade-off. That could be use of Scotland’s massive future renewables potential in the figures for accounting these islands’ progress towards “net zero” (though I note with great interest that the Cabinet Secretary, Michael Matheson, used the much more honest term “Net Positive”). Remember it’s nearly 15 years since Microsoft’s “Renewable Director, Ray Pinto, speaking at Holyrood, said that it would be renewable energy that would underpin currencies of the future. Scotland is immensely wealthy and powerful. Let’s start acting as though we believe this and call for immediate start of negotiations now. All other alternatives would appear to be lose::lose !

  7. Jim Taylor says:

    Losing Sturgeon would be no great loss. Her tackety boots must have a gaping hole at the front with all the cans she’s kicked doon the road.
    I get the impression she wants it to happen but wants to be gifted it so she vcan claim it is bers. Campaigning for it however is not on her radar.
    We’re gonna have to force independence and that needs action.
    Section 30 request first. Not given up, then MPs and MSPs resign and seek re-election to affirm the mandate. Section 30 “request” goes in again. If not forthcoming go through the constitutional pantomime unless and until it is forthcoming.
    Let’s create the constitutional crisis that will give it up.
    This would put the campaign on the front pages of all media. (No mention at all of the SC denial of democracy on biased BBC’ Kuennsberg’s prog.)
    And it would be internationally embarrassing for the banana republic we live in.

    1. Wee Walker. says:

      Republic ? What republic ?

  8. John Wood says:

    Surely Labour are now irrelevant in Scotland. They want to appeal to Unionists who don’t like the Tories but still have a loyalty to the idea of ‘Great Britain’ (which incidentally is not a geographical area, but a political concept invented by James VI / I).

    However both Tories and Labour have now made ‘Great Britain’ so repulsive to any decent person with an ounce of humanity that the idea of us being somehow ‘Better Together’ has become laughable. Starmer does nothing to oppose, in fact he now seems to be as neo-fascist as the ‘new’ Tories themselves,. In fact the only reason the Labour Party survives even in England now is because people cling to a belief it is the least worst of the two alternatives. Old Tories and old Labour alike find themselves mere powerless bystanders. As Ralph Nader said (of America) in 2000,

    “Our two parties are basically one corporate party wearing two heads and different makeup,” Nader said. “There is a difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but not that much.”

    This is increasingly obvious not just in the US, or Scotland but across ‘western democracies’ which are bought and sold for the same (mainly) US gold. It is all now fake, ‘managed’ democracy, Putin-style, where it makes no real difference who you vote for, because the same international oligarchs always stay in control.

    So neither Labour, nor the Tories, nor the LibDems now have no real vision to offer anyone, anywhere, except more of the same. Starmer’s Labour looks increasingly neofascist.

    I don’t think Labour is going anywhere with that sort of message, especially in Scotland. And trotting our Gordon Brown as their supposed saviour is just ludicrous. Who really cares what Brown says?

    The SNP has benefitted hugely from not being either Tweedledum or Tweedledee. But it has had to tread a tightrope, because as we have seen so many times, the ‘British’ state has no ethics whatsoever and will do absolutely anything to maintain as much power and control as possible – as we have seen again and again, not least in Ireland. If the ‘British’ could persuade people the SNP was a fascist party, a bunch of terrorists, racist, anti-English, a branch perhaps of the IRA, IoT would do it. Alex Salmond was falsely tried and destroyed, with the clear message to Nicola Sturgeon that if she didn’t watch out they would get her too.

    So I don’t myself believe Nicola Sturgeon is a Unionist. She is a cautious lawyer, trying to win over the soft ‘No’ voters and the traditionally Conservative businessmen by being a ‘safe pair of hands’ that wouldn’t threaten them; and while positioning herself to the left of the Unionist parties, has been very careful to try to avoid upsetting the international oligarchs who really rule the roost. She is trained as a a very very cautious lawyer. Unfortunately as far as our new international totalitarian corporate overlords are concerned there are only two possibilities: either do as you are told, or die. They don’t actually care about preserving the Union so long as (as The World Economic Forum has made clear), governments ‘Co-operate’ with their agenda. So the UK government pours more and more of our money into the pockets of the oil and gas industry while people across the UK are unable to afford to eat or live in safe, warm, dry homes. And the SNP says very little about the Claim of Right, and it sits there in Westminster taking all the patronising abuse instead of bringing its MPs home.

    The SNP’s cautious and legalistic approach is understandable. They must be aware of the 20th c history of Ireland, and the Empire as a whole. They have had to avoid being labelled a terrorist organisation, and to reassure the nervous. Remember how Sinn Fein were always referred to as ‘Sinn Fein IRA’ ?

