Labour’s future: an activist’s view

fraser patersonFraser Paterson, a Labour activist from the East End of Glasgow, gives a blunt assessment of where we are as a party and what we now must do. 

 

Well, you can’t say it’s ever dull.

Being a member of the Scottish Labour Party over the last twelve months or so has been somewhat interesting, and not always for the better. Whether it’s the Scottish independence referendum, our own Scottish leadership election, May’s Westminster elections or the forthcoming Holyrood elections next year, this has been an incredibly challenging time for our party.

From waking up to find that Scotland had agreed to remain part of the United Kingdom, to the almost sudden realisation that there would be a price to pay for the way in which that campaign was conducted.

From the positivity felt as we elected a new Scottish leader last December, to the crushing defeat in May, wiping out the so-called Labour heartlands.

The current narrative of the Labour Party seems to be “one step forward, then two steps back.” Add to this a UK leadership election which showcased (or exposed, depending on your view) the broad church within our party and it is safe to assume that there is still a long way to go until the Labour party, in Scotland and the rest of the UK, is once again a radical force in British politics.

In Scotland, we have entered into the leadership of Kezia Dugdale, a principled, authentic advocate for the power of education in shaping lives and narrowing social inequality. So far, Kezia has gotten under the skin of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government, readily pointing out their failings on health, education and policing. She has always been first to condemn the damage that the current Conservative government is attempting to inflict on Scotland’s communities, whilst masquerading under the banner of the party of working people.

The early stages of Kezia’s leadership have been mostly positive, and has helped steady the ship as the party appears to tear itself asunder over the UK leadership in recent months. As during the late 1970s and 80s, it is the Scottish Labour Party which is the stabilising force whilst our friends in England are engaged in civil war.

Speaking to any members about our current predicament in Scotland and also family, friends and those who do not engage in politics, I’m struck by how different the responses are.

Most of the members I have spoken to, either in person or on social media, believe that the Scottish Labour Party’s biggest problem is the rise of Scottish nationalism, and to counter this we should continue to argue the economic case against the union and attempt to undermine the SNP’s record in government as proof that we are “better together.”

But family, friends, and those who aren’t involved in politics say the issue is quite different. They say, many of them former Labour voters who now vote SNP, that it’s not that they all believe an independent Scotland is desirable (many of them were No voters) but that they trust the SNP to run our public services and believe they are a better choice than the Labour party to run Scotland’s affairs.

It is the latter diagnosis which I believe holds the key to Scottish Labour’s revival.

We have to accept that many people didn’t vote for independence because it was a silver bullet that could cure all ills. That there is a section of the electorate who hold that view is indisputable and the Labour party will never realistically gain their support unless they change their stance on independence.

But the vast majority of independence supporters voted Yes because they trusted the SNP to best represent Scotland’s interests. In my view, we may disagree with this, but we must accept it.

So, the response to the Scottish Government shouldn’t be on constitutional issues. It should be on who is the best party to lead Scotland, using the new powers which will soon be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. It should be not only questioning the SNP’s credentials on our public services, but setting out an alternative vision and, perhaps most importantly, showing how we would finance it in order to gain the trust of the Scottish people on the economy.

To me, Scottish Labour’s problem is not nationalism. It’s trust. And until we regain it, we will be in the political wilderness for years to come.

Which brings me to our UK leadership. I didn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t believe that his leadership would be beneficial to the country, even if he were to be elected, which I think is highly unlikely. To my mind, we’ve taken a step back to decades gone by and embraced the warm comfort blanket of perpetual opposition, forgoing any opportunity to change the lives of the very people we claim to represent.

I know there are many members who agree and disagree with my point of view, but what “moderate” members (as they have been styled by press and social media alike) have to accept is that Jeremy Corbyn was elected as our leader and isn’t going anywhere.

The only way in which the Labour Party can become a party of government again is to make the case for working and middle class families throughout the UK. I don’t believe that Corbyn can achieve an election victory, but as a party we can still lay the foundations for future successes.

That means we must stop looking inwardly and fretting about this or that comment made by Ken Livingstone in the media or on what someone said in a meeting room ten or fifteen years ago (appalling as some of those comments are) but instead start to build a platform to provide real opposition to the Conservative government.

