The “Sturgeon surge” may be over, but this is a strategy nearing completion

Labour Hame editor Duncan Hothersall says the local election results represent the culmination of a decade-old SNP strategy, and Scottish Labour’s survival is critical to the survival of the United Kingdom.

 

So the results of the local elections are in, and while the overall numbers for Scottish Labour were not quite as bad as feared they are still heartbreaking – for the many committed local champions who lost, and for the millions who have relied upon and benefited from Labour representation in the past.

It’s also true to say that the SNP juggernaut has slowed considerably compared to recent electoral success, partly as the inevitable result of the Single Transferable Vote being used for local elections, which cannot turn a minority of votes into a landslide in the way First Past The Post did in 2015.

But make no mistake, these results are a massive success for the SNP. Not because their seat count has held steady, and not because they will probably lead administrations across the country, although both of those are good news for them. It’s a massive success because the Tories can now be pointed to in local as well as Scottish and UK government as the only alternative to the SNP. And reaching this position has been the SNP’s strategic goal for the last decade.

I have waxed lyrical in the past – more than some have been comfortable with – on the strategic skill of the SNP’s political machine. Especially in the early years of Salmond’s second round of leadership, wonks like Kevin Pringle, Stephen Noon and others were simply head and shoulders above the other parties in their clarity of thinking and efficacy of execution. And the core of their long term strategy was to kill Scottish Labour in order to engineer a binary choice for Scots between the SNP and the Tories.

Indeed the estimable Mr Pringle was unable to resist celebrating this achievement in his Sunday Times column yesterday:

“For the first time ever, politics in Scotland is now primarily a tussle between the SNP and the Conservatives. And that will be underscored in next month’s general election. In this new two-horse race, Labour is third.”

Even more impressive than this success is the fact that it came despite the hump in the road that was the independence referendum in 2014. Make no mistake – 2014 was never part of the strategic plan. The idea was to kill Labour first before putting the big question to the country. A referendum in the 2016 parliament, with Labour sidelined and the Tories as the champions of union, was the original strategic plan.

But faced with a majority in 2011, the SNP became the dog that caught the car, and was forced to put its money where its mouth was. Labour’s continued position of relative strength in 2014 meant that Labour values could underpin the Better Together campaign and Labour figures could spearhead it, and the united front of Labour and the Tories was what defeated independence three years ago.

But remarkably, as we now know, the SNP were able to turn that failure into a success. They recognised that while 45% loses a referendum, it can win any number of elections. And it has done so, aided by Labour’s abject failure to capitalise in the first days and weeks following our success in 2014. It was in October 2014 that the SNP realised Labour once again had planned only for the war, and not for the peace. And the SNP’s strategic strength once more shone through.

So in the electoral cycles since 2014 the SNP has completed its execution of its original Kill Labour strategy with aplomb. The nationalists now find themselves precisely where they always planned to be – the self-proclaimed champions of “Scotland” standing against the Tories happily casting themselves as the champions of the union, and thereby pushing more and more of Scotland’s former Labour vote towards what the SNP will always tell us is the only way the stop the Tories – independence.

With the general election next month we now have to face up to a genuine existential threat to the United Kingdom. If Labour is killed off entirely, a second independence referendum isn’t just winnable for the SNP; it’s a fait accompli.

That’s why it’s vital in on 8 June that where Labour can win, Labour must win. Where solidarity can be demonstrated as another alternative to nationalism alongside traditional Tory unionism, it has to be endorsed, because a successful anti-independence campaign needs to have both those strings to its bow to stand any chance of success.

A resurgent Labour Party in Scotland is essential for the preservation of the union. And all who value the United Kingdom need to recognise this next month.

 

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161 thoughts on “The “Sturgeon surge” may be over, but this is a strategy nearing completion

  1. How do we get this message to unionist conservative voters in Eng&Wales? Do they care enough to listen and would they risk Jeremy to save the Union?

  2. The more you split the vote between Tory and Labour, the better it is for the SNP. A seriously split unionist vote is the best thing that could happen as far as progress to IndyRef2 is concerned. So, of course, I am all in favour of it 😉

    I have to take issue with the rather dubious conclusion that the LA elections have seen the SNP “stalled”. The SNP vote in “non-national” votes is always lower. People seem more motivated to vote for them when it comes to who speaks for Scotland as a whole rather than locally. For instance, the SNP won an unprecedented majority at Holyrood in 2011 with about 45% of the vote. However, in the 2012 LA elections, they only polled about 32% of the vote. That did not stop them getting about 50% in the 2015 Westminster election and about 47% in the 2016 Holyrood election. The fact they have polled a lot better in the 2017 LA election than they did in 2012 is actually rather encouraging for the SNP.

    Still, I’m happy for Labour and the Tories to deludedly crow about how they believe the wheels have come off the SNP bus and claim a vote for them is the way forward for unionists for the reason I gave at the start of my post.

    1. Except I didn’t claim that the fact the SNP vote had held steady was a bad thing for them. I said it was a success.

      And I take your point that a split “unionist” vote is good for getting *to* #indyref2. But it doesn’t help the SNP *win* it.

      1. An increasingly harsh, right wing, regressive Tory Govt at Westminster with a rather feeble Labour opposition that is unlikely to win there for, perhaps, decades will undoubtedly “help the SNP *win* it” though.

        Which, I accept, is largely your point in the article.

  3. I agree with what’s being said on a lot of points here, but what’s the strategy going forward for Labour in Scotland? What message do you want the party to get across? Perhaps it’s been outlined in previous articles, or you are going to write about it in a follow-up piece, but this article just comes across as a sad obituary piece rather than it helping to create future plans that can actually turn the tide that you outline.

    I’m genuinely asking as an outsider really as I got linked to this article on my Facebook so although I follow you on Twitter, I haven’t read anything on here before so maybe I’m missing something.

  4. It’s probably worth considering that the Tory strategy has been exactly the same. They may not have realised at the time the damage that Better Together would do to Scottish Labour after 2014, but they most certainly have since. So they are now leveraging both the Unionist and the Leave vote in their favour via the crude, simple, messaging that is their hallmark.

    Ruth Davidson’s Tories don’t give a damn about seats or vote share. Their strategy is to change the narrative from the margins – to make every election a single-issue affair. And it’s working – disconcertingly well – to the extent that the SNP is being dragged onto ground it has no wish to fight on at present.

    But the real victim is Scottish Labour. Because, by feebly echoing Ruth Davidson rather than develop a distinct position on independence and Brexit, it has nothing new to offer, and gives no incentive for any unionist or leave voter to choose it rather than the more dynamic alternative.

    (And don’t respond ‘federalism’. Labour had its chance to do something positive in both the Smith Commission and the Scotland bill debate, but flunked out). The narrative has been changed.

    1. When you pathetically agree to ever demand a bully makes, don’t be surprised if the bully shows you no mercy.

    2. I’d just observe that (a) all info suggests SNP vote share well down and (b) the Toarries look much more palatable in Scotland now.

      1. The tories look palatable to 25% of the population. In the nineties, they got 24% of the vote and no representation. In the last Holyrood election they got c22% of the vote. I would counsel liberal use of the salt cellar, Campbell.

      2. Well seen you are a Campbell.. traitorous to your own country’s people!

  5. Total misrepresentation of the facts. “And the core of their (SNP) long term strategy was to kill Scottish Labour in order to engineer a binary choice for Scots between the SNP and the Tories.” That was never the SNP plan. The SNP did not set out to kill Labour. Labour committed suicide.
    The SNP wanted Labour to come on to their side 2011 to 2014. Salmond offered Labour to propose a second question option on the referendum ballot paper . Labour point blank refused to discuss it. No thought, no discussion. Labour Hame the mouth piece.
    In fact the opposite is the case. It was Labour that tried to kill the SNP through the referendum. Their plan was win the referendum, cement the union for good, and the SNP would be surplus to requirements. That was Labour’s mistake. They never appreciated that a big part of their core vote would vote Yes. Labour thought that the masses would follow instruction as always, that if The Scottish labour Party told them they were unionists they would No. That is why Labour are now irrelevant. It is nothing to do with a big SNP plan. That is a rewrite of history.
    Labour have their own self to blame. There is an exact parallel here to 1992. Scottish Labour, every member, every supporter were unilateralists (Trident). Over night they were told that is not Labour policy, they Scottish Labour (the feeble 50) were now multi lateralist. Instruction from Westminster Labour. The messengers, Dewar and Wilson.
    When you treat your supporters with contempt like that don’t blame others when you find you don’t have any supporters left.
    PS Duncan Hothersall played his part in Scottish Labours downfall when he steadfastly argued against a second question option 2011 to 2014 to make it a binary choice. There are many within Scottish Labour that agree with my analysis. It is no surprise therefore that we see articles like this one where Duncan tries to point the finger and put the blame on others.

    1. You just said exactly what I wanted to say so I wont bother, well done.

      1. Same here. I was never an SNP voter. I was a Labour member at one point (pre Iraq and welfare reform) and I voted Lib Dem in 2007, precisely because I preferred the full fiscal autonomy they claimed to be proposing over independence. When the SNP won a minority government, I hoped desperately for a coalition between them and the Lib Dems, preferably backed by Labour, to deliver something like that and was gutted when it didn’t happen. So I voted SNP in 2011 as it was then clear they were the *only* option available to vote for if you wanted more powers for Scotland, of any type.

        When they won in 2011, I felt sure then that would be a big enough message to the UK establishment that substantially more powers were necessary. I still wasn’t pro-independence at that point, because I naively believed at least Labour and the Lib Dems would come in with some genuine home rule, devo max type offering that would go on the ballot paper, win a landslide and be delivered.

