Can a supporter of Scottish independence be a member of Scottish Labour?

paul bislandPaul Bisland (@paulbisland) is a teacher from Glasgow who supports Scottish independence as a means of delivering social justice.


For a while now I have been telling my friends that I am no longer a member of the Labour Party. The truth is that whilst I have considered cutting up my card and cancelling my contributions, I have not yet completed the task, because I don’t know if it is really what I want to do.

The trouble is, I am very much in favour of an independent Scotland. I voted Yes in September, contributed to the campaign and argued passionately for it amongst friends, family and colleagues. I am still pro-independence, which is why I don’t know if I quite fit into the Labour Party, or if I am even still welcome.

I joined Labour in May 2010; this was the month that I completed all of my university studies and the month that the third consecutive Labour government was defeated. My decision was a reaction to both. I had decided I would join Labour as a way of doing something to combat the Tories and to defend the system that had supported me all the way through my formative years.

I grew up in a housing scheme in the Calton in the East End of Glasgow. Like many others, my family relied on the support of the welfare state and I only made it to university because it was free and there was a bursary there to support me through it. Policies like the Bedroom Tax sickened me and I wanted to ensure that I had an outlet for defending the minimum standard of life that our welfare state allows in times of hardship.

I never considered any other party, I always knew it would be Labour for me. They were, and are, the party of the Minimum Wage and the NHS; two crowning achievements of a party founded to protect and advance the rights of ordinary workers. This was the right place, I felt, to advance my own views on social justice and to help fight back against David Cameron’s attacks on the most vulnerable in society.

I campaigned for this in 2011 as I helped my then local MSP, Paul Martin, get re-elected, and I joined him and others in campaigning for Stephen Curran. I was out again in 2012 for the council elections, coming home from work and taking to the streets to help keep Glasgow red. I met a lot of good people whilst campaigning; Ian Gray, Margaret Curran, Willie Bain and others, all committed to social justice and the fight for real Labour values. None of them ever mentioned the Union.

The issue of independence was never discussed on the doors; it was an impossibility. The Additional Member System did not allow for a Nationalist majority, so the only way Scotland would become independent was if other parties supported it. Or so I thought. When independence did become possible I had no strong view, but as I considered it I became convinced that it was the best way possible to deliver social justice and Labour values to people in Scotland. A view that I still hold.

The word Unionist appears in the name of the Scottish Conservatives – at least they are clear about the requirement – whilst independence is the SNP’s raison d’etre. The Greens had a debate and a vote, but people could remain members regardless of their stance on the issue. But in Labour the issue was never debated. The decision was taken that the party would surround itself with the Better Together campaign and would oppose independence. Some activists and members like myself felt side-lined by this, and stopped campaigning, but I hoped that I could remain in Labour and help shape the party in an independent Scotland in the event of a Yes win.

As I consider my options now, and look at the fate of Labour in Scotland, it appears clear to me that the only way Labour can rebuild is to treat the constitution issue the way Westminster parties seem to be treating the European Union issue. By all accounts Kate Hoey looks set to be a leading figure in the No to EU campaign, whilst the PM will be on the opposite side of many in his own party by backing a Yes vote. Cameron has allowed a referendum on an issue that he does not necessarily believe in (albeit to get elected), in a way that Scottish Labour didn’t when they had the chance to let the minority SNP pass a referendum bill in the 2007 parliament.

The alternative to Labour making the Union an issue of personal principle is to become, or perhaps remain, a Unionist party. This drives 45% or more of the population away from voting Labour, which almost guarantees election defeats in the future, or at least makes them more likely. These Yes supporters are more politically involved and active than most other voters; just look at the recent voter turnout in Scotland. In 2010 63.8% voted, whilst this year it was 71.1% resulting in an extra 450,000 votes cast. The SNP got double the amount of votes that Labour did in Scotland, which would be a disaster for the party in Scotland if it was repeated in 2016, especially since Labour always do better in general elections than in Scottish Parliament elections.

