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Labour faces a titanic struggle to regain the confidence of the Scottish working class

Bx3y4n1CYAETIvaIn gracefully accepting the verdict of the Scottish people “at this stage“, Alex Salmond made clear his expectation that the three unionist parties honour their pledges to the Scottish people in rapid course. “Let us not dwell on distance we’ve fallen short; let us dwell on distance we’ve travelled.

The turnout at 86% demonstrates how engaged and energised the Scottish people were during the campaign. Though the result was – at 55/45 – not quite as close as the last polls predicted, the SNP have in reality won a great deal in this campaign, and Labour has seen enormous numbers of its erstwhile core working class supporters vote for independence. As John Curtice put it:

Those areas with more middle-class folk were more likely to vote “No” than those areas with more working class people.

In Glasgow, for example, where in 2010 the SNP won only 17% of the vote, 53% voted for independence. Working class voters in Scotland have rejected the politics not only of Thatcher but also of Blair. The SNP is reaping the benefit of positioning itself in the public eye to the left of Labour. And the madness of working with the Tories in Better Together just made it worse.

So, whilst all three unionist parties must honour Gordon Brown’s pledge to deliver the “sharing of sovereignty” through a “federal state” within two years in order to forestall another independence referendum, Labour faces a massive task if it it is to recover its core support in the Westminster and Holyrood elections it faces in Scotland over the next two years.

If Labour is to meet that challenge, it is not solely for Scottish Labour to raise its game and present a new socialist vision for a Scotland free of austerity, Ed Miliband must do the same in England. Scottish Labour voters, in voting for independence, were above all rejecting the politics and politicians of Westminster. English working class voters drifting towards UKIP are doing much the same. Ed Miliband must remove every every trace of Blairism from the Labour offer.

2 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Well they voted and they voted no, but will this mean success for labour now they have kept the MP’s I doubt it Miliband will not sink further towards the right he’ll tell us that austerity is the answer v cut welfare cut money to those who are not hard working, and I think we will see more and more people heading towards UKIP

  2. David Melvin says:

    So the Labour led coalition of Tories and bankers won. Shame Labour isn’t as enthusiastic in fighting the Con-Dem austerity. Glasgow has shown that Labour’s core vote is there for the taking. UKIP from the right and perhaps the Greens from the left? If the result of the next election is a German-style grand coalition you read it here first.

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