Could Corbyn kill the Indy Movement?
We spent a lot of time last year talking about the demise of the Labour Party. How New Labour had eschewed their founding principles in favour of electioneering and spin. How their core support had deserted them as they realised that the sound bites paying lip service to socialist values were little more than a thin veneer of lies draped over a conservative, war warmongering kleptocracy. We talked about how similar they were to the Tories and how this lack of political choice was killing interest and participation in politics. And how, many of those who felt disenfranchised had gotten behind the Scottish Independence movement as they saw this as the one hope of living within a political system where their views were represented.
Now things have changed. I would have laughed in your face this time last year if you had told me that the Labour Party would be led by a person such as Jeremy Corbyn. A person who is for redistributive taxes, re-nationalisation, political solutions to conflicts, curbing executive pay, constitutional reform, borrowing being spent on infrastructure and not given to banks, curbing tax avoidance, a massive house building programme and rent controls.
A Leader who like most Yes voters is firmly against austerity, corporate excess, Trident renewal and TTIP.
In short, many of the things he supports are policies we never thought we would see proposed by a mainstream UK political leader. And if these policies become options to vote for at a UK general election, would the Yes vote we fought so hard to attain become a distant memory for those who are not hard line Nationalists.
The future could go in several ways.
Most likely he won’t be allowed to get his hands on the levers of power. Just like there was a concerted effort by the establishment to lobby against Scottish Independence. I would imagine a Labour party with Corbyn as leader would be blighted by a media bombardment; portraying him as a backward looking terrorist-supporting Communist, hell-bent on subsidising immigrants and chavs while trampling over the aspirations of hard working families. The damage done by this inevitable propaganda will be augmented by the probable internal wrangling that will emanate from a predominantly centrist bunch led by a true socialist. This scenario would certainly bolster the movement for Scottish independence, strengthening the feeling that Scotland is a social democratic appendage to a larger, more conservative UK.
However, lets say the doubters are wrong. And that England is brimming with dormant progressives waiting to be enthused and galvanised by a resurgent Labour under Corbyn. That they storm to power with a majority at the next General Election. And they then set about a program of transforming the UK into the type of society many of us hope an independent Scotland can be?
Would a new sense of solidarity decimate the growing support for independence? Or would the potential progress emanating from a Corbyn premiership embolden the population, making them more likely to take the next step?
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