A lot has been said about what Labour has to do to recover in Scotland, but there will be no recovery if Scottish politics descends into Nationalist and Unionist lines like Northern Ireland. Labour has to offer something better and something different. A powerful social justice narrative, with the freedom for members to choose their own stance on independence in order to broaden the party’s appeal and show voters that the party is aligned to, but not dependent on, the party at Westminster.

With membership figures which fall way short of what the SNP have at their disposal, Labour need active members. I myself will become active again only when I know that my actions won’t hurt the independence movement and that being a member of Labour in Scotland is not synonymous with supporting a Union that I do not and cannot support. My question is, can I still be a member of the Labour party and support Scottish independence, or is there no place in the party of social justice for those who believe that this justice is best achieved outside of the current political union?

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39 thoughts on “Can a supporter of Scottish independence be a member of Scottish Labour?

  1. You sound like you yearn for the days when Labour was Labour and not New Tory! And you’re not alone. The problem labour has is the fact that Tories are now in charge and are running the party only they don’t call themselves Tories they call themselves Blairites because they don’t want people like you put off voting for them.
    An added problem is the fact that the SNP has taken over their old stomping grounds on the left and have firmly entrenched themselves there so at best if Labour were to go back and adopt their old policies and attitudes they will split the left vote they wont hoover it up as before.
    Ironically it is Labour and the Lib Dems who have shown themselves to be the true parties of the UK and the Union as the Conservatives have now openly shown themselves to be the party of England. Something we’ve all known but have failed to consider.
    And there lies their success! While Labour has torn itself apart trying to be all things to all the constituent parts of the UK The SNP has set its stall in Scotland and the Conservatives have set their stall in England.
    The only chance Labour has now is to divide itself between the constituent parts of the UK. Form a Real Scottish Labour party run and controlled from Scotland not London! Form a real English Labour party run and controlled as usual from London and probably another separate Labour party in Wales.
    You can work and cooperate together in the manner of the Green party movement which is separate yet cohesive!
    We all agree both nationalist and non tory unionist that the Tories are bad news for all of us so it really needs a better effort from all non Tories to work in ways which ends Tories getting power. And if that means washing them out of your own party then do it!

  2. Paul clearly believes in delivering social justice and independence for Scotland. However, he fails to make a connection between the two. He needs to make that argument.

    Labour’s argument about pooling and sharing resources within the UK is strong – Paul needs to counter that. Particularly when Scotland has devolved powers over education, health, welfare and job creation.

    2 other points:
    The bedroom tax example he gives is interesting – the Scottish Government, after a lot of prompting from Labour, effectively abolished it.

    Paul says ” I only made it to university because it was free and there was a bursary there to support me through it.” Education is still free in Scotland, but the Scottish Government has halved the bursary for the poorest students. This is evidence that an independent Scotland would not always be as egalitarian as its proponents suggest.

    1. Missed the point, entirely Scott. He’s not the one who has to ‘make the argument’. You are. If you don’t find a way to accomodate ‘seperatists’ properly, you’re doomed. seems you resent even having to try.

      1. Yes, we are all doomed.

        If you and Paul feel that Scotland leaving the UK is compatible with Labour’s values, I would like to that argument. Not a wish list or a dream of Nirvana, but a plan that shows how independence will help the poorest Scots.

      2. Alban Fry, you are being unfair to Scott. He has made his position clear on this site already, that the interests of the people of Scotland are better served in the Union under a Tory government than in an independent Scotland because, and I quote his own words, “Within the UK, even with a Tory Gov, the benefits of polling (pooling) and sharing resources are significant in Scotland”.
        I’m sure that it is an honestly held point of view but it is one that will most Scots with horror at a number of levels:
        Are the Scots so incapable of running their own affairs that the Cameron and Osborne will always do a better job?
        Do politics only boil down to resources to be “pooled and shared”? Is there no scope for making better, smarter decisions or developing fairer, more imaginative strategies?
        Does the UK really have a better per capita resource base than Scotland?
        Or must we just accept that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be run by Tory governments they did not vote for or Labour governments stuck in Scott’s hopeless mindset?

