Sunday, 16 October 2016

Union, union, über alles

Scottish Labour types like to imagine themselves as the defenders of European social democracy, standing fast and firm against the Conservatives and nationalists who seek to tear the country apart.

It is, of course, gash. And no more ably has this been demonstrated by the breathtaking speed in which Scottish Labour changed from being a pro-EU party to an anti-EU party in a matter of days - without any input from the remaining members or, seemingly, any consultation even with its little handful of parliamentarians.

Scottish Labour, of course, long since ceased to exist for any practical political purposes. It now serves as a support group for loyalist sewer rat and lonely MP Ian Murray who, as Kezia Dugdale's political hero, positions the party to face whatever way benefits him at any particular moment. 

Nobody joins the Scottish Labour party because they want to fight for socialism. That battle was lost in 1994 when Tony Blair ditched the last remnants of socialism from the party's constitution. 

And nobody joins Scottish Labour to maintain global peace. 

The sight of Margaret Curran shrieking in delight as she voted to incinerate Iraqi babies in their nurseries and cots, with every single Scottish Labour MSP (except John McAllion who subsequently walked out of the party in disgust) voting with the Tories for the illegal, genocidal assault on the children of Iraq put paid to that. 

Why do people join Scottish Labour, then?

From 2003-2016 it was career-seeking Unionists. People like Dugdale who are motivated first, last and always, by maintaining the Union (and not the trade Unions: not a single Thatcher-era anti-trade Union law was changed in 13 years of New Labour rule) flocked to Scottish Labour because the party's talent puddle combined with the then-extant structure sending dozens of party members to councils and various parliaments meant that they were all but guaranteed a job for life sucking at the teat of public cash.

People like this, of course, will now join the Tories. There is no point in joining Scottish Labour because there are no jobs to be had with them. Brylcreemed, besuited young Unionists who seek a political career will switch seamlessly to the other cheek of Better Together.

Of course, Scottish Labour did have an opportunity to demonstrate that it wasn't all about the Union; that the first thing they thought of when they woke in the morning, and the last thing they thought of at night, wasn't the Union and how best they could continue to be ruled by Theresa May. 

And with the deft political touch that Dugdale is famed for, she...er, made an arse of it. 

The discrepancy in the Scottish and British votes in the European Union referendum gave Scottish Labour a final chance to try and survive as a credible political party. They could have taken the position that the Scottish vote to Remain was so overwhelming that them mandate had to be respected as quite distinct from the UK vote to Leave. 

They could have argued for special status for Scotland along Danish lines - of the three constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark, two are non-EU states and one is an EU member. 

It is unlikely that the May regime would have entertained such a call. But it would have demonstrated that Scottish Labour was a party trying its best to marry together Scotland's No and Remain votes in the best interests of Scotland. 

However, such a plan would necessitate Home Rule for Scotland, along the same lines as the Faroe Islands and Greenland already enjoy, and Scottish Labour's milquetoast leader would never be able to get such a plan through her ultra-Unionist party leadership. 

Scottish Labour promised Scots if we voted No, we'd have Home Rule in a federal United Kingdom within the European Union. They have betrayed that promise. And they don't get to demand that we Yessers lie back and accept the result of the independence referendum as long as the Unionists and the British regime are betraying the promises they made to achieve it. Until Home Rule within the European Union is granted, the independence referendum result ought to be considered provisional. 

The speed of Scottish Labour's u-turn on Europe - one week touring the country campaigning for a Remain vote, the next, demanding with almost hysterical panic that Scotland leaves the EU despite voting to Remain - shows that Scotland's place in Europe was never a principle for them; merely a tactic.

There is palpable panic in the rather less than serried ranks of Scottish Labour footsoldiers. They know that they have been comprehensively outmanoeuvred by the Yes campaign, and stabbed in the back by their erstwhile partners in Better Together. 

It is beyond doubt that Scotland has scored a democratic mandate to Remain in the European Union, and all the evidence is that chancelleries across Europe are keen for us to stay. 

When the next referendum campaign starts - and I expect the vote to come next summer - the British regime is not going to be able to issue threats to Scotland as openly as in the previous campaign: for if they did, and they lost, they would find that instead of a friendly neighbour, they had an implacable enemy - and one which would have a veto in the European Council on any positive deal for the British. 

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