Labouring the point of independence

Alicsammin has made an appeal for Labour voters to remember something that Better Together and the Unionist media are desperate for them to forget – the referendum in September is not an election and no one is voting for alicsammin.

Like hundreds of thousands in Scotland, I am supposedly a natural Labour voter, but over the course of my lifetime the Labour party has migrated ever further removed from its roots and is no longer recognisable to most of us. It’s a party which preaches austerity and practises privatisation. It’s a party which even voted against free school meals.

No free school meals for Scottish kids living in poverty, but subsidised champagne for the princes of the party in Westminster. The radioactive contamination of Westminster took a working class movement for social justice and mutated it into the flesh eating zombies who sit in the Lords and a Commons populated by careerists and placemen whose sole concern is persuading Tory leaning voters in Labour-Tory marginals that the party has signed up to a Conservative agenda. The working class movement for social justice remains only as a tattered and neglected shop display in premises which have long since been occupied by a pay day loan shark.

There are no Labour-Tory marginals in Scotland. But the only way the party can win a General Election is to secure the votes of those Tory leaning voters in marginal constituencies – which are overwhelmingly located in the south of England – Tory voters who are increasingly attracted to the right wing populism of Farage and his bunch of homophobic meteorologists. That’s the vote Labour has to attract, not working class voters in Scotland – or in Wales or Northern England or the impoverished inner city boroughs of London for that matter.

Labour isn’t about to reform itself. For Labour’s hierarchy, meaningful reform is whatever helps them win General Elections. Labour’s leadership put their own careers first, then the interests of their party, then the interests of Westminster. The people of Scotland rank far below the need to tackle UKIP, a party with zero representation in Scotland. Compare and contrast the coverage in the UK media of the rise of UKIP with their coverage of the independence debate. It’s obvious which they regard as more important. Even the most momentous democratic decision in Scottish history is considered less important than the antics of swivel eyed loons who blame flooding on gay marriage.

Labour won’t address the concerns of its traditional voters, so it’s up to Labour’s traditional voters to force it to change. In politics, as in life, you can’t sit back complaining about the jobby that’s been deposited on your carpet. A pile of jobbies doesn’t clean itself up. It will sit there steaming away until you clean it up yourself, and the longer you leave it the more it stains. With their obsessional hatred of alicsammin, Labour in Scotland have turned into a dirty protest, content to fling jobbies like chattering monkeys in red rosettes, cheering when Tories talk Scotland down, and standing on the same platform as bosses, barons and bankers to deny Scotland her assets and potential.

By bringing about a change in the electoral dynamic, a reform of the voting system for Westminster elections might have brought back to a Labour party that’s worth the name, but electoral reform has been off the agenda since the failure of the AV referendum. That leaves Labour voters in Scotland with just one way of creating the radical change to electoral dynamics that can bring about reform of the Labour party – voting for independence.

Independence shatters Labour’s Westminster shackles. It makes Labour in Scotland independent too. That doesn’t mean that the party will instantly transform into the force for social democracy and progressive politics that many in Scotland long for, but it breaks the stranglehold of Westminster and opens up new opportunities for what will become a Scottish Labour party – a real Scottish Labour party, not a marketing brand for a Westminster bandwagon.

For too long Labour has called itself the people’s party, and thought that this meant it could tell the people what to do. Labour will only be the people’s party when the people take charge of their own destiny, and with it the destiny of Labour. So let’s show them what the people can do – we can grasp Labour by the scruff of the neck and force it, kicking and screaming, into change. We are the people, not the Labour leadership.

Vote yes, and we might just get a Labour party that’s worthy of the name. That’s worth a yes vote all by itself.


0 thoughts on “Labouring the point of independence

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen the leader of any party put self interest to one side electorally in favour of social and governmental change in my lifetime. Quite an offer from both Mr Sammin and Nicola Sturgeon. ๐Ÿ™‚

    This issue is and always has been bigger than party politics, party personalities. Its where people get the chance to decide where and how they are governed. Its where the people get the chance to lay down the very rules of their governance. The offer of a full cross party negotiation team is quite an olive branch. Followed in the first year of an independent Scotland with a truly Scottish general election.

    If there’s any lingering doubt beyond that for those who still quite irrationally dislike Mr Salmond for whatever reason, something else to consider. Mr Salmond is what, almost sixty? Does anyone seriously think that a vote for self government is a vote for Alex Salmond’s career? In a few short years he’ll be aiming for that bus pass himsel’. ๐Ÿ˜€

    To repeat: This is not about Alex Salmond and with all respect to the man (because I do quite like the fella), this one is all about us, not the politicians. This one is where we tell the politicians of every stripe, this is how we want to be governed.

