The Scottish Labour ‘No to Separation’ campaign

Scottish Labour needs to set up a ‘No to Separation’ campaign independent of the Party leadership, claims JOHN RUDDY.


Labour’s front bench needs to concentrate on the things that matter. While the First Minister is on his speaking tour of the English regions – trying to tell them how much better off they’ll be without us (isn’t that talking Scotland down?), Johann Lamont and the shadow cabinet need to be holding the Scottish Government to account. That’s why I think Scottish Labour needs to set up its “No to separation” campaign now, and make it independent from the leadership.

A distinct campaign team would do two things. First, it would show that our team at Holyrood care about the bread and butter things that matter. It would show that we’re not the ones obsessed with the constitution (as it can sometimes appear) as instead of going to Johann or Ken for a quote, the media would go to whoever was heading up the Labour campaign. That might be Alastair Darling, or Jack McConnell – but the important thing is that it wouldn’t be a member of the current leadership team.

Secondly, it would allow us to concentrate on opposing the SNP Government in a constructive and critical way, without allowing the constitutional question to side-track things. There is a danger that we will lose focus now, in the run-up to the local government elections in May. The main focus of Scottish Labour in the coming months must be those elections – returning Labour councillors across Scotland to fight for our public services, services which have been put at threat by a combination of an SNP council tax freeze and Tory/Lib Dem benefit cuts.

A separate campaign could also revitalise the argument which Labour must make as devolutionists. We are not, as a rule, unionist – a term that for the majority of the last 300 years has applied to those who believe that Westminster should be the sole legislature for the country. That is a word which has applied best to the conservatives – indeed it is part of their name. That’s why they opposed devolution for so long. Nor are we separatists, wanting to divorce Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, and to set up boundaries where none exist at present. Labour has a proud history of devolution – from Keir Hardies’ vision of Home Rule, through to Donald Dewar’s work to create the Scottish Parliament we know today. We should stand up for that, and proclaim ourselves devolutionists.

Originally from Devon, John Ruddy now lives in Angus. He was an agent for Scottish Labour at the Holyrood election and is a Unison shop steward. Follow John on Twitter at @jruddy99

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71 thoughts on “The Scottish Labour ‘No to Separation’ campaign

  1. Please do get Alistair or Jack maybe they can ask Dave what he meant by “further powers”? So we will have some idea of what we are voting on?

    Oh and incidentally why didn’t Johann ask DCam that when she met him?

    We should be told!

  2. “Secondly, it would allow us to concentrate on opposing the SNP Government in a constructive and critical way”

    Heavens. For the sheer novelty value of that barely-imaginable prospect alone, I wish you the best of luck in getting your new organisation off the ground.

  3. Scottish independence is inevitable because Scotland and England are heading in different directions, social democracy vs neoliberal conservatism.

  4. Re: the ‘English regions’, is there something that stops you from saying the word ‘England’? It’s only 7 letters and 2 syllables, for crying out loud.

    1. I’d quite like to know Johann Lamont’s policy on renewing the UK’s separate nuclear deterrent.

    2. I’m sorry cynical Highlander, but I know for a fact that many Americans today would much prefer to have London as their capital once again. We Scots can learn from their silly mistake and not vote for separation. The Yanks know from experience that it makes sense to remain with the mother country, but it’s too late for them now to come back.

      1. I’m sorry, I just can’t let that comment slide by unchallenged. Having lived and worked in the US for the last two years I have NEVER heard an American voice the opinion that they’d “much prefer to have London as their capital again”.

        Every American I have ever met (both here and abroad) is hugely proud of their country and delighted that they declared independence from the UK all those years ago.

        That you know “for a fact” that many would prefer to be back under UK rule seems, at best, highly unlikely.

    3. The USA were not part of the UK. They were part of the empire. They were gaining independence from a ruling nation. Guess what , it wasn’t just England it was Scotland too.

      We’re not being ruled – we are ruling.

      A key difference but you already know that don’t you. You’re trying to create the impression that we are like the USA, India, Canada and are being ruled by Westminster. Annoying how facts get in the way of that being true isn’t it?

      1. Fact : ConDem coalition parties are in control of Westminster Government.

        Fact : There are more labour MP’s (40) in Scotland than all the other parties put together.

        Apart from the powers devolved to the Scottish Government, who is in charge (ruling), Westminster or the (40) Scottish labour MP’s ???

