Say ‘No Thanks’ to Labour Party Split
Labour are in turmoil after the General Election results and have entered a period of soul searching. The most prominent solution, as spouted by messianic war criminal Tony Blair, is to move Labour back towards the centre ground. Turf that I have to admit I never noticed they had vacated. However, this poses an obvious problem for Labour in Scotland, as here the population voted for policies that were marginally left of centre. Or positively Marxist if you live in Tunbridge Wells and are daft enough to find the Daily Mail useful for anything other than emergency bogroll. The realisation that what may play well in England may not play well with the Wildlings north of the wall has sparked some Labour figures to suggest that the Scottish branch should split from the main party. This may look like a common sense move on the face of it, self determination could allow the Scottish party to create policies which address the specific needs of the electorate they serve. However, I would argue that Nationalism is a dangerous pipe-dream and a lurch towards independent decision making could leave Scottish Labour in a worse off position.
Labour party members have been pooling and sharing resources for over 100 years. Labour activists from all over the UK have stood shoulder to shoulder throughout the good times and the bad. They consoled each other in the wilderness years of the eighties and early nineties. And they celebrated all through the ironic ‘things can only get better’ Cool Britannia period. Should this all be thrown away due to one bad day at the polls? It is not just the Labour Family which will be broken up by any potential split as actual families will also be torn apart. Take the case of Madeleine Hubbard from Wolverhampton:
I am a lifelong Labour supporter, as was my father before me and his father before him. I was over the moon when my only daughter joined the party 5 years ago. She recently married a Scotsman and now lives in Edinburgh. If this change goes through I fear for our family unit. I don’t want my grandchildren growing up in a foreign Labour party.
However, this move will not only have a social cost. The potential split will have financial ramifications. Although the Institute of Fiscal Studies has confirmed that Scottish Labour has the means to stand on its own two feet many have claimed that the party members will be worse off. It is likely that Scottish Labour will lose its triple A credit rating and be forced to borrow at unfavourable rates. Scottish Labour membership is over reliant on a few sources of income such as ex shipyard workers and miners. Due to losing the broad shoulders of the UK party which has a much more varied membership, it is inevitable that annual fees for will rise. There are questions over whether the new party will be able to collect membership fees in sterling and it has been said that the Scottish Labour ID cards will not be valid in England. Several prominent business leaders, such as Betty Buchanan who runs a sandwich shop across the road from Scottish Labour HQ, have already threatened to relocate south of the border due to the spectre of uncertainty with many fearing a triple dip recession.
On the political level, an unnamed high ranking civil servant has confirmed that Scottish Labour as a separate entity would have to negotiate to rejoin the UK parliament. And, as the party currently lacks the infrastructure to go it alone, it would waste a lot of time and resources in the first few years setting up lots of committees which already exist at the UK level.
It could be argued that these are just practicalities and an independent Labour party could overcome them with ease. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the repercussions are more serious than the bureaucratic ones mentioned above. George Robertson has argued that a debilitating divorce would threaten the stability of the wider world:
The loudest cheers for the break-up of Labour would be from our adversaries and from our enemies. For Labour to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geo-political terms
This concept of autonomy for Labour is just putting idealism before common sense. An independent party actually reflecting the needs of the people is a great idea on paper. However, the practicalities and inherent risk make it unworkable and Labour should learn from its proud history that it is Better Together. Anyone contemplating this split needs to ask the question, is societal breakup, a ruined economy and global instability a price worth paying for running your own affairs?
We would probably lose the pandas too.
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