That means an economic plan which makes work pay, without penalising the most vulnerable whilst we implement it.

A way to reduce the deficit to leave a sound economic footing for our grandchildren, without increasing suffering in 2015. And a modern response to the issues caused by globalisation, including immigration, foreign policy and the digital economy.

What I want to see is Jeremy Corbyn and his team stop talking about wanting a better, kinder and fairer society and instead saying how they will build it.

I want his media operation to drastically improve its work, ensuring that the general public know what the Labour party seeks to do, something which is lacking at the present moment.

I want the Labour Party to do what it always has done: argue for the prosperity of working and middle class voters through social and political reform.

I accept that we need economic competence in order to achieve this, and I don’t believe that Jeremy Corbyn is the man to do that. But we should at least unite around the social changes we all would like to see and wait for the judgement of the general election ballot box. That is the only way to win the argument in our Party.

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54 thoughts on “Labour’s future: an activist’s view

  1. Fraser, Im trying hard here to follow your argument, please help. Is there a typing error in this statement? “Most of the members I have spoken to, either in person or on social media, believe that the Scottish Labour Party’s biggest problem is the rise of Scottish nationalism, and to counter this we should continue to argue the economic case against the union and attempt to undermine the SNP’s record in government as proof that we are “better together.”

    Are you saying that Scottish Labour should now embrace independence?

    1. Hi Richard,

      That should read “economic case against independence”

      I’m not advocating a change in Labour’s policy on independence at all.

      If you read the rest of the article, you’ll see that I say there are a proportion of Labour voters who may never come back to us as a result of our support for the UK, but that the vast majority of people voted Yes because they trusted the SNP to govern our affairs, not becuase they were “nationalists”

      I say quite clearly that I concur with the latter, rather than the former.

      1. Fraser,
        This is a conundrum to me. The Labour party in Scotland acknowledge that they have lost a lot of support because of their hardline unionist position. You accept that many long time Labour supporters were forced to desert Labour at the referendum because they were Yes supporters but Labour was staunchly unionist. It seems as if within Labour in Scotland a unionists cadre are the masters of the party’s destiny and are not prepared to accept the broad church mentality, that was always a positive feature of Scottish Labour Party real politic. There is no doubt that within Labour’s ranks there are still a few supporters of independence as well as supporters of the union. But it seems there is no place for supporters of an independent Scotland within Labour and in time they will be forced to leave as well.
        That is indeed strange on two counts. First, because Labour is content to allow free votes and polar opposite views on other subjects, for example going to war in Syria. Second, its not the Labour way. In my experience, Labour have always been a pragmatic organisation whose members put the party first. It strikes me that the unionists group within Scottish Labour would rather walk the party over the cliff than acknowledge a difference of opinion amongst its support.

          1. As shown above, that is not the case within the Party whatsoever. I have many Labour supporting friends who voted Yes and would do so again. I just don’t believe that the majority of the country would.

          2. As much as I welcome Keizia Dugdale’s new found openness to Scottish independence I just can’t get that vision of Gordon Brown pacing the boards in the days before the referendum, pleading ‘to’ his fellow countrymen to remain in the union with the promise that federalism will be delivered.
            And you yourself Duncan make me sceptical on Labour’s trustworthiness when given any opportunity you cannot miss the chance to remind me that you consider the constitutional question was decided last year, that we should as you said recently ‘put down the pitchforks as democracy has been delivered’.
            So I hope you can understand why I cannot yet trust Labour on any of their promises. It seems to me that Labour’s new found openness to Scottish independence has come about not because they have been persuaded but because they have been forced into it.

          3. So you do actually accept that the Labour Party is open to people on both sides of the independence argument, yet in your previous criticism you said “Labour is content to allow free votes and polar opposite views on other subjects” – suggesting that this was not the case with independence. But it is the case with independence too, as you have acknowledged.

            Your surreal position is in fact that, far from allowing free votes and polar opposite views on independence, Labour should suppress the views of those who disagree with you on independence. You don’t want a free vote, you want a whipped vote in your favour.