        1. Sorry Scott, now I am being unfair to you, third line should read “…..even under a Tery government….”
          I won’t even comment on your absurd stuff about the bedroom tax and university tuition fees. Keep it up, it might win you the Scottish election next year!

    2. The UK doesn’t pool and share its resources! The argument that it does is just another lie which sustains the corruption that is the UK.
      The distribution of resource in the UK is badly unbalanced and disproportionate!
      Your comment on the bedroom tax is staggering! The SNP have opposed the bedroom tax since Labour introduced it! labour failed to get it abolished when they had a clear cut chance to vote it out in Westminster!
      And the comment on bursaries is another denial of the reality! Labour are for tuition fees! Not bursaries!
      This is what I mean about Blairites!

  3. Good to see that Labour Hame did not moderate this. There are 000’s of Labour voters who feel exactly the same way and Conference should allow a free vote on this issue. Many Labour people have defected to the SNP and won’t come back until Scottish Labour cut the ties to
    UK Labour and allow Members to be pro Independence.

    1. No chance Dennis. The Labour party are a unionist party. That it has. members that want to discuss independence is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how many Labour members there are. It will never happen, it is not open to discussion.
      Why do I know this? Because Labour is defined not by what it believes in any longer but instead by what it opposes. And so as long as the SNP support independence Labour will oppose it.

      1. Sorry Richard, but despite your best efforts I don’t think many of us want to go down your road of “Nationalists” and “Unionists”. At best such a division in politics is petty, at worst – well, I don’t even want to imagine its worst.

        Imagine a scenario where voters only vote based on national identity rather than policy. Is that a situation Scotland wants to be in? A country where communities start to be divided based on how they see their nationality just isn’t the future I want.

        And if you really, really, really believe Labour oppose everything the SNP put in their manifesto then you haven’t read the Labour manifesto.

        1. James. If you think scottish politics is not defined by nationalism and unionism then you are badly mistaken. Labour standing with the torys last year has in my opinion finished them. The final scene of this tragedy will be played out next may. The only hope would be to elect a leader that can deliver an independent SLP. But as i have said in other comments this will never happen.

          1. I know it’s getting that way Richard, but it doesn’t mean I can’t want to have it nipped in the bud becuase I seriously think we’re all going to be worse off when nothing else matters other than Unionism vs Nationalism. It won’t be pretty or constructive.

          2. Also an independent party isn’t something I want. It’s the wrong solution in every way.

            Scottish Labour values should be Labour values.

            Also, logistically it’s nonsense. An independent Scottish Labour party would ensure no Scottish MP could be PM again. Or chancellor. Or defence secretary. Or anything, unless the two fully independent parties enter coalition – with Scottish Labour as a smaller partner. If anything that makes Labour less electable, and weakens Scotlands voice in the UK government considerably.

          3. James, why exactly do you say that a separate ScotLab couldn’t have ministers in a UK govt?

            In Germany, the Bavarian CSU is a separate party to the CDU which operates in the other 15 Bundesländer. Yet it has ministers in the federal govt. What exactly would prevent that happening in the UK?

        2. Imagine this, imagine that. Instead of telling everybody what to imagine, why don’t you deal with the ongoing reality of a busted UK? Cuts, more cuts, caps and debt. That is the only thing that is really being shared, debt and more debt.
          A debt ratio of 90.60% to GDP and still rising towards default. because for all the cuts they still can’t get near to balancing a budget. Nobody needs to Imagine that.
          Nobody needs to imagine the bedroom tax or the tax loopholes for the rich. Nobody needs to imagine the chronic shortage of affordable rented housing while the concentration is all on kicking of boom and bust cycles in privately owned housing. It’s all in front of their face, they don’t have to imagine it.
          They don’t have to imagine an inclusion in the queen’s speech about training one side in a civil war in Ukraine that has nothing to do with us either. Not even mentioned in Harman’s reply to it because they support it. The Russians have a reason to be involved, ethnic Russians are being bombed and shelled. We don’t, other than following the American policy of getting back at Putin for his involvement in B.R.I.C.S. We do have to imagine any talk of a peace process or a ceasefire from the UK government or the West, because it’s non existent! Perhaps you should imagine why that is? While doing it, imagine of decades more of belligerent foreign policy (where it suits the US and or Israel) more waste and more debt.
          That is though the cosy little unionist future you want. Well many of us don’t. Imagine that!