        By not allowing even any discussion, taking the Tory line of “Jocks can’t tell us what power they want” and having simply “destroying the SNP” as the only aim Labour and the Lib Dems made it a binary choice. For you, it was obviously easy to take the Tory and unionist side. I’d never in a million years make that choice, and especially not having voted for full fiscal autonomy and more powers for Scotland.

        The SNP isn’t killing Labour: Labour is. If the SNP were clever enough to have put in place the current Scottish Labour leadership, fair play to them though.

        1. But this is of course a grotesque misrepresentation. Every party to the Edinburgh Agreement – the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the SNP, Labour the Lib Dems and the Tories, ALL favoured a single binary question in 2014. And the Scottish Government also conducted a public consultation, and the public wanted only a single question on the ballot.

          It was Alex Salmond who spun this lie about Labour and the Lib Dems blocking a second question. It is emphatically a lie. Indyref was a binary choice because both governments, every major party AND THE SCOTTISH PUBLIC wanted it to be.

          1. That is certainly not my recollection. I distinctly recall most people assuming back in 2012 (back when I was a neutral) that there would be a 3-way question to allow everyone to save face, and that Devo-Max would win. Some party must have nixed that. Which one?

          2. Every party opposed that. And so did the public consultation. It’s a fact. You can check.

          3. The 2011 Scottish elections were held 5 May, The Edinburgh Agreement was signed 15 October 2012. After 5.05.11 Salmond said he was open to the idea of a second question, a half way, more devolutionary powers, more fiscal responsibility option. We and others argued for months on LH for Labour to come up with a middle ground alternative. Salmond wanted it because in he never thought he could pull off a Yes win. He thought it was too soon. He wanted a gradual approach to independence, The Salami Strategy.
            And the important part of all this, the part that demolishes your fantasy that The Downfall is all part of a SNP plan is this; if the Labour Party had accepted the offer, and framed a second question, Labour would have had a distinct role to play, Torys fighting for the union, SNP for independence and Labour for the middle ground offering the responsible option, ‘ more powers’. Colateral advantages – no Better Together and a resounding win on 18.09.14 to manage.

            .

          4. We’ve been round and round and round this before Richard, and your rewriting of history remains partial and misleading.

            Salmond opposed a second question. The SNP opposed a second question. He touted the idea of Labour (Why Labour I wonder? Hmmm…) proposing one in order to give ammunition for *precisely the attack you keep making today*. And among the many reasons that all the other parties, and the people of Scotland when consulted, rejected the idea of a multi-question or multi-option referendum was that to do it one would need a constitutional convention to reach agreement on what the third option *was*. Salmond wanted Labour to propose one so that he could retain his and the SNP’s position of wanting a binary question and blame Labour for whatever inevitable disagreements there would be over what the third option was.

            As I say, you and I have been round and round this, and you need to stop repeating your dishonest claims. Every party, both governments AND THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND rejected the idea of a second question in 2014. Stop pretending otherwise.

      2. Yes, me too. What is it about Labour that makes them think that everything is about them? What has gone wrong with Labour is not the fault of the SNP. They did it to themselves by standing shoulder to shoulder with the tories and dancing jigs with them on referendum night.

      1. Sorry, ‘every Labour member’ was unilateralist? Not me! If your argument is that internal sectionalism weakened Scottish Labour, then you have a point – and another argument.

    2. Thank f*** you said it. I thought for a minute I was going nuts. Labour itself themselves by losing it’s heart, and being dominated by self-serving politicians, the SNP were there at the right time. No plan, no blame. Whingeing Labour has to grow up. i have voted Labour for most of my life. Things changed. It was no evil plan, no takeover. Just grow up.

    3. Labour seem determined to take the electorate for fools, while the electorate are laughing at them for being played by the Ruth Davidson rape clause party. I’m reminded of the poker saying ‘Look around the poker table; If you can’t see the sucker, you’re It’.

  6. SNP vote up by 107,000 votes Greens almost double theirs shift from anti indy to pro indy 0.4%.

    Seems to me that the pro Indy juggernaut just keeps on trucking while the pro union vote plays musical chairs from Red Tory to Blue Tory.

    All the media spin in the world cant hide the reality. The ONLY success the Blue tories are enjoying is at the expense of the Red Tories not the SNP.

    Choice is now polarised and stark between Independent social democracy or union fascism. So what are you Duncan? A social democrat or a fascist?

  7. Duncan – this is a very fair article. I enjoyed reading it. It is a very realistic account of what has really happened in the locals which, as you say, is a probably a good news story for the SNP with the even better news that this result is being drowned out by all the bellicose fake news about the ‘Tory surge’.

    I just wonder what it will take for Labour to shift its position on independence? There is a still place in a new Scotland for Labour, but if it doesn’t make its move soon – then the Greens will take this vacant spot for their own. Since when did unionism become a core historic Labour principle – one quite literally that is deemed worth the party dying for. What would it take for you to realise that Labour’s values can rise to the fore again, but cannot do so before Scotland achieves its independence?

    ps I appreciate your site is open to comments unlike the Tories!

    1. Interesting that we are still waiting for a response.

  8. This is the existential crisis of unionism.
    Duncan you are asking a socialist to vote for a candidate who will vote for the rape clause bill and anti union legislation.
    How can that be justified?

    1. Except that’s just a lie. Nowhere have I asked for any such thing. Not in this piece, and not anywhere else.

      What is it that makes you think you can just lie without compunction?

      1. ‘Where solidarity can be demonstrated as another alternative to nationalism alongside traditional Tory unionism, it has to be endorsed, because a successful anti-independence campaign needs to have both those strings to its bow to stand any chance of success’
        The article refers to the General election.
        These are your words Duncan.
        They are very close to endorsing tactically voting for Tory candidates as far as i can see.
        If i misunderstand your intentions please correct me.

        1. Nowhere have I endorsed voting Tory, and on frequent occasions I have confirmed my opposition to voting Tory. I am happy to confirm my opposition to voting Tory again.

          The idea that the passage you highlight is an endorsement of voting Tory is a hell of a stretch.

          1. Only it isn’t a stretch, is it? It’s a call back to the heady days of Better Together.

            Writing begging letters Dunky; how low can you go?

      2. It can be argued that Stan has misconstrued what you have advocated Mr Hothersall. On the face of it, you have not actually advocated voting Tory anywhere in the article. You have only actually advocated voting Labour …. “where Labour can win”. However, the flip side of that policy, which you do not address, is who should Labour voters support in the multitude of areas where they can’t win?

        Is it the SNP? I doubt it as the whole crux of your argument is to “stop the SNP” and the possibility of IndyRef2, despite the SNP being close to Labour in most policy areas. Is it the LibDems? I can see you advocating that as most people view them as “mostly harmless” and they also oppose IndyRef2. But they are even further behind in the polls than Labour so wont have much impact even with some borrowed Labour votes. Is it the dreaded Tories? Given your pro-union-at-any-cost stance, coupled with the reality of the Tories newfound “strength” (sic) in Scotland, I think the implicit answer to that question is a resounding “YES”.

        You oppose independence more than you oppose the Tories. Despite the disaster that befell Labour after the Better Together alliance with the Tories you are still advocating Labour working “alongside traditional Tory unionism”. Is independence and the ability of Scots to govern themselves in their own best interests so anathema to you that you would be willing to subject those Scots to 20 years or more of harsh, unjust, self-serving Tory policies with only the faint glimmer of hope that a resurgent Labour Party might just be in with a chance of forming a Westminster Govt in the 2030s? Even if Labour could win again, would they be willing (never mind able) to undo all the harm decades of Tory rule would have wrought? The evidence of the Blair/Brown years would argue against that.

        Just as you (or at least Labour commentators like yourself) have claimed the SNP secretly desire a big Tory win in England to bolster support in Scotland for independence, it appears clear that many in Scottish Labour (sic) secretly desire the Tories to win as many seats as possible in Scotland to hopefully undermine that support.

        To you and likeminded Scots, there are two unappealing outcomes. Either independence for your country or massively damaging Tory rule. It appears the latter is the preferred option in a Hobson’s choice you did not want to make. I find that “disappointing”. Surely a progressive independent Scotland, that will no doubt have its initial problems to solve, is preferable to the certainty of regressive misery under decades of Tory rule.

  9. It might be better to figure out why your party is doing so badly, rather than blaming the SNP. People don’t trust Labour any more, that trust needs to be rebuilt and you won’t win back any voters by trying to out Ruth, Ruth Davidson’s no to a 2nd Indyref rhetoric. If people are as sick of the constitutional question as you make out, stop talking about it, find something to actually stand out from the crowd. Make the Labour party approachable to Nationalists as well as Unionists. Whilst I’ve always known Kezia is a hard working MSP, it was only after seeing her “Rape Clause” speech that I’ve actually been impressed with her as leader of Labour. I’ve never seen her so impassioned. I’m sure Labour and Kezia feel that strongly about other things too, go to war on those issues let us see some real emotion rather than some wishy washy uturning opinion on the constitution again and again. No one is buying it, learn from it and change tactics. I for one don’t want to see the Labour party die out. I would like to see them rise of the ashes of New Labour and prove they’re the party of working people again.

  10. Well that was an article full of ( “a big boy did it” then ran away) tripe, scottish labour still won’t take responsibility for their own actions and policy’s.

    Imagine, you are now behind the torys in both Holyrood and the local councils and have only one actually scottish MP in Westminster. And you did it to yersels without any help from others, and how do you propose to improve, well it appears by begging for the tories to throw you a bone.

    The quicker there is a root and branch clear-out of the labour leadership and their advisers the better for the ordinary members. Its the same crap from labour with the same results – hell mend you , you deserve it.

