A Seat at the Table
As the general election looms – the political parties have tried to establish their messaging and define their pitch to the electorate. The SNP have created a message that they want to ‘Rid Scotland of the Tories’ and it’s both a weird and clever pitch. In doing so they want to grab on to some of the anti-Tory sentiment that is coursing through the body politic, and can message that in key Tory marginals they are the main challenger. Which they are.
But it’s a strange message though because we’ve had Tory-Free-Scotland’s before and it made little difference, aside from a passing sense of smug satisfaction. Panda Jokes aside, the point is supposed to be independence and breaking with the British state, not ‘ridding Scotland of the Tories’. It seems a kind of very low-bar from a party that’s running on empty.
‘Scottish Labour’ have instead come out with the idea that they would give ‘Scotland a seat at the table.’
The Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the electorate in Scotland has a key role to play in the outcome of the election later this year, and voters “will not be spectators”.
Criticising the view that Scottish votes do not matter, he added: “Electing Scottish Labour MPs won’t just be about playing our part in getting rid of a Tory government or helping to form a Labour one, which is of course important… it’s about making sure that Scotland has a voice at the heart of the next UK Labour government so that it delivers for Scotland.”
I mean, as we’ve laid out here, and as recent You Gov polling suggests, Scottish voting will be almost completely irrelevant as Labour cruise into power. We will be spectators.
But it’s also a funny, strangely patronising idea in itself.
I mean shouldn’t we have a seat at the table already? What is the table? Who else is around it? If we are, as is rarely suggested these days in a ‘partnership of equals’ isn’t it a bit odd to be offered a ‘seat at the table’?
Also, as Mr 240114 will no doubt point out, if the table already belongs to someone else – and is in someone else’s house – having a seat at it won’t make any bloody difference.
Those arguing for radical independence would argue anyway that what we need is not a seat at the table, but a brand new table. We need to get rid of the existing table design completely, and re-design and co-design a new one, make it from locally sourced renewable materials, and make sure there are chairs for everyone around it. And we need not just one big new table but lots of tables and lots of chairs throughout the country.