        How’s them facts !

      2. “A key difference but you already know that don’t you. You’re trying to create the impression that we are like the USA, India, Canada and are being ruled by Westminster. Annoying how facts get in the way of that being true isn’t it?”

        Um, what? Is your position that we’re NOT being ruled by Westminster? I’m pretty sure we are.

  5. “While the First Minister is on his speaking tour of the English regions – trying to tell them how much better off they’ll be without us (isn’t that talking Scotland down?),”

    Have you not realised that this obvious and clumsy untruth immediately invalidates anything else you might be trying to say?
    When you are reduced to this sorry level it becomes very obvious you have nothing of any importance to say.

  6. Just as a matter of interest if you support devolution you are by definition a unionist. Devolution is merely determining internal arrangements of a union.

    1. Also, nice one on promoting your party as THE party of devolution. Nothing to do with pressure from the Council of Europe or desperately trying to create a halfway house to keep Scotland, which used to vote for labour in large chunks, in the union.

      As for a no campaign separate from your leadership, tell the truth, it’s cause she’s not good enough, isn’t it? Labour are falling apart under her ‘leadership’ and she’s doing nothing. The biggest problem is in Glasgow city council where her husband is the Deputy Leader and she does nothing. 4 councillors resigned in her own constituency and she’s done nothing.

      And then we have Alasdair Darling telling us we need to vote first and then maybe talk about devolved powers after, but what are those devolved powers? Well so far….nothing.

      That’s what Labour is these days. Nothing.

      Even most of the posters on your own website don’t support you.

      1. The so-called “pressure from the Council of Europe” is nothing but a wet dream of some nationalists. Just look at NewsNet Scotland to see that.

  7. John’s got a point. It shouldn’t be Salmond or the SNP deciding which powers Scotland should have, it should David Cameron. That’s what you meant, John, wasn’t it? I mean, that’s what you’ll be campaigning for with a “No to seperation” campaign, so it must be what you meant.

  8. In the name of Big Man, is there no-one in new labour who can say something positive about the union? You are just not getting it – rather than oppose independence you should be promoting why Scotland will benefit from staying in the union.

    So what you need is to set up a ‘Yes to the union’ campaign (or ‘Keep westminster rule’)? To be honest I can understand why you don’t what your current ‘leadership’ team involved – they have been nothing but ineffectual so far.

    ….and if you are genuinely concerned about public services as you state, then maybe while you spend your time opposing independence you can send you leadership team over to Stirling council to sort out what is going on over there. A council with no legal budget because new labour councillors side the tories to vote against their own amendment – unbelievable!

    1. I have been reading a lot of the articles posted here and the responses from the readership. A couple of things spring to mind as the time passes. First observation is the Labour spokesmen and women here display a level of intellect that is extremely worrying. Aside from a couple or really excellent articles, the general impression one is left with is of a political class of people that have no creativity in their thinking processes. The fall back to the use of pejorative terms as an instrument of coercion is in my opinion a sign that the party is still lost in the political mists. John says the party is devolutionist at its core. Really? Why did it take the rise in support for the SNP for Labour to realize Holyrood was required, with a very small “r”.
      I can only come to two conclusions, firstly, you are frightened by the Scottish electorate and their desire for something different, and secondly, Labour are not the “peoples” party, it has evolved into a political self preservation society.
      The party that played the deaf ear bit for many, many decades in Scotland has not yet learned to listen. The dearth of creative thinking is quite honestly, astounding. This is now very apparent to all, thanks to the internet. You profess to love Scotland, but you really do not have a desire to listen and build upon the wishes of the Scottish people.

      Time is running out…2014 is just around the corner.

  9. Well… There is that new Labour group, mainly from the Pollock area, that might be available. I understand why you want somebody other than J. LamontJ to front it but surely there are better figureheads than the failures you mentioned.

  10. Why not just call you campaign: “No to really scary separation”?

    I mean, you wouldn’t want to get accused of not being negative enough…

  11. Should Labour party not concentrate on their vision for an independent Scotland, any policiy at all will do!

  12. Perhaps a ‘YES’ to unity Campaign to counter the snps negative push for Separation may be more accurate.

    Let the Negatory remain where it truly belongs with Alex Salmond and the snp

    “I know that my unity with all people cannot be destroyed by national boundaries and government orders.” Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

    1. ““I know that my unity with all people cannot be destroyed by national boundaries and government orders.” Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy”

      So it doesn’t matter whether Scotland is independent or not, then?