            I agree that the broad church mentality has always been one of Labour’s strengths. You want my part of that broad church marginalised. It’s you who can’t be trusted.

  2. A forthright and to the point analysis of Labour’s present state.
    A small Corbynite clique leading the Party, apparently against the majority of PLP members, in itself against the majority of the Party membership, all shouting the odds at each other, amplified be a gleeful media.
    How to square this shambles would puzzle Solomon.
    The Scottish Party is now led by a centrist, seconded by a leftist and trying hard to appear socialist without offending middle-class voters, while spending increasingly large dollops of moneys, whose source they cannot identify.
    Meanwhile we also have votes or abstentions at Westminster not always in accord with the Kezia “narrative”, and commentary from the Lords like Maxton and Foulkes, whose views can only be seen as absurdist in Scotland.
    A couple of points, Fraser.
    1.- Sturgeon’s……. failures….. on health, education and policing. Not hard to point out that on any of these subjects, Scotland is not “failing” in comparison with anywhere else in the UK. Its just that the media particularly the BBC, with an anti-SNP agenda are highlighting issues in Scotland that they dont in England.
    The NHS in Scotland does not have the massive debt problem that the English NHS trusts have. Or doctors threatening strikes. Nor does the media blame the Health Minister in England ( Stafford Health Trust for example ) in the way BBC Scotland( with others) attempts in Scotland.
    The Police in Scotland does not have a record of shooting dead and wounding innocent civilians as the English police do. Or selling information to the media. Or covering up sex crimes of the well connected. Yet Police Scotland is continuously in the news for relatively less serious issues ( bar one ).
    The other point is “Nationalism”, to which you attribute Scottish Labour’s decline. I have the view that the Scottish electorate has ALWAYS had a bias toward any party they though would fight for a Scottish “interest”.
    We have voted en-mass for Scottish Liberals, Scottish Unionists and Scottish Labour. At some point the electorate have viewed these Parties as having “let them down” by not fighting for something or against something that affected Scotland’s perceived national interest.
    Scottish Labour became too close to being a smug and lazy, dismissive excuse for Keir Hardies once radical Home Rule Party. Where Labour MP’s had more interest in their expense forms, rather than the needs of their constituents.
    Their last period of Westminster power coincided with Labour regimes in Holyrood and local government, yet the perception was that they did little to bring new industry to the Scottish areas devastated by Thatcher.
    I would suggest you have a long road to travel to get back to electoral success, Fraser. A long road, both north and south.

    1. Hi Gavin,

      I can’t see us agreeing somehow!

      Firstly, I find it ridiculous for you to argue that as long as Scotland is better than England, then everything is all right.

      I think both governments in Scotland and in Westminster are mismanaging our public services.

      The notion that Police Scotland are doing a stand up job because they haven’t shot anyone, is also, laughable. Even the Scottish Government have acknowledged several failures in the centralised police force, a policy, incidentally, which my party, but not I, supported.

      Also, if you read my article, you’ll see I don’t attribute Scottish Labour’s decline to nationalism, but trust. I don’t believe Scotland is a nationalist country, but rather that at this moment in time, most Scots trust the SNP to run the country’s affairs more than Labour.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Thanks for your reply Fraser. I certainly don’t think Scotland is “better” than England. There are mistakes in administration on both sides of the border, both at present and historically ( involving Labour governments as well ).
    I was only trying to reply to your/Dugdales assertion of “Sturgeons…….failures” in health, education, policing, by pointing out the fact, that what is reported as newsworthy/blameworthy by the same media organisations, appears to change as the border is crossed.
    Again I do not think that Police Scotland are “doing a stand up job”, but that is not the point. Any more than you state that you were content that half of Scotland’s population was under one force, but somehow its wrong for the whole population to be so.
    A BBC person last week claimed that if the failure of Police Scotland to investigate an accident report, which led to an avoidable death, had happened in England then a Cabinet resignation would have occurred. The serious misconduct of the some police officers in England over many years shows that NOT to be the case. Its not laughable so much as beyond belief that people can be shot dead, or seriously wounded, but nothing is judged to be wrong with police conduct.
    I realise that you do not attribute Labour’s decline to nationalism, but I believe that is because you seem only to attribute nationalism to the SNP. I think ALL political Parties are nationalist to some extent, and that the NO campaign was British nationalistic. Cameron’s renegotiations are also nationalistic. It doesn’t make anyone wrong to argue your national point of view. I think the Scottish Labour Party is nationalist. The clue is in the name.
    Read some Keir Hardie history. He detested the impact of east European and other foreign workers on the mining areas he represented, driving down wages and taking employment from locals. His form of Home Rule( Dominion Status) would have seen Scotland become independent in the same manner as New Zealand and Australia etc.

