Jamie HeadshotJamie Kinlochan says our politics has lost its focus on improving lives, but we can’t wish our constitutional divisions away.


The UK will no longer be part of the EU.

This is the fifth democratic event in Scotland in four years. We’ve had the independence referendum, the EU election, the UK general election, the Holyrood election and now the EU referendum. Labour staff, elected members and campaigners can’t be thanked enough for their work during this time.

How the country is formed, the constitution, has underpinned just about all of those, directly or indirectly.

When I watched the news as a wee boy, in a council house in Dumbarton, politics felt different to this.

One of my most vivid memories is watching the Good Friday agreement unfold: seeing Mo Mowlam be THE BOSS and take action people warned against in the name of public service and peace in Northern Ireland. When I was at school, I felt the difference that a government announcing plans to repeal Section 28 made, so that I could say I was gay out loud.

I remember Robin Cook representing the UK on the world stage, speaking out against Israeli settlements and trying to deliver a more ethical foreign policy. And when I was at home, I knew what a difference a government focused on family tax credits made because my mum didn’t have to leave for a factory shift at 6am every morning of the week any more.

Other wee people watching the news in council houses today will see Nigel Farage make his eighth triumphant speech by 5pm, will see the media hype Boris Johnson as the next leader of the country, and will see Michael Gove say “I told you so” all along.

I hope those wee people will look around their communities and see through the gurns, grins and false hope of privately educated millionaires. The result from working class areas, however, suggests that their parents and grandparents have not. Or that they have seen through them and not cared anyway.

Technically there is no such thing as a “Scottish” vote in this referendum – there’s only a UK vote. When we voted No in 2014, that was part of the deal. One electorate, one result. But in reality, I don’t think I’m appeased by that technical argument. Again, Scottish (and London, and Northern Irish) voters went one way, and the ultimate decision went another.

When does the tolerable become intolerable? The next independence referendum won’t be at 5pm today but if it was, I think we know how it would go. After Nicola Sturgeon’s speech today, it looks like we can expect the next referendum before the UK formally leaves the EU. It is on its way.

I don’t believe the argument has actually changed. We accept that a democratic deficit will happen as part of a larger nation. The SNP’s economic argument remains neither solid nor convincing. Time will tell if any of that matters when we revisit the question.

I’m a Labour Party member because I want to live in a society built on socialism and justice. I want poverty eradicated. I want folk who grew up in council estates to have a fair chance at education. I want the foreign policy my leaders pursue to reflect my ideals of a just world. I want equality for young people in care. I want an end to the pandemic of violence against women. I want to provide a safe place for those fleeing war and persecution.

I honestly don’t know when or how we’ll get back to talking about and delivering that. But I know we’ll never get there by wishing the constitutional issue away.

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27 thoughts on “Facing up to reality

  1. What part of UK politics did you not get, Scotland votes one way, England decides to vote another way, the result is always the way England/Westminster wants. And only now you’ve decided your not “appeased by that technical argument”.

    Speak about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, what a pity you did not have that revelation back in 2014 when you and your colleagues could have actually done something about it.

    1. You think the 16 million votes for Remain were all in Scotland?

      Our division is not along the Tweed, FFS.

      1. No Duncan I did not, mainly due to the fact Scotland has only a 5 million population plus.

        But of the 2,679,513 people of Scotland who did vote, a high 62% (1,661,191) voted remain, maybe even you could admit Scotland voted to stay in the EU.

        So what’s your excuse to those people and Scotland for being taken out of the EU against their will, please tell us how you are justifying this to your fellow Scots.

      2. Yet you are content that the “division” is along the White Cliffs. FFS.
        Unconscious British nationalism, though I’m sure you would smirk and pretend it isn’t so.

      3. Which “Our” is not bordered at the Tweed Duncan?
        Scottish “Our” borders the Tweed.

        What will it take to show what that means in terms of division to get you to admit the distinction you cant stop trying pitifully to deny?

        You try pathetically to argue for a “Scottish” Labour distinction while denying the very existence a Scottish distinction actually exists.

        The Scottish English border is a NATIONAL border which means it straddles a NATIONAL distinction between the 2 NATIONS of Scotland and England.

        That’s an undeniable fact you have to deny in order to support a fantasy.

  2. Duncan, the SNPs economic policy after independence means sweet fa. We get to vote for other partys after independence.
    Unless you actually believe all this ‘one party state’ nonsense?

  3. Jamie,your answer lies in the formation of a Scottish Labour Party, within an Independent Scotland,and true to the fundamental thinking of Hardie and his ilk.

  4. “The SNP’s economic argument remains neither solid nor convincing. Time will tell if any of that matters when we revisit the question.”

    You can no longer pretend to believe that as we are now within the unknown. The economic argument for the UK union has been exposed as a joke. pensions unsafe savings decimated the pound gutted.
    Isolation and xenophobia are now the hallmarks of the UK.

