Sunday, 20 September 2015

The answer is "Yes"

Back in 2014 it didn’t look like Labour could support independence for Scotland. After the recent general election I thought this question needed considered.

Most thought the answer was extremely unlikely but I don’t think it is too much of a surprise to see Labour starting to make possible moves in this direction.

Kezia Dugdale would allow indyref 'free vote'

Some recap is necessary and to think why labour did not support independence.
Simply the UK labour party believed that Scotland would always support Labour and the independence thing would just go away. It seemed that the risk of going with the Conservative party on a NO campaign would be to their benefit in the long run.

This tactical mistake, that shouldn’t have been too hard to foresee, resulted in Labour in Scotland losing in the following General Election in May 2015. This was clear to many in Scotland the day after the referendum in September 2014. However Labour in the whole of the UK also failed as many voters in the rUK feared Labour and the SNP doing a “grubby deal”. This fear, by a small but influential minority, was based on the belief that the SNP Party, clearly way ahead in the opinion polls, would use their democratic right to “interfere” with UK politics, since they had lost their chance of being independent from the UK.

It is worth considering what may have happened if Labour had supported independence. The likeliest outcome would be that independence would have been successful. Labour in Scotland would have not collapsed and the rUK would have been more than likely to have voted for a party that would have worked with a new incoming Independent Scotland.

Ah well better strategies next time.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Could Scottish Labour support Scottish independence?

By Pat Hackett
Could the unthinkable happen? Could Scottish Labour support Scottish independence?

Unlikely as this may seem this is not impossible.
Here are some reasons that may persuade you of this possibility:-
  • Many traditional Labour voters have come to realise that supporting independence is not incompatible with the progressive policies of traditional Labour.
  • Likewise these Labour voters that have supported independence realise that independence is not about narrow inward looking nationalism.
  • This is not a new idea and indeed the Scottish Labour Party was founded in 1888 when Kier Hardie stood for Election on the principles of radical reform and Home Rule (which meant Independence) for Scotland.
  • The Scottish Green Party see no contradiction about supporting independence while in full support and cooperation of other UK Green Parties.
  • Had Scottish labour supported independence, then whether a YES vote had been successful in September 2014 or not, Labour would not have crashed in Scotland in the UK general election.
  • Without the likelihood of Scottish Labour being eliminated in Scotland in the 2015 May general election, then a small swing in Labour voters to the Conservatives in the rest of the UK may not have happened. (It seemed that there were some South of the border that feared Scottish politicians in favour of independence, who would prefer to work with Labour in the rUK, would have too much influence in UK matters).
  • While Scotland does not have independence it seems likely that politicians favouring independence will dominate Scottish politics for decades to come. There will therefore be a percentage of voters in the rUK who will mistrust the Labour Party that will only disappear when independence is achieved.
  • It seems possible that separate Labour Parties could both succeed whereas a single UK Labour Party may continue to fail.
The Labour Party took the unfortunate position of being the main opposition to the independence movement during the referendum; while the Conservatives mainly held back allowing them to do so, waiting until after the referendum to then accuse Labour of planning “grubby” deals with the SNP after the election. The Labour Party believed that holding on to Scotland with a NO vote would ensure a future UK government since Scotland had largely voted Labour for over half a century. Ironically this backfired and they lost both North and South of the border as a result.

An outward looking Labour Party that would seek cooperation with neighbouring countries, with Europe and the rest of the world, opposing the narrow inward nationalism that is more apparent in the attitudes of the traditional UK conservative voter could be the way forward. Unlikely as it may seem the time could be right for a dramatic change on this issue at a time when they are not only considering a change in Leader but a way forward.

Scottish Labour have complained that the SNP have cut and pasted Labour Policies. (Although the SNP would argue otherwise).
Scottish Labour could address this by cutting and pasting the SNP’s policy of independence.

 A Final thought.

Most people in Scotland would welcome a more equal and fairer society, a society that takes its responsibilities on the wider global issues of the environment, a society that offers meaningful work and opportunities to its present and future generations, a society that seeks cooperation with neighbouring countries rather than seeking dominance or power via interference, and the democratic means of having more powers to achieve that. I have no problem with any political Party cutting and pasting these ideas.