    1. Hi Gavin,

      Again, your riposte to my concerns in Scotland is to compare them to England’s. That seems silly to me.

      I don’t think people are wrong to argue their point of view, whatever that may be. I was merely making the point that in my view, most Scots did not vote Yes because they believe that Scotland must be an independent country at all costs.

      For the record, I didn’t support the former arrangements of the police either. Being against the present is not automatic support for the past.

      As for the comment on Eastern European workers, I’ve no idea how that fits into my piece.

      If you want to rail against the BBC, I’d suggest this is perhaps not the best platform. I hear Derek Bateman’s site does some marvellous work in this area.

      Thanks again for reading.

      1. Hi Fraser,

        “Compare them to England”– Silly? You bet, but its what the opposition Parties do, most FMQ’s.

        I would imagine MOST Scots didn’t vote YES “at all costs”. To most, there would be costs, but also a perceived benefit, even if that was in a longer perspective. Though to some on the NO side( including at least one Labour MP), even if self government was a benefit to Scotland and a NO was detrimental, that was outweighed by British sentiment( Nationalism?).
        The views on Eastern workers were the views of your Party founder, and were echoed by Gordon Brown fairly recently.
        The BBC is one of those alleged jewels in Britain’s crown, we were told we would lose. I think the jewel is flawed, but if you don’t want to look, then I certainly don’t want to force you.

  4. “What I want to see is Jeremy Corbyn and his team stop talking about wanting a better, kinder and fairer society and instead saying how they will build it.”

    Fraser you have not been very subtle as you stick the boot into Jeremy Corbyn and here lies the rub you exude your Blairite credentials proudly and as part of the other side in the Labour Party UK civil ward I can see you are flying the flag for the Blairites up here in Scotland and until you and the other Blairites work with and not against Jeremy Corbyn then there is no way back for the Labour Party UK.

    Fraser as for nationalism take a wee tip from me you would be better off getting used to it otherwise it will drive you crazy because the only time that the SNP may be beaten will be in a post Independent Scotland until then normal rules of politics have be suspended, the SNP and can do no wrong Kezia, newspapers, polls, media can criticise and highlight whatever the SNP are doing good or bad it does not matter because the people are supporting something bigger than politics and any political party which is a cause and that cause is the inevitable Scottish Independence and supporting the SNP is their best way and means to getting to Scottish Independence. Meantime the only hope for the Scottish Labour section would be to breakaway completely from the Labour Party UK and form a new Scottish Independent Labour Party as until this happens you will always be seen as the Branch Office.

    1. Hi Will,

      I’ll go ahead and put you down in the category I referred to earlier:

      “those who believe independence is a silver bullet!”

      Thanks for reading.

      1. I’d also point out that I clearly state that Corbyn is going nowhere and that the party should unite around some of the social changes we need.

        Thanks again.

      2. Fraser the only silver bullet I know of was the one that shot the late great Oliver Reed in The Curse of the Werewolf (1961). Now on the other hand I think you may have got mixed up with the Tartan bullet that is travelling towards the target of Hope that is smack bang in the middle of the bulls eye that is called Independence. How about trying a wee bit of positive thinking and binning the pessimism and thinking along the lines of can do, for example say to yourself anIndependent Scotland could be an economic success can do, an Independent Scotland could be a successful just and fair society can do, hope you get the idea and maybe try it out you might enjoy it.

  5. Fraser, I read that Labour, Tories and Lib Dumbs are having a degree of difficulty persuading candidates to stand in the upcoming election (in the constituency section rather than the list). A committed person like yourself should have a go.

