The collapse of Andrea Leadsom’s campaign for Conservative leadership and the coronation of Theresa May as not only the new Tory leader but also the Prime Minister. On Labour’s side, 172 MP’s feel they should decide the leadership rather than the 500,000 Labour members and supporters who gave Jeremy Corbyn a clear and decisive mandate. Since being voted onto the ballot the Labour NEC have came up rules and regulations to restrict any new members or supporters from voting, pricing new supporters by having to pay £25 to vote. Now reports are unfolding that the NEC are suspending all CLP meetings to prevent any support for Jeremy to be organised. It is clear democracy is taking a back seat in Westminster.
We in Scotland are more than used to that, having continually rejected Conservative politics and their austerity ridden vision more often than not in my lifetime we have had a Conservative Government. As a simple electoral maths shows, the bulk of the UK population lies in Middle England and London and ultimately they will choose the UK government. Being a traditional Tory heartland means that Conservative Governments are usually more successful, unless Labour operate in a Tory lite, New Labour viewpoint.
The arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as leader has put an end to the dominance of Progress and the leaders of dark arts Mandleson and Campbell (although you imagine they have still been pulling the strings somewhere in this attempted coup). Yet his leadership raises questions for socialists like myself who also believe in Scottish Independence, not through the perception of a nationalistic standpoint, rather an attempt to create the optimum environment for socialism and the betterment of the lives of the many within it.
During the previous referendum, I wrote...
Why the socialists voting no in this country feel we must tie ourselves down to successive governments which do not reflect or respond to the needs and aspirations of people in Scotland is difficult to comprehend. It is clear the interests or if we are to follow the supposition that Britain is a nation, the national interests are at best skewed from the interests of Scotland. These national interests are controlled by those who control the central economic and political institutions which as proven by Westminster have no relation to common interests. Why we would want to remain as part of such an institution is baffling, particularly when change is not only a possibility under independence but a likely reality. The greatest help we can make to our comrades in the Rest of the UK is to lead by example.
If Corbyn was to overcome the leadership challenge he faces and continue to build this momentum across the country then we may very well have a socialist Labour Government in the UK by 2020. This would then remove one of the many, but one of the biggest reasons I would have to continue to support Scottish Independence.
Unfortunately for this theory, the Labour PLP coup has already put paid to this. While Corbyn and his brand of politics may not be to the presses liking or even most of his MP’s. It has shown itself to be effective. Over half a million members now belong to the Labour Party, in 4 by-elections Labour have won them all, increasing the share of the vote in all but one. Opinion polls showed Labour begin to overtake the Tories with an Ipsos Mori poll showing an 8 point swing to Labour to give them a 5 point lead the week before the EU referendum.
Since the coup, any such lead has been shattered, the Tories now have an 11 point lead, attacked by the media and his own MP’s any purposeful opposition Corbyn has had at PMQ’s has been washed away, leaving him easy pickings for rude and undignified rebuttals by both Cameron and May.
At this point in time it would be fair to point out I am not a Corbynista, or a member of Momentum. I see that Jeremy is not the perfect leader, but he is the right leader at the right time for this Labour Party. I believe that with the disaster that was Brexit, that with a marked change in the public opinion of austerity and inequality that we are beginning to see that it would have been possible, despite opposition from the Labour grandee’s (some who had 8 years and still never won an election) and the mainstream media, that the message Jeremy Corbyn spread could have been successful at the next General Election. Now thanks to the plotters, schemers and those who have for the last 22 years attempted to rip out the heart and fabric of the Labour Party. The Tories may in all likelihood been handed another General Election victory. To be clear any new leader of the Labour Party will achieve less.
My friend Alan Wylie wrote a piece just yesterday which he argues that due to the likelihood of another Tory Government in 2020 that independence is now more important forever to be achieved.
It is now obvious that the PLP has doomed the UK to a generation of Tory rule. Far from being a government in waiting. Jeremy Corbyn was always in a no-win situation – he’s had to face a torrent of abuse from fellow Labour MPs, who employed dirty tricks and black ops within the media, yet gets blamed for the ‘unelectablity’ of the Labour party. It’s near-on impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to lead Labour to success with so many knives stuck in his back.
So what does this mean for Scotland? Short answer – a lot. The longer answer is that the implosion of the Labour party will have a fundamental effect on how Westminster politics will be in Scotland. Without a functioning Labour party at Westminster then Scotland is doomed to a generation of Tory rule, which Scotland did not vote for. We are doomed to years of right winged Tory Governments with absolutely no means to get rid of them.
While I agree with his premise, it is important that those within the Labour movement and Labour Party are not so quick to abandon ship. I said above that Corbyn is the right leader at the right time for Labour, it is also more than that. Any independence movement in Scotland must bring with it the Labour movement. That’s why it was pleasing to see Alex Rowley’s comments supporting a second referendum. An independent Scotland must acknowledge and accept that it’s closest partner, geographically and politically should and will be the rest of the UK. We must seek to have a partner in this who will promote the values of fairness, equality and social justice. Only a Labour Party can achieve this. Only a Real Labour Party that is led by the likes of Corbyn can possibly remove the establishment agenda that has promoted inequality and poverty for so long.
Furthermore, as socialists it is our duty to support and ensure a better life for our comrades in other nations. I said many times during the first referendum that my solidarity does not end at Dover and it will not end at Berwick in an Independent Scotland.
To paraphrase the great political leader Simón Bolívar; “Political gangrene cannot be cured with palliatives and Britain is totally and utterly infected with gangrene. A green mango will ripen, but a rotten mango never ripens; the seeds of a rotten mango must be saved and planted so that a new plant may grow. That is happening in Scotland today.”
It is not only in our interests that we vote yes, but also the working class of the rest of the UK. We can lead by example, proving to them and the world that it is possible to have a socially just, fair and equal society one in which responsible businesses flourish in a vibrant and diverse economy. But it is also important that within the UK currently we continue to support those who will bring a better way for our friends south of the border. That is why I support Corbyn and the Labour Party and why I will still support a yes vote for an independent Scotland.