  4. I was brought up steeped in labour values. I voted Labour at every turn without question. Blindly following what my parents and the education system had taught me. I repeat, without question.

    Roll on indi vote. Labour said no, so I said no. However, a few people that I know asked me why. Suddenly I realised how silly I was to make that vote without educating myself. So I wrote a list of questions and sent an email to my Labour Mp. I’m still waiting on a reply. I asked on several Labour Facebook pages and no one could answer. One replied telling me it wasn’t a GE. And some other phrases as if whoever replied thought I was of low intelligence.

    When Johann Lamont stated on tv that ” Scottish people are not genetically programmed to make political choices” the penny dropped. The advert then confirmed what Labour think of us.

    To then be witness to my mother being told by Labour that she would lose her pension if she voted yes, had steam coming out my ears.

    To see Labour resorting to dirty tricks, telling us the NHS was at risk, businesses would run away was horrific.

    To see Labour walk hand in hand with the Tories through Glasgow sealed their fate for me.

    It wasn’t that they said no and supported the BY campaign. It’s how Labour went about it. That made me start looking at their history. From Kinnocks time they began to fall apart. Losing their socialist values. They now support austerity, would privatise the NHS. One even stated Labour was not the party for the sick…. They constantly blame SNP yet a 5 year old could work out that if the whole of Scotland had voted Labour, they’d still have lost.

    1. Watch the clip with Johann Lamont – it was clearly a slip of the tongue. Basing any decision on that is foolish.

      1. She didn’t base her decision solely on that — if you read what she said, you’d know that.

    2. Maybe telling Fran that her interpretation of what Johann said or didn’t say is not really the point. Perhaps apologising to Fran for appearing to disrespect her concerns, and engaging a bit deeper on why leaping from Labour to SNP is not really the answer she seeks?
      Fran as an aside, there would have been a capital flight if Scotland had voted Yes. It always happens to any country where there is institutional or constitutional upheaval, whether democratically done or otherwise (say a Coup or a War). Normal people just don’t invest in change and upheaval.
      I’m sorry your mother was told that. I honestly never heard anyone say that, but you are not the first person to say this was claimed on the doorsteps. It was not appropriate and it shames Labour that people did that.

      1. So the Labour Party-supporter’s approach is now to avoid any measure which might cause upheaval and therefore risk capital flight????

        Seriously, Helen, do you have any idea how well that confirms the popular perception of a party which has lost touch with its funding values?

        I’m pretty sure that there were people telling Keir Hardie that home rule would cause capital flight, but I’m also sure that they weren’t socialists. For the record, there were also predictions of capital flight when devolution was introduced. It was scare-mongering then, and it’s scare-mongering now.

        1. Claire I couldn’t care less what stating that factually there would be a capital flight sounds like when I am responding to someone thinking that it was a falsehood to say there would BE a Capital flight. You can say that you don’t care about it. You can say that you would welcome it. But if you say it wouldn’t have happened then you are wrong. Personally I would rather people grounded their decisions in realism because then the dreams soar much higher.

          I’m certainly not going to speculate on who said what to Keir Hardie LOL I will say that in all the countries I’ve worked in, researched and taught about there HAS been a negative effect on their economies and a capital flight when they have undergone substantial constitutional or governance changes. (With the money going to London in a great deal of the cases, ironically!) Scottish Independence would have fallen into that category.