  11. “Where solidarity can be demonstrated as another alternative to nationalism alongside traditional Tory unionism, it has to be endorsed”
    Sorry, but I’m not clear what that means? Can anyone explain?

    1. Labour’s argument against independence, which helped to win the referendum in 2014, was based on solidarity. My point is that any future successful campaign against independence needs to include Labour voices calling for solidarity, because traditional Tory unionism on its own will fail.

      1. I would dispute that ‘solidarity helped ‘win the Referendum.
        Labour colluded with The Tories and cut price supermarket bosses like Asda to scare poorer voters into believing food prices would rise after independence.
        This attack on Scots is the real reason Labour is in electoral freefall.
        Those that lived through Labours willingness to repeat these falsehoods in the name of the union like myself will never forget this betrayal.

        1. Well if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Kevin Pringle, writing in the Sunday Times yesterday:

          As someone who worked hard in 2014 for a “yes” vote, I know that it was Labour’s presence in Scotland and their language of solidarity that delivered Better Together’s victory.

          Source: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/the-tories-will-defeat-labour-but-lose-theunion-mgjnqrbch

          (Kevin Pringle was Strategic Communications Director of the SNP during the referendum campaign, having previously been Senior Special Adviser to former First Minister Alex Salmond.)

          1. There’s little doubt that Labour were fundamental in delivering the “No” vote – the problem Labour has is that there are a lot of dyed-in-the-wool Labour supporters who won’t forgive the party for it.

            I’m one of ’em.

          1. As an SNP member and believer in Independence the only, way to achieve social justice goals (that we actually share, Duncan) I am a little sad to hear you say you support disembowelling the Labour Party after it’s first ritual suicide in 2012-2015. Another ‘Better Together’ will destroy utterly what’s left of the Labour Party. You yet have time to support Independence, and survive. There’s no solidarity in political extinction.

          2. That’s fine, your call (or really, it shouldn’t be *yours*, it should be the membership’s – but many of us left long ago). But you then can’t then expect anyone who supports independence, or even genuine constitutional change to vote Labour. Nor can you deride those people for voting for the only alternative (the SNP) which offers that.

            Also, in *now* insisting Labour is purely now wholly about being against independence, and willing to be in a Tory alliance for that in Scotland, that makes it a pro-Brexit party. Pro-Tory rule, pro an ever more right wing, post Brexit UK, where our NHS is likely to disappear, because there is no way ‘the UK single market’ which is trading its NHS in free trade deals is only going to include England.

            If that’s the kind of party Labour is, because all it now stands for is anti-independence above all, don’t whinge when not many people want to vote for that, and most of the ones who do vote Tory.

          3. It’s not my call, it’s my *opinion*. And yes, I am entitled to hold and express it. It’s not Labour policy. If people are decided how to vote based on my opinion of what should happen in a hypothetical situation then I can’t help feeling they aren’t really taking democracy seriously enough.

            At no point have I, or would I, suggest Labour is now wholly about being against independence. I have written at length and ad nauseam that the opposite is the case, and that Labour and everyone else needs to focus on good government, not on the constitutional question which has been settled.

            You have constructed for yourself here a convenient excuse to ignore what Labour is saying, but it is not based on what anyone in Labour has said.

      2. ‘because traditional Tory unionism on its own will fail’
        But that’s all there ever was to Unionism in reality Duncan. What you are actually calling for is a Scottish Labour Unionist voice to more effectively sell the old solidarity/ federalist/ more powers etc. lies again.

        When you had those elected voices aplenty before, made all those old promises the last time around, the actual result when put to the test in parliamentary terms were obvious to all with a political pulse. Worse than nothing… This is why no one trusts SLab anymore. Its not some act of god Duncan, its years and years of simple political party promises and obvious bad faith coming to a head under the extra ordinary spotlight of non party political grass-root referendum campaigning.

        I am afraid there is no way back from that.

        1. Solidarity isn’t a lie. Pooling and sharing resources across the UK is a real thing on which the Scottish public sector which keeps our most vulnerable families afloat relies.

          You blithely dismiss the party which created the welfare state and the NHS, and you pretend that a party whose sole aim is the destruction of a union is somehow more virtuous.

          1. UK pooling isn’t a lie Duncan, but sharing certainly is! (just as an example of many http://www.oilofscotland.org/MccronereportScottishOffice.pdf)

            I do not blithely dismiss anything, I am however pointing out that the many examples you and Labour claim solely as party victories were in actual fact victories of the working and lowermiddle classes of a society after many years of war and terrible UK conditions. Those working class victories have been slowly betrayed and rolled back over the years by the same political party that wrongly but continually claims credit for them. Returning Lord after Lord from some of the poorest communities in the country!

            The population is not stupid. They know what really won those victories that you so blithely claim for your own political party. Parties are transient and when successful, merely express the will of the electorate and the society they spring from.

            You are being replaced by a political party that better represents the modern Scottish society they spring from, just as Labour replaced the Scottish Unionists in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. SLab, as ever, are unfortunately focused on the wrong electorate’s wishes and desires. The one you are focused on for power is British, rightwing and xenophobic. Rather than fight that social change that occurred over the years in Britain you have encouraged it with Blairism and Gordon Brown’s ‘British jobs for British workers’

            The electorate you should be focused on representing now is Scottish and has very different wishes. If you as a party had spent more time listening to them instead of clutching at UKIP and Tory straws to ‘show’ just how similar Scottish and British electorates ‘really’ are. Then you might still have had a constituency for which to fight for.

            It’s all too late now though I am afraid Duncan and you have played your own small but important role in your own parties decline.

          2. The Labour party shouldn’t ever be so complacent as to believe the British state successfully ‘pools and shares resources’
            It is this lack of radicalism from centrists like yourselves which has driven many away from believing in the union.
            Corbyn ,who incidently you don’t support, can’t get elected at Westminster on a platform which would truly ‘pool and share’.Pragmatism has pushed many towards the belief that an independent Scotland has a better chance of reducing inequality.and a more radical approach.
            You can quote all the Tory think tank figures back at me you want but social democracy or socialism is about priorities.
            Instead you seem dreadfully complacent about the merits of Uk democracy.and it’s established order.

          3. The facts of the fiscal transfer are there for anyone to read. People who deny facts don’t tend to be worth debating with.

          4. When the union actively seeks to harm its citizens, then it seems like a pretty sh*tty union to me.

          5. Fiscal transfers do not exist. How can a unitary state (UK) that is massively in debt transfer non-existent funds to a constituent part of that unitary state? Fiscal transfers are not an economic reality; just a political spinning of numbers that conveniently turns a blind eye to the empty purse they are supposed to emanate from.

            Apologies for the mixed metaphors.

          6. By that logic the block grant doesn’t exist either, then. Curious argument.

          7. Not really Mr Hothersall. The block grant “exists” because it is derived from a popln share of Westminster Govt spending. It forms part of that debt creating exercise. No where does it say that Scotland gets its popln share of UK spending ….. and then a big whack of fiscal transfer on top. There is only the block grant (which effectively includes non-existent monies …. ie UK debt) within it.

            Fiscal transfers are a political invention not an economic reality.

          8. I’m still not clear whether you are genuinely confused or whether you are knowingly spinning a line, but I inevitably have to assume it’s the latter.

            The fiscal transfer comes as part of the block grant. More tax is raised, for example, in London and the South East than in Scotland, and some of that tax is used to fund services in Scotland via the block grant. That’s what the fiscal transfer is.

            Similarly there is fiscal transfer from Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland’s economic powerhouses, to the rest of Scotland, via mechanisms set up by the Scottish Government.

            It’s not a myth. It’s how it works. And it’s a good thing.

          9. What you are describing is the day to day workings of tax and spend within a unitary state.

            Fiscal transfers do not exist in reality but are merely a political invention using arbitrary examples to try and undermine an opponent’s argument. You use London and the SE of England as an (unsurprising) example of a fiscal transfer to Scotland. However, if you compare Scotland to every other part of the UK you get an apparent fiscal transfer there. You could just compare Bristol with Leicester or Newcastle with Chingford, or any number of similar arbitrary examples, but no actual transfers from each of these areas to the other is actually happening. The Govt is merely raising tax and spending it.

            If we accept your argument that there is a conscious transfer of money to Scotland then we have gotten a very rum deal. In all the years Scotland produced a surplus, all that money went South never to be seen again in Scotland. Now that NS oil is less profitable, we should be getting some of that largesse back. However, as the UK is massively in debt, with a huge annual deficit, all we are now getting is loads of debt “transferred” to us. Something unionists use as a stick to gleefully beat their own country with.

          10. If pooling & sharing is a thing, why do we have a huge economic gap between SE England and the rest of the UK?

          11. We have failed to invest elsewhere, which is why London and the SE effectively experienced no recession while the rest of the country did.

            But that’s precisely why pooling and sharing is important. Because during that period of recession elsewhere, the proceeds of economic growth in London and the SE was pooled and shared out across the UK. It underpinned our public spending in Cornwall, in Inverness and in Newcastle.

            Conversely, in past years the economic benefits of the geological accident of North Sea oil have been pooled and shared across the UK from Aberdeen, and that money helped sustain public services in Birmingham and South Wales and Liverpool.

            Pooling and sharing is vital to the UK.

          12. Duncan, you claim – “Solidarity isn’t a lie. Pooling and sharing resources across the UK is a real thing on which the Scottish public sector which keeps our most vulnerable families afloat relies.”,

            This is utter and complete claptrap. Can you deny that the term, “United Kingdom”, refers to a treaty between only two equally sovereign and independent kingdoms? It is a legally binding bipartite contract between kingdoms. One of those kingdoms, in 1706, was comprised of England ant two English dominions, (referred to in the preamble to the treaty of Union 1707). Wales was annexed by England in 1248 and Ireland in 1542.

