The trouble with Corbyn

Playwright and writer Alan Bisset exclusively speaks to Phantom Power about his issues with the Corbyn phenomenon.

As UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn states his intention to target SNP seats in the next general election, acclaimed writer Alan Bissett considers the implications for Scottish independence and particularly those on the left who also support self-determination for Scotland. While Corbyn has taken Labour back to its socialist roots, Scottish Labour is a very different beast and have deliberately interpreted their modest gains and SNP reduction in seats as a rejection of independence. Alan discusses Corbyn’s election prospects as well as his contradictory positions on a progressive SNP alliance, Brexit, Trident, internationalism and British nationalism. Corbyn and his pro-independence supporters can’t have it both ways.

0 thoughts on “The trouble with Corbyn

  1. Pingback: The trouble with Corbyn | speymouth

  2. I fairly much agree with everything you are saying in this video. I felt that my SNP vote in the 2017 GE for Tommy Sheppard carried less ambiguous support for Corbyn than votes cast for my st of the Labour candidates in Scotland. I’m pleased that you believe many of the Corbyn supporting labour voters in Scotland will also vote yes for independence if/when we get another referendum. I’m not so,pleased that they don’t think or don’t care that their Labour vote at this time also potentially reduces or diminishes the chances of that referendum taking place.

    I think the real tragedy for politics in England at this very important time is that we are an almost equally divided uk over Brexit but the remainers, who my now be in the majority, are not represented by either Labour or Conservative. Labour policy on the EU is just wrong. Even if strong support for the EU was not possible in the policy making ranks, a compromise position that gave some recognition and consideration to the half of the UK that wants to remain is an opportunity missed and might be a factor in why Corbyn’s labour failed to beat the most shambolic, incompetent Tory government in history.

  3. Excellent unpicking of the confused argument put forward by certain indy supporters for voting for Corbyn.

    Alan Bisset correctly homes in on Corbyn’s own inconsistencies but also indicates the many problems of voting for Scottish Labour. I could never have voted for Labour for exactly the reasons which Alan outlines. The appalling stance of Labour under Kezia Dugdale aligning herself with the Tories in Scotland and making common cause over defeating the move for a second independence referendum would put Labour beyond the pale as far as I am concerned. I was puzzled and saddened that some independence supporters could contemplate voting for Labour at all in those circumstances.

    It is one of the consequences of still being in this union. Everything seeps across the border and perhaps some younger people responded to the cross border excitement triggered by something they had not experienced before, a left wing surge in England generating expectations of a different kind of politics. There was also the heady experience of being part of a youthful solidarity campaign. As Alan points out though, despite an incompetent Tory government running a shambolic campaign Corbyn was still not elected.

    Older hands like myself have been down this road before. There is no new dawn beckoning. I have experienced false dawns like this before and realised long ago that there was no possibility of a left-wing leader leading a government in the UK. Again perhaps the young have not lived through the constant decades of waiting for the English to vote for a seemingly left wing prospectus only to have those hopes dashed. I have long ago given up waiting.

    I also learned that as Alan states, the Labour Party is unionist without being aware of it. It is the consequence of the UK system and Scotland being the smaller polity, that politicians will see everything from the perspective of England. They can’t help it. I was also saddened to see that English supporters of Scottish independence like Billy Bragg and Owen Jones, were unable to understand why independence supporters would criticise voting for Labour in Scotland.

  4. No! That is simply not acceptable, Jeremy. I accept that you are probably the Great White Hope for the disaffected voter in England and Wales – for the sake of my English / Welsh family and friends I sincerely hope that you can oust the Tories at the first given opportunity. But if you start to meddle with Scotland’s Independence by “targeting” SNP seats then you and I must and will part company. Attend to your own business, Sir. “Nemo me impune lacessit”!

    • Corbyn seemed to offer a new direction for England if not the UK at first. But his opposition/ambivalence over both Scottish Indy and the EU makes him look very unreliable in my eyes at least. An opportunist and wheeler-dealer rather than a man of principle, in short just another BritNat politician.

      Hopefully those who I think perhaps understandably ‘lent’ their votes to Labour will have realised their mistake and learned from it.