    Not only do you still not have a positive argument for the union you no longer have a negative argument against Independence either.

    Indyref 2 will be a formality.

  5. I’m getting the feeling that Enough is Enough.
    The Lord Ashcroft polls show that it was English nationalism that swung it. Those that felt more English than British.
    All these people didn’t give a damn about the consequences for Scotland or Northern Ireland, despite all the warnings – They just have this arrogant, superior attitude that Scots don’t have the balls to take control of our own country.

    I think Labour needs to get behind a new Britain comprised of equal sovereign nation states whether Scotland ends up in the EU or not.
    I support traditional Labour values, but I want to be able to vote for a real Scottish Labour party in a modern, progressive Scotland that controls its own affairs.
    We can do better than just being a minor region of a little England controlled by the likes of Johnson, Gove and Farage.

  6. The “narrow nationalist and separatists” have won the day (Though these are terms which apparently only apply to Scots).
    We have little idea what the future holds, economically, diplomatically or politically( in UK terms).
    Scotland voted against this craziness yet——–Jamie can argue, presumably with a straight face, that——

    “The SNP’s economic argument remains neither solid nor convincing”.

    I would put to him that the UK will soon be in economic/political turmoil, with Labour and Tories at odds with their leadership and an unknown ability for our finance/manufacturing industry to trade outside the UK??
    The value of our currency??
    The type of relationship we have with much of the continent we inhabit??
    Boris Trump as PM. Lord Farage as FM. Lord Forsyth as SoS for Scotland.
    I would suggest to him, that these are the kind of circumstances where most will feel we have nothing to lose by becoming a self governing country.

  7. The SNP position on the EU referendum was a joke. If they were truly interested in more power being invested upon the Scottish people they would wanted out of the EU.

    In 1975 the UK voted to remain part of Common Market.

    In 2014 Scotland voted to remain part of the UK.

    In 2016 we voted as the UK to leave the EU.

    There was no constituency, regional, or national vote in this referendum. Every vote was of equal value.

    How Scotland voted in the EU referendum made not one shred of difference.

    The SNP line that “there will be another referendum if Scotland is taken out of the EU against her will” is a third rate con trick.

    The threat of a second independence has been a useful tool, brought out of the box, by politicians of all parties, as and when it suits them. This includes the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

    The SNP leadership really are grasping at straws.

    Face the facts, there isn’t going to be another “indyref”, it’s over.

    1. There doesn’t have to be another Indyref for you Andy. Its not a compulsory event. You sit in yer wee bubble of delusion pal if it gives you the comfort you clearly need.
      I’m sure one of your relatives will let you know when its all over.

    2. Andy,
      I agreed (note past tense) with everything you say in this comment. Things are not what they were. The result of the 24.06.2016 has changed everything, not just in Scotland, but in the UK, Europe, globally. You know this. Your overt faux contempt for the the most successful political party in the UK is fun to read.
      Here is a challenge, please give us a laugh, what about your thoughts on ‘Labour; the way back to power’.

  8. “I’m a Labour Party member because I want to live in a society built on socialism and justice. I want poverty eradicated. I want folk who grew up in council estates to have a fair chance at education. I want the foreign policy my leaders pursue to reflect my ideals of a just world. I want equality for young people in care. I want an end to the pandemic of violence against women. I want to provide a safe place for those fleeing war and persecution.”

    And you think we’re going to get that from a Westminster government in any of our lifetimes?

    1. Jim,
      If your going to San Fransico, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

  9. Our continued membership of the EU was “only guaranteed by a NO vote” as the Better Together campaign declared.
    This, as well as every other ‘secured only by a NO vote’ promise has now been shown up as the undeliverable nonsense it always was.
    Now is the time you have to make a decision Duncan, what do you hold more dear: a 300 year old union, where your opinion as a Scot can be, will be, and is largely ignored by an increasingly right wing Westminster or as a citizen of a sovereign state within a greater union, protecting those that need it.
    Your choice.

  10. Majority vote in the UK for leaving the EU so Scotland have to be generous and accept the will of the people of the UK so Scots should not go into Nippy McNasty Mode and take it on the weak chin.

    1. No Ted that’s the point we actually don’t. As Scotland is an equal partner nation within a Parliamentary union which doesn’t serve our best interests we can actually legally legitimately and democratically end that union simply by having a majority of support for it within Scotland.

      That’s called reality Ted get used to it. Its coming to a world near you.

  11. I honestly despair for Labour right now. Corbyn is a total disaster, and his lackadaisical performance was partly to blame for working class labour supporters in England resorting to base instincts and voting Leave en masse.. How on earth can people back a leader they see as uncommitted and insincere ?
    Whatever we think of Ruth Davidson, people could at least see she was passionate about staying in Europe during that Wembley debate. From what I saw of Corbyn on TV, he would be sitting cross legged in a chair somewhere giving some softly spoken, pros and cons spiel that would convince nobody of anything. Andy Burnham warned we needed more passion and emotion to get a Stay vote.