            Yet today Westminster has become the de facto Parliament of the country of England that has split the former United Kingdom along the lines of four unequal countries and, by devolving Westminster’s powers, to only three of the four is actually devolving de facto English powers to three English dominions.

            i.e. England is acting illegally as the master race over the other three countries and to enforce it they impose EVEL. Yet Scotland is actually the only other kingdom in the legal union of kingdoms.

            The day devolution began the United Kingdom, as such, ended. There is no, elected as such, parliament of England nor is there now a United Kingdom.

            Thus Labour, Tory and LibDems are living a lie The Union is dead and thus so also is unionism.

            Shall I continue and demolish your claim that, “Pooling and sharing resources across the UK is a real thing on which the Scottish public sector which keeps our most vulnerable families afloat relies?”

            Pooling and sharing is pure lies. It doesn’t exist any more than the oft claimed myth that, “English taxpayer’s money subsidises the Scots”.

      3. I seem to remember that Labour’s arguments against independence in 2014 also consisted of JoJo Lamont telling us that Scots weren’t genetically predisposed towards making political decisions and Ed Balls ganging up with Osborne to economically threaten Scottish voters.

        1. Then you remember incorrectly. As everyone with half a brain cell knows, what Johann said was that Scots are not genetically programmed to vote in a particular way. It’s a truism which the SNP have proved correct.

          1. Only that’s not what she said. On this YouTube is your friend and I’ve just rewatched the interview where she said it.

            Now, she may have intended to say something else but it’s hardly my fault or the fault of others that SLAB picks the inarticulate for leadership positions.

            I note you also don’t comment on Balls double act with Osborne. I seem to remember that after the gruesome twosome visited Scotland Lord Darling’s (Remember him? I do from when he was a red hot socialist on Lothian RC. He changed later: didn’t he?) ex agent declared as a Yes vote in disgust. I think a lot of Labour supporters got the message at that point.

      4. Just as well that solidarity recognises national borders. There is no such thing as international socialism.

    2. I understand your difficulty.

      If I am reading the case aright:

      – independence for Scotland means ‘no solidarity’

      but:

      – no independence for Scotland means ‘solidarity’.

      Tempted just to say “bollocks!” but let’s instead say a false choice. Just as one example, does ‘internationalism’ as a concept in socialist and social democratic movements not embrace fully ‘solidarity’ or does Labour’s solidarity (however defined) only matter when applied within the boundaries of the present UK state? A kind of ‘narrow solidarity’ or conditional ‘Unionist solidarity’.

      There are many in Scotland who both support independence AND support progressive, socialist or social democratic principles, policies and practices, and who utterly reject a ‘no solidarity’ claim.

      It also seems from other contributions pushing this ‘solidarity’ issue here that ‘solidarity’ is now being seen as a useful, successful CAMPAIGNING ploy – i.e. as a device – for an indyref, in order to achieve what is Labour’s actual, higher objective, (just) the preservation of the Union, possibly at all costs.

  12. I have a lot of trouble with this. I do think that Labour still has something to offer, but in it’s current guise, it’s not offering anything radically different so it’s completely irrelevant as a party.

    If Labour are to compete with the Conservatives on a platform of preserving the union, it has to offer something substantially different within that parameter – that to me would be offering an alternative to the free-market capitalism that is on offer under the tories and was on offer under Blair. There is obviously a huge amount of discontent around which is the reason why independence is such an attractive option for many who generally don’t see themselves as nationalists – Labour need to tap in to that. At the moment, we have the independence movement tapping into it with visions of socialism and a fair society, and on the other side, UKIP tapping into it by telling people that immigrants and the EU are the cause of all problems, meanwhile Labour sits in silence, agreeing with almost the tories say because they seem to think that’ll convince the right-wing press that they can be competent in power. (Obviously I’m aware that a socialist utopia is by no means guaranteed in and independent Scotland, but the thought that it might be possible has definitely swayed a huge number of people to switch to being in favour of it over the last 3-4 years.)

    I’d like to support Labour again, but while it’s in a position of defending the union at any cost, regardless of what hellish policies the UK government propose and enact, then i don’t see how it can turn things around and get people back on side. They’ve got a tough job ahead that’s for sure.

    1. My thoughts exactly. SNP are for independence, it’s in the name, S conservative and unionists are for the union, it’s in the name. It wouldn’t matter what government was in Westminster both parties would maintain their position. SLab on the other hand are about the unity of the working man, redistribution of wealth ec, aren’t they ? If that’s the case surely SLab should have a neutral position on Independence. With the union if it’s best for the Scottish people, against it if it isn’t, and each elected representative should be able to make their mind up. SLab can argue that independence is bad, but when would it be right…. 10 years of Tory govt ? 20 ? 50 ?.

      I voted Labour for 40 years and, whilst they did some great things, we still live in one of the least equal countries in the western world. The Westminster system won’t let that change.

  13. Duncan as you allude to it is now a straightforward clear battle between SNP and Independence v Tories and the Union as Scottish labour have deemed themselves irrelevant as a consequence of the the legacy of Better Together campaign. In my view the last remnants of Scottish Labour supporters have a dilemma when it comes to casting their votes and that is that even if they are pro union then does it follow that they vote for the Tories and get punished for however umpteen years or do they vote SNP and take a baby step towards Scottish Independence. I am confident that many pro union Scottish Labour supporters will switch to the SNP at the general election. As for the pundits extrapolating the local election results with a view to predicting that SNP will lose some seats that’s fake news, I predict that Scottish Labour will lose Edinburgh South and the SNP will win the whole 59 seats and that will be real news.

    1. “I predict that ………..the SNP will win the whole 59 seats and that will be real news”

      Ted, the SNP polled 32% of the vote at the council elections.

      They’re going to lose around 20 seats at the general election.

      Therefore; “indyref2″…..isn’t going to happen.

      It’s over .

      1. The Labour Party in Scotland is over. Due to it’s corporate dishonesty and incompetence it managed to destroy itself.

      2. The SNP won a majority at Holyrood with 45% of the vote in 2011 and then polled 32% of the vote in 2012’s council elections. That did not stop them getting 50% in the 2015 GE and 47% in the 2016 Holyrood election. Local elections are different from national ones when it comes to how people vote and whether or not they even bother to turn out. The SNP are still polling in the mid forties for June’s election but you keep hoping and arguing for a Tory win. It will only galvanise indy supporters (and not a few who may not support Indy but are more opposed to the Tories than you appear to be) to turn out and vote.

  14. “Where solidarity can be demonstrated as another alternative to nationalism alongside traditional Tory unionism.”

    With my advancing years, my memory is not what it used to be, but I’m pretty sure we had a referendum last year to leave a union of 27 other nations?

    And yet, here we are with an article banging on about the evils of Scottish Nationalism…

  15. Well written piece, but two questions arise. Firstly, what do you think can save Scottish Labour; and secondly, why is saving the union so important that you cannot possibly countenance Scottish Labour working for the Scottish people in an independent Scotland.

  16. The downfall of Scottish Labour owes more to Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ project than the SNP. Abandoning the left for the promise of power, being content to expel and alienate its socialist talent, Labour left a vacuum in Scotland for the SNP to fill. You can hardly blame them for taking on the mantle you so gladly discarded. But you still seek to shift the blame onto the SNP for your own abandonment of your core voters. It’s pathetic to read and reveals the lack of political nous that has led your party from one electoral disaster to another until there seems no limit to SLab’s decline.

    1. I find your analysis vacuous. The Labour vote in Scotland was incredibly high during the Blair years. New Labour was extremely popular among Scots. The Labour vote actually *increased* in 2010 as well. It fell only after the next Labour leadership had denounced New Labour and pursued more traditional left-wing policies.

      It is an extremely popular myth that the SNP supplanted Labour by being more traditionally left wing. In fact they supplanted Labour by becoming the most Blairite party in Britain. Which they remain to this day.

      1. Labour lost over 4 million voters during the Blair years. Even Kinnock had a higher % of Labour voters than Blair.
        The vote in Scotland was not pro labour under Blair it was anti Conservative and we bought into the rhetoric that the only way to keep out the Tories was to vote Labour. Then we ended up with Red Tories and the rest is history. Labour sent to purgatory for betraying their core principles and you still wont acknowledge this failing which means you’re there for the foreseeable future at least.
        If Corbyn wants any chance of an upset in the GE he has to abandon the core policies of Labour on Trident, tuition fees, welfare cuts, privatisation, means testing, austerity.
        He needs to stop pretending he can chase Tory voters in the SE of England and concentrate on getting back the socialist and social democratic vote across the UK.

        1. If you believe Kinnock got more Labour votes than Blair, how do you explain the fact that Kinnock lost in 1992 and Blair won in 1997?

          The reality is that between Kinnock, Smith and Blair Labour added millions of voters, and that during a period of government any party’s vote typically declines. Just as the SNP’s did last year compared to the previous election.

          1. Utter shite Duncan and you know it. Labour lost over 4 million voters during Blairs reign. That’s simply a fact even you cant deny without looking more ludicrous than normal.

          2. The reality is that between Kinnock, Smith and Blair, Labour added millions of voters. Which part of that is utter shite, Mike?

      2. Scotland hopes new Labour would have been much more progressive. Labour lost the NHS by teaming up with the Tories. You are a symptom of right wing careerists burrowing into a political victim eg Labour, UKIP, and acting as a proxy for vested corporate interests.
        Belligerent, chippy and unconvincing, the ‘new bully’ can work for any party and frequently does.
        Positioning himself to gain favour with said interests when he sells the party both short and out again.
        As a wannabe puppet master, he plays politics. Too blinded by ego and money to be truly strategic, they usually end up as PR puppets for morally dubious interests.
        But this statement is not about you Douglas Hothersall.