      • I still believe that for England & Wales he is the only feasible alternative to an endless continuation of Tory misrule. For the poor, sick, disabled and otherwise vulnerable south of the Border he is a necessity. Likewise for Public Servants, nurses/doctors and so on. If I were in England at the next General Election I would certainly vote for him.

        But he is NOT a friend to Scotland and any Scot who votes Labour in this day and age is misguided in the extreme. We already have, in the SNP, a government which believes in Social Justice and does its damnedest to protect Scots from the worst effects of Tory maladministration and deliberate aggression. The SNP are, as Macart has so succinctly said, the only means to our desired end. A vote for any other party BEFORE Independence has been achieved is like taking poison ourselves and expecting our enemy to be the one who dies!

  5. Very well said, Alan Bisset.
    A vote for Labour in Scotland is a vote wasted.
    I truly believe that Scotland is a socialist country, but we’ll get nowhere waiting for the UK to sort itself out.
    Independence, and independence soon, is the only solution.
    (And the best of luck to England and Wales to sort themselves out, further down the road.)

  6. Och, Alan, I’m afraid that the Branch Office, New Labour, Billy Bragg Labour, Clause 4 Labour, Hilary Benn Bomb Syria Labour, Mandelson ‘comfortable with the filthy Rich’ Labour, Lords Flipper Darling , MacConnell, Reid, Robertson, Labour, ‘Something For Nothing’ Lamont Labour, Red Bra Sewell Labour, Keith Vaz Fridge salesman Labour, Tony Blair Hand of History Shock and Awe Labour, Clunking Fist North Briton Brown the Vow Labour, and all permutations of Labour over the past 50 years do not recognise Scotland as a nation, with a sovereign people, who have the right to determine their own fate.

    In the first week of September Kezia Willie and Ruth, in a pre planned and Red Blue and Yellow Tory Unionist conspiracy will once again attack the Bad SNP Government on everything from education to pot holes.

    They are Better Together and enthusiasticalyy share a hatred of Scotland and Self Determination.
    They are bought and paid for Anti Scottish Fifth Columnists.
    For yet another Holyrood Year, the Red Blue and Yellow Unionists will join forces and attack Scotland and Self Determination, while England burns below us.

    Dugdale will not turn her guns on Davidson, nor Lib Dems challenge Kezia’s flaccid Red Tory Labour, over the next year.
    Brian Toodle Oo The Noo Taylor and his compliant Yoon hacks will spout parish council Yoon nonsense laughingly described as analysis live on BBC, Thursday’s steaming hot bowl of Better Together mince.
    Labour in Scotland is a Right Wing Tony Blair spawn, a rag bag of chancers who deny that Scotland is an ‘independent’ nation in its own right.

    Lamont, Mara, Gray, Sarwar, Dugdale, Findlay, Rowley… Jesu !
    A shabby rag bag of tired old pros taking the money left on the bedside table by their English tricks.
    Whoring for English Labour.

    Corbyn fronts 200 + MPs who are neo liberal new conservative English Labour ‘exceptionalists’ who would close Holyrood in a blink, and install armed troops at strategic points in Scotland to suppress by any means necessary the anticipated backlash by many who,as Alan observes, see membership of any Unionist Party Up Here as membership of a Brit Nat England Uber Alles invader.

  7. You know what, I’m really starting to get paranoid. It really feels like awbody’s agin us!

    This is another excellent Phantom Power video which will hopefully make pro-independence people who voted Labour see the error of their ways. Maybe Jeremy Corbyn would have changed his tune if he had won the election, who knows? The fact remains that he didn’t win, even against the present shambolic, clueless Tories!

    So, where does that leave us? If all the party leaders, even in Scotland, are anti independence how do we achieve it? Hold a referendum without ‘permission’, organised entirely by Scots in Scotland (like the Catalonians are doing) and, if the UK Government refuse to accept the result, declare UDI?

    I wish I knew, but we just can’t allow everyone to ride roughshod over us any longer, especially supposedly fellow Scots like Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson. We KNOW that the independence movement is way beyond politics, so perhaps it’s time for the people to take control if their elected representatives can’t or won’t.

      • As I say above, I wish I knew, but if things carry on as they seem to be at the moment, I fear it’s not going to happen at all.

