We are posting two responses to the results of the December 12th general election, the first from activists within the Scottish Labour Party and the second form Gavin Lundy, National Convenor of Young Scots for Independence.
1. Open Letter: Scottish Labour for Radical Democracy
(this was first posted at:- https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/12/15/open-letter-scottish-labour-for-radical-democracy)
We demand radical self-determination for Scotland. The Scottish people have, in successive elections to both Holyrood and Westminster, elected majorities in favour of a new referendum on independence. Setting aside the arguments for and against independence, we must not allow a hardline Tory government – which has no mandate here – to override Scotland’s democratic will.
Should all attempts to secure a second referendum by legal and constitutional means be obstructed by the UK government, we support an escalating strategy of non-cooperation and civil disobedience against that government, pursued at all possible levels: from the Scottish Government legislating on, or refusing to cooperate with, matters ‘reserved’ to Westminster, to grassroots non-violent direct action within and outwith Scotland.
We support a deep and radical vision of self-determination, encompassing political, economic and cultural life. In particular, we believe that in spite of defeat, the policies put forward in Labour’s 2019 general election manifesto still offer a valuable starting-point for tackling the climate emergency and redistributing economic power to the working class, who produce Scotland’s wealth and have the right to control it. Successive Scottish Governments have failed to use the full range of devolved powers to transform Scotland in this direction, despite their repeated insistence on Scotland’s progressive consensus.
We also believe, however, that the limits of devolved power must not be treated as the closed horizons of Scotland’s future, and we demand that the Scottish political establishment begins to think and act ‘as if’ it has the requisite independence to radically address the overlapping crises facing working-class communities in Scotland, from the climate emergency and austerity to drug deaths, housing and the hostile environment.
We refuse to abandon the people of Wales, Northern Ireland and England to Tory rule, even if Scotland chooses to pursue its own road to socialism. We believe that real self-determination can only be achieved through cooperation between movements and across borders. We call on the left across the UK to back our demand for a second referendum on independence and to fight with us to secure a radical democracy for all the peoples of these islands.
Martin Le Brech, Aberdeen Central CLP/IWGB, Didier Alexandre, Aberdeen Central CLP, Scott Abel, Aberdeen South CLP, Reuben Duffy, Airdrie & Shotts CLP/GMB,Emma Milligan, Airdrie & Shotts CLP, Brendan Moohan, Almond Valley CLP/Unite, Graeme Hyslop OBE, Ayr CLP /EIS, Ryan John MacKenzie, Caithness & Sutherland CLP, Annette Thomson, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley CLP, George Thomson, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley CLP, Huw Sherrard, Clackmannanshire CLP, Social Media & Press Officer, Avar Wilson, Clackmannanshire CLP /IWW, Matthew Gallagher, Clydebank & Milngavie CLP/EIS, Ryan Bazga, Coatbridge & Chryston CLP, Social Media Officer/Unite, William McCabe, Coatbridge & Chryston CLP /Unite, Stella Rooney, Dundee CLP, Youth Officer/Unite, Chair of Young Members in Unite Scotland, Owen Wright, Dundee CLP/Unite, Drew Livingstone, Dundee CLP/Unison, James Thomson, East Kilbride CLP/PCS, Emily Talbot, East Lothian CLP/Unison, Alistair Craig, Eastwood CLP, Calum Barnes, Edinburgh Central CLP/Unite, Ian R Close, Edinburgh Central CLP, Paul Cumming, Edinburgh Central CLP/ PCS, James Cameron, Edinburgh Eastern CLP, Matthew Beven, Edinburgh Eastern CLP/Unison, Tommy Martin, Edinburgh Eastern CLP/Unite, Ally McIntyre, Edinburgh Eastern CLP, Jessica Fenn, Edinburgh Eastern CLP. Robert Dransfield, Edinburgh Eastern CLP/Unite Community
Adam Knight, Edinburgh Eastern CLP, Claire Thomson, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP/Unite, Patricia Johnston, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP, Youth Officer / Unite Community, Paul Tait, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP/UCU, Oliver Goulden, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP, Mike Cowley, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP, Shaun Cassidy, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP, Morgan Tooth, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP/Unite, Lorcan Mullen, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP/Unison, James McPherson, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP/Unite, Finn Oldfield, Edinburgh Southern CLP, Rory Scothorne, Edinburgh Southern CLP/UCU, Magnus Gwynne, Edinburgh Southern CLP, Declan Prosser, Glasgow Anniesland CLP, Alana McKenna, Glasgow Anniesland CLP, Michael John O’Neill, Glasgow Cathcart/BECTU, Scott Lumsden, Glasgow Provan CLP/Unite, Oliver Robertson, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite, Alice Bowman, Glasgow Provan CLP/ GMB/Unite, Kyle Scott, Glasgow Provan CLP/Unite, Ryan Byrne, Glasgow Provan CLP/Unite, Stephen Campbell, Glasgow Provan CLP Unite, Matt McDonald, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison, IWW, Laura Dover, Glasgow Southside CLP/Unison, Ewan Gibbs, Glasgow Southside CLP/UCU, Tam Wilson, Glasgow Southside CLP, LGBT Officer/GMB, Jessica Shenton, Glasgow Southside CLP/Unison, Thomas Baylis, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison, Mark Faulkner, Glasgow Southside CLP, Bruce Milne, Glasgow Southside CLP/Unison, Giancarlo Bell, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Vice Chair/Unite, Ben McKinlay, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Ross