      You’re not the brightest bulb in the Union’s box, are you, Niko?

  13. Ah, i must have been imagining the last 9 months when some sort of query about the Independence plebicite was always raised in the media by Messers Grey, Lamont, et all – in between members of the Scottish government being compared to African dictators by BBC interviewers.

    Seriously though, the polling does suggest that most Scottish voters would like “Devo max” – certainly more powers than was suggested and delivered under Calman. The Lib Dems have resurected “Home Rule”, Cameron has said that he would look into providing more powers to Holyrood – yet the sound of silence has been defening from “Scottish Labour”.

    In response to the post, no Scottish Labour should not set up a “No to Seperation” campaign (because we all know England will get custordy of the cat and Wales will not return all the right DVD’s), instead they should be grown up and admit that firstly Calman has been given a huge rasberry from the Scottish Electorate, and secondly that they should look to define “Devo Max” as closely to the Scottish Electorate’s definition as possible.

    Oh, and maybe they should look into Fowlkes proposals regarding holding a double referendum – I think that’s the best idea anyone from Labour has come up with in these debates about the constitution.

  14. I wish people would get away from thinking along party lines, this is not about SNP against everyone else, this is about the future of Scotland and what is best for us all. I imagine there must be many Labour Tory and Lib Dem supporters who would like an independent Scotland and should get behind the campaign for a Yes vote so we can all have a better future.

    Ps. Wonder how long this comment will last as my last comment on this site was removed..

    1. I have been saying the same thing for sometime. The nationhood of Scotland is across all parties and I am getting fed up being considered in favour of the union because of how I vote in party political terms.

  15. A distinct and separate team would of course be a novelty within the Labour Party. And the description of being a devolutionist outfit was a suprise. There’s me thinking they were just known as the anti-SNP party.

    But just how much would they enjoy being ordered about by their leader Ed Milliband.

  16. Labour as devolutionists ???, they who are fighting tooth and nail to deny the Scottish people the right to have Devo max as an option on the referendum.
    Are they the same labour party who are too scared to say ‘Independence’ incase it makes the Scots think about it, and maybe even vote for it, scary stuff eh.
    And what’s this you dont want Johann and the shadow cabinet to get involved as they would be better off holding the “Scottish Government to account”, have you no faith in your Scottish leaders, or have you been watching FM question time like the rest of us, and have seen the light.

    1. There are two reasons why Devo Max will not be on the same referendum as the one for independence:

      1. Devo max is not a question for Scotland alone but for the UK as whole. This will be decided by a UK Act of parliament, giving devo max powers to all the nations of the UK, to be ratified if necessary by a UK-wide referendum.
      The Electoral Commission has already made a statement to this effect. Of course if the Scottish electorate vote for independence, Devo-max

      2. A two-pronged question makes it harder, if not impossible, to put the independence question in a neutral way and which would rule out any ambiguous result.

      If the SNP are in a hurry to have a referendum on Devo-max, then they can bring forward the referendum on independence, but their manifesto commitment was for a later rather than an earlier referendum.

      1. Na, I’m not believing that, if a large number of people in Scotland want to have the devo-max question placed on the referendum who are you to deny them that right.
        And what makes you think the people of Scotland are too thick to work out the difference between the status quo, devo-max and Independence, I am sure we will have no problem. Bring it on, 2014.

  17. “Seperation, seperation, seperation”

    Tony’s original had a much more positive and upbeat feel to it.

    What about trying the meliorative?

  18. It would be good to start if Labour actually came up with positives about being in the UK (keeping Trident won’t wash)

    All the UK parties need to up their game, and they need to spell out the actual bread and butter benefits of remaining in the UK.

    I personally have heard lots of reasons (many contradicting each other) of seperation, but there seems to be an abscence of positive talk on staying in the union.

  19. Can’t wait to see you coming round the doors on your No campaign with your Coalition colleagues. Is the “No” campaign the positive message on the Union we’ve all been waiting for on the grounds that if you put the two negative campaigns of Labour and Coalition together you get a mathematical positive ??
    Anyway – don’t worry if you want to keep Johann out of it (why ?) as you can always get one of the other leaders since the campaigns are interchangeable. Good luck pounding the campaign pavements with Ruth Davidson.