        1. I’m glad. (The name’s Duncan by the way.)

          I’ve never worked for the Labour party, and the idea that I’m motivated by money is laughable – my commitments to Labour only cost me, in money, in time and in surrendered holidays, weekends and evenings. And the idea that I’m right wing is as laughable as the idea I get paid for dealing with this shite. Next time, before you decide to comment, check your facts.

          1. You should really get paid for the massive amount of work you do! Don’t think we will ever see eye to eye on independence, but if it comes i will look forward to Scottish Labour being part of it.

      3. Why then did, according to the joke, Labour votes in Glasgow used to be weighed, for so many decades prior to the Blair years? Scotland is a socialist country, socialist in the real working class sense. I mean, if the Blairite version of Scottish Labour was so popular, why then did people say, during those years, and especially roundabout the time of the independence referendum that Scottish Labour had left them? We constantly hear people complaining about Scottish Labour during the Blair years, as not representing their views. I believe, as long as we have a leader who still gives the impression that Scottish Labour is still the Party of Tony Blair we will not make any progress. We need a change of direction, and we need it now, before the Party is completely killed off.

        1. The independence referendum was in 2014, Nicola. Blair left office in 2007. And the Labour vote WENT UP in 2010. Stop rewriting history to suit your own prejudices.

      4. You din’a half speak sum-shite Duncan.

        Your now trying to call the SNP “Blairite”, who do you think is stupid enough to believe that !

        Dear lord, your article is bad enough with you trying to wiggle out of any responsibility for labour coming third. Now your are trying to blame your own members for wanting to follow more traditional left-wing policy’s as the reason for the fall in the labour vote.

        I don’t suppose it actually could have been the shite policy’s that yersel and fellow labour activist’s have been promoting over the last 10 years.

        1. The SNP is very obviously Blairite in outlook and strategy.

          1. What??? You mean like wanting to bomb the living daylights out of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan?

          2. How would you define Blairism, Duncan?

            I’d summarise it thus:

            The continued Thatcherite agenda of privatisation and needlessly aggressive foreign policy, accompanied by the replacement of government communications with the grubby veneer of spin.

            To be honest, I think that’s what Tony Blair’s legacy will be in generations to come; the disastrous Iraq war, and the normalisation of propaganda.

            Your mileage may vary.

          3. I’m asking you honestly; how would you define Blairism?

            The classic Wikipedia version? Or do you have a more nuanced, individual take? Sharing ideas is how I prefer discussions to develop.

      5. This is absolutely the case. We can argue until we bore ourselves and everybody else to death about how we got here, but now we have to go the electorate and argue for social democracy. The SNP won’t do it, or only when it suits them. (Although I do accept the sincerity of some of those who have bought into left wing nationalism. they’ve been sold a pup as the SNP’s record in government shows.) Kezia was on the news tonight talking about taxes to alleviate the cuts. that’s what we believe and that’s what we fight for, AS WELL AS THE UNION. We have to make our voters believe again that we can achieve our objectives better along with Labour colleagues in the rest of the UK. I have to say that with the present leadership, this will be a daunting task. But think of the alternative of arguing for increased public spending in an impoverished independent Scotland.

      6. Naive of me to expect a reasonable response. Your party is in terminal decline and all you can do is cling to past glory. Given the current state of SLab it is undeniable you have lost the trust of voters. But just you keep on blaming the SNP if that truth is too unpalatable. It seems to be working a charm in improving your election results.

      7. Vacuous,eh? Well, Labour were fighting while Blair was still PM. When Brown took over things went further down hill, with senior Cabinet members in revolt over Brown. Still getting votes but the writing was on the wall; Mason taking a Glasgow seat with a huge swing. By 2011 Labour’s were in political decline in Scotland. Salmond was head and shoulders above the poor opponents Labour put up.
        This surely culminated with Jim Murphy, an undisguised Blairite, pretending to be a “socialist”.
        I think too much is made of ideology. A good Leader whom the public can identify with, saying they want progress and prosperity for all, can take you a fair way down the road.
        But you have to back it up. Far too many Labour areas stayed in decline and poverty while Labour had the reins of power. People aren’t daft or blind, and eventually see through the bullshit. That’s what happened to Labour, and I cannot see how you get from under, with all the baggage you carry. Not for years.

      8. Labour Vote in Scottish General Election
        87: 1,258,132
        92: 1,142,911
        97 1,283,350(Blair)
        01: 1,001,173
        05: 922,402
        10: 1,035,528
        15: 707,147

  17. What do you think of this from Tomkins?

    “We polled twice as many as Labour in E Ren in the locals this week. Labour need to get out of the way. They cannot win here.”

  18. Some heroic retrospective rewriting of history going on here – what happened to the plan to bayonet the wounded. You’d think that since this long term SNP plan was so well-known that Labour might have headed it off.

    Anyway, I can’t see how one or even two arch-Unionist (by the way, they’re also Labour) MPs being elected will have much effect one way or the other in a second independence campaign.

    In their absence, a Yes is on no way a fait accompli. And the Scottish people aren’t going to be hypnotised into ignoring the reality of Britain by their presence. There will still be MSPs and Labour representation at the council level.

  19. Why is everyone so keen for Labour to shift position on independence? The public do not want another referendum, never mind independence, at a time when the SNP and the Tories are destroying our economy, that would just be economic suicide. We do not need to pander to the SNP;s tune, what we have to do instead is, instead of resembling the out of date party of Tony Blair, we need to change direction, and return to the party of Clement Attlee, and now Jeremy Corbyn, who has proper Labour Party socialist policies in order to re-balance the economy in favour of the vast majortiy of the population. We need a Party Leader who does not talk Jeremy Corbyn down at every given opportunity, and constantly gives car crash interviews, because, she is on the wrong side of the debate. People are still voting SNP and Tory, because Scottish Labour has still not learned the lesson of becoming the party of Tony Blair. No-one votes for Blairites anymore, their ideology is dead, people want real and proper socialism, because capitalism is dead now. It is only the Labour Party which offers socialism, the other parties are offering different versions of capitalism, which has been proved to be so disastrous for the vast majority of people. Kezia Dugdale does not quite get it, she is a right winger, we need to shift more to the left, which, I believe, is where you will find most opinion lies. We need to return the discussion to the shambles the SNP are making of the economy, and how it is adversely affecting the lives of so many people in Scotland. They are not distinctive from the Tories, which means they are following the Westminster Tories economic agenda, which people no longer want. Ironically, by not being distinctive or different enough from Westminster, it is the SNP who are putting the continued existence of the Scottish Parliament in jeopardy. In order to ensure its survival, we need to show we can do things differently to Westminster. The public are sick to death of the SNP not doing the day job and taking care of the economy, this is a great opportunity for Scottish Labour to step in and take over, and show we can do things differently. For the very survival of Scottish Labour, we need a change of direction, or we will die.

    1. people want real and proper socialism

      That would explain why they just voted for the Tories in record numbers. Utterly maddening delusion.

      1. ComRes finds the ‘leaked’ Labour manifesto for the General Election extremely popular on its policy footing; policies that are doggedly socialist.

      2. Duncan, is it your understanding that Britain now, and in the foreseeable future, wants Tory policies and so Labour must provide them if it wants to regain power?

    2. you have decided the public do not want another referendum never mind independence

  20. Scotland gave the Union one more try in 2014. If the response to this near death experience had been positive and respectful -along the lines of the Canadian response to Quebec then the Union might have had a future.

    The petty response of EVEL and broken pledges have fatally wounded the Union.

    The Unionist (of all party’s) blew their last chance.

    The negative attitude towards the SNP has been so destructive -for Labour.

    There can be a life for Labour after Independence.

    A shift in Labour now is essential but that involves at least being open to Independence

    …now

    1. Desperate stuff Douglas……….truly desperate stuff.

      The SNP are rattled.

  21. Insightful and well-written. Problem is, Labour in Scotland will not recover. The contest is now between two visions of Scotland: a Conservative/Unionist one or the SNP/Independence one.

  22. Labour still have a future…in an independent Scotland. Their future furth of Scotland is behind them because of unwillingness to embrace progressive alliances. A generation or more of opposition beckons although I suspect a Liberal (Lloyd Geoege) style demise is on the cards.

    In an indy Scotland Labour becomes relevant again although challenged radically by the Greens but electable.

    When Labour embraces the logic of Independence the corner will be turned.

    1. The Greens?

      The Greens aren’t popular, or electable. Vanity candidates, outside of Patrick Harvie, were nowhere near elected as constituency members, and were often outvoted by UKIP (who had a policy of taking money away from Scotland) depending on where you live. Their vote only holds up in relatively bohemian areas where, funnily enough, Conservatives traditionally do quite well.

      Telling people who are dependent on food banks that their REAL concern is more localized democracy, or the investigation of Land Value Tax to replace Council Tax, probably explains why.

      Champagne socialism was never popular, and there’s no evidence to suggest that’s going to change.

  23. There’s a great deal in this article about British Labour in Scotland’s (BLiS) bitter resentment of the SNP and a fair bit of wishful thinking about what might restore BLiS to the status which it regards as its entitlement. There is nothing at all about the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people.

    Duncan Hothersall is a British nationalist and a BLiS loyalist. As such, he is totally blind to a fact which is blindingly obvious to those who have not sacrificed their capacity for rational thought to facile dogma. That fact is that around half the people of Scotland want independence. And a large proportion of the rest want meaningful constitutional reform of the kind that is anathema to British nationalists.

    Duncan sees the whole independence movement as nothing more than a ploy to deprive his beloved party of what it believes with a religious fervour to be its rightful place. It is not the SNP that has destroyed British Labour in Scotland. It is the naked lust for power for its own sake combined with a sneering contempt for voters that has repulsed people.

