Jeremy Corbyn is on a four day visit to Scotland in order to turn round the party’s ailing fortunes. He’ll be here for a few days, he’ll have a few meetings, and then he’ll return to London and the visit will be hailed as a huge success, and nothing will actually have changed. This is precisely what happened the last time that Jeremy Corbyn came to Scotland in order to turn around the Labour party’s ailing fortunes in Scotland. On that occasion Jeremy held some public rallies which were attended by fewer people than turn up to meet my dug at independence events. That’s not hyperbole either. It’s a statement of arithmetical fact. When a mongrel dug rescued from a canal side in Spain is mair popular in Scotland than Jeremy Corbyn, that’s a sign that the Labour party in Scotland has fallen very far from the grace it enjoyed in this country throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
The Labour leader is in this country to promise us an industrial renaissance. He’s promising a “jobs first Brexit”, which is a bit like promising a healthy dose of the flu. Quite how he’s going to achieve his promised industrial renaissance while simultaneously supporting Brexit remains to be seen, and probably never will be seen seeing as how he has only the slimmest of chances of becoming the PM. Let’s get real here. You’d be hard pressed to imagine a Conservative government that was any worse. The British government currently consists of the most incomptent, the most inept, the most rampantly selfish and self-serving bunch of talentless Tory hacks who have ever stolen a crust from the mouth of a disabled person, and yet Labour still can’t achieve a commanding majority over them in the opinion polls. That’s like telling us that Jeremy is the Usain Bolt of British politics, and he’s still losing a race against an overweight sixty year old sixty a day smoker who’d broken his leg after he fell down the stairs when he was blootered.
If there was to be any real prospect of a Labour government, Jeremy ought to have a double digit lead in the polls at this point in the electoral cycle, because sitting governments always make up some ground during election campaigns. And the Tories are almost certain to do so in the next Westminster General Election, because when that does happen, it will be because Theresa May’s teetering government has finally tripped over itself like a drunkard on Strictly and the party will be led into the election by a shiny new leader who’s enjoying a honeymoon period with the media. Even, may the gods help us, if it’s Boris Johnson.
Yes yes. Jeremy’s supporters will, accurately, point out that he has been the subject of a concerted campaign of vilification and hatred from a right wing media. Jeremy is the victim of a biased and highly partisan media which despises him. The message of the Jezgasm doesn’t get a fair hearing in the press but his critics are given megaphones. Complaints about him are imagined, or invented, or are magnified and blown up out of all proportion. He’s suffering from the effects of a highly organised hate campaign which is being orchestrated by a British establishment which is terrified of him. His supporters may claim that the accusations of anti-semitism that are levelled against him are unfair and unfounded.
To which we supporters of Scottish independence can only say, welcome to our world. For years now we’ve been accused of being anti-English racists. For years now we’ve been accused of being abusive and vile trolls who infest social media. For years now we’ve struggled to get our message out into a mainstream media that thinks that supporters of Scottish independence are the devil in tartan. This has been our reality for years, and you’ve only just noticed now that it’s happening to you. Actually, you’ve only just noticed that it’s happened to you, you still haven’t noticed that it’s been happening to others. And we have reason to believe that you don’t care.
So forgive us if we’re unsurprised and distinctly underwhelmed and more than a little bit lacking in the tea and sympathy department. We have experienced everything that you’re complaining about, and more, for years longer than you have, yet the SNP has still managed to trounce all its opponents. We took the cause of independence from 28% support to 45% in the face of the most vicious campaign of vilification that the UK has ever seen. Then we went on to destroy the other parties in elections when the media hysteria was if anything even worse. We are still riding high in the polls, and the campaign against us has never ceased. We have proven that you can still win votes in the teeth of a media campaign of vilification. So your problem, Labour, is clearly something else. And that problem is one of your own manufacture.
We’re united. We’re consistent. We don’t dissemble. We don’t hide what we want. We actually oppose the Tories.
Maybe Labour could do a lot better. Maybe if your leader showed the same respect to the campaign for Scottish self-determination as he does to every other campaign for self-determination on the face of this Earth. Maybe if your party actually opposed the Tories in deed as well as word. Maybe if your leadership wasn’t two faced on Brexit, trying to appeal to Remainers but practising Leave. Maybe if Labour representatives spent more time and energy on fighting the Tories and less on fighting one another. Maybe if Labour really opposed Trident. Maybe if Labour in Scotland wasn’t represented by the same tired old faces on the telly, the Jackie Baillies and the James Kellys, banging on about SNPbad just like they’ve done for over a decade. Then maybe we’d believe that Labour had changed.
Jeremy’s visit to Scotland will change nothing. The problems faced by Labour in Scotland are structural and systemic. Labour wants to be the party that’s opposed to independence, when we already have the Conservatives for that. Labour wants to be the party of social justice and social democracy, when we already have the SNP and the Greens for that. Labour’s leadership is trying to appeal to an overwhelmingly anti-Brexit country while it supports Brexit. Labour offers Scotland nothing, but then Scotland has learned that it can expect nothing from Labour. There’s only one way in which the Labour party can enjoy a renaissance which will allow it to yet again become the party of government. That’s in an independent Scotland. Don’t call us, Jeremy. We’ll call you.
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