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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Good for Scotland, Good for Labour


Over the next two years, there will be countless headlines, opinions, and righteous self opinions on the case for Scottish independence. Some will argue that it will lead to a Socialist Utopia, a Northern Kuwait. While others will cite the slow and painful death of a nation, much like the media do now of Scottish football.

Each side are, at the moment, are waiting for the other to outlay their grand plans, their reasons, their smoking gun which will lead the nation to a Yes or a No vote. So, not being one for getting ahead of myself; this article will not be about why independence is good for Scotland, but rather why it's good for the Labour party.

For years the argument has been, if you want independence, vote for the SNP. Well I never have nor intend to, yet we approach the precipice of the nationalist movement. Is it possible to be pro independence but vote for Labour?

One of the founders of the Labour Party.
The foundations of the Labour party are closely aligned not only in Scottish politics but Scottish independence. The founding father of the Labour movement Keir Hardie was a strong believer of home rule. Yet within the modern Labour party their seems to be an automatic assumption that the party and party members must support the union.

 But lets suppose it's 2014, the polls have voted a resounding Yes vote for Scottish Independence. A new Scottish Labour party must be formed, independent of Westminster and all its ties. What would that party look like? Would it support Trident? Would half of their public message be based on a 'Squeezed middle?' Where would it stand on education, health? Would it semi privatise these systems as New Labour did? What would a Labour party look like when it doesn't have to court the home counties?

Don't misunderstand me, as a British Labour party I understand the need to play to the home counties, to Middle England. Don't get their votes, don't WIN! But do all the issues of Middle England affect Scotland?

I argue that the majority of Scots voters are far more liberal than those of the south. While I do not think that we would have a socialist utopia, nor a death of a conservative force in Scotland, I do believe that the majority of this great nation would in fact vote for a real Scottish Labour. A Labour party that returns to its original roots, one of workers rights, education for all, welfare as a hand up not a handout, self defence and preservation, while holding a moral standing in the world.

One of the great qualities we have as a country is also our worst, self deprecation. It's a wonderful tool, that's disarming and charming. But sometimes, its time we showed a little confidence, some swagger. How many times will we watch Scotland play football or Andy Murray play in a grand slam final and say well, they/he wont win? Why are we as a country such a shy child who needs someone to tell us that we are worthwhile, that we can do well? We can make our nation great. We can succeed as an independent country.

If for nothing else than a stronger, fairer Labour party who will fight for your needs; not those of Sussex or Hampshire, then the answer has to be YES!


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