    But we are now past that stage. Their. caution is now increasingly seen as weakness or even betrayal by independence supporters. And the party have been in government in Scotland so long now that they look like the establishment. Their radical fire is reduced to a few embers. Even bringing the Greens into government is not enough. And any criticism on policies just labels one as some sort of Unionist. It starts to look more and more like a mirror image of the sort of politics we want to be free from: if they become just another version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, distracting us all while cementing the power of the oligarchs, they will lose our support, just as the other parties have done.

    But dividing us is not going to be a sustainable strategy for Unionists, unless they can offer us a genuine reason we might be ‘Better Together’. Of course, they will no doubt try to militarise the situation, as in Northern Ireland, ostensibly to protect us from each other; but I strongly suspect that would simply unite us and others the more against them. Because they have nothing to offer anyone except destruction, violence, poverty, and (effectively) slavery. As we have seen in the 3rd World, so now it’s our turn.

    Surely the key to achieving self-determination for Scotland is to create a new vision, prospectus, manifesto, of how and why that would be be worth fighting for. That has to be a a future beyond corrupt, totalitarian ‘neoliberalism’. One that will win hearts and minds not just here, but around the world.

    This is in fact already happening. There is a tide rising across the planet that is starting to sweep away globalism and its worship of greed and absolute power. It’s a tide ‘in the affairs of men’ and women; it is also a literal tide in the form of sea level rise which no oligarch, however wealthy, can resist any more than Canute could.

    We do have the power. We just have to get on with it.

    1. margaret cooper says:

      I wish your letter was printed out and posted through every letterbox in Scotland, if only people would read it.
      It is the best article I have read since last week, and I have read many.

  9. WT says:

    Hello Jamie – this is an interesting article but there are a couple of problems with it. You say that “…SNP dominance is coming to an end because independence has been taken off the table…” but it hasn’t. Independence is alive and kicking, IF we wish it to be. We just have to start to believe in ourselves. A question we need to ask is ‘Why do we need permission from Westminster institutions?” or better, “Why do we listen to Westminster institutions?” We don’t even have a constitution we can refer to. On a whim Westminster can change the constitution. For example the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011 (the people had no say in that – it just suited the coalition) then the The Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 (fast-tracked through the House of Commons on the same day it was introduced) to circumvent the Fixed Term Parliament Act, then the Fixed Term Parliament Act repeal in 2022 because it no longer suited them.

    Why are we playing by the rules of a constitution that can be changed on a whim?

    You also say that “…the SNP can reinvent itself as a party of radical Home Rule, committed to strengthening the Scottish Parliament without (for now) explicitly breaking up the Union…” why would I vote for that? I might detest some of their other policies and prefer Labour or Green ones. If you are not for independence then you are not for me.

    1. dave. says:

      WT. You describe Sturgeon’s S.N.P. perfectly. She is works very hard to keep Scotland as a colony of Britain. Kick the can since 2014. Blacks out just how wealthy Scotland is with her British Westminster friends who control and own 97% of, our media, including the National. Invents the myth that we must beg to the British PM for permission to hold a referendum which was held last year giving Sturgeon the authorization to go ahead with independence with a huge majority at Holyrood. To top that off begs to the British (English) Supreme court for an English ruling on Scottish affairs ignoring Scottish law. Why indeed would any true independista vote for Sturgeon. Remember too that Sturgeon and Blackford along with all the Sturgeon S.N.P.s at Westminster get huge Westminster salaries plus huge non-taxable expense accounts, to include Alistair Jack along with the 3 English branch partysupervisors at Holyrood, while the rest of us get to struggle just to keep warm and often have to choose between food or heat. Yes indeed. Why would anyone vote for living conditions like those?
      Scotland get to

      1. dave. says:

        Please STRIKE ‘Scotland get to’ off the above post. Thanks a lot.

  10. JP58 says:

    This is an interesting article and speaking as a former long time Labour voter (pre 2014) there is no chance I can be tempted back to vote Labour with Sarwar as leader.
    I see ‘we have reached peak SNP’ being rehashed for the umpteenth time.
    Labour has 3 massive problems that prevent me from voting for them:
    1.So gleefully jumping into bed with and doing dirty work of Tories in 2014.
    2.Make Brexit work slogan and ignoring fact that Scotland voted 2:1 to Remain to appeal to English Brexit voters.
    3.Gleeful acceptance of Supreme Court decision as a way of hurting SNP rather than discussing how Scotland can have its democratic institutions recognised by Westminster.
    Having lived in Wales I note a big difference in attitude to Welsh Labour in approach.
    The Bain principle is still dominant that smashing SNP is more important to Labour than addressing Scottish electorate concerns.
    Lastly demographics make it highly unlikely that the independence issue is going to diminish and this will remain an issue that Labour will flounder with electorally until they change tack.