          Use the information or don’t, it is no loss to me.

          1. Helen, i don’t know what countries you have in mind, but capital flight does not seem to have been a factor in the Baltic States or in Slovakia when they gained independence. Nor AFAIK was it a factor in New Zealand, Australia, Canada &c as they moved through a gradual process from colony to dominion to de facto independence in the commonwealth. Nor was it a significant factor in South Africa, although that may be due in part to the ANC’s de facto dumping of the People’s Charter.

            Like a lot of the “facts” stated on this sort of issue, the reality on this point is a lot more complex and nuanced than the independence-causes-bad-stuff claims trotted out as certainties.

            Self-government offers great opportunities for development through redeployment of resources, and through tailoring of policies to the needs and strengths of the area in question. (Scotland’s economic mix and opportunities are radically different to those of the City of London for which UK economic policy id written). Those opportunities may be wasted, as in the African nations whose societies had been trashed by colonialism, or seized with rapid success as in Slovakia.

            Closer to home, the Republic of Ireland was in a mess for 50 years after independence (for a variety of reasons, including both the colonial legacy and the new state’s capture by a reactionary class), but the IMF places its 2014 GDP/capita as 17% above the UK.

            I find it curious that in the UK, some of the so-called “left” seems to argue that any decoupling from the imperial regime is a one-way ticket to economic penury. Exactly the same argument could have been made against the dismantling of the British Empire — as if former colonies such as India and the USA were some of beacons of economic failure.

            What’s this about? The under-development of peripheral regions of large states is a well-documented phenomenon, which is why national independence was one of the biggest political movements on earth in the 20th century. Will the unionist left come clean on this — do you regard the independence of Ireland and Canada and Kenya and India and New Zealand as disasters which should have been resisted by the left? Or is it only Scotland which would be so battered by the process of independence that it couldn’t use self-government as a path to economic improvement?

  5. When the Labour Movement started in Scotland, Kier Hardie and Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham supported full Home Rule.
    From there they split with Hardie essentially setting a direction for Today’s Labour Party and Graham setting a direction for Today’s SNP.
    Today’s Labour Party have forgotten that though, and it’s something they need to get back to if they truly support democracydemocracy. That said it’s easy to see where they come from -the more economically conservative members will see the union in similar terms to the Tory party due to the strength in size, while the more socialist members will look for class unity out with national borders.
    Still at least Labour aren’t as in bad shape as the Lib Dems who neither displayed a Liberal attitude, nor Democratic debate with members (or the electorate when they previously refused to support a referendum on independence)

  6. Paul you ask an important question. I have to say, if I were a Pro-Separatist minded Labour supporter I would have felt very let down by the General Election campaign. The campaign started with the statement that Yes voters could still regard Scottish Labour as their home. Meetings were held with Yes voters to assure them, and they took that in good faith and were interviewed on camera supporting this. Then the GE Campaign went into melt down until we finished with a flyer blatantly trying to appeal to only No voters stating that voting for Labour was the only way to prevent a second Referendum. Given that there is a suggestion that up to 40% of Labour voters voted Yes, who was this flyer aimed at?
    I’ve written elsewhere that I think the Labour Party needs to restructure to at the very least echo a post-Smith Commission/current Scotland Bill Institutional framework. That will include devolved policy making for devolved matters, etc. I think that members like you would be central to such a task because you are in favour of large scale change, and not frightened to insist that Scottish members set a Scottish agenda.
    I hope you don’t leave. But as I say, I can well understand your reluctance to trust the Party given its recent track record.

  7. The think is Paul, the referendum happened just over 7 months ago. The answer was “no thanks”.

    Logically, it should no longer be a factor.

    1. Clearly, it is still a factor. How else would you explain Scottish Labour’s outcome at GE 2016 otherwise. To me, even many of those who voted No are not content with the outcome (as in what does Scottish Labour have to offer us now then?)

  8. I voted “yes” in the referendum, I voted Labour in the election and indeed re-joined the party I was last a member of in 1997 when I was doing the door knocking in my CLP at the time.