  20. ” It would show that we’re not the ones obsessed with the constitution ”

    9 of the 10 most recent Labour Hame articles focus on Scottish Independence and the SNP.

    Such evidence makes it difficult to deny which side has the obsession.

    1. How else do you expect the site to get any comments if they weren’t talking almost entirely about Independence and the SNP none of the Cybernats would comment and all they’d be left with would Labour supporting posters so each article would get between 5-10 comments max. They write about this topic because that’s what most people who read this site want to discuss.

  21. Who can wait for that day when we can walk down the street and greet our friends and neighbours with a “have a happy seperation day” and crowds gather in our town and village squares to celebrate “SEPERATION”. And if some jolly foreign person asks in bewilderment what is happening ? we can quietly inform them we are celebrating the day we became SEPERATE. And we will be unique in the world as being the only country to have a SEPERATE DAY, who can wait !!!

  22. John Ruddy….Constructive debate ….?

    I cannot believe it !!!! Copyright Victor Meldrew.

  23. Hi John,

    I think this is something worth looking at. It would definitelt allow us to concentrate on jobs etc while a devoted campaign team could focus on tearing the separation ‘arguments’ apart.

    Spot on with your analysis of our position as devolutionists not unionists or separatists (although our party does contain those too – good thing we allow free thinking in our party).

    1. You know what ? you could include independentist’s as well, or does your free thinking not extend that far, since the word ‘independence’ seems to scare you all.
      I look forward to see’s this devoted campaign team in action, “tearing the independence arguments apart”, because so far you have had no luck.

    2. “good thing we allow free thinking in our party”.

      That would be great if that’s the case. I understand Patrick Harvie has spoken to a number of people in ‘Unionist/Devolutionist’ parties who are keen on independence privately, but are nervous about not towing the party line lest they be reprimanded for it.

      It would add a great deal to this important debate if parties allow these people, be they Labour, Tory or Lib Dem MPs/MSPs/councillors etc to freely support independence against party lines.

      After all, this goes beyond political parties; it is a ‘movement’, with the SNP, SSP, Greens etc primarily being the vehicles of delivery, respecting the wish of the Scottish people to decide their country’s future as a good government should.

      Those within the, e.g., Labour party who support independence could also put forward a ‘Scottish Labour’ manifesto outlining their vision for an independent Scotland (e.g. currency, EU membership…) to compliment those of the pro-independence parties. After all, independence does not belong to the SNP, but all the people of Scotland.

      1. Scottish Skier

        I think that the longer the debate goes on the people in all three unionist partys who support independence will become more frustrated that they have no voice inside their own party.

        Will the Labour members join Malcolm Chisholm and Henry McLeish who have already spoken up for more powers, or will that not be enough for them, and they start looking for another party that more matches their aspirations for their country. Where do the Tory and Lib Dem members go? Will they look to another party? Will the Greens have a surge in membership as we get nearer the referendum?

        The one thing for sure is that these people will not be out canvassing and leafleting for something that they do not believe in, particularly as the “de facto” leader of the No campaign is David Cameron.

        The three unionist partys are spending all of their time looking outward at the SNP, maybe its time they starting looking inward and addressing any possible splits in their membership.

    3. “Spot on with your analysis of our position as devolutionists not unionists or separatists (although our party does contain those too”

      Those Labour “separatists” have been keeping awfully quiet. Care to identify any of them?

      I’m enjoying the attempted distinction between “Unionists” and “devolutionists”, though. To be a devolutionist you have to support the Union, because devolution can only exist within it. So in what sense are you not a Unionist? What you’re not is a “status-quo-ist”, but nobody’s accusing you of being one of those, so what’s your point?

    4. We also need to put the case for devolution, state what powers we think Scotland needs, why we think they need them, and how WE would use them.

      Its no good arguing for greater powers when you dont even use the powers that you’ve got.

      1. “Its no good arguing for greater powers when you dont even use the powers that you’ve got.”


        Surely having the choice to use them or not is what’s important? Having to use powers or lose them is ridiculous. Can you imagine a police officer with the power of arrest watching a street full of law abiding citizens and getting stuck in and arresting a few anyway simply because he’s got the power?

        That’s a daft arguement.

        I have the power to do handstands, but rarely use that because walking on my feet is a better way of ding things.

        What was the point you were trying to make?