  11. Wul says:

    Who was it said; “No taxation without representation?”

    If Scotland is represented by the MPs it sends to Westminster, then MPs demanding a referendum must be respected as the legitimate voice of Scottish voters.
    If Scotland is not, in reality, represented by those MPs, and Scottish MPs are ignored, by policy, in parliament, then why are we paying taxes and duties to Westminster? Why are we even sending MPs to London?

    We’ve been told; “You don’t matter to us (you don’t even exist)” and now, “You’re on your own”.

    1. dave. says:

      Wul. Good point. We only have 2 MPs representing Scotland, both from Alba. The Sturgeon S.N.P.s Jist sat wi their heids doon, stairin at the flair as both Albas were kicked out of Westminster for demanding Scotland’s independence. Obviously in full agreement with their English MP buddies. Subsequently booed these 2 same Scottish Alba MPs, again in conjunction with the same English MPs when the two Alba MPs stood up for Scotland by suggested that Scotland’s business should be discussed at the same time as it was just as important as the Ukrainian situation. The third time (up to date that we know of) takes the cake. When these two Scottish Alba MPs stood up at Westminster to state Scotland’s rights, all Sturgeon S.N.P.s walked out hand in hand with the English MPs no doubt heading for their privileged bar for drinks and a laugh. How can anyone not understand that the British Sturgeon’s S.N.P. MPs at Westminster are there for the money (salary + non-taxable expenses) and are part of the Unionist movement to keep Scotland as a colony of England?

      1. JP58 says:

        Dave – a reality check – no MPs or MSPs have ever been voted into power representing Alba.
        We are not going to get independence without convincing a significant majority of the Scottish electorate that it is the right thing to do.
        I acknowledge you dislike FM (just like Tories, Labour & MSM do) but you will not get majority support or international support by infighting or by breaking law.
        I am disgusted with Tory government rejecting a Section 30 (& Labour’s similar attitude) but IMO we need to use last weeks SC ruling to help booster support for independence.
        Let’s be honest at the moment I am not confident Yes would win a Referendum in 2013 and if it was lost it would be an enormous setback (this is one instance where Quebec is comparable).
        Once we have a sustainable & significant Yes majority of 55%+ Westminster will fold or we look at disruptive tactics in Westminster and peaceful civil unrest along with a Holyrood organised referendum to help them make up their minds and garner international support.
        Always remember demographics are on our side and the more aggressive Westminster and Unionist side are the more this will shore up support for independence and soft No’s potentially review their position.

        1. I agree John.

          Dave – a question – when Alba get tiny, miniscule votes at elections, and their leader has routinely terrible approving ratings (worse than Boris Johnson), what do you think? What do you think is going to happen? Do you think their (un) popularity is going to get transformed? If so, how do you think this is going to happen?

          1. WT says:

            Hello Mike – we all know you don’t like Alba or Salmond, you don’t have to hide behind approval ratings- just say it. I don’t think much of Sturgeon but she has great approval ratings. So what? That crappy Salmond guy lost us a referendum but at least he got us one. After eight years the highly approved Sturgeon has lost us our nationhood, but don’t worry, the approval ratings seem to be holding up. If YOU want independence you are going to have to accept some people into the camp that for some reason you have decided not to like. From the past record of this website, I assume it is to do with the sex stuff that Mr. Salmond was cleared of in our courts. In another article post you mention the “…inspiring leader in Tommy Sheridan…” I like Tommy Sheridan, but come on – fair’s fair.

