The public in Scotland has not really had a chance to consider the GE2017 proposals put forward by Corbyn and May – because Scottish Labour and Tories never get beyond telling people: “WE are the only party that can stop a new independence referendum – no WE are the only party that can stop another independence referendum.”
And it is an entirely undemocratic position, since the Scottish parliament has already voted in favour of a second referendum and the leaders of both Tory and Labour parties are MSPs, not Westminster MPs.
Tory literature has a different name in Scotland – they call themselves “Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives”, consciously distancing themselves from Theresa May and stressing that even if May gets in, the Scottish Parliament can use its tax raising powers to soften Westminster austerity. Hypocrites or what?
But Scottish Labour is exactly the same, distancing itself from the actual manifesto proposed by Corbyn and his team. Distancing itself, in fact, from the only policies that could have won support and helped to defeat “Theresa May’s UK Conservatives”.
Jeremy Corbyn has made a massive error in tying himself to Dugdale and a union that offers no change in the status quo, in a country where people have deserted Labour in their millions specifically because they want such a change.
The only thing that could win progressive Scots people over is precisely the Labour manifesto commitment to a constitutional convention. If that had been developed beyond a vague promise into a concrete commitment to work towards self-determination for all the countries of the UK, taken alongside Corbyn’s other policies, it could have won many over.
Instead he has allowed the right-wing Scottish Labour Party, who despise him, to prevent him from taking on the Tories in Scotland, or from really challenging the SNP and instead, tie his banner to the mast of a discredited and reactionary union.
So why vote Labour?
Because at the end of the day, what is actually at stake in this general election is a desperate attempt by the ruling class to strengthen their grip on power in the wake of the Brexit vote. It was called, in haste and in fear, because it was clear from the rejection of the Remain message that people had enough of the status quo. They are in a mood of rejection – a mood that could even bring about a big electoral shock. How shocking would it be if, thanks to Dugdales’ stupidity, the Tories lose seats in England but their majority is saved by Tory wins in Scotland.
A vote for Labour is the only principled position for those who oppose austerity and advocate self-determination for Scotland because:
- • A seriously diminished majority and increase in Labour support would be a defeat for May
- • Labour under Corbyn would agree to IndyRef2.
- • The team around Corbyn are at least ready to discuss a new constitution and the possibility of a progressive federated state, and more bottom-up decision-making. That could be an improvement on very centralised Scottish state and parliament.
- • Corbyn and his supporters are anti-austerity and anti-war.
- • Corbyn is a lifelong opponent of Trident and has said that if he formed a government he would at least insist on a review of the decision to renew it.
The ruling classes throughout the UK fear and loathe Corbyn and his form of socialism, weak and middle of the road as it is.
The fight to oust the right-wingers, including Dugdale, from the party would be strengthened by a vote for Corbyn. The rest of the UK has the same dilemma as Scots with many ghastly right-wing candidates who are totally hostile to any socialist ideas and in fact support austerity and military action. Still, people down south are obliged to vote for them as an opportunity to defeat the Tories – and defeat New Labourism too.
Sturgeon says a vote for the SNP will help keep the Tories ‘in check’. But people are being asked to vote for or against a Tory government, not for or against “keeping them under control”.
The SNP was certainly to the left of pre-Corbyn Labour, but they are big supporters of corporate capitalism. Communities across Scotland’s Central Belt just spent the last three months desperately campaigning for support against the INEOS’s plans to frack near their homes and in their green spaces. The SNP government could simply have banned fracking, since the only benefit would be to INEOS’ profits, instead of putting people in such fear and dread. A Labour government will ban fracking.
That’s why the fight for self-determination for Scotland has to go hand in hand with the struggle for a political and social transformation that ends the corporatocracy and puts real power in the hands of the people of Scotland.