    To me, there are two types of people who voted “yes”. There’s the camp who saw Indy as a means to an end: Independence could lead to a socially democratic left of centre country where we could start again. This was me, pragmatic but nothing to do with nationalism. I’m not even Scottish.

    Then there’s the other sort, where Indy was the end itself and not a means to anything, where it was a case of being independent for the sake of being independent, because Scottishness is important. These are nationalists. I very much reject that camp.

    As someone in the first camp, I don’t see any incompatibility with Labour membership as social justice is my primary aim and I just saw Indy as a way to achieve it. The result was a “no”, so I’m happy to make the best out of the UK and helping Labour – as a UK-wide party- doing its utmost to deliver its aims to the whole population. However, if someone’s main aim is independence no matter the cost and want to put all their energies into Indy then I do see it as incompatible.

    So I suppose it all boils down to which sort of “supporter of independence” you are.

    1. This is exactly what I was going to ask the author of this piece.

      If creating an independent Scotland is the secondary (or lower) objective with social justice the primary aim you have then Labour is the party for you.

      I disagree that independence is the best way of achieving social justice and in the best interests of working people but we agree that the pursuit of a fairer country is paramount.

      As far as I’m concerned you are right where you belong.

    2. James, if “the pursuit of a fairer country is paramount”, then surely that makes the question of independence a secondary issue? And Labour’s stance on that a secondary issue — a means to and end, whichever view anyone takes of the balance of its merits.

      Scottish Labour has been deeply illogical on this. It has proclaimed repeatedly that constitutions are secondary to social justice …. but then nailed its colours so firmly to one side of the constitutional debate than unionism has become its most widely-perceived principle.

      If social justice really was paramount for Scottish Labour, then its position should have been much more agnostic on the union-v-indy. Even now, it would be helpful if more Scottish Labour people could acknowledge for example that whatever the downsides of independence, an indy Scotland would not be subject to 5 years of one-party rule by an extremist Tory govt.

      An indy Scotland wouldn’t be facing the benefits cap or the abolition of the Human Rights Act, and it could raise the minimum wage. Aren’t those social justice issues?

      1. It probably won’t surprise you to find someone who voted “yes” doesn’t disagree with much of what you say. But it is also logical the Labour Party would want Scotland to remain in Union, after all from the party constitution: “It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect”

        But as for “extermist” Tory government, they do only have a majority of 12, and many in the Tory party aren’t extreme at all. Yes some Tory backbenchers of the swivel-eyed Ukipper variety are going to make Cameron’s life hell, but so are the moderate Tories who won’t repeal the HRA or want to leave the EU. It’s going to be hard for David Cameron to get everything he wants through, they’re far from unified on any issue.

  9. Paul, the answer to your question is no, a supporter of independence cannot vote for the Labour party. Labour in Scotland are on a course to extinction. Unfortunately the leadership whoever that is are prepared to march the party over the cliff rather than listen to reasonable voices like yours. Those in charge know what is right and what is wrong. The union is good, independence or separation, lets stick with the preferred vernacular is bad. In fact it is simpler than that, SNP very bad, and everything they say and do is wrong, therefore Labour must do the opposite.
    Regardless of the fact that an anti monarchist, anti trident, independent Scottish Labour party, would be a big winner with Scottish voters the present leadership know what’s best and it is not independence.
    The flaw with this approach to politics is that we don’t live in a politics tutorial we live in a real life democracy. Every 5 years political parties have to offer their manifesto to the voters. That is bit the Labour party in Scotland doesn’t seem to get.

  10. solidarity isn’t delivered by defending the British border any more than defending a Scottish one.

    solidarity is delivered by the actions of a people in conjunction with its government.

    The answer isn’t in desparately defending the Union but in what actions are best delivered to the people.

    Simply being part of a larger state doesn’t help deliver greater social justice. If we were to attach ourselves to Russia, I doubt we would be delivering social justice more readily than the Danes manage in their small country.