    Even after Jo Cox was murdered by a racist, Corbyn couldn’t rally the party against the bigots that had taken over the Leave campaign. His brother was willing to be used as a Leave stooge, tweeting that Jeremy didn’t believe a word he was saying. Just like Boris, he probably saw the vote as a political opportunity to get rid of Cameron, and didn’t want to alienate a large number of English labour voters. No matter the effects on the UK of leaving the single market, or how they would be first to suffer the consequences. All self interest first.

    Now UKIP supporters are far more likely to back the Tories under Boris Johnson.
    With only a few percent in the result, it all could have been so different if we had a leader that had actually stood up and led this party passionately, and railed against the actual racism and xenophobia that was prevalent in the leave supporters.

    Labour is supposed to be equality, fairness and internationalism. Instead we have a smaller more inward looking country today, and Corbyn has to accept his share of the blame.
    Yet Scottish Labour will just accept this as usual and not rock the boat.

    If we have an other referendum, it will likely be a choice between Sturgeon’s proposal of an outwards looking Scotland in Europe, or as a devolved area of a UK that increasingly looks like a xenophobic little England. Will Scottish Labour still lean towards British nationalism at that point?

    1. Alan what you say about the folks in England who have concerns about immigration is a diabolical disgrace, out of the proportion of over 200.000 migrants last yesr Scotland took about 8.000 the people of UK who have concerns in England are not against immigration it is just that they want control and a points based system to let people come from the commonwealth countries. Scotland’s so great if you give refugees a choice they wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole Scotland is the murder capital of the UK. The labour party in England will suffer the same fate as the Scottish Labour Party did at the hands of the SNP at the next general election by UKIP. The SNP politicans all had jobs and worked in the the real world its the same as the UKIP politicians as for the Labour Party in England is different it is a network of ex university graduates who have never had a real job parachuted into constituencies with no connection and then not listening to or representing the views of their constituents in their area. the only hope for the Labour Party in England is to get rid back to its roots and make rules that any candidates standing for an election have to to have lived in the constituency for a minimum of say 3 years and for university graduates that on leaving university that they have had to have worked for a minumim period of 5 years in a real job before standing in an election. Finally it makes me sick to the back teeth to listen to these Labour Party MPs in England insinuating that the people who voted for Brexit are uneducated and thick for doing so it shows total disdain and a lack of respect for the electorate from an out of touch careerist political elite who have not got a clue what is going on in their constituencies.


      1. Since when did Scotland get the power and authority to keep out anybody welcomed into the UK?
        When the UK takes in anybody Scotland by default is forced to accept them as well. Once they are in they can choose to move and live in any part of the UK they fancy.

        Are you for real?

    2. Alan J,
      I dont think you understand. You not at the bedside of Labour, you are at the grave. Your choice is now stark. You can either be a British Nationalist or an EU Scottish nationalist.

    3. Lets not beat about the bush, All the evidence shows that the vast majority of leave voters were working class, no formal education, and of the older generation.

      We needed a politician with passion to hammer home the benefits of Europe. Corbyn wasn’t that person, and he was kept out of major debates for a reason. The rumours and the common perception was that he secretly wanted out. We needed someone like Andy Burnham making a Gordon Brown style speeches that could have been all over the news, Passionately asking working class Labour voters to keep us in Europe for the greater good.
      Not to use it as a protest vote, or a vote against Cameron or anything else.

      The answer for the Stay side wasn’t to demonise immigrants, but to emphasise the new rights that the UK had won from the EU. To make the point that a degree of immigration was worthwhile as they contributed more than they cost.
      To make the point that the EU would balance itself out as the Eastern European countries came up to average standards. When East Germany reunited there was mass immigration at first, but it balanced out as the economies came into sync.
      We argue for pooling and sharing across the UK, but not across Europe ?

      Labour needed to make the point that a more prosperous Europe was better for the UK and for everyone in Europe. To make the point that immigration goes BOTH ways, and people from Britain have the freedom to live and work anywhere in Europe.

      You mention UKIP.
      What is the point of UKIP now ?
      Farage will probably join the Tories and be given a position by Boris.

      1. Alan J,
        Listen to you, “Lets not beat about the bush, All the evidence shows that the vast majority of leave voters were working class, no formal education, and of the older generation.”
        That is so phukin funny. ‘working classes….no formal eduction’ . Maybe thats the answer to all of Labour problems, disfranchise the working classes without a university degree.

      2. “Lets not beat about the bush, All the evidence shows that the vast majority of leave voters were working class, no formal education, and of the older generation.”

        Alan you are have all the qualities of a potential Labour Party UK MP which is of a political elite that says I told you so that the Joe Public are not worthy of making their own minds up on issues that affect them and make their democratic vote count. I detect that you do not respect democracy and the majority of the UK people who voted for Brexit so my advice to you is to open up your window stick your head outside and shout at the top of your voice I used to be in the EU but I am alright nowwwww.

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