    Duncan imagines the answer to BLiS’s travails to lie in the destruction of the SNP. He fails utterly to recognise that it is not the SNP which has dragged the people of Scotland along on some political adventure. It is the people of Scotland who have pushed the SNP to the vanguard of the fight to fulfil their aspirations. His project is, not the elimination of a political rival, but the eradication of a democratic movement. He doesn’t just want to vanquish the SNP, he hopes to destroy hope.

    1. I don’t think you’ve understood the article at all Peter. None of what you claim is stated in the piece. Perhaps you should read it for the first time.

        1. Peter……..you’re wasting your time.

          The SNP are polling 32% and falling fast.

          You blew your big chance in 2014.

          There isn’t going to be an “indyref2”.

          It’s over.

          1. And Andy how are labours numbers doing ? and if anyone blew a big chance in 2014 it certainly was labour.

            look at the numbers, does anyone see a labour revival , nope not a chance, you and labour have nothing to offer Scotland and no-one trusts you.

    2. I agree. Instead of offering further powers for Holytood, Labour and Duncan in particular, are ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of Scots voters.
      This has consequences.

  24. As long as Scottish Labour prefer Scotland to be governed by Tories from Westminster rather than Scottish Labour in Edinburgh, there is no hope.

    Sure, their first preference is for Scotland to be governed by Labour from Westminster, but when there is no prospect of that, like now, their next best option is for the Tories rather than themselves to govern Scotland.

    I believe there is still time for a Scottish Labour revival, but it requires a new leader and to support Independence.

  25. ‘A resurgent Labour Party’ — how exactly will this happen in Scotland?

  26. I really don’t get this solidarity, pooling/sharing stuff. If it actually worked I would expect Scotland’s economy to be on a par with other comparable countries such as Denmark. In reality though Scotland’s GDP is something in the order of 25-30% smaller than Denmark’s & just for clarity, has been long before the SNP came to power. They also have a much broader based economy with some very high tech/high value companies including Vestas from which we’ve imported a large number of wind turbines. Something which of course we don’t manufacture.

    Comparing Scotland’s economy with some of our similar size competitors is very enlightening and actually much more relevant than comparing it with the rUK. I recommend it.

    It’s also very interesting – and scary – to consider what these countries do that we don’t. For example, our Norwegian chums have a growing hydrogen electrolyser industry and the Danes also developing their hydrogen economy. And I must stress that’s just one sector… Another example is that there is a single Danish pharma company that now has a turnover that’s well over double the entire turnover of all the Scottish pharma companies put together! Norway has Statoil which has done wonders for it’s oil/gas supply chain and is now very active building a renewables supply chain especially in offshore floating wind.

    It’s important to say these things because if we don’t recognise the real weaknesses being part of the union have created we get easily diverted into arguments over stuff such as “fiscal transfers” and indeed the old pooling & sharing thing which are just “squirrels” in relation to the real economic issues.

    In effect these weaknesses – caused mainly but not uniquely appallingly low levels of investment & R&D support – so a mix of govt and private sector financial sector failure – are what’s caused the problem and that in turn is simply a result of close to 40 years of neoliberal economic ideology. You don’t solve that by voting Tory or indeed Labour and you certainly can’t solve it by remaining in the UK because nothing will change.

    It’s also important to point out how far the impact of having a relatively narrow economy penetrates. For example, I’m not at all Scotland has a problem with educational attainment because there are simply fewer opportunities for youngsters to aspire to. Ergo… what’s the point of working your butt off at school if all those qualifications don’t get you very far outside. Its’ a demand thing. For example – if there are no jobs for fuel cell system designers, electric cars engineers, aircraft designers etc because we don’t have companies that do this stuff then why bother learning all the skills needed to do it. Truth hurts eh.

    Scotland needs wholesale economic reform including a full scale overhaul and reshaping of the financial sector – especially the banks – such that it is properly connected to the needs of the economy rather than itself and can work with both Govt and industry to both grow and broaden the economy. That will never happen without independence. Scottish Labour really do need to understand this.

    Oh and then there’s Brexit.. !!

    1. Possibly the most intelligent thing anyone has ever written on LabourHame! Excellent response.

    2. I’m a bit lost by this ‘pooling and sharing’ nonsense as well. Being in my 60s, I have a longer perspective on this. I remember the dull, monochrome poverty of most working class communities in 50s and 60s Scotland. Harold Macmillan told us “We’d never had it so good.” but that was only true if you lived in the English South East or Midlands. Up here, it wasn’t true as slum dwelling little me could testify. Life was considerably harder for ‘the Jocks’.

      From the late 60s onwards as Scotland began to be hollowed out industrially (It didn’t start with Thatcher, you know.) there was little intelligent, long term planning to ‘pool and share’ by getting new and sustainable jobs into the declining mining and heavy industrial areas. Things that might have helped, such as George Brown’s DEA were isolated, neutered and destroyed by Wilson and pals as part of the Wilson/Brown feud. As Germany planned and spent, accordingly, for new futures for the Saarland, Ruhr, Hamburg etc ‘getting on your bike’ and going elsewhere was what was proposed for Scotland, Wales and the North of England. Polling and sharing my big bahooky.

      1. John.. Yes I do realise it didn’t start with Thatcher. In fact I and some pals with an aviation background were reminiscing recently about a company called Scottish Aviation which was based at Prestwick and built a great couple of aircraft called the Pioneer and the Bulldog. The latter was a military trainer and the former was a short take off & landing transport.

        Classically underfunded by Govt and the private sector, under Labour’s master plan for the aerospace industry the company was “absorbed” along with the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and Hawker Siddeley Dynamics to form British Aerospace in 1977. Now of course nothing is left as indeed not a lot is left of what used to be a remarkably successful UK aircraft industry. Remember the wonderful Harrier, the Vulcan, Concorde of course, Nimrod, Hawker Hunters, the Vickers Viscount and lots and lots of others.

        Today we couldn’t repeat any of those projecst & have to import military aircraft mainly from the USA. That said the French and Italians are also now well advanced of us in both fixed & rotary wing manufacturing. The UK is now in the also ran category. That same story can be repeated across a whole range of sectors – aircraft, electronics, shipbuilding, automotive etc. Everyone else invested… we switched attention to services & especially financial services which are about as much use as mammaries on a bull to a skilled welder or airframe designer !!

        1. One of my pals worked at the old Scottish Aviation plant and remembers when it went over to the HS 748 known as ‘The Skoda of the Skies’ and that was not a compliment. BAe eventually sold the model off to a Taiwanese (I think) maker and essentially closed Prestwick down.

  27. First off: There is no such thing as Scottish Labour. Anyone speaking for Labour in Scotland must ensure their public announcements conform with Party Policy in England. That is the problem for Labour supporters in Scotland. “It’s the old tail not wagging the dog” adage. The way forward is for the labour party in Scotland to establish it’s independence from London Labour and ask the membership if they wish to change the policy in favour of independence. Assuming a positive outcome Labour Green and the SNP should form an alliance then fight for and gain independence. On gaining independence there would be a coalition government for the first 5 years. Then an open election which the Scottish labour arty would probably win since there is a significant labour leaning membership in the SNP. A newly elected labour government in Scotland would be good for it’s sister party in England since their socialist policies would influence the English voter to turn away from the Tories. Positive thinking is badly needed in the Labour membership in Scotland

  28. I think you’re giving the SNP too much credit for Scottish Labours demise Duncan, Labour has too take far more of the credit.

    From the decades where the electorate, their needs & wishes could be & where regularly ignored because all you had to do to win an election was get the Labour nomination, through to the failure to grab with both hands the offer of a 3rd option on the Indy ballot, which BTW would have won hands down & settled the constitutional issue for a while. on to the Smith Commission where Labour blocked as many powers coming to Scotland as they could even ones the Tories were willing to concede. And now when the debate is completely polarised, the party is trying to sit on the fence with a Devo Max/ Federalism offer that would have won in 2014 is now well past its sell by date.

    1. This idea that all power devolved is good and all power reserved is bad is one of the defining characteristics of Scotland’s broken politics.

      The irony is that even nationalists argue for some powers to be reserved to a greater union – the EU. They just don’t want any powers at UK level.

      Labour argued for a level playing field for abortion, for example, because abortion rights are far more exposed to attack when responsibility for them is fragmented. And you know what? A lot of SNP folk quietly told us they agreed, but couldn’t say so publicly because of this brain-dead approach which says all powers devolved are good and all powers reserved are bad.

      The debate around our constitution has to mature beyond the simplistic tropes of nationalism. Devolution is a process, but success is not measured by total number of powers reserved versus devolved.

      1. I have to pick up on the ‘irony’ of arguing for some powers to be reserved to the EU. International agreements of all kinds require ceding a degree of sovereignty – but having the sovereignty in the first place is rather important. And that is what the independence movement is actually about. It’s not a question of ‘more powers good, fewer powers bad’. It’s a question of having the ability to decide in the first place which powers you hold, share, or concede…

        That, incidentally, was the position Jo Grimond took way back when the Liberals thought seriously about such things. A pity it never caught on…

      2. Labour wanted abortion regulation reserved because a number of English female, Labour MPs objected to such regulatory ability being devolved. Several Scottish Labour MPs went on record as making it a ‘red line’ issue within the Smith Commission. The thinking behind this, though not always openly stated was that regressive, hairy ar..d Scots couldn’t be trusted with sensitive stuff like this.

        1. Labour argued for a level playing field for abortion because abortion rights are far more exposed to attack when responsibility for them is fragmented. And a lot of SNP folk told us they agreed but couldn’t say so publicly.

