Scottish Labour leadership contest: Same message, different suits.
Both of the Scottish Labour leadership candidates have launched their leadership campaigns and both of them have predictably railed against Scottish independence.
First up, the strained logic of millionaire, privately educated, austerity supporting, born-again socialist Anas Sarwar
The threat of a second independence referendum has been lifted after voters sent a clear message to Nicola Sturgeon in the recent general election, allowing the Scottish Parliament to finally debate issues such as education, the NHS and fairer taxation.
That is what I will relentlessly focus on during the course of this leadership campaign.
But as a party we must accept that some voters turned away from us because they didn’t trust us to protect Scotland’s place in the UK.
That’s why, under my leadership, voters will know that our support for Scotland’s place in the UK will never be in doubt.
Sometimes you wonder if the Scottish Labour top brass inhabits the same universe as the rest of us.
Voters did indeed send a clear message to Sturgeon. Of course, in Sarwar World, unlike in the rest of the democratic world, winning a majority of seats isn’t an endorsement of a manifesto pledge. He prefers a reality in which a Tory PM, at the head of a minority government, propped up by bribed Ulster Unionists can just ignore the clear mandate for indyref2 in the hope we all forget about it.
And while it is all well and good for Sarwar to acknowledge that Labour lost voters by not protecting Scotland’s place in the UK. Let’s face it, they will never be as good as the Tories at the Rule Britannia game. Playing that game, hand in hand with the Tories in 2014, lost them far more of their core support than failing to be more unionist than Murdo Fraser. Labour is not going to win a majority in Scotland by being the second best party at alienating half the country.
Still, Richard Leonard managed to do the impossible and out-stupid Sarwar by opting for the very Tory strategy of denying democracy itself.
History shows that it has always been Labour in power, backed and supported by our wider movement that has transformed Scotland before.
And that’s why the only coalition I want to see is the one between the Labour Party and the trades union movement.
For the avoidance of doubt, let me make it clear, there will be no ground ceded to nationalism at the expense of progressive socialism under my leadership.
No coalition, pacts, or deals with the SNP. And no second independence referendum.
No coalition, pacts, or deals with the SNP. And no second independence referendum!
That line singlehandedly undermines the Holyrood system which is designed for consensus politics. It doesn’t work without pacts and deals and that’s a good thing as it’s fairer and more representative than the Westminster one. A fact you’d think a nonentity gunning to lead a minority party in Scotland would like?
This fairer more representative parliament voted to hold a second independence referendum. So, his pitch for leadership is to say not only will he refuse to participate in the system, but he refuses to respect the legitimacy of decisions that the system previously made.
The key argument both Sarwar and Leonard make is that socialism and solidarity are more important than nationalism.
Funnily enough, most independence supporters would agree with that.
Problem is, they make this assertion blind to the fact that they are both nationalists. They support remaining in a UK unitary state at all costs. A state which is leaving an actual union of countries to become an isolated laboratory where the political experiments of right-wing maniacs like Gov, Farage, Boris and Fox are forced onto a demoralised populace.
In other words, their minds are so closed towards the concept of independence, they are culpable for subjecting Scotland to the antithesis of what they say they stand for.
Which is exactly why they have lost the bulk of their left wing support in Scotland.
Sure, during the General Election, the independence-supporting hard-left in Scotland were drawn to Corbyn despite his prospectus not being particularly radical and despite Scottish Labour’s complete lack of support for him.
Thankfully, the majority of Labour defectors are able to see the bigger picture and will not be so easily duped.
What they see is another set of Scottish Labour leadership candidates treating their views with contempt and once more Scottish Labour will learn the hard way at the ballot box. Actually, that is too kind. They won’t learn a thing.
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