      1. Well it can’t be that, now, can it? We’re constantly told Labour are the party of devolution, the party that delivered devolution and the party that will defend devolution. Those papers can’t show anything other than that.

  24. When the campaign “proper” starts there will of course be separate campaigns – there will be a Yes campaign and there will be a No campaign. They should both be cross-party and they should both have people of no parties involved.

    But I don’t think you have thought through how separating the Labour leadership from the constitutional debate at this stage would work. Because the Scottish Government won’t be separated from it. So it will just look as though Labour in the Scottish Parliament aren’t allowed to talk about the constitution – especially if the people who do comment are Westminster-based.

    It would kind of be a gift to the SNP really. (See how nice and helpful I am being pointing that out?) One way or another Scottish Labour is actually going to have to engage in this debate you know.

  25. Mr Ruddy you claim in your article “We are not, as a rule, unionist”. I think you are getting confused, and so is GMcM when he states in his comment “Spot on with your analysis of our position as devolutionists not unionists”.
    Please let me explain. If you are not a nationalist you are a unionist. Its as simple as that. Supporters of devolution are unionists. Thats what devolution means. Devolving certain powers equals retaining other powers. You can only retain powers in a union.

    1. “If you are not a nationalist you are a unionist. Its as simple as that. Supporters of devolution are unionists”

      I had a quick look into this…..

      “Devolution differs from federalism in that the devolved powers of the subnational authority [Scotland] may be temporary and ultimately reside in central government [Westminster], thus the state remains, de jure “unitary” [UK Union]. Legislation creating devolved parliaments [Scotland] or assemblies can be repealed or amended by central government [Westminster] in the same way as any statute.”

      Thus, under devolution, no powers truly ‘rest’ in Scotland as any or all of these can be removed at any time by Westminster.

      I thus agree with you on this one: Devolutionism is just a [subordinate] form of Unionism it seems.

  26. You have to say ‘Yes’ to something positive about Scotland in order to be successful in the independence referendum

    A Scottish Labour ‘No to Separation’ campaign is doubly negative and very likely to backfire.

    It highlights that Scottish Labour can’t or daren’t find something positive about Scotland to say ‘Yes’ to. That should trouble minds.

  27. John Ruddy—Do you have the faintest idea what Keir Hardie’s Home Rule entailed? It surpassed Devo Max and was Independence in all but name. This is what annoys me about the modern Labour Party, they are totally ignorant about their own past. Why does Labour insist on keeping Scotland seperate from the World?

  28. “Those Labour “separatists” have been keeping awfully quiet. Care to identify any of them?”

    Malcom Chisolm said if he was given the choice of Independence or the status quo, he will vote for independence and he knows of a lot of people in the labour party who will join him.

    It is widely believed that a number of people who are traditional labour voters will vote for independence in the referendum.
    It is also believed that people who have recently voted SNP will vote No in the referendum, so not making any particular point.

    1. Patrick

      I was not aware that Malcolm Chisholm had said that he would vote for independence if the only alternative was the status quo.

      He is of course untouchable within the Labour party in as much as they could not discipline him for not toeing the party line, but he could be the figurehead for all the disenfranchised Labour party members who would prefer Independence to continued Westminster domination.

      Its worth reflecting on the fact that David Cameron will still be the Prime Minister at the time of the referendum, every person campaigning for the “no” camp will be campaigning for him to continue as PM. Will that drive even more “old Labour” members out of their party?

  29. Richard Mackinnon makes a very important point.

    When it really comes down to it, most Scots cannot state they are Unionists because deep down they feel uncomfortable saying this. Michael Moore wouldn’t say it, Johann Lamont won’t admit it. Why ?

    I think that it is clear that Scots know that unionism is in fact anti – Scottish.
    They can’t stomach the thought that they may be fighting against people who want what’s best for Scotland. (SNP)
    They can’t stomach the realization that in order to win the argument against independence they need to support a Westminster system that has lied to and deceived Scotland.
    They cringe at the knowledge that they find themselves on the same side that Margaret Thatcher was on just a few years ago. they hate the fact that they are using arguments that she and her cabinet used against the Scots.

    So what they have done is change the language. They simply can’t use ‘independence’ because that is a positive state of affairs, so they use ‘separatists’ or separation. It means the same thing but if they or more importantly their activists use ‘independence’ it feels uncomfortable arguing against it for them.
    If the activists are asked if they are unionists they will deny it and will simply not continue to support the labour party to promote this position, so they have had to change the language in order to make their position seem more palatable.


