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I voted Yes, but I won’t be joining the SNP

Labour_for_Independence_logoI am a Labour Party member who voted Yes in the independence referendum, but I won’t be joining the SNP or any other party.

I voted Yes for a complex array of reasons and it was a close call. Partly out of despair over Westminster politics, not just current Tory policies, I expect them to be wicked, but the whole style of political behaviour. The professionalisation of politics in particular. I work for a third sector organisation and I can see how liberating devolution has been. Admittedly, often stronger on process than substance, but effective dialogue matters if we are to find solutions to the complex problems that face Scotland. I was therefore disappointed with the Labour Devolution Commission report. I also believe independence would be good for the Scottish Labour Party. Freed from the inevitable compromises it makes as part of a UK party it could develop a realistic yet radical policy programme.

I recognise that I didn’t manage to persuade many of my friends of the case for independence. They liked the vision, but felt the practicalities just hadn’t been thought through. I accept that and will move on – I won’t be joining the nonsense of ‘the 45′. I am also deeply unhappy at the ‘traitor’, ‘tricked’ narrative and the attack on older people, who care deeply about a future for their children and grandchildren. This is nationalism at its divisive worse and shocking from the First Minister.

However, in moving on I did consider changing my political party. Whatever the failings of political parties, they are the route to achieving real change. Just shouting from the sidelines isn’t enough for me.

A couple of friends have joined the apparent surge in SNP membership. They say, we aren’t nationalists, but this is the best way to take Scotland forward. Sorry, but the hint is in the name, the Scottish National Party. I have been to the SNP conference and the only thing that binds together their disparate membership is nationalism. I am persuaded that independence could work, but it’s not the reason I get out of bed in the morning. I don’t often agree with Brian Wilson, I remember his opposition to devolution even if he has moved on, but I do agree with this part of his Scotsman column.

But if the Nationalists did not have a grievance to nurture, what would be their purpose? They are, at best, a reasonably competent administration with dangerous centralising tendencies which has been given lots of money to scatter around. But they show little evidence of original, far less radical, thought once the grievance rationale has been stripped away……. the more they can talk about the constitution, the less onus is on them to actually do anything interesting or progressive about anything else.”

I did give the Greens serious consideration. I am sympathetic to much of the environmental agenda and I think Patrick Harvie has done a good job in getting many of their traditional members to understand that they have address a wider policy agenda. However, I just don’t think the No Growth and uber localism is realistic or practical and like the nationalists it is the green agenda that drives their approach.

I fleetingly considered the SSP and the fellow travellers on the far left. I went to a radical independence event and was struck by how little listening these groups do. They have a micro dogma that can be subsumed into a mantra for a short campaign, but then falls apart in bickering over obscure points of dogma. They are not interested in serious politics because it requires compromises that they are unwilling to make. But my biggest problem with them is their obsession with attacking Labour rather than the Tories. I can and will be critical of Labour, but those who really care about social justice should concentrate on persuading others to that cause – not doing the Tories dirty work for them. That’s Rupert Murdoch’s job!

So that’s my journey in recent months. I will stick with Labour, but I will want to hear more about the positive reasons for doing so. Starting with a more radical approach to devolution, not just to Holyrood, but to local government as well. Then how we will use those powers to deliver a radical agenda on social justice. Scottish Labour needs to rediscover its core purpose and I for one have decided that it remains the best route to delivering social justice.

The author of this article has a reason for remaining anonymous

Image Credit: Labour for Independence


  1. Rod says:

    “I will stick with Labour, but I will want to hear more about the positive reasons for doing so. ”

    Yet another example of the Left’s naivety.

    Having said you’ll stick with Labour why on earth should Labour provide you with a reason for doing so?

    Labour has your vote and therefore can ignore you.

    Labour’s undemocratic elite will only take notice of the Left within the LP when the Left is prepared to do as the Right have done: withhold support.

  2. swatantra says:

    I wanted to Vote YES, but I don’t speak Gaelic.

    1. Robert says:


  3. Robert says:

    Hint in the name, well OK lets hint at the other name the labour party a party of the working class otherwise known to day as the Progress party the party of the middle class .

    The Scottish Independence party is now a party seeking to get independence within the Union which it offered and it was refused but seems that is now the way to go.

    Free prescription free bus passes free student fees may not seem socialist to your it does to us believe me.

    The fact is New labour is still alive and well in Scotland Lamont had to be directed by Miliband the weak to change her course and offer the same things, I suspect Blair said to Miliband offer the same or I’ll remove you as leader of Progress.

    I’ve spent most of my working life in Labour do you know something it was a waste of time, waste of money and a waste of my direction.

    Scotland need three strong political parties to offer us all the things we want, in the UK we have two labour and the Tories, that is now down to Progress and the Tory party it’s not enough.

  4. Chris says:

    You voted “Yes”?
    So why were you at the count wearing a red rosette with “No” in the middle?
    Why were you acepted as an official of the “No” campaign?
    Maybe you did vote “Yes”.
    I’ll leave you to explain that to your Unionist pals.
    See you at the count in May

  5. James Martin says:

    What a truly bizarre article. So ‘guest’ you oppose the negative nationalism of the nationalists, but then profess support for nationalism in your comment that independence would be good for the Scottish Labour Party?

    Dear me, talk about confused. You approach the issue of separation and nationalism like an unthinking English councillor tends to approach questions of whether small unitary authorities are better than large county councils. A minimal balance sheet of opportunist political pros and cons.

    But the gaping hole in your whole position is class. You appear to ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist in your political bubble. And here lays the problem that we have had with much of the arguments throughout the whole debate, whether from bankers friend Alistair Darling or SNP voting Tommy Sheridan. Class is a secondary (at best) issue to nationalist sentiment (but for different reasons of course for Darling and Sheridan).

    But the problem with the nationalist arguments – particularly those from the far left who have willingly thrown themselves in the opportunist nationalist swamp, is what is best not for Scotland (or England or anywhere else) but what is better for the advancement of socialism, internationalism and the redistribution of wealth and power?

    And as George Galloway put it when he nailed the SNP nationalist lies in one sentence – you simply can’t have Scandinavian levels of welfare on Texas taxation.

    But more than that. What is the real, genuine differences between a minimum wage shelf stacker and USDAW member in Tescos in Glasgow or London? What is the real, genuine differences between a PCS member working in DWP in Edinburgh or Gateshead? What is the real, genuine differences between a UNITE refuse collector in Dundee or one in Birmingham?

    Because you see if you accept nationalism and all its reactionary bile you have to find some differences, or at least invent them (as some of the far left have done by accepting nonsense about nationalist oppression). But if you accept reality and admit that, actually, there is no real material differences or outlook between any of those workers (and millions more) across the UK, whose accents may differ but who all share the same culture and, more importantly, the same enemies, then where does that leave the nationalist argument? In the gutter so far as genuine socialists are concerned.

    Yes, Labour needs to rid itself of the Progress tendency, it needs to re-engage with the unions and become a party of labour again. But let no one continue the disgusting lie that Scottish (or English for that matter) nationalism is in any way progressive!

    1. Robert says:

      “Yes, Labour needs to rid itself of the Progress tendency, it needs to re-engage with the unions and become a party of labour again. But let no one continue the disgusting lie that Scottish (or English for that matter) nationalism is in any way progressive”!

      Progress is now a major player in Labour it’s right wing it follows Thatcherite teaching and of course Blair method of the third way.

      The left in labour is about twelve people with not one on the front bench, I think in the next ten years Progress will make a move and labour as we all know it will be gone .

      I cannot for the life of me see why Scotland should not be allowed to go it alone.

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