    We get one shot at this in our lifetime and on September 18th for possibly only one day, the Scottish electorate will have the full powers of independence. We will have the choice of retaining those powers or giving them away. And yes I do mean WE. In Scotland our parliament’s sovereignty, its power would be derived from the people, not the crown. Our parliament, our government, our powers. We get the governments we vote for following the policy choices we mandate.

    The politicians sit this one out. This is a people’s referendum.

  2. Can I say that I echo much of what you and Macart have said, this is the first time the People of Scotland, and I put it in capitals for good reason, have ever been given the chance to say whether they approve of choices made before democracy had a name. I would much prefer if there had been less demonisation of Alex Salmond, but then you do know when your enemy turns on you, then you’re winning.
    Labour are a disgrace, but then they had more or less a one party state for too long among people in parts of Scotland that they took for granted.
    In my family I was the rabid nationalist, the one nobody could understand. Dad was pro Labour for many years till one day he voted Liberal in the late sixties. Mum was a typical ( sorry for this) woman, took very little interest in Politics and my Gran would often despair. She on the other hand came from the generation of women who well remembered what it took for women to get the vote and was my inspiration, but I ramble on.
    I for one will only ever trust Labour if they are destroyed and have to be remade, and that is the only way for them.

    • Parties are born from need, to give a voice to those who don’t have any. Labour’s voice changed in order to appeal to those who already had one and somewhere along the way the change became permanent both in ethics and mindset. The pursuit of party politics, careerism and power became the be all and end all. The problem was that change left those behind who originally needed that representation in the first place.

      Well there is still a need for a Labour voice IMO but one that truly reflects the socialist left, working class roots of the poor and the disenfranchised. The type of people who gave birth to the original Labour movement are still there and a party can grow from that need again. This time though they won’t be fighting to change a self perpetuating elitist state machine or system already in place, but helping to create a fairer, better system of our own.

      First thing’s first though. They need to clean house and lose the pretendy careerist champagne socialists, the cooncil gangsters and the nouveau lords and barons. Put people in the mix who truly are there to serve the public’s need. IMO Scotland not only needs to be independent, but will need an independent and reborn Labour party.

      • I do agree, I just need to see it happen, I think the founding fathers would be very unhappy that this is what happened to the party that they set up to counter worst excesses at the time. If there was a need for a Party which spoke in the voice of the poor it is needed now, and where are they, stuffing their pockets.

        • The 2011 election was a slap in the face moment for the current Labour team. I think independence will provide the catalyst for root and branch change, but the Labour voter has to want that change to happen. Nobody can fix their party but them.

      • Couldn’t agree more.
        I think,if nothing else,party funding will force a reallignment of politics in Scotland.
        I want to see something in our constitution which prevents the sort of corporate dominance evident in Anglo/American political elections and elected MPs ending up on the boards of companies involved in “lobbying activities” after their tenure in public service comes to an end.
        We want a corruption free Holyrood as far as we can possibly make it.

        • Spot on.

          That’s the very point I meant above about changing how our governance works.

          A constitution whereby not just us, but our public servants are given rights and RESPONSIBILITIES. Limits to their powers and a code of conduct in their governance.

        • The problem with Socialism is it’s been a complete disaster wherever it’s been tried and what normally happens is everyone ends up worse off. On the basis that Scottish people were over represented in some previous uk governments without necessarily wanting change it seems unlikely that there will be significant change now once the evil English have been cast off. I have seen plenty of posts from pro business types who are looking forward to getting their hands on Scotland’s wealth. I wonder if they’ll be voting labour once the nationalists disappear after independence.

          • there is absolutely NO idea of “the evil English” in our independence debate. It is an absurd smear to suggest it. I speak as a Scot with an English mother, I really would have noticed.
            I think we are used to a higher standard of analysis than yours, “swansea blue”.

  3. Totally agree WGD. i was one of those idiots who was ecstatic when Labour won the 1997 general election – a huge landslide majority, They can do anything! They can renationalise British Rail, British Telecoms and fund education and health again. They can rebuild industry and reign in the City!
    I think it was during the 2003 election campaign when the penny finally dropped. i was in the car listening to Tony Blair explain to a woman in a radio phone-in why it wouldn’t be a good idea to use taxpayers’ money to renationalise the railways. This was at a time when taxpayers were subsidising the railways, at enormous cost, as we still are, for the shareholders to pocket the profits. Alistair Darling was Transport Minister. He could have allowed the franchises to run out then reclaim the stock for next to nothing. But instead, he announce a “Review”, which kicked the decision into the long grass until the franchises were renewed. No idea what the result of the review was, but I’m no longer a Labour voter, at least until there is a credible left wing party worth voting for. Unless we have Independence most of us in Scotland are disenfranchised. (What’s new!)

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  5. Another excellent article and I agree with Hektorsmum, Macart and Capella.

    The ‘national’ media obsession with UKIP over the far more important Independence debate
    staggers me, however it does not surprise me. In terms of the ‘national’ media Scotland is
    merely something to laugh at and ignore. That the very Union they so adore may be on the verge of being extinguished seems not to concern them; such is their disdain for us and their sheer self-importance.

    I so wish that on the 19th September the self-serving, arrogant Westminster politicians and the London-centric media wake up to the (in their eyes) impossible; a Yes vote.

    It will be like a champagne drunk wakening from the mother of all benders to find that because they have ignored all the warnings their electricity has been cut off and the allowance from mummy and daddy has been cancelled. They cannot say they haven’t been warned, but their refusal to take on board the concerns of the people of Scotland will finally have come home to roost.

  6. I agree with all of the above except that since I was old enough to vote, I have never trusted the Labour party.

    I couldn’t put my finger on why at the time but after reading all the blogs I found out about their corruption and complete failure to address the issues they were voted in for which was never discussed in the MSM or BBC
    However there are still many voters who will vote Labour no matter what.

    I just read a comment on WoS from Harry saying – ”On Hamilton again, I did manage to spare a few minutes last Saturday to hand out some leaflets to shoppers in the town centre. One bundle I had was the Labour for Independence leaflet. I handed one to wee woman in her 50s or 60s. She said, โ€œoh itโ€™s ok, I always vote for them anywayโ€.

    The attitude of those people will never change.

  7. Again you speak for those of us who once voted Labour but gave up on them as we watched with disgust their Gadarene rush to the trough and old principles dashed.

    I had stuck with Labour, but with mounting misgivings, throughout the 80s. However, I became increasingly disillusioned during the 90s and with Blair’s advent as leader of the party, I finished with them completely. Labour, under Blair, managed their landslide victory without my help and I saw even my worst expectations of that man exceeded.

    The Labour government was only a few days in office when they announced the abandonment of student grants. You could almost hear the in-drawn breath of the collective Tory establishment at the sheer effrontery. From then on, it was as if the brakes had been taken off. Tories everywhere realized if Blair could get away with that, then all their wet dreams of assaulting the icons of the welfare state could become reality.

    However, one thing I do remember in my former life as a Labour voter, is that I did not feel any dislike of the SNP. In fact, when I moved from the central belt in the late 70s, I voted SNP simply because it was tactically necessary to keep the Tory out in the constituency where I now lived. The visceral hatred on display from the ranks of Labour today and from their supporters in the media is obviously deeply personal as they see their network of cronyism and career advancement under threat. It is repulsive to see and your withering attack on these tawdry careerists is well-deserved. I can only applaud and admire.

    • Have to say what I see is what happened in the middle ages, if you were a man who wanted to get on well you joined the church, there you learned to read and write, you rose through the ranks and got close to the seat of power. There you could make a place for yourself, become rich and that is where Labour are today. I wish to see an society where those who have talent can get on and I think that was the wish of those who formed firstly the Co operative movement and finally the Labour Party, they wanted the disenfranchised to have a voice and a means to use it. Little did they know that scum floats. Labour are a Gang, in the sense of the gangs in the US. Where they rule the roost God Help you, no dissent allowed. I know I have just watched those who should know better, put in a woman who cannot even read from a script and who admitted she had forgotten that she had voted to close one of the primary schools. The week after her election to the Scottish Parliament they were running a petition to keep the school open I will admit I did not sign, was not asked but had I been I would have had to ask if they were terminally stupid. You see they vote for them here in Fife.

  8. i’m afraid the Labour Party died with Tony Benn’s passing….

    the Scottish Labour Party in Perth showed their real colours,with a truly horrific hatred of anything SNP…..

    lets hope the “ordinary” punter on the streets puts Scotland’s future ahead of any self-interest.

  9. Even the most momentous democratic decision in Scottish history is considered less important than the antics of swivel eyed loons who blame flooding on gay marriage.
    Thanks again, for putting into words what people like me can see clearly but struggle to express.

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  11. Delighted to discover this blog, another clear voice in favour of independence. Isn’t politics in Scotland really exciting now? There are so very many people so fired up, and so positive about the potential for change in our lives and our children’s lives too.
    This is what politics should be like and we can keep it like this after independence… as long as we can keep Holyrood honest! ๐Ÿ™‚

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