          Your problem is that your only tool is a hammer so you see every problem as a nail.

      3. The comparison of the “Union” with the EU is a bit of a stretch.

        Scotland entered the “Union” 300 years ago and the general population had little input to it. Scotlands parliament was dissolved and all powers transferred to Westminster with Scotland having a minority representation in that parliament.

        Things have changed of course, particularly over the last 40 years and, in no small part, due to the Labour Party. Never-the-less, a large part of Scotland’s income is handed directly to Westminster who then allocate Scotland a budget based on spend in England. That spend in England is determined by Westminster and can vary dramatically depending on the government of the day. Scotland cannot leave the Union without permission from Westminster.

        By contrast the UK entered the EU, or EC as it was, in 1973 and that decision was ratified by 67% of the voting public in 1975. The U.K. retains its parliament and its and has representatives in the EU governing body. The U.K. retains its income and pays a “contribution” to the EU. Those money’s are then allocated across the union with the U.K. receiving a share of that.

        So, whilst I wouldn’t pretend the EU is anywhere near perfect, for me it is a little like a club whilst the Union is more like a cult.

        The debate around the constitution has to mature beyond the simplistic tropes of both the nationalists AND the unionists. It isn’t an easy debate and isn’t helped by the current trend of politicians and media moving to sound bite politics.

        1. Bill

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

          The SNP are “plastic” nationalists.

          Everyone and there dog knows that Sturgeon does not have the power to call another independence referendum.

          So…….here are the facts.

          In 2014 Scotland voted to remain part of the UK.

          In 2016 we voted as the UK whether to remain in, or leave the EU.

          It was a UK wide vote, every vote stacked and every vote counted.

          How Scotland voted made not one shred of difference.

          Do you get it now?

          1. Andy

            I didn’t mention the SNP once. I also didn’t take a position on Scotland in the EU. I merely pointed out that the two “unions” we’re not comparable in my view.

            Your facts may be correct but do bring out another difference between the unions. The SNP had asked for each member of the U.K. Union to have a veto should its people vote to remain. Westminster said no. This of course meant the people of England could outvote any, or all, other parts of the Union. Is there one such member in the EU ?

            My point was the two Unions are different, Do you get it now ?

  29. It pains me to see Labour in such dire straits and, while it’s fair to suggest that the SNP wanted to reduce their influence because that’s what political opponents do, there just isn’t enough self-reflection in the Labour ranks.

    We, as Scots, got to see the very best of Labour recently; Kezia absolutely mangled Davidson and her Conservative apologists over the rape clause, to the point where not one of them even dared an intervention. That says to me that they still fear a strong Labour party, as they always have done, but are simply no longer terribly bothered about coming up against one thanks to a wholly compliant media and poor strategic thinking on the part of the Labour party itself.

    The local elections are a prime example. People crowing about the “Tory surge” or “Scotland’s fightback” seemingly have a problem with basic arithmetic. No dent was put into popular support for the SNP, unless the word has been redefined to mean the increase of one’s representation. All that really happened is that the pro-union vote realigned, and it appears that Scots are generally more trusting of the Conservatives to stand up for the union than they are the Labour party. Why that is might be for any number of reasons, but it’s something Labour should take on board. It seems to show that voters aren’t as tribal as we often like to think, and are happy to switch allegiance when a given topic matters to them. At the moment, Labour and the Conservatives are making the same main argument; they don’t support independence, or even a vote on it. When that’s the case, Labour is on a lose-lose because pro-independence Labour people will move to the SNP, and anti-independence people will move to the Conservatives because they’re currently on the rise.

    I’m not arguing that Labour should support independence, by the way.

    That particular seat is taken, and adopting it would take no support from the SNP. The other seat of unionism is also taken, by a Conservative party that are trusted to make that argument (where the Labour stance is often looked at as opportunistic and insincere by the people I speak to). Labour, in my view, should take a stance of agnosticism; move away from the constitutional question altogether, and instead start to concentrate on policies that are socially democratic and economically equilibrating. The current jobs market in the UK is suffering, as worker’s rights are routinely tossed into a bonfire, and the Labour party isn’t seen to be properly standing up for them. In the online age, policies are picked over with a fine-tooth comb by online entities with a significant amount of influence, so that means Labour policies need to be properly researched, and cogent.

    A list of vague, vacuous general intentions isn’t good enough – as the lamentable ‘Edstone’ ended up proving.

    On the other hand, I’m a big supporter of Monica Lennon and her commitment to equality with regard to feminine hygiene. What would be wrong with a policy that suggested that feminine hygiene products should be provided free to women, with a small rise in VAT in order to pay for it? Instead, Labour is seen caterwauling about baby boxes when a more nuanced approach, perhaps around their allocation to those under a certain income bracket, would have been more sensible. If, as Labour people, we make the argument that we believe in a living wage, we believe in affordable housing, we believe in free tuition, we believe in the NHS, then the constitutional question becomes a secondary consideration that depends entirely on how an individual thinks these policies are best delivered. VAT, for example, is currently reserved to Westminster, so my erstwhile policy suggestion would be supported by those who think independence is the solution, AND those who think UK wide implementation is the answer. Properly researched policies that can deliver some of these things get drawn up, and then legitimate spokespeople deliver them to the electorate; this must surely be better than Jackie Baillie making an official statement that gets torn up two minutes later on Twitter by Wings Over Scotland.

    The Labour party needs a vision. “No more referenda” isn’t a vision, it’s anti-democratic bleating in the face of rapidly changing political landscapes.

    Until that vision is created, and sold, Labour will remain the ugly bridesmaid that no best man will ever be pissed enough to sleep with.

    It’s no position for the party to be in.

    1. “No dent was put into popular support for the SNP”

      The SNP polled 32%

      Sturgeons support is melting like ice cream on a hot summers day.

      1. What are you comparing that 32% to? You can only reasonably compare it to the previous council elections, because that’s the only way you can ascertain a continuation of both the electoral system used (Single Transferable Vote) and the type of people who vote in specific elections.

        The most recent SNP vote shares for Westminster, Holyrood and Local Elections all went up from their previous count as far as I’m aware.

        I’ve no idea why you’re arguing to the contrary, or what you hope said argument is going to achieve. People have been predicting the collapse of the SNP since 2007, and there simply isn’t any evidence that, one day, their vote is simply going to disappear.

        What Labour needs is to start ‘dressing for the job it wants, not the job it has’. It needs to start looking like a party capable of governance, and your stance of denying reality in favour of pedantry is a terrible way of getting there. If you’re a Labour supporter, Andy, you’re going to have to recognize that your approach is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

        My apologies for being so blunt.

  30. “The reality is that between Kinnock, Smith and Blair, Labour added millions of voters. Which part of that is utter shite, Mike?”

    The part where you’ve included Blair who lost 4 million Labour voters during his term of office.

    1. Blair became leader in 1994, and by 1997 had increased the number of Labour voters substantially.

      1. I had to quickly look at this, because it sounded fishy – Blair returned thumping majorities, so the suggestion that he lost support for Labour seemed a bit strange.

        1992 General Election: 11,560,484 votes (Neil Kinnock)
        1997 General Election: 13,518,167 votes (Tony Blair)
        2001 General Election: 10,724,953 votes (Tony Blair)
        2005 General Election: 9,552,436 votes (Tony Blair)
        2010 General Election: 8,606,527 (Gordon Brown)

        [Popular vote numbers taken from Wikipedia.]

        He increased the vote by 1,957,683 (14.5%) in his first general election, but it’s all downhill from there.

        Even if we forgive 2010 despite it being pretty much a Tony Blair administration, it seems he still managed to shelve over two million popular votes whilst in office (2,008,048) compared to what Neil Kinnock delivered in ’92. If we hold him responsible for the 2010 performance, as many will, then it’s a loss of almost three million (2,953,957) or 25.6%. A full quarter of Labour’s votes, lost. It’s perhaps also important to note that Kinnock’s total would have been enough to beat the Conservatives in both 2010 and 2015, despite ‘Red Ed’ adding 740,777 popular votes to the 2010 total. Because the Labour vote went up, the Conservative majority could only have been delivered by a mix of gerrymandering, a broken electoral system, and the ragdolling of a Liberal Democrat party that wasn’t forgiven for putting the Conservatives in office (many tactically voting for them to avoid exactly that scenario).

        It clearly wasn’t a ‘Labour collapse’, like many in the media suggested. I suppose the 2015 election was a blueprint for the Scottish council elections, where no impact was seen on the SNP while voters took their frustration out on Scottish Labour.

        It’s a jump to conclude that ‘ the country needs socialism’ because data doesn’t read like that, but there’s certainly an argument to suggest that Tony Blair dragging the Labour party to the economic right contributed to the loss of at least 2,000,000 votes that would have seen Labour as the biggest party in 2015 (just). Hell, if you take his first number, he managed to lost almost five million votes; easily over half of the 2015 total.

        The question must surely be how to bring those voters back, and I can’t see ‘no more referenda’ achieving it.

      2. He lost over 4 million during his term as leader and as PM that’s a fact you’re stupidly denying in order to try and spin horseshit.

        1. I never denied votes were lost during that time. I explicitly said all governing parties lose votes during their period of government. Like the SNP did between 2011 and 2016. You seem to have ignored that observation.

          1. The Conservatives made a modest gain between 2010 and 2015, with 2017 looking like a more substantial one.

            That doesn’t, of course, change the general trend – but a weak opposition, which is what Labour currently is, doesn’t help.

          2. You clearly claimed Blair increased labour support which he clearly didn’t. During his term as Labour leader he lost over 4 million Labour supporters. That’s the simple fact you’re stupidly denying.

          3. I stated that Blair increased Labour support between becoming leader in 1994 and the general election in 1997. That’s because that’s a fact.