    The labour party is a unionist party and whether or not they support devolution is irrelevant.
    If they continue to support Scotland remaining in a union with England, wales and northern Ireland under Westminster rule they are unionists.

    At this time this is definitely the labour parties position, so I’m afraid John and his other labour party activists friends, who are embarrassed about the fact they are unionists are simply going to have to get used to the title, because if the hat fits…..

  30. I cant wait for the referendum when people go to the polls and see that there is NOT an option for yes/no to seperation which will be associated with labour scare stories and negative campaigning – however there IS an option for yes/ no to independence that will be associated with positive, ambitious campaigning for the people of scotland – not rocket science where the x will go.

  31. PS I know how upsetting the anti Scottish comment will be for some people, (because it is too close to the truth for some)

    But I genuinely believe that the Psychological make up of Scots, will not be able to support the brand that will be ‘Unionism for Scotland’ that is apposed to the brand that will be ‘Independence for Scotland’

    The SNP are light years ahead of the labour party when it comes to understanding these things as the articles that show labour party thinking on sites like labourhame show.

    This will become very clear as the true debate begins to emerge.

    1. In my opinion, most people in Scotland like the idea of an independent Scotland as a concept. They just doubt its practicality and viability. I have never really felt a huge burgeoning emotional feeling for “Unionism” amongst ordinary people. It’s more of a grudging acceptance that it’s maybe good in the long run to be part of a bigger state rather than going into an uncertain independent future.

      What keeps Scotland under Westminster rule is a belief amongst ordinary people that to rule our own affairs is too risky and is economically not viable. There is no emotional attachment to being ruled from London. It’s a pragmatic thing.

      For that reason, the unionist camp isn’t particularly

      a) fond of the term Unionist (as it’s not endearing to Scots) and

      b) very positive because its biggest card is the conception that an independent Scotland is financially problematic. They will, with all their heart, endeavor to make an independent Scotland seem totally unworkable to the wider populace (whilst conceding to chattering classes the opposite).

      There’s been a lot of mutterings from unionists recently that Scotland is quite able, quite financially sound enough to be independent. This point has been conceded because the chattering classes have realised it. The people at large have yet to. Once (If) they do, independence will happen.

  32. Of course Labour should set up an Independent body.The present leaderships couldn’t organise the proverbial p up in a brewery.Notice he wants independence here because of incompetence but not for Scotland for the same reason/

  33. I think we have need of two now bodies within our party.
    a) One that represents those who support the union
    b) One that represents Labour voters who agree with Independence (Yes – I used that word.

    I have no idea what the balance is but I suspect it is a fair proportion of the party. I accept it maybe a minority view but it should still be respected.

    A continued dictate / assertion that all Labour voters are pro-union is wrong.

    I know I am not alone in wishing for a return to traditional values. I am pro- european and support socialist movements across the world. To suggest we have to become (or remain) one nation to progress that aim is patent nonsense.

  34. For starters, give up the utterly stupid, and deliberate, use of the term, “separate”, it means to put apart physically. The correct term is, “independent”, and that means NOT relying upon another. Children grow up and become independent of their parents but remain part of the family. However, they may fall out with the parents and go off and live separate lives. The second step that you make is to do the ONLY thing that would negate Scotland’s independence. There were only two signatories to the Treaty of Union so, if England also became devolved, and stopped acting as everyone’s overlord, the next step is to make a good case for Scotland being in the Union. In other words, detail the economic, political and social benefits Scotland gets from remaining tied to the Union. Shouldn’t be that hard as the Wastemonster is busting up the police forces, armed forces, NHS and the wellfare state. You do believe Labour are a socialist party, don’t you? Well don’t you?

  35. Dubbieside,

    yes mate. MC said that and added that he believed that a number of MSp’s in the Scottish parliament felt the same !!!
    Him and Henry McLiesh have repeatedly warned the labour party, that they are slowly being painted into a position of having to defend the status quo and that the majority of activists and labour voters will abandon them if this is the case, but the labour leadership have simply not responded to these comments. (where have we saw this before)

    As you can see, John Ruddy is trying to be as polite as possible, but in effect he wants the removal of the current leadership of the labour party in Scotland, as the far as fighting the independence movement and hopes some other team can offer an alternative position for labour to adopt.

