Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Labour for Independence and the non-nationalist SNP members

Better Together's supposed positive campaign for the union disappears completely beneath their the latest shenanigans. Attempting to smear the Labour for Independence campaign and describe it as an SNP front was incredibly hypocritical and pathetic. I'll come to the hypocrisy in a little later. But if it is the case that there are SNP members then that says a lot more about the present Scottish Labour Party than it does about the Scottish National Party.

Labour for Independence logo

It's fair to admit that the SNP were founded nationalistically - nationhood and the feeling that Scotland could only feel properly represented as a nation if it was independent were what formed the driving force behind Scottish nationalism. But the idea that everyone in the SNP has the same motivation is short-sighted. Of the main four parties in Scotland the SNP is the only one that stands on a party platform of Scottish independence. So many people join the SNP specifically because they are a powerful voice for independence and even though their personal motivation for supporting independence is social justice or better democracy and not plain nationalism they see in the SNP many of the values they hold dear.

Among the people who joined the SNP many years ago from Labour backgrounds were Jim Sillars and the now Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil MSP. Through the years people have defected from the Labour Party to join the SNP completely disillusioned with what had become of their former party's core values. So it is highly remarkable and admirable I feel that Allan Grogan and co have decided to remain card-carrying members of a party who completely lack any direction in their vision. But at least it shows people in LFI still hold some hope for the future of their party. Personally if I had been in their shoes I would have just formed a breakaway party, an independent Labour Party whose constitution contains the goal of Scottish independence as well as the other values that are missing from Scottish Labour like the complete abhorrence of Trident. And with the goal of independence achieved that breakaway party would seek to remerge with the mainstream party. But again I appreciate the tenacity of those pro-independence Labour party members who are trying to stick it out with their party, it cannot be easy for them.

So just what is it Better Together hates about the SNP apart from their support for independence? The nationalism behind their support for independence? Or their actual policies? If it's the former then it's a misguided understanding of the different backgrounds of the party's members. If it's the latter then they are forgetting their target voters altogether since the majority of the people they are hoping will continue rejecting independence are the same people who gave their overwhelming vote of confidence to Alex Salmond and his party in their landslide victory two years ago. That support doesn't seem to have ebbed away a great deal. And more to the point the same voters are most likely to give their vote to the SNP in the first election of an independent Scotland because they know that whether or not they themselves support independence if it comes to such an outcome they would want Alex Salmond to be Scotland's Prime Minister because they would feel that he's the one most suited to that job. It is because the SNP has been considering and developing their policies for an independent Scotland for years that the voters feel the Nationalists are the ones most ready to govern. Moreover whatever plans the SNP come up with to govern Scotland do people really believe they are going to be any less progressive than what we will potentially face with a Tory or even Labour government in Westminster? I doubt it.

As for the hypocrisy of Project Smear let me go back to when the YouTube sensation "Top 10 Unionist Myths - DEBUNKED" was removed through apparent copyright infringement. Better Together's twitter response was:

"@WeAreNational slag off politicians, fine, but we will protect ordinary Scots who have appeared in our videos from their image being misused."

What do they go and do? They go and use the image of the ordinary Scots who were campaigning with the SNP and draw an arrow from them to people in another picture who look like them and most likely are them.

The picture that turned Project Fear into Project Smear

But what's to say they're not identical twins who support independence but different political parties - as is the case incidentally with the Reid twins (Charlie now supports the Socialists while his brother Craig is still with the SNP)! At any rate how Better Together thought it was acceptable to misuse the image of ordinary political activists (i.e. people who aren't or haven't been elected politicians and aren't famous) just because they were campaigning with the SNP when months earlier the unionists complained about the image of their own activists being misused completely baffles me. But it just goes to show how low Project Fear is prepared to sink to try and put people off voting Yes.

At any rate if people are seen campaigning with the SNP in one photograph while then standing with a Labour for Independence banner in another perhaps those people are among the many who gave up with Scottish Labour some time ago but have rediscovered some lost hope that Scotland can one day be an independent Labour country. This is exactly what Better Together can't get their heads around but hopefully their negative campaign tactics complete with the lack of a prospectus for guaranteed further devolution will be the very stuff that becomes their undoing in September next year.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely brilliant post, with people like you & Allan Grogan in the LFI movement, there WILL be a decent Labour Party again in Scotland. Until then, the SNP are the only socialists in town.