Well now we know. The only thing that Labour in Scotland stands for is defending the Union, and they’re even prepared to go into coalition with the Tories in order to do so. Mind you, we knew that already, but this week we had confirmation that Labour doesn’t exist in order to protect working people from the depredations of the Tories. It exists in order to protect the Unionist political settlement that leaves working people vulnerable to the depredations of the Tories because if there’s no such settlement then Labour can’t claim that it exists in order to protect working people from the depredations of the Tories.
It’s a bit like Van Helsing going into a coalition with Dracula to stave off the villagers with the torches and pitchforks because in a world without vampires vampire hunters are needed as much as the Workers’ Revolutionary Party needs Ruth Davidson to stand outside a branch of Primark on a wet Saturday morning flogging copies of its newspaper. Or indeed needed as much as anyone on the planet needs Michael Gove anywhere, anytime. When push comes to shove, the Van Helsings of the Labour party in Scotland are on the side of the vampires, not the peasants. Labour is a vampire enabler. Without the threat of blood sucking Tories, Labour is pointless. The don’t want a cure for the condition that sickens the Scottish body politic. They want it to remain chronic, with frequent relapses, because then they can claim that they’re the medicine that provides temporary relief.
According to reports in the papers this week, internal polling for the Labour party in Scotland shows that support for the party has collapsed in what used to to be its traditional heartlands. A large number of former Labour supporters have switched to the Tories instead. Those would presumably be those for whom red white and bluenoses, royalty, and hating immigrants are more important than silly little things like social justice, equality, and challenging discrimination and bigotry.
But Labour has only got itself to blame for the haemorrhaging of its support to the Tories, because if it’s going to pitch itself as a Unionist party which puts the Union first and foremost then its voters who put the Union as their main priority are likely to switch to a party that’s even more hardline Unionist than Labour is. No one knows what Labour stands for except opposing the SNP, least of all Labour itself. There’s no point to the party. Except as a job creation scheme for Labour politicians. They told us to vote No in 2014 so that they could deliver social justice and pooling and sharing throughout the UK. But that proved to be a bust so now they want us to prop up Unionist parties in local authorities instead. They’re no longer that fussed about the content of the Unionism, it’s the fact that it’s Unionist that’s the only important consideration. Labour has no intention of standing up for the majority of Scots who voted to remain a part of the EU. They’d rather throw their lot in with a Tory party that’s reinvented itself as Ukip.
Unsurprisingly, the party is now making Wullie Rennie look like he’s got his finger on the popular pulse. It is polling so poorly in councils where it was formerly unchallengeable that the leadership has allegedly decided to concentrate funding for the local election campaign in those districts where there’s a chance that Labour can form a coalition with the Tories. Anything, but anything, to avoid going into coalition with the SNP and the Greens. Anything, but anything, so that they can keep warning about vampires. Labour would rather complain that the SNP government with its budget that is fixed is passing on Tory cuts to Scottish local authorities than complain about the Tory cuts. And Labour is one of the main reasons that the Scottish government’s budget is fixed in the first place and that it has no option but to pass on the cuts to its budget imposed on it by a Westminster government. That’s exactly how Labour arranged it. That’s exactly how Labour designed it.
Labour’s paying the price now for its hypocrisy and deceit. First they were defeated in Holyrood, then they were destroyed at Westminster, now they’re going to lose control of their last remaining councils. Scottish politics are a battle between the progressive social democratic and green politics of the independence movement, and the reactionary conservatism of the Union. Now Labour is reduced to pleading for the introduction of home rule and a fully autonomous Scottish branch office, all those things that they told us they’d achieved years ago. Vote Labour, vote for a lie. Vote for a promise that never fulfilled. Vote for deception, vote to bang your head against a brick wall that’s been built by company whose boss is a crony of your local Labour cooncil leader.
Labour chose the Union. They chose reaction. They chose conservatism. They chose to wave a red white and blue fleg and claim that they’re not nationalist while seeking to defend and protect one of the most viciously nationalist and xenophobic political systems in Western Europe. But you don’t stop being a nationalist just because you claim that you’re not a nationalist. You don’t become progressive just because you say you are. You have to act that way too. Labour’s actions, its repeated abstentions when it comes to protecting the poor and the vulnerable, its decision to attack Jeremy Corbyn instead of attacking the Tories when they were divided and leaderless, all prove that Labour’s unfit for purpose. Unless that purpose is keeping out of power a party with which they agree on most issues except the constitution. But the truth is that they’re not even any good at that either.
Now Labour is paying the price for the votes it borrowed, the false promises it made. The tectonic plates of Scottish politics are completing their realignment, and crushing the life out of what remains of a party that has long since lost any sense of what it stands for. You can have the Union, and the Union is a Tory creature, a xenophobic reactionary dystopia that looks out for the bosses and the rich, or you can have progressive social democratic politics which look out for the poor and the vulnerable, but you can’t have both. The people’s party chose to stand against the people. Labour chose the wrong side, and with its demise we’re one step closer to independence.
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