    I used to be in Labour, many years ago. I wonder if I could re-join and have a go? I obviously now believe in Scotland being a self governing country, but then, so did Keir Hardie. And it appears Glasgow Labour councillors can advocate a YES.
    So, should I ?

    1. I notice that above Duncan asserts that Labour is indeed open to candidates on both sides of the independence debate.

      So I could stand for Labour as a pro-independence candidate. Wow! That’s new.

      Next up “Tories for Home Rule”–don’t sneer, its normal in most countries for “patriots” to be on the right.

      1. A Labour member could indeed stand while holding and expressing pro-independence views. You, on the other hand, are a Labour opponent. You couldn’t stand whatever your views on independence.

        1. It wasn’t that long ago you could have stuck a red rosette to a lamp post and have that stand as a Labour candidate while expressing no opinions at all.

          1. According to Duncan ‘A Labour member could indeed stand while holding and expressing pro-independence views.’

            According to Ms Dugdale Members can be against Trident yet still stand for election. However when it comes to Independence she will allow discussion but only Labour’s evil opponents believe in Independence and so( this is the interesting bit Duncan) anyone advocating Independence would be automatically debarred come election time.

        2. “A Labour opponent”? Who me? Not if I can be an advocate for self government.
          If I raise genuine issues that should concern everyone, then that shouldn’t bar me from joining a party I used to belong to.
          I would suggest there is less difference between my beliefs and others in Labour, than exists within the Corbyn shadow cabinet.
          I am left of centre, believe in the mixed economy, conventional defence, and think the way out of poverty is a strong indigenous economy, incentives to invest and a good social return in exchange. I am a strong believer in the value of good education at as early an age as can be funded.
          There are people in Labour to the left of me, and to the right, to whom I wouldn’t give house room. But me, I’m just fine!

  6. Anybody of the Labour acolytes, on here, have any views on Darling and Broon whoring themselves to international finance to make themselves truly wealthy?

    1. If you stopped being such an SNP acolyte for one second you’d discover that Gordon Brown’s income from his new position is all being donated to charity. As is all his public speaking income. You do a great disservice to a fine and decent man by claiming he is lining his own pockets. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is doing good in the world. More than you’re doing with your bitter attacks. Get another hobby.

      1. I’d attack anyone from the SNP who shilled for these people. I note you have no comment on Darling. For what its worth I’m very critical of the SNP at times. I think the proposal, by Macaskill, to end corroboration was nuts. I think the present brou haha over Trump from some in the party is OTT. I’d like to see far more honesty on Fracking. I’m in favour by the way. There’s a couple of other things I disagree on as well.

        I haven’t seen you display much more than slavish tribal loyalty towards SLAB recently.

          1. Sorry, but its Lord High Poo Ba Darling. I was able to observe him from his early incarnation as a Labour lefty ex Trot through his various reincarnations right through to the present Lord Darling of Morgan Stanley.

  7. Leaving aside independence for a moment, why do we have the poorest state pensions in Northern Europe along with the barest of all benefits for the sick and unemployed.
    Minimum wage, don’t even go there.
    Why am i being asked to donate toys for kids in East Kilbride.
    It’s not even the East End of Glasgow, we’re now reaching into EK to give children a Christmas present.
    I stood in St Stephens church on Bath St today and felt ashamed, there was Labour City councillors standing next to me.
    Says a lot about where we are as a group of people in the 21st Century.
    Btw, how long did the Labour Party have the majority of elected officials in the Central Belt.
    I’d go for 60 years.

  8. In an Idependent Scotland I think that a new age of politics would dawn the SNP would remain as the dominant force although other new political parties may emerge however I think that the Scottish Labour section would have to have complete rebrand and a change of name and drop the term Labour from any new name for the party. I had the privilege of seeing the charasmatic pocket battleship Nicola Sturgeon deliver a speech at the London School of Economics in March and it was a tour de force and here lies the rub the other political leaders in Scotland cannot compete and are resigned to being elected to the Scottish Parliment as List MSPs. I think that the only way Scottish Labour section can get candidates to stand in the election is to say that if you stand in this election and don’t get elected then come the next Scottish Elections then all the candidates who lost will be entered into a lottery draw guaranteed for 8 List MSP seats that’s one for every region for the the lucky lottery winners of the draw.

