Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP 119


Today on my first full day back in Scotland (and only my fourth day in the UK in the past 8 weeks) I went to Jeremy Corbyn’s rally in Edinburgh. I have shared platforms with Jeremy, particularly for Stop the War, fairly frequently and had a number of conversations and email exchanges, but I would not claim to be a friend. I have the impression he is quite a private man.

I was impressed by Jeremy’s talk and by the energy in the room. Jeremy was at his strongest when referring to the need for basic human decency and respect in our treatment of those in need for aid from the state, including the homeless and refugees. His basic human empathy and compassion really shone through. He was contemptuous of austerity, marketisation and the neoliberal consensus. His denunciation of Iraq and of Trident galvanised the room. He can talk with a genuine moral authority. He is certainly not a great orator, but sincere and fluent.

All that you already know. But what to me was really interesting was the lack of focus on Scotland. Many (including I think Iain MacWhirter from a brief conversation afterwards) interpreted this as lack of interest in Scotland. I read it very differently.

Despite being surrounded by the most tribal of Labour cliques (including Katie Clark and Neil Findlay on the platform) Jeremy Corbyn said not one word – not one word – in favour of the union. His only mention of the SNP (not by name) was complimentary, in reference to their opposition to Osborne’s welfare cuts. He contrasted this with strong condemnation of the Labour establishment’s failure to oppose the welfare cuts. He then went on to call for united opposition across parties at Westminster, and suggested it would be great if working with other parties and a few Tory rebels, the first act of a reinvigorated opposition would be to halt the benefit cuts which would so damage the vulnerable. In short, Corbyn was plainly taking the hand proffered by Mhairi Black.

In looking for votes from Scottish Labour, I am not surprised nor concerned that Corbyn did not refer by name to cooperation with the SNP, but he could have meant nothing else.

Jeremy has for his political life been a strong advocate of a united Ireland and a doughty campaigner against the injustices heaped upon Republicans by the state. He is in no sense a unionist. He is certainly not a British nationalist. Doubtless he would prefer a left wing Scotland to help forge a socialist state within the United Kingdom, but I have no doubt whatsoever that he respects those of us who see Scottish independence as the same anti-Imperial struggle that motivates Irish republicanism.

In short, I am hopeful that a Corbyn leadership will moderate the tribal hatred between Labour and SNP which poisons Scottish politics. Whatever else you may think of Jeremy, he certainly is not a Red Tory. Whether he will be able to clear out the Red Tories who control Scottish Labour is a fascinating question. But I must say, that I am deeply saddened by some of the partisan attacks on Jeremy by fellow SNP members which I see online. Jeremy Corbyn is a good man. In the fight to end the obscenity of the extreme and burgeoning gap between rich and poor, to counter the dwindling of public provision and public ownership, Corbyn is on the side of the angels. As we would put it when I was young, we are on the same side of the barricade.

I still believe Scottish independence remains the key to social regeneration, and indeed had not the SNP shown you can defeat the neo-liberal consensus electorally, then the Corbyn phenomenon would never have happened. But I still claim Jeremy as my comrade, and am proud to do so.


119 thoughts on “Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP

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  • Resident Dissident

    “I see Jeremy as life enhancing and the Cons and the Red Tories as life denying.”

    Can we presume that you are in favour of a purge and liquidation rather than Mr Goss’s compulsory re-education?

  • Jon

    Lysias,

    What are they afraid of? They are afraid that Israeli crimes might actually become a political issue in the UK.

    I suspect they – if “they” are the homogeneous block wanting politics and unfettered capitalism and war crimes as usual – are afraid that UK crimes might actually be a become a political issue in the UK. Yes, Israeli crimes are shielded, but defending them has probably become an exercise in playing a game that is already lost. They can be thrown overboard if push comes to shove.

    Corbyn as PM – unlikely given the visible forces arrayed against him – would represent a serious threat to the British establishment.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Merlin Jiji
    16/08/2015 10:54am

    Actually I think Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi would give Gandhi a good tussle. I’ve no idea if I am spelling it correctly or not.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Paul Barbara

    @Resident Dissident 16 Aug, 2015 – 9:35 am
    I stand corrected! Amongst all the bile you love spewing forth, there was a trace of fact: JC hasn’t endorsed any of the Deputy Leader candidates. Still, like JC, he is way ahead in the polls, and I’m sure they will get on swimmingly!
    You have the audacity to criticise Cuba’s Human Rights record, and stay silent on the HR record of the US? Apart from it’s aggressive wars, torture, ‘Extraordinary Rendition’, worldwide assassinations with drones and other methods, ignoring all the Geneva Conventions and UN laws for respecting Sovereign States, plus the installing or backing of Military Juntas which make Castro’s Cuba seem like Heaven on Earth, just the US civil prisons are disgraceful charnel houses where prisoners, many illegally held or wrongfully convicted, are held in inhuman conditions and deliberately allowed to be raped and abused by other prisoners and prison staff.
    Well, I guess that’s ‘Your Kinda Country’!

    By the way, no one commented, but I slipped up also in one of my comments: I should have written ‘to DISPROVE his (JC’s) ALLEGED anti-Semitic credentials…’ – I realised shortly after posting it.

  • Resident Dissident

    “You have the audacity to criticise Cuba’s Human Rights record, and stay silent on the HR record of the US?”

    Since when have two wrongs made a right – unlike yourself I don’t go in for moral relativism, nor unlike Mr Goss and Mr