    It’s a pipe dream though, cos if Johann was removed she would have to backtrack on the ‘I’m the leader of the whole Scottish Labour movement’ nonsense that we all heard and her credibility would be shot to pieces.
    This is why Jim Murphy has vanished, he knows the labour party has reached the point where they can’t get out of this hole, without causing a lot of u-turns and splits.

    I’m loving it !!!

  36. Hate to point this out but yes those boundaries do exist, thats why it says ‘Welcome to Scotland’ at the border.

    As much as I do love a bit of Tory-bashing, please be correct with it. The ‘Unionist’ in Conservative & Unionist related to the Northern Ireland situation and had nothing to with an independent or devolved Scotland which none of the parties showed any willing to bring about, despite two proclaiming to support home rule.

  37. R Pollock said something interesting:

    “What keeps Scotland under Westminster rule is a belief amongst ordinary people that to rule our own affairs is too risky and is economically not viable. There is no emotional attachment to being ruled from London. It’s a pragmatic thing.”

    I note, again, this emphasis on “being ruled from London”; it is absolutely crucial in this debate, in my view, that we don’t elide — as I have regularly noticed happening in several postings — London with England. Many folk in England don’t like being ruled from London; ask someone from Liverpool or Newcastle, for instance.

    It seems to me that an earlier comment of mine was relevant:

    “… is it still right to leave our comrades in the many depressed parts of England in the lurch?”

    Recall: The NHS, rightly prized by Scots, was invented by a Welshman and put through under the government of a party, founded by a Scot (representing a Welsh constituency), whose PM was English. Can’t that kind of collective creativity and solidarity *ever* be found again? Or is it that a single national identity, accompanied by, I fear, arguably worrying claims about a particular nation’s exceptionalism, always trumps collective humanity? I find that a very depressing, negative analysis.

    [Apologies for repeating that point, but I am big-headed enough to think it deserves repetition.]

    A positive and creative approach — a “new unionism”, if you like, it doesn’t have to call on the echoes of faded imperial ambition, which of course Scots and English eagerly collaborated in — would be to develop an empowering localism within a rebuilt and cooperative union. Such a union has the potential, *if we work at it*, to emphasise solidarity and could be comfortable, *if we work at it*, with multiple identities. That is what devolution within the union means to me, and I think many folk would find such a vision attractive. Unionism has changed repeatedly and creatively over the last 500 years (it long predates 1707); it can do so again, if folk find the will to engage with it. The promised land doesn’t arrive without working for it!

    So, that’s my pitch: a positive, new union, accepting multiple national identities within a cooperative structure, building on the past but going beyond it in a progressive way. You can call it a social union, if you like; I don’t much care about the title. I’d fight for that — I agree it would be a challenge, but no more a challenge than independence would be — and it would be great if progressive folk north and south of the border could fight for it *together*.

    And surely it would be more ambitious, and positive, than saying you want to pull up the drawbridge and tell our brothers and sisters down south: “You made your bed, now lie in it. We’re off!”

    1. This is one of the arguements within the party that puts me at a loss. Europe is Socialist – The Scottish values align with the core (Majority values). Why surrender the opportunity to be strong in a socialsit Europe to remain in a Capitalist UK. We have surrendered too much to win the middle England vote. I will support the socialist movement in every country – Anywhere that shares my values including Newcastle / Liverpool etc – not exclusively those areas. Surrendering core values to have “influence” in power is not the concept I have in mind.

      We stay together and trade towards the middle to minimise the worst excesses of Capitalism? It must be me!

      I am at a loss to understand why this requires a vote to retain a union?

  38. George says:

    “We have surrendered too much to win the middle England vote. ”

    But can democratic socialism *never* rise in England again? Why is England an exception (if we accept George’s description of Europe — not sure I do, unless you are referring to only part of Europe)? Does it *always* have to be in the future? I’m an optimist (shouldn’t we all be so, as Labour supporters?). We have the link, and a mature one, now; why lose the opportunity when — potentially — that link might be harnessed to the rebirth? That means campaigning, struggling, working for the future. I just hate the thought of throwing up one’s hands and walking away.

    That’s why I like Devo Plus, now in the news. It seems to me to be an excellent way forward, allowing us to continue to express our solidarity within the UK while helping create something special.

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