  9. That’s a thought provoking article,Fraser.If we are to consider the circumstances of the Labour Party and how they might be improved,we must reflect on the referendum honestly.The YES campaign did well in building its support,but as far as I could tell it wasn’t on a tide of nationalism,although there was certainly some element of that with all the saltire waving.Among the 45 % who voted YES a large majority were no more or less “Scottish Nationalistic” than the average NO voter.Currently,about half of Scots believe in the union and half believe in independence,but that’s only a division on one particular facet of policy.To brand half the people with the “Nationalism” tag risks othering them,risks turning that division into a yawning chasm between them and Labour.

    So how might Labour attract former voters,who voted Yes,back to voting Labour? Well,how about keeping the door open to Devomax? If Labour has a place for supporters of independence it must surely keep the door open for the many people who believe in Devomax,and encourage open debate about it and all other constitutional possibilities.There are lots of other areas where Scottish Labour needs to retrieve itself.Trident was a start.The sight of Mr Darling draped in ermine is a topical case in point.Getting rid of the House of Lords should be a manifesto pledge.This isn’t a loony left idea.Its Scottish mainstream thinking.Get behind it or move increasingly to the fringes.

    1. Kev my recollection of the Better Together campaign was that it was the Labour Party UK who when Cameron was offered a third option of putting Devo Max to be on the ballot paper were more against it than the Tories on that basis Devo Max is dead and gone forever and the runaway train is heading to its final destination INDEPENDENCE. The Scottish Labour sections hatred of the SNP in Scotland has transferred itself to the Labour Party UK MPs in Westminster the way they hiss and sneer at the wonderful SNP MPs is disgraceful and that is one of the reasons why more and more people support the SNP and Independence. The only way the Scottish Labour section could try to save itself from extinction is by breakingaway completely from the Labour Pary UK and forming a new Scottish Independent Labour Party.

      1. Really tired of seeing history rewritten.

        Parties which supported a single question referendum:
        Conservatives
        Liberal Democrats
        Labour
        The SNP

        Public consultation on the referendum:
        Majority in favour of a single question

        And yet almost every indy supporter since has happily claimed that the second questions was denied to Scots by evil unionists. It’s not true, and it’s dishonest to try to rewrite history in this way. Don’t do it please.

        1. Yes, it is tiresome to see history rewritten.

          Its a FACT that Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were OPPOSED to a Scottish referendum of any kind. They did not want the people who live in Scotland consulted as to their constitutional future.
          Didn’t matter how many questions, they did not want it.
          They didn’t want the franchise extended to 16&17year olds.
          And they sure as hell wont want the Scottish electorate consulted ever again on Scotland’s constitutional future.
          Any person who says differently is doing a “Carmichael” on us. Or is it a “Clegg”?

          As for the second question. “Evil Unionists” did not want one. I suspect they thought they would see off independence with the huge majority they always claimed they had, on a simple YES/NO.
          Hence the panicked last few days of the campaign, the Westminster “star wars march” up Buchanan Street, when the BEEB threw everything it had at the Yessers, and gave an open door to Brown’s porkie pie business.

          Now THAT’S history !

          1. That’s simply a lie about the extension of the franchise. Scottish Labour backed votes for 16 and 17 year olds. Indeed, the extension of UK elections to 16 and 17 year olds was in Ed Miliband’s manifesto this year. You are desperate to pretend Labour and the Tories are the same thing. It’s never been true and it certainly isn’t true now.

            The SNP wanted a single question. The Scottish people wanted a single question. Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge those facts?

        2. You must’ve been involved in a different referendum campaign to the one I was Duncan.

          I distinctly remember the SNP offering to put a 3rd option on the ballot if any party wanted to make the case for Devo Max & Labour wasting the best part of a year focussing on nothing else.

          For the best part of 12 months when you could have been making the case for why we should stay in the union the Labour parties focus was only on ensuring the more powers option didn’t make it onto the ballot paper.

