In between Anas Sarwar making promises that are way above his pay grade and Boris Johnson telling us that Scottish independence would be a tragedy for the whole world, yesterday we also had Keir Starmer enthusiastically hammering the last nail into the Labour party’s Scottish coffin and helping to make Scottish independence all the more likely.
Sarwar of course got several minutes of puffery at the top of the evening edition of Reporting Scotland, which uncritically reported his big promise as though it was something that might actually happen. It was in very marked contrast to the scepticism which is characteristic whenever the BBC deigns to mention a pro-independence development. There was no sign of Glenn Campbell looking concerned. Sarwar was later given a few extra minutes to expound further on his non starter of an idea and was allowed to assert without being challenged that Nicola Sturgeon ‘cannot’ use the next UK General Election as a de facto referendum. Last I checked parties can put whatever propositions they want before the electorate in an election, and if the SNP, the Greens, Alba, and any other pro-independence parties say that they are going to use the election to ask the electorate for a mandate to start negotiating Scottish independence, that is a matter for them, not for Anas Sarwar. We already know that Sarwar won’t shirk from denying Scottish democracy and won’t be challenged on it by the BBC, but demanding a veto on other parties’ manifestos is a bit of a stretch even for him.
On Monday Keir Starmer announced that the Labour party will not seek to take the UK back into the customs union or the Single Market and will not seek a restoration of the right of freedom of movement for British citizens. Labour is now a hardline Brextremist party just like the Tories. We already knew that Labour wasn’t going to take the UK back into the EU, but support for a closer relationship with the EU was the one thing distinguishing Labour from the bluekip Tories. That’s gone now. Starmer has vowed to do the same as Johnson, but promises he’ll do it with a sad face. Starmer says he’s going to “make Brexit work.” That’s a lie, you can’t “make Brexit work” because Brexit is fundamentally broken. It’s like saying that you’re going to fill a vase with water after it has been shattered into a thousand pieces.
Now the only way that Scotland can get back into the EU, or even just the Single Market and Customs Union, and have the right to freedom of movement restored is as an independent country. There is no other way. That is a simple truth that cannot be obscured by all the hysterical Anglo-British nationalist scaremongering and SNP bad mud slinging in the world.
While we are on the topic of British nationalist SNP bad mud slinging, can we get one thing straight please – and this is directed at all the Iain Macwhirters, Alex Massies, Tom Gordons and Tom Harrises whose voices are so dominant in the Scottish media – the Scottish independence vote to come, whether that is an actual referendum or a de facto referendum is not going to be about casting a verdict on the SNP’s performance as the governing party in a devolved administration, no matter how much you want it to be. It’s about the people of Scotland deciding whether they want Scotland to become an independent country or not. That’s it, that’s all. An independent Scotland will be a democracy. The government elected by the people of Scotland in that independent Scottish state could come from any of the parties standing, not necessarily the SNP, and that government will be able to implement the mandate given to it by the people of Scotland without the losers of the election appealing to Westminster to tell Holyrood, “Naw, ye cannae.” So how the SNP has performed as the governing party in a devolved administration whose powers and limits are set by Westminster is frankly an irrelevance.
The verdict that will be cast in the independence vote will be a verdict on how ALL of the British nationalist parties have treated Scotland over the decades. It’s easy to see how that would be uncomfortable for those who have built their careers on keeping Scotland under Westminster rule. Mud slinging at the SNP allows them to avoid the core issue of the debate. It’s not about the SNP, it’s about the limits Westminster puts on Scotland, and in recent years it has become clear that it is also about how Westminster is a threat to democracy itself in Scotland. Starmer’s announcement that he will keep the UK outside the single market and customs union and his and Sarwar’s insistence that they will ignore the outcome of Scottish elections if the people have the audacity to vote for another independence referendum tells us that the threat to democracy in Scotland does not just come from Johnson, Ross, and the Tories, it comes from Starmer, Sarwar, and the Labour party as well.
However Starmer is still no closer to getting into Downing Street. Starmer’s big problem is that the Brexiteers in England won’t believe him – and the English remainers will be disappointed and probably will not vote or work for Labour. Labour is now contesting the same crowded electoral ground as the LibDems, who have also abandoned any idea of rejoining the EU, and the Conservatives. The last nail in Labour’s coffin is the last nail in this so-called Union’s.
Meanwhile in Scotland it is merely confirmation that we cannot look to Labour to protect Scotland from the Tories because the only way that Labour can get elected is to ape Conservative policies and to promise not to undo the damage caused by a Conservative government. The tragedy of the UK is that a party which wishes to form a British government can only do so by appeasing the xenophobic third of England. This is the Britain that Labour wants to keep Scotland a part of and for which it is prepared to destroy Scotland’s ancient sovereignty and its right to national self-determination. We know now that there is no space in the British body politic for a distinctively Scottish perspective. It’s independence, or being wheesht forever.
Many thanks to everyone who kindly supported the annual fundraiser. It’s always a nerve wracking time, I’m literally asking people to put their money where my mouth is. I’m delighted to say that the target of £5000 wasn’t just reached, it was smashed. From all sources, the Gofundme page, PayPal donations, and direct donations by cheque or into my bank account, the grand total raised was an incredible £11,094. In my wildest dreams I could not have expected it to go so well and my deepest thanks to everyone who contributed. It is heartening to know that so many people value my writing and that there is still an appreciative audience for a positive pro-independence message that concentrates on making the case for independence and debunking the arguments of the real enemies of Scottish independence, the Conservatives and their little helpers. That’s what I will keep doing thanks to you.
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