      • Since it’s a well-known fact that the people of Scotland did not agree to the union of the two parliaments I the first place, why do we not simply return to our original position – ie the pre 1707 Scottish independent nation? Why should we require “permission” and from whom?

        • That is a question I ask myself – and anyone else who will listen – on a regular basis. The people of Scotland were conned and sold by a group of Anglophile Aristocrats with their snouts deep in the Hanoverian trough! There never was any “Union” – to coin a phrase much used South of the Border, “We was ‘ad!” It is time – and more than time – that we made that point loud and clear.

  8. It could be easy to become depressed. Project Fear Mark Two will indeed contain the threat of closing Holyrood to which Jack has referred in his last paragraph. London will look down like a nanny and say, “You have nice things at the moment, surely you do’t want them taken from you?”

    On the other hand, and I don’t know if I am being pragmatic or cynical, Holyrood’s prime function is to be a caretaker. We manage to manage the infrastructure such as health, law, roads, transport and education. London give us some of our wealth back as pocket money so that we can keep the place clean and tidy. London really doesn’t want to do these menial tasks.

    However, many voters simply want the status quo. They vote as their parents and grandparents voted. They see that things are not good, but a change can make things better or make things worse, so they will not take the risk.

    We must remain positive and know that any change can be painful initially but will lead to much better things.

    I erected a pole with a Saltire at the front of my house yesterday. It is hanging limply in the rain this morning, but I know that it will rise again.

    • Les, I am not depressed, far from it, and I still empty the ‘cream’ at the bottom of my last pint of Guinness into the next one because I like the idea that my cup should always runneth (is that even a word?) over.

      You are correct to observe that, as long as we have a Pro Self Determination party in power, but our finances are doled out by 500 odd ‘foreign’ MPs and a WM Administration virulently opposed to Home Rule even, a SE Government for which we did not vote, who constantly reduce that portion of our own income which we are allocated because of a fictitious Austerity Drive, impoverishing Scotland while lining their own already bulging pockets, then the Red Blue and Yellow Tories are perfectly content to ‘allow us’ to manage Education, Health, Law, Tourism, and cede minor ‘non powers’ like collecting some tax, and banning air guns.
      Imagine if the Red Blue and Yellow Tories formed a Holyrood Coalition.
      Health would be privatised, PFI buildings would be back on the agenda, Teach First would be introduced by Davidson who was touting quasi privatised Free Schools from the despatch box last term, The Police and Prison services would be opened up to private sector investment, the Right To Buy would be reintroduced, and once Holyrood had been Unionised and brought back on message, WM would seriously tout ‘winning back control’ by shutting the Scots and Welsh assemblies entirely and returning all significant power to the banks of the Thames.
      Northern Ireland teeters on the brink as I type. The Good Friday agreement is lying on the floor in tatters.
      10 MPs who believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago, that the Sun orbits the Earth which God placed at the centre of the Universe, who deny adults the right to love, live together and even marry whomever they please, who deny women the right of Freedom of Choice, who openly preach sectarianism, bigotry, and tacitly support the armed suppression of their neighbours, who were bought for £200 million each to prop up a Tory Oligarchy, are digging their heels in.
      Stormont is closed for good.
      Ireland will remain staunchly partitioned.
      Davidson, Dugdale, and Rennie all campaigned for Remain, and 62% of Scots citizens voted for EU membership.
      So did Norn Irn.
      But England and Wales voted narrowly for Brexit.
      Kezia Wullie and Ruth are now Brexiteers: fuck the citizens of Scotland.
      It is only a small step from betraying your principles and the folk who elected you, on something as important and financially catastrophic as Brexit, to standing back while Westminster passes the Re-Unification Laws.
      They wouldn’t even blink.

      • Jack, I am sorry. I was not talking about you personally being depressed. I was referring to the Yes movement in general when faced with what appears to be insurmountable odds.

        As for me, a breeze off the Clyde has caused my Saltire to rise and display itself beautifully. Is there such a thing as a literal metaphor?

        • Perhaps it is a balmy warm flicker of hope running up the Valley, Les.
          The Clyde has nurtured me and my family for generations too.
          Sometime soon, we shall be free to transform the Banks of our great river once more.

