Why wouldn’t Scottish Independence work for Labour and why aren’t Labour working for it?

Andrew Ben Mckay – Labour Party Member

Image © Worawit Suphamungmee

Scottish independence is a popular position on the left. When the SNP won a majority in the Scottish Parliament in May, this idea was reinforced.

I watched with little surprise as my party took a beating in May after months of failing to connect with voters up and down Scotland.

The SNP came across as a party who are genuinely working in Scotland’s interests and have become the new party of the working class. Categorising Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems as “London parties” proved to be an inspired political strategy.

The 2010 General election has surely had an affect as well. In 2010, Scotland returned 1 Conservative MP to Westminster – so the question must be asked, what mandate does David Cameron have to govern a country that overwhelmingly voted against him.

I will find it very difficult to vote against independence when the time comes. The thought of, in my lifetime, never having to live under a Tory government again is an appealing one.

A friend of mine once pointed out – when discussing Labour – that the problem with “British” parties is that, for the sake of England, they always have to appease to the right.

There is an overwhelmingly progressive majority in Scotland – the same cannot be said for England. And, while republicans like George Galloway may support a British republic, this is not a realistic goal. We have seen already that Europe, immigration, and public spending are issues that the Scots and the English disagree on.

Today, Jim Murphy has just reiterated my fear that Labour is not on the side of the Left. Calling some of us on the Left’s opposition to cuts “shallow and temporary” populism.

Labour should be asking why the poor and the working class are always left to pick up the pieces. The wrong people are paying the price for the mistakes of a very few and, by coming out with such right wing mantra, Murphy has just made independence more likely. The more Labour agree with the Westminster coalition, the more Scottish opinion will turn against them.

I will be at the Labour Party Conference in Dundee in March and I hope that someone raises the question of why we (Labour) remain on the side of bankers and Tories.

Scottish independence is something that Labour shouldn’t fear and the Scottish people losing incapacity benefits and being forced into work may thank us, if we are on the side of the progressive majority.


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