    Labour gave up on this anyway when devolution was pushed through. The already accept Scotland as a optimal fit for social justice. Otherwise their involvement in devolution or Smith are expediant rather than principle based.

  11. Both Labour and SNP aim to pursue the interests of Scotland, but one party sees these served by staying in the UK and the other by separation.
    Separation would make us considerably worse off, so pursuing the ends of social justice might be noble but fails when the overall ‘pie’ is very much smaller.
    I could not reconcile support for separation with aims of social justice.
    If you want Independence, join the SNP.
    If you don’t see them as the party of social justice because they pay lip service to the poor but assist middle and upper income brackets, that should push you away from Independence.

    Maybe you should start your own party?

    1. “Separation would make us considerably worse off”

      Provide some proof for this unsupported assertion. Give me an example of any country that became worse off by being independent.

  12. Paul makes a good point about the democratic process within a party. The Labour leadership decided unilaterally that Labour would take a 100% Unionist position and join Better Together without consulting the members. Maybe if there had been a grassroots democratic decision and more respect for the dissenters, things would have turned out differently.

    Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the Scottish Green Party supported a Federal UK. Not all that long before the referendum, we debated the issue and made a democratic decision to support independence, then we joined the Yes campaign. We allowed the minority of members who disagreed to opt out and indeed a few campaigned on the No side. Some people in the party found it difficult during the intense referendum campaign, but we didn’t lose those members, and we have grown much stronger and more united since the referendum. It’s always possible that the Scottish Green Party could change its position on independence, following another democratic debate. The knowledge that party policy will always follow the democratic mandate means that our members on both sides can happily coexist and get on with all of the other important stuff, rather than being distracted by it.

    It’s great that Labour Hame is a place where these questions can be debated openly by Labour members, supporters and critical outsiders. This now needs to be replicated within the party’s democratic structures (maybe it is already, the Labour Party is largely opaque to me).

  13. Keir Hardie, who founded what became the Labour Party, believed Scotland should have Dominion Status–same as Canada, Australia etc. So we would be Independent by now, if he had got his way. No Unionist, him.
    Cameron is strutting round Europe right now, wanting to alter the EU Treaty. This stance is supported by Labour now, as is the EU referendum.
    Funnily enough, there is no mention of “pooling and sharing” with our fellow Europeans.
    It would seem Unionism only extends to the Channel.

  14. There should be love in between Labour activists and the SNP shortly.
    Everybody will be working together to remain in the EU.
    We can all dance around the Maypole with Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie.
    Empire Biscuits can supply the music.
    Or am i dreaming.

  15. I also voted Yes but I was always going to stay in the Labour Party. My Yes vote was partly due to being so energised by the positivity of the Yes campaign and repelled by the constant negativity and resistance to change of BT (as well as the idea that a separate Scottish Labour might be more radical) but independence has never been a priority for me. My political priorities have always been a decent standard of living for all, freedom from fear and exploitation and the opportunity for everyone to realise their full potential and go as far as they can. Labour, for me, still embodies these values more than any other party and the SNP’s opportunistic stealing of Labour’s clothes has yet to be matched by anything of substance.

  16. Thank you Paul and to Labour Hame for publishing the article. I’m kind of the obverse of you: always assumed I’d vote SNP for independence then Labour afterwards. Instinctively, emotionally, intellectually and every other way I’ve been on the side of the left since I knew what that meant. Collected for the miners, campaigned against the poll tax, marched against Iraq and so on and on, like the rest of us. But I’ve also, for the same length of time, wanted independence. And for that reason yo your party, at activist level and above (not bampot, twitter nutter level – Alistair Darling), hates me and calls me a blood and soil Nazi. I’ve never hated the Labour Party as it hates me. That’s the tragedy that I can see no way past.

    I tried to engage Duncan about it a month or so ago and ended up more depressed than ever. It seems we have no option but to choose sides when really we’re on the same one.

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