Clark, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Hollie Cameron, Glasgow Kelvin CLP/Unite, Ewan Kerr, Glasgow Kelvin CLP/EIS, David Clayton, Glasgow Kelvin CLP/BMA, Rob Jones, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Madison Plumridge, Glasgow Kelvin CLP/Unite, Duncan Hotchkiss, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Clare Patterson, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Paul Rolwich, Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse CLP, Fraser Finlayson, Inverness & Nairn CLP, Mikey Reynolds, Kilmarnock & Loudon CLP/ PCS, Dougie Main, Linlithgow & East Falkirk CLP, Gwen Wall, Maryhill & Springburn CLP, Fundraising Officer/BFAWU/GMB. Tessa Buddle, Maryhill & Springburn CLP/UCUCameron Thompson, Na h-Eileanan an Iar CLP/Unison, George Corner, North Ayrshire CLP/Unite, Malcolm Petrie, North East Fife CLP/UCU, Angus MacDonald, Orkney CLP, Lauren Gilmour, Paisley CLP /EIS/Unite, Simran Kaur, Renfrewshire North & West CLP/Unite, Rosaleen Leonard, Rutherglen CLP/Unison, John O’Neill, Perth & North Perthshire CLP/Unite, Tom Flanagan, Stirling CLP / CWU, Cian Lloyd Ireland, Stirling CLP/GMB/IWW, Matthew Ferrie, Stirling CLP/IWW, Daniel Deery, Stirling CLP IWW, Callum McCormick, Strathkelvin & Bearsden CLP /EIS/UCU,William John McCabe, Uddingston & Bellshill CLP/Unite,Billy Stewart, Uddingston & Bellshill CLP/Unison
2. This letter from Gavin Lundy, National Convenor of Young Scots for Independence, first appeared in The National on 27.1.20 (https://www.thenational.scot/politics/18190523.many-scottish-labour-activists-now-see-writings-wall/)
Many Scottish Labour activists now see the writing’s on the wall
MORE than a month has passed since the SNP swept Scotland – once again – in a UK General Election. SNP activists like me entered that election quietly optimistic, but we ended up doing better than any of us could have hoped or expected.
In the most youthful political circles, the election was characterised by an interesting phenomenon that I certainly didn’t expect to see. A small but loud section of young people were drawn to campaign for Labour in urban central Scotland by the promise of Prime Minister Corbyn, a prospect that seemed ridiculous on December 1, as it does now.
What made this interesting, for me, was that many who (often at the last minute) decided to join the Labour party were experienced activists, trade unionists, and surprisingly, veterans of the 2014 independence referendum campaign.
I shouldn’t overstate the scale of this phenomenon, and it was certainly exaggerated in urban lefty circles and comically overblown on Twitter. That said, it would still be unwise for indy activists friendly to, or members of, the SNP to pretend the trend didn’t exist. I believe the new activists who campaigned for Labour in Scotland did so out of impatience; they wanted an overhaul of the system now with PM Corbyn, not after independence.
Yet let’s be frank, Labour was decimated in England and Wales because it could not build a coalition of voters that spanned demographics and geography. There will be as many takes on why this was the case as there are members of Momentum, Blue Labour, and the Fabians. But at least the main lesson for Scottish Labour activists should be clear; the UK Labour project is at best a distraction for Scots, and at worst an instrument for the British national Conservative right to deny Scotland its right to self-determination. That means Scottish Labour now finds itself facing an existential crisis.
Three camps have emerged. The first are those who are beginning to approximate a sensible position, advocating either a softening of the position towards independence or another referendum. This camp is small but with voices like Monica Lennon MSP and Neil Findlay MSP, and ex-MP Ged Killen.
The second camp are the hard Unionists. They voice a rhetoric matching the worst of the Tory party’s national Conservative right, frank about their beliefs that Scotland shouldn’t have a choice and that the Scottish Government can be happily ignored by Johnson. Bizarrely, Jess Phillips MP has been the loudest of this camp – happy to tell an entire country what its future is to be, despite it being clear that she had never given the matter one minute’s thought until launching her leadership bid.
Yet somehow the third camp, including Lisa Nandy, are those who have even less of a clue what they are talking about, those with no clear position at all.
As it stands, Scottish Labour are laying claim to the smallest voting bloc in Scotland – left-wing Unionists who don’t care an awful lot for the EU. Those of a soft No persuasion will not appreciate their view that Scotland does not deserve a choice. This is a recipe for disaster.
I truly believe that in their heart of hearts, many Labour activists are starting to realise that the choice of independence or electoral oblivion will come soon. So, we must recognise that a coalition of SNP, Green, and the remaining Labour voters will deliver independence.
It’s up to all of us in the independence movement, in the SNP, in the Greens, and in no party at all, to open our doors to those dyed-in-the-wool Labour activists who are beginning to see the writing on the wall but would never abandon their party. The independence movement remains, and will remain, bigger than the SNP.
A civic movement for choice must soon begin to agitate for another referendum. At least a section of Scottish Labour must be a part of that. Their voting constituency may be small, but it is composed of a group of people who straddle the boundary between No and Yes. A group of people, therefore, who will be of importance in taking us forward. The SNP may be the independence movement’s leadership, but there is plenty of room for others to join us on this journey.
National Convener, Young Scots for Independence
Director, Generation Yes