            For the third time, the thing you keep saying I’m denying I have never denied.

            Sit down, Mike.

  31. OK Duncan, for the sake of debate lets say you are right. Lets say The Downfall was all a meticulous and devious plan formulated many years ago, in the mind of the evil Salmond and executed by his nasty side kick Nicola. Dick Nasterdly and Mutley to Labour’s Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop.
    Are you saying, there was nothing Labour could have done to prevent the catastrophe that has engulfed them? Are you saying Labour never put a foot wrong in Scotland? that the inevitability of the rise of the in the SNP was unstoppable. Are you saying, that Labour in Scotland were just caught up in some kind of natural political cycle, that Labour were the innocent casualties?

    1. I’m beginning to think you haven’t read the article, Richard. Which part of the paragraph in which I talk of “Labour’s abject failure” or say that “Labour once again had planned only for the war, and not for the peace” sounds like I am suggesting Labour never put a foot wrong? And where have I suggested anything was part of a natural political cycle?

      1. Of course I never read the article. But I have now, and “Labour once again had planned only for the war, and not for the peace” is just another banal platitude. It is not enough of an explanation.
        Duncan, I’m never going to get you to admit to your part in The Downfall. You are too stubborn. And its too soon. Maybe after June the 8th. After all the blood letting. That should be interesting. Any ideas on what The labour Party is going to look like in a years time Duncan? (apart from, slimmer).
        There are no elections now until 2021, only Brexit, maybe in that time when Labour are no longer at the table, maybe someone, a political pundit or an ex Labour MP of the 2015 Scottish clear out, maybe a redundant MEP, will be honest enough to tell the real story. One day the true story of The Downfall will be written, but its never going to be you that writes it Duncan I know that.

        1. So you were wrong but you’re not decent enough to admit it, and now you’re indulging in what can only be described as gloating because you have nowhere else to go.

          The article set out my view, including criticisms of Labour and praise for the SNP. Yet your narrative has to be that I am in denial, because you’re only here to throw muck. It’s pretty pathetic, Richard, to be honest with you.

          1. Duncan,
            I don’t come here to praise Labour. I come to bury them. The evil that political parties do lives after them. The good is oft intered with their bones. So let it be with Labour.

          2. Quote as much Shakespeare as you like. You were wrong and you weren’t decent enough to admit it.

  32. Fair play to Duncan, he’s honest enough to admit Labour in Scotland and with it Labour in England and Wales are goosed.
    As for Labour voters jumping straight to the Tories in places like the East End of Glasgow, what does that tell us?
    Btw, why is Jim Murphy and other well known faces not standing in the GE?
    They wrecked the Party and then walk away.
    Thanks comrades.

    1. The move of Labour voters to Tory in some areas is easily explained. Labour in West Central and Central Scotland was a peculiar coalition of ‘Chapel’ Labour and ‘Lodge’ Labour right up until the 70s when ‘Lodge’ Labour began to die out. Up until then there had been a kind of ‘pork barrel’ system in operation with jobs and public spending being almost negotiated between Catholic and Proddy areas.

      Organised ‘Lodge’ Labour died out by the end of the 70s but ‘Chapel’ Labour carried on. In areas from Ayrshire through to West Lothian the old joke was that Labour local council decisions were as likely to be made at meetings of the ‘Knights’ as under Labour Party auspices. I actually saw this happen as regards education spending. It was what was behind the Monklands scandal in the early 90s.

      The old Proddy Unionist voters may no longer have had any organisation within Labour but they were still there and after Labour lost much of its ‘soft’ nationalist vote, post 2014, that Proddy Unionist support became more important. Labour being utterly incompetent, however, screwed up on that as well. It raised the question of a second indy referendum to fetish level and pushed it as virtually the only thing worth worrying about. That played right into the hands of Davidson and the Scottish Tories who posed as the real Unionist party and hoovered up this Proddy Unionist Labour support. Add on Labour activists and even office holders giving the nod to tactical voting and Labour became a recruiting sergeant for the Scottish Tories.

      As for why certain wards and constituencies seem to have been particularly effected: look at the level of Orangeism and support for Rangers FC in these areas. Its a good predictor of working class Unionism. Labour lost much of the Catholic influenced voter group post 2014. Now they have lost the Proddy influenced group as well. Sheer genius.

  33. Hey just think how things could have turned out if UK labour hadn’t abandoned their principle and put people before party. As for Scottish labour they betrayed the Scottish people by getting into bed with the Tories, people told them then and are still telling them where they went wrong and how they can turn around and make a comeback but clearly that’s not what they want and they put themselves before the needs of the people. So he’ll mend them, they made their bed they can lie in it beside their blue Tory lover.

    1. It was impossible to put people before party. In England it was necessary to unite with the Tories to combat Scottish indpendence. In Scotland that was a fatal move.

      And now the dust has settled, Labour now needs to veer to the Right in England, and the Left in Scotland.

      History will look back on those two things and by then everyone will realise that, despite the noble attempts to persuade otherwise from the Labour perspective (with good intentions most of the time), Scotland and England were/are two different countries, requiring two different Labour partys, with different priorities which they should each follow for their own societal wellbeiing (the balance of the Leave vote for Brexit was tipped as a result of England not having their own Parliament/feeling represented enough, in my opinion).

      To quote an (allegedly) wigged dictator in another English speaking country, “It’ll be beautiful.Really beautiful”..

      The challenge for Labour, despite the hype, is bigger in Scotland than it is in England. People are starting to realise that the antithesis of what the Tories are selling is worth looking at in England, even if they find Corbyn “difficult”. It’s still a (barely) viable alternative there. In Scotland it’s toxic, and lets be totally honest, for good reason. The shortness of this GE campaign will see May elected more than any policy or ability-based reasons.The Tories have always been better at short to medium-term strategy than Labour (It was actually hilarious when Gordon Brown was de-mothballed from storage in 2014. It was obvious even then that a stichup was afoot. This was slap bang in the middle of them stitching the Lib Dems up It. Was. As. Clear. As. Day).

      Fortunately for us all, Tory ideology never lasts over the long term, because it’s built on lies, deceit and swindling. Which it too hard to keep up over many years. And then the cycle begins again. Toffs and spivs spin and weave, are exposed as such and then the Walter Mittys trot over to pick up the reins. I’m old enough to see the circus for what it is. And so should most others on this site.

      That said, if Corbyn can get close enough to T.Mays thoroughly uninspiring, robotic campaign, which I actually believe is possible, I would consider putting my aspirations for Scotland on hold and voting for him. Because, for the 2 reasons I stated at the start, I believe independence is inevitable anyway, and I can think of no greater gift to give to the rest of the UK than to get rid of the Odious Ideological Correction which is going on with this current “low-value” government.

  34. Has nobody else noticed that Duncan has fair aged over the course of the last fortnight?

  35. I agree with a lot of what you say. A few things yes when Alec Salmond got a majority he had to go for it. He lost but the momentum he built up has not gone away. I thought the SNP would fall apart they did not. I think two things helped his resignation as leader . That nipped any internal opposition in the bud and it was beginning to bubble . Then PM David Cameron did the English votes speech.
    It was Labour in Scotland who fell apart and sadly I think we still have not worked out why. The voters took out all of our MPS bar one at the last general election.. At the last Holyrood Election Labour came in third . At last weeks local election although we did not get a wipe out it looks like we came in third in Scotland
    I think the FM is correct to say a lot of the tory votes came from Labour voters crossing straight to the Tories. Unthinkable not so long ago.
    Why I think at the local election some of it was a stop the NATS vote. People in my ward told me they are sick of all talk off another Indy ref brexit etc. The people in my ward are only interested in local matters.
    Before anyone says anything I was phone polled by the SNP during the local election q no1 local election voting intentions q 2 how did I vote at the last Indy ref q3 how will I vote at the next one. A local election campaign 2 out of 3 questions on indy
    Labour should be riding high in the polls we are not In London We do not look like a credible opposition never mind an alternative government. Jeremy Corbyn the most left wing leader we have had has been undermined by his own MPS. This has influenced the public view of him
    Dianne Abbott Ken Livingston etc when you were indulging yourselfs in public did you not know we were fighting an election here. I would love a word with both of you.
    In Scotland we need to find our own voice again although we are a party that wants to stay within the UK . We have to give people a reason to vote for us .
    We did it in North Ayrshire at the local election by listening to people we produced a council budget the local Nats went public and claimed it as theirs its not .
    T he tory surge I think some of the hard core vote was always there Its now ok to vote tory again and I think we in Scotland have to make it ok to vote Labour again .Just copy our leader Joe Cullinane and his young team in North Ayrshire

  36. Weak excuse to blame Labour failure on SNP schemes, it’s all their own making. Evident from the fact they are performing as poorly in England as Scotland.

  37. While there may be no love lost between SNP and Labour supporters and activists campaigning over the years competing for working class/lower middle class voters in Scotland (amplified 10 times since social media) I don’t think most moderate voters who now vote SNP want to see Labour die.

    Without Labour there would be no Scottish Parliament for a start, which has given the SNP the chance to govern.

    I’ve always believed in independence from my teens because I think self governance is what all normal countries and nations should strive for (at present Scotland is at best the status of a minor region of the UK).

    But I have voted Labour in the past because they have done many good things for people here, albeit most of them at least some 15 years ago.

    My only disagreement with Labour is independence and their alignment with the Tories on this issue.

    I like Corbyn and would vote for him if I lived in England.

    But I can’t understand why he believes in Irish unity & independence (the wider Labour Party has an alliance with Irish Nationalists the SDLP too) but not for Scotland’s independence . Arguably the economics of Northern Ireland are worse than Scotland too.

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