          1. I must have indeed, Jim. Because that’s not what happened. The SNP were opposed to a second question. Every party was opposed to a second question. And the public consultation was opposed to a second question.

            Alex Salmond made a great show of offering to add a second question in order to dupe the simple minded into believing it was the big bad unionists that opposed it. But he opposed it too.

            Apparently his plan worked. How readily we buy the spin of those whose aims we agree with, eh?

      2. Scottish Labour are still the biggest pro Union party.To talk of their extinction is a tad premature,i think.,Has support for Labour bottomed out? I think it probably has,because I think the party will halt the decline by coming up with something more in tune with where the Scottish people are at.They need to be at the forefront of change,not dragging their heels.They need to bring forward a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the abolition of the House of Lords.Not sit on the sidelines keeping schtum,hoping nobody will notice the travesty.

        We assume Labour wants to win back voters.The question is not how to win them back,but how badly does Labour want to win them back.Badly enough to become a different party to UK Labour?

        1. Kev the Scottish Labour section will not bring a motion to the Scottish Parliment calling for the abolition of the House of Lords because as a section of the Labour Party UK they need permission from the Labour Party UK and their leader Jeremy Corbyn and here lies the rub because there is a power struggle between the Corbynistas and the Blairites at present and it is the Blairites that are running the show then he Jeremy Corbyn is too weak and shell shocked by the Blairites and the civil war that is going on in the Labour Party UK to authorise his permission for the Scottish Labour section to call for such a motion. And anyway as you can see from the mouthpiece of the Unionists Darling that the House of Lords club must stay as the ultimate reward for Unionists of his ilk so that that they can back the Unionists cause and continue to get their corn in the form of expenses. As for the Scottish Labour being the biggest pro union party that is a joke inasmuch as the actual party membership has gone down to its lowest level since the days of Keir Hardie so it may have a majority of members supporting the Union but if the total is small then that tells the true story. Why don’t the Scottish Labour section have a motion saying that if there is a Brexit then they will support another referendum on Scotland’s Independence and recommend a Yes vote for Independence oh I forgot they can’t do that without permission of the Labour Party UK that’s a shame.

          1. Will,
            Scottish Labour don’t need Corbyns permission.They need the courage to stand up for progress.Lead from the front.UK Labour can follow if they will.
            Labour got by far the most votes of any unionist party in May.Thats what I was referring to when I described them as the biggest pro Union party.I don’t know if they are the biggest party by membership.Theyre certainly bigger than the Libdems and UKIP in Scotland and,I assume,the Greens.Not sure about the Tories.Membership and votes don’t vary directly though.

  10. @Duncan, the SNP did not oppose the 3rd (more powers) option being on the ballot, they said they wouldn’t argue the case for it as it wasn’t what they believed in but were happy to include it if any other party wanted to make the case for it.

    Not wanting to make the case for an option & not wanting to allow voters that option are two entirely different things.

    1. “Not wanting to make the case for an option & not wanting to allow voters that option are two entirely different things.”

      Except, apparently, when any party other than the one you’re defending take that view! That was the position of ALL the parties. All you’re doing is regurgitating Salmond’s spin of the time. The Tories didn’t want the make the case for it. Labour didn’t want to make the case for it. The SNP didn’t want to make the case for it. But in your magic world, only one of those is a principled position, and the others are dastardly.

      It would be astonishing if I hadn’t seen such spin so often from folk of your ilk.

      1. Duncan, the SNP believe in independence, but would presently be willing to take small steps en route to that destination. Or will they jump straight to REF2?
        The problem for the Unionist/British Nationalist parties, is that they have no plausible “line in the sand”, as Ruthie once had it.
        What would justify any proposed final settlement, without reference to Scotland’s electorate?

        I would postulate that if they( any one of them) had proposed a question of their own in the referendum, and gained a higher proportion of the vote than any other, then they would be on solid constitutional grounds, to say—“that is that”. They ( because they acted as a coalition to all extents) should have put the Libs forward to propose “something”—that would have allowed a certain deniability for the bigger Parties.
        But history shows they did not. Hence the endless speculation as to what comes next. Every “last” proposal made for a settlement, which is then trumped by another “last” proposal, renders their position risible.

