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By Jason Michael
Kezia tells voters to vote Conservative. What’s left of her party in Scotland looks on in disbelief, absorbing the shock of this last betrayal. Independence supporters see and hear the last confirmation of what they always knew.
It’s political suicide. There simply is no other way to understand the course set by Kezia Dugdale in this general election. Other than the positive signs of Theresa May slipping in the polls, the British Labour Party is fighting for its life in every corner of the United Kingdom. In Wales the Party is rightly described as being “in terminal decline,” Labour in England under Jeremy Corbyn is in a humiliatingly shambolic state of disarray, and here in Scotland – where Scottish Labour has effectively evaporated since 2010 – its leader has taken the inexplicable decision to canvass on behalf of Theresa May and the Conservative Party.
Confidence in Scottish Labour is now a thing of the past. Voters who, in good faith, voted for Labour in the council elections quickly found their elected representatives jumping ship to shore up the Conservative power bases, and now in the general election campaign we have Ms Dugdale on television all but instructing Labour supporters to vote for the Tories. All that is clear, as rigor mortis sets in, is that the people at the top of the Labour Party in Scotland – after watching their grassroots walk over to the National Party – would rather see Scotland become a neoliberal Tory stronghold than entertain any hope of a different future as an independent country.
Impressed by the wild leftist talk of Andrew Bustard, the social media chap of Scottish Young Labour, mentioned afore on this blog, I decided to ask him how he squared his brand of Labour socialism with the direction the Party has taken. “It’s not something I come close to supporting,” he responded, adding that in another independence referendum he’d “maybe abstain.” Young and up-and-coming Labour activists like Bustard are not quite convinced that the SNP can bring about the fairer Scotland they dream about, but they have been shown – beyond all doubt – that the higher-ups in their party will roll over rather than give this possibility a fair shot.
Butterfly Rebellion (@Butterfly_Reb) May 20, 2017
Truth be told, I think Bustard is right. The SNP won’t bring about the socialist vision we both hope to see realised. Scottish nationalism is a composite beast, comprised of opinions representative of the entire spectrum of Scottish politics. When I listen to Alex Salmond’s business plan, on the one hand I am persuaded he can pull it off, but on the other I’m not hearing the more equitable, socialist Scotland I want from independence. It’s a smaller – admittedly more democratic – state cut in the mould of the Washington consensus. But then, what the socialist in us is failing to see is that independent nations don’t have pro-independence parties. It seems to me that old school Scottish socialism can only be reborn from the defragmentation of the National Party after independence.