A poll out this week shows that Jeremy Corbyn is leading in the Labour leadership contest by a crushing margin. Jezza enjoys the support of 62% of Labour members according to this week’s YouGov poll, with Owen Wossisname trailing on a meagre 38% giving Jezza a lead of 24%. Jezza’s commanding lead is, by coincidence, exactly the same as the margin by which Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU, yet we’re going to be dragged out of the EU anyway if Jezza and the Tories get their way.
A polling lead of 24% counts as a crushing victory, except for viewers in Scotland. In Scotland it can be overruled if the rest of the UK doesn’t agree. In Scotland a lead of 24% in an actual ballot is a reason to respect the wishes of those who voted to leave the EU and to remember that opinion is deeply divided. The only crushing majority there’s ever been in Scottish politics was when Better Together won 55% of the vote.
Jeremy Corbyn understands the politics of Nicaragua better than he understands Scotland, and he cares more about Nicaragua too. The Tories understand the politics of the Daily Mail and they care more about the Daily Mail too. Labour in Scotland think they’d do better if they understood the politics of the Daily Mail as well, and so Kezia Dugdale has appointed that well known proponent of socialism Alan Roden, the Scottish Daily Mail’s political editor, as her new communications guy. The only way Labour manages to get elected these days is by hoovering up the second preference votes of Tories. Labour in Scotland has become the choice of Conservatives who know that their own party is unelectable and who prefer instead to vote for candidates who declaim the politics of Gramsci. Although to be fair, most Scottish Tories think that Gramsci is a contestant in the X-Factor.
Having very firmly hitched her rickety wagon to the wandering star of Owen Wossisname, Kezia was relying on a Corbyn defeat in order to maintain her equally rickety grasp on the leadership of the Scottish branch office. Owen’s starry prospects are collapsing in on themselves more comprehensively than the black hole of Gordie Broon’s reputation as an influential statesman, and Kezia’s left staring at a national party that’s led by a man she’s said publicly that she’s got no confidence in. Now Kezia is going to have to persuade the douce wee Tories of Ayrshire to support the Sandinistas of Saltcoats.
The harsh truth for Kezia and Jezza is that none of their politicking is going to matter. Neither of them is electable, and the harsh truth for Scotland is that the UK is faced with Tory governments for the foreseeable future. The so called moderate wing of Labour, you’re not allowed to call them Blairites anymore because apparently that counts as abuse, plans to spend the next few years sniping on the sidelines and doing all it can to undermine Jezza’s leadership, such as it is. Jezza might have his heart in the right place, except where Scotland is concerned, but he’s clueless as a leader and he’s going to be savaged by the Alan Rodens of the UK media. He’d be happier with Labour as a protest movement against the evils of Tory rule, but he’s pretty much ensuring that we’ll get Tory rule for decades to come.
The heirs to Blair are either going to wait for the party to be annihilated in the next Westminster General Election, or some of them are going to split off and form a new party – which will split the opposition and guarantee Labour’s annihilation at the next General Election. Admittedly those two possiblities are not mutually exclusive. Either way, Labour has as much chance of becoming the next government of the UK as James Kelly MSP has of developing something that could pass for charisma.
The Tories claim that Brexit offers the UK the opportunity to become one of the world’s great trading nations – by leaving the world’s largest trading bloc. That would be the same party that systematically destroyed the UK’s manufacturing industries. The future they have in store for us is a low wage low rights economy presided over by an authoritarian Conservative party which will be able to introduce undemocratic measures like May’s Snooper’s Charter without having to worry about being kept in check by Europe. What employment and personal rights we still enjoy will be whittled away in the name of making the UK more attractive to global corporations. Austerity will become a way of life, an ideological tool for the Tories to destroy what’s left of our public services and sacrifice them on the altar of privatisation. Our future will come with a G4S logo.
That’s what’s in store for Scotland, even though it’s a vision of the future that we have consistently rejected in every vote – including the independence referendum of 2014. Back then we were promised a forward looking internationalist UK, the security of EU membership, investment in Scotland’s renewable energy industry, and safer faster devolution. In 2015 Scotland voted overwhelmingly for SNP MPs as means to hold the Unionist parties to account and to hold them to the promises that they’ve failed to deliver, and we did the same in the Holyrood elections earlier this year.
It ought to be clear by now that as long as it remains a part of the UK, Scotland can’t protect itself from the ravages of the Tory party or a Labour party that can only get elected by aping the Tories. We’re facing a Tory Brexit and a Tory future that we’ve persistently rejected at the ballot box, unless we use our vote to do something about it. We can’t do that as long as we vote to remain a part of a system that systematically works against our interests, we can only do it by voting for Scotland to rejoin the family of nation states. Then and only then will we get governments that we vote for which work in our interests. The political case for independence has never been stronger. Let’s face a future that we determine for ourselves.
Audio version of this blog, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-31st-august-2016
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