            If we are serious about gaining independence, we have to stop the petty bickering. I have voted for the SNP all the time Ms. Sturgeon has been leader, but I detest some of their policies. I actually agreed with some of Richard Leonard’s policies, but I still voted SNP. This is not going to be a battle like those you mention “…the Womens Peace Camp at Greenham Common; the Jarrow March; Occupy; the Upper Clyde work-in; the anti-Poll Tax campaigns….” This is about statehood, not a single issue. Let’s look at these examples critically: Greenham Common – little impact; Jarrow March – this is better, changed attitudes for sure but only after a world war – a world war!; Occupy – although internationally active it has actually achieved zilch, Upper Clyde work-in (my dad was there) not bad but in the long term? anti-Poll Tax campaigns (I ended up having to pay all of it years later) the real change was due to the poll tax riots in England. These are memorable events for the left, but they were not the real agents of change. Change comes through different mechanisms. But change comes with solidarity, and the use of all our talents together and sometimes that means swallowing the unpalatable.
            If YOU want independence, then the first thing you can do is forget the petty Alba and Salmond bashing – ask yourself:
            How does sniping at Alba help get us independence? I’ll be interested in the answer to that one.
            Here’s another question:
            How does the highly popular SNP and Sturgeon help get us independence? I’ll be very interested in the answer to that one.
            If we are going down the “symbolic resonance” route how about organising a great big petition? At change dot ord for example?
            If YOU really want independence, then you are going to have to realise at some point that this is going to be a dirty fight. They don’t fight clean. But it’s going to have to be decision time: unitary state or independence and studenty left wing protests don’t work. If YOU want independence then don’t protest against Westminster, they’ve done nothing wrong – they played their hand well. If YOU want independence, then perhaps it’s time to protest against the people that have lost you your statehood. How about some demonstrations against the SNP? How about looking at where the problem really lies. We could have independence if we take it, but with the likes of Ketih Brown and Ian Blackford there is not much hope. No offence but these two aren’t exactly in the mould of a Zappata or a Villa, are they?
            I want independence but if we want it we need some backbone and I’m afraid the SNP don’t have that – but they do have good approval ratings right enough.

          2. It’s nothing to do with ‘not liking’ ALBA or Salmond. It’s presenting you with the facts about their popularity and asking you how on earth these people are of benefit to the independence movement?

          3. dave. says:

            Good questions B.C. Editor. The objective is to get our independence. The short answer is to get the truth out to the 5.4 Scottish residents of just how wealthy Scotland is. Also, the truth about our Scottish wealth resources, culture and history which has been changed to English resources, culture and history since 1707. If you would be good enough to read my post to Matt on Nov 26th @ 11.15 PM under the header SUPREME RULING, I have spelled out in detail just a part of the critical information which all Scots have a right to know. I was suspended sine die by the Scotsman, Glasgow Herald and the National media, which has the same owners as the Glasgow Herald, after posting that critical information. The Sturgeon Gov’t buried the information.

            With the exception of Bella Caledonia all Scottish media is owned and controlled by the English aristocrats in London with a few having some American ownership. They and the openly admitted Britisher Sturgeon and her S.N.P. MPs are guilty of the blackout of the true wealth of Scotland. Therefore, the current ‘truth’ about Scotland’s economic situation is an English controlled lie.

            Certainly, all English media are against Alba as well as the F.M. Sturgeon. Actually, they are terrified of Alex Salmond as they know that he has the drive and commitment to deliver independence. Votes? Well, what are we voting for? The Westminster parties and F.M Sturgeon have blacked out critical information. Last year Sturgeon’s S.N.P.s were given a huge vote which was Scottish authorization to declare independence. However once again Sturgeon said it was to hold a referendum and went begging to PM Boris for English permission. We all know what happened. Many posters on Bella keep bring up the low votes which Alba and the ISP are getting. However, they don’t mention where the reporting comes from and is it true? So, I get back to: What are we voting for? We’ve seen how Sturgeon’s S.N.P. did get a huge vote and used it to delay her referendum vote for at least two years. Now her de facto promise is no go as it’s not the time as announced by her Deputy, Brown.
            Ms. Sturgeon will never resign, and her underlings don’t have the guts to kick her out.
            Since it is about our independence we must vote and promote Alba in particular and ISP. It is not about Alex Salmond or Colette Walker it is about putting a proven leader with the record to show how a leader leads. It was Alex Salmond who put the s.n.p. into power and made it the YES independence party with 50% yes. After 9 years with huge votes Sturgeon has kept the 50% but has done everything in her power to keep Scotland as an, English with a few traitor Scots, aristocratic colony. When one steps back from the crowd, they realize that all 4 parties at Holyrood are Unionists.

        2. WT says:

          I’m sorry JP58 but we will never “have a sustainable & significant Yes majority of 55%+” and Westminster will not fold. Westminster will never fold – they never have. You are still thinking in their terms. Suppose you live in England and want a socialist government, do you wait until it reaches 55%+ or do you hope that Labour is left enough that they win an election on say 39% of the vote? Nobody ever gets 55% – why set that margin? 50% + 1 single person should be enough – for why should the other 49%+ be allowed to win? Blair, very successful only won on 43.2% 40.7% 35.2% – do you think he should have waited for 55%+?
          If we think like this – the way we have been brainwashed – then we will never get independence.

          1. JP58 says:

            WT – how do you know independence support cannot reach and be sustained above 55%. The overall trend is upwards (slowly I admit) and the demographics of support indicate that it can rise further in future.
            I also think Westminster would fold with SNP MP’s being disruptive in Westminster and peaceful civil disturbances by independence supporters in England because many English voters are not tied to Scotland and this would generate more hostility to Scotland and a move to rid England of Scotland from UKIP type supporters who have enormous power if not representation in England. Or Westminster would have to fess up and state Scotland was to valuable to UK!
            As regards your comments re not needing 50% – this is frankly undemocratic. You might despair that not enough of your fellow countrymen support independence but being a believer in democracy I do not want to live in a country where the majority do not prevail on constitutional issues. You have mentioned GE support but this is mixing apples and pears. Independence will require an obvious sign of majority support if it is to be accepted as a state internationally.
            No one doubts the commitment of Alba supporters to independence cause but many of us doubt the wisdom of their tactics which often play into opposition hands and crucially turn off the undecided and young voters whose support is crucial if independence is to be achieved in Scotland.

          2. dave. says:

            Hullo JP58. Re your post to WT. The Sturgeon ‘ wait for English Aristocratic permission to allow a referendum’ which you support will never work. First Sturgeon has said out loud that she is British and Scotland will always be a part of Britain. What part of that do you not understand? Also, the Sturgeon S.N.P. is a unionist party proved by their refusal to support any truly independent party. They are 100% against Alba because of it’s aggressive tactics which are so badly needed for our independence. You seem to believe that Sturgeon’s tactics of doing absolutely nothing, in fact trying to derail the independence right that we have, is the way to go. Well yes, if you are happy living in a colony poor and begging, just sit humbly by and support Sturgeon, like the Sturgeon S.M.P.s do at Westminster. You say you want to live in a democratic country, yet you do nothing about it. ” it’s no ye canny dae that, it’s aye we can and will.” The new Scottish motto.

          3. dave. says:

            WT, Votes for what? The acceptance of Sturgeon’s S.N.P.s and supporters and posters indicate that they are continually quoting Westminster and Sturgeon’s ‘canny dae that’ cringe programme and they (the posters) don’t even realize it. These excuses using low votes for the Independent parties as a reason to keep giving huge votes to the British F.M. Sturgeon S.N.P. party is for what? That ‘what’ is a Sturgeon MYTH to keep her in power the as S.G. F.M. So posters like JP58 are actually working against Independence by voting for Sturgeon. Her record since 2014 proves it. Her refusal to work with any truely independent party proves it. Her refusal to support the 2 Alba MPs at Westminster proves it. Her begging to the Tory PMs proves it. Her begging to the British (English) Supreme Court proves it. Her statement that Scotland will always be a part of Britain proves it. Her NON-statement that she is in favour of independence proves it. Her blackout of how wealthy Scotland really is, proves it. Her refusal to declare independence proves it. ( Barbados and the other ex-empire countries declared).
            Her recognition of the other 3 English Branch parties at Holyrood proves it. Her NON-recognition of any independent Party Alba/ISP and groups prove it. Her debating of the 3 English Branch on the EBC(BBC) while ignoring Scottish independent parties is proof.
            The bottom line is: If we want to keep our tremendous wealth here for Scots join Alba or ISP or any group. If you want to stay as a poor British colony, join and vote for Sturgeon’s S.N.P. party to stay in power.
            Sturgeon is not the yes leader. We should be quoting Scottish law not Sturgeon’s English law.

      2. Alec Lomax says:

        The two Alba MPs changed parties without as much as a by your leave to their electorates.

  12. Wee Walker. says:

    Sarwar, following the lead of Starmer, hopes to Make Brexit Work.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Indeed, which is why Labour’s reforming zeal won’t extend to restoring freedom of movement or frictionless trade with our European neighbours.

  13. Graeme Purves says:

    It will be amusing to watch Stephen Noon, Professor James Mitchell and Kenny Farquharson trying to sell Gordon Brown’s cauld kail as meaningful reform and effective ‘independence within the United Kingdom’.

    Might there be room for any of them in a House of the Nations and Regions?

  14. Wul says:

    Does Sarwar believe we should have tougher “Controls on Immigration” in 2022, just like in 2015? Is he going to “Make Brexit Work”?

    I need to know before giving British-Labour-in Scotland my vote.

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