        I accept your reprimand on voting at 16.
        But I took Labour at their word for so many years when they repeatedly accused the proposal as cynicism, populism and worse. Labour only hopped on the bandwagon at the last minute when they saw it was electorally popular.

        1. Here’s where the slippery nature of this conversation needs exposed.

          The agreement which decided on the question in the referendum was the Edinburgh Agreement. Who were the parties to that agreement? I’ve heard it claimed in the past that it was Better Together and Yes Scotland. I’ve heard it claimed that it was all the different political parties. You, here, infer quite deliberately that it was the SNP versus a “coalition” of all the unionist parties. None of those pictures is accurate.

          The Edinburgh Agreement was made between the UK Government and the Scottish Government.

          The Scottish Government carried out a public consultation in which the majority of the public agreed with both governments that this should be a straightforward Yes/No question on the issue of independence. As the SNP had in their manifesto. As all the major political parties wanted. And the final decision to have that single question was taken by the two governments.

          And there is a further piece of dishonesty which is often committed, and that is the pretence that our referendum was a debate between those two governments. It was not. It was a debate between the Scottish people. Both Better Together and Yes Scotland were Scottish campaigns, and they included party and non-party individuals and organisations.

          So much of the grudge and grievance being used, as you have here, to fuel indyref2 demands, is based on a dishonest retelling of this story, a version in which the question was “imposed by the unionists” and in which the argument was Scotland versus the UK. Both are despicable lies. We won’t ever be able to move on from this division until those lies cease being told. Scotland agreed the question. Scotland debated the answer. Scotland decided.

          1. Slippery? Yes, indeed you are!
            Who mentioned the Edinburgh Agreement? What has it to do with proposing a second question? That could have been done by any of the Unionist Parties, who now tell us it was not a straight YES/NO, but something else they forgot to mention until the very end of the referendum debate. As for a Unionist Coalition, what else can we call it, when all appeared together on a common platform, or when Darling spoke at the Tory Conference( and was applauded to the rafters).
            Who are you accusing of pretending the debate was between two governments? You are the only person to have raised the Edinburgh Agreement, so is it you?
            Nor can we accept your narrative of “grudge and grievance” or accusations of “despicable lies”.
            That is pathetic inventive posturing in lieu of argument.
            Next up, you will be telling us about the brave Empire boys who were attacked by Scot Nat thugs in George Square.
            Shameful!

      2. No, I’m not saying any one position is more principled than the other, I’m sure there are “folk of your ilk” who genuinely believe that Scotland staying in the union was in the best interest of the people of Scotland.

        What I am saying is that your statement that the SNP did not want a multi option ballot is factually inaccurate

          1. Yep.The SNP wanted a single question.A huge number of former Labour voters answered Yes to that question.What now?

          2. Duncan I have met and talked to loads of people since the referendum who have been feeling guilty and regret voting No in the referendum they say it is akin to suffering buyers remorse and this has been the case for many pensioners who tell me they now support the SNP and Independence, although as previous Labour supporters they would consider a clean slate and all options and parties in an Independent Scotland but until they gain Independence they say they will support the SNP. It is interesting that the majority of Scottish Labour sections members who are pensioners support Independence perhaps Kezia should listen to the pensioners and not threaten to chuck them out if they support Independence and why don’t the Scottish Labour section let candidates in the Scottish Elections stand on a platform of being in favour of Independence if the chose to do so this could be part of the new politics.

  11. Until Labour in Scotland again becomes a genuine INDEPENDENT socialist party embracing and endeavouring to realise Keir Hardy’s vision ( which included SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE), neither I, nor any of the hundreds of thousand former “Labour” supporters will ever again put a X next to a candidate purporting to be other than a time serving, brown tongued, Tory sycophant.

    1. When asked for facts you link to a partisan Facebook group? I do wonder whether you understand the meaning of the word “fact” at all.

  12. Duncan very negative of you as usual please feel free to join Mike and have a wee whinge and have a nice day.

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