Alicsammin has made an appeal for Labour voters to remember something that Better Together and the Unionist media are desperate for them to forget – the referendum in September is not an election and no one is voting for alicsammin.
Like hundreds of thousands in Scotland, I am supposedly a natural Labour voter, but over the course of my lifetime the Labour party has migrated ever further removed from its roots and is no longer recognisable to most of us. It’s a party which preaches austerity and practises privatisation. It’s a party which even voted against free school meals.
No free school meals for Scottish kids living in poverty, but subsidised champagne for the princes of the party in Westminster. The radioactive contamination of Westminster took a working class movement for social justice and mutated it into the flesh eating zombies who sit in the Lords and a Commons populated by careerists and placemen whose sole concern is persuading Tory leaning voters in Labour-Tory marginals that the party has signed up to a Conservative agenda. The working class movement for social justice remains only as a tattered and neglected shop display in premises which have long since been occupied by a pay day loan shark.
There are no Labour-Tory marginals in Scotland. But the only way the party can win a General Election is to secure the votes of those Tory leaning voters in marginal constituencies – which are overwhelmingly located in the south of England – Tory voters who are increasingly attracted to the right wing populism of Farage and his bunch of homophobic meteorologists. That’s the vote Labour has to attract, not working class voters in Scotland – or in Wales or Northern England or the impoverished inner city boroughs of London for that matter.
Labour isn’t about to reform itself. For Labour’s hierarchy, meaningful reform is whatever helps them win General Elections. Labour’s leadership put their own careers first, then the interests of their party, then the interests of Westminster. The people of Scotland rank far below the need to tackle UKIP, a party with zero representation in Scotland. Compare and contrast the coverage in the UK media of the rise of UKIP with their coverage of the independence debate. It’s obvious which they regard as more important. Even the most momentous democratic decision in Scottish history is considered less important than the antics of swivel eyed loons who blame flooding on gay marriage.
Labour won’t address the concerns of its traditional voters, so it’s up to Labour’s traditional voters to force it to change. In politics, as in life, you can’t sit back complaining about the jobby that’s been deposited on your carpet. A pile of jobbies doesn’t clean itself up. It will sit there steaming away until you clean it up yourself, and the longer you leave it the more it stains. With their obsessional hatred of alicsammin, Labour in Scotland have turned into a dirty protest, content to fling jobbies like chattering monkeys in red rosettes, cheering when Tories talk Scotland down, and standing on the same platform as bosses, barons and bankers to deny Scotland her assets and potential.
By bringing about a change in the electoral dynamic, a reform of the voting system for Westminster elections might have brought back to a Labour party that’s worth the name, but electoral reform has been off the agenda since the failure of the AV referendum. That leaves Labour voters in Scotland with just one way of creating the radical change to electoral dynamics that can bring about reform of the Labour party – voting for independence.
Independence shatters Labour’s Westminster shackles. It makes Labour in Scotland independent too. That doesn’t mean that the party will instantly transform into the force for social democracy and progressive politics that many in Scotland long for, but it breaks the stranglehold of Westminster and opens up new opportunities for what will become a Scottish Labour party – a real Scottish Labour party, not a marketing brand for a Westminster bandwagon.
For too long Labour has called itself the people’s party, and thought that this meant it could tell the people what to do. Labour will only be the people’s party when the people take charge of their own destiny, and with it the destiny of Labour. So let’s show them what the people can do – we can grasp Labour by the scruff of the neck and force it, kicking and screaming, into change. We are the people, not the Labour leadership.
Vote yes, and we might just get a Labour party that’s worthy of the name. That’s worth a yes vote all by itself.