        • Cheers, Saor.
          We must continue challenging the warped logic of our home grown Unionists, I feel.
          The next session of Holyrood shall surely be the last one.
          Watching Lamont, Gray, Sarwar, Carlaw, Fraser, Dugdale Davidson Rennie Scott Rumbles Cole Hamilton and Smith, slouched idly behind their lecterns, contributing the opposite of nothing to the governance of Scotland, the country of their birth, disgusts and enrages me in equal measures.
          They knowingly take the money, aware that they are pointless bench fillers.
          The prospect of getting rid of the risible and satanically wrong House Of Lords, an evil despotic throwback to the days of English Imperialism, will be a day to rejoice and savour.
          No tumbril for us, no Romanoff assassinations, no violent uprising. We just vote the Freeloaders out of existence. Democracy, that most beautiful and complete weapon of the people.

  9. Corbyn like every other English mp of England is a lying two faced git first he attacks may on brexit now he backs it says he’s ok with Scotland deciding it’s own future with indyref2 then is against it because he doesn’t want Scotland free wants trident gone yet says labour party policy is to keep it when he backed of it need I go on

  10. Alan Bisset nails the arguments perfectly.

    Basically Labour are an ideological and societal mess on a number of very crucial fronts UK wide. How and ever, specifically on Scotland and the nature of the political union? They are an utter car crash of hypocrisy. Mr Bisset is entirely correct to point out that underpinning their on again off again argument over the nature of their socialism, there is a British Nationalism in both camps north and south of the border.

    Correction: I’d say some see it and ignore it, because it suits. Others practice it, but are probably blissfully unaware of their own hypocrisy. Red flag or Union Flag, it’s still my tribe agin’ yours. The Internationale morphing into God save the queen somewhere along the line. My evidence? Two words which never should be seen together in the same sentence – Labour Lord.

    Regardless, identity or what you identify with as signified by flags, symbols, slogans. I get it. There’s one or two symbols I’m reasonably proud to be associated with myself. One being the YES movement and the other (increasingly) over the past seventeen years has been the Saltire as it has slowly, ever so slowly, began to unfurl over a new parliament and new political landscape in Scotland.

    Brightly coloured pieces of cloth have no meaning in and of themselves. They have to be given meaning through association, through actions and events, through intent.

    Labour and the UK state have little to be proud of in their actions over the past few years as Mr Bisset highlighted. You cannot unsee what you’ve seen. You cannot forget what you have experienced or heard for yourself, and the actions of the UK state and Labour toward the YES movement were appalling. That they unleashed their pet attack dog of the UK media on the YES movement was unforgiveable. Not entirely sure the spirit of international unity was proudly top of their agenda there. Spite and malicious intent on the other hand? Win at ANY cost? Probably closer to the mark.

    So, no. No I couldn’t vote for Mr Corbyn either spookily enough, however saintly and well meaning his portrayal from some quarters. I still see the faces and hear the words of successive Labour leaders in Scotland regarding the nature of their own population. Worthies like Gray, Lamont, Murphy and Dugdale to name but a few and as for the leadership of Better Together, Mr Darling and Mr McDougall and the tactics they employed to ‘win’? The least said the better.

    Something for Mr Corbyn and his support to read:-

  11. The SNP are failing us,continually whingeing a national trait? methinks,they are taking a back seat to two of the biggest idiots in town Duglugs/Roothie the moothie,very rarely do you ever see them faced down,the SNP should be able to shred them at every turn,expose them deny them but we see very little of this.The SNP should also be introducing new ideas,ideas that would/could grasp the nation,”A book of ideas” from the common weal is chok full of new initiatives,initiatives that could fire up the nation giving them something to hope/dream for,isn,t that what Corbyn did in some small way.We should begin with establishing a Scottish National Bank,they did apparently take this on board but have been very slow to implement it.How about financed re-patriation to Unionists/Orange order members,to either England or Norn Iron.

  12. “Corbyn has taken Labour back to its socialist roots” No he hasn’t, He has stood on a socialist platform but the core of Labour are neoliberal and right of centre. They are still waiting in the background to step into leadership.

  13. Politically naive and narcissistic. Annoying to listen to. How could anybody with half a brain have been even slightly tempted to vote for Labour in Scotland? He doesn’t even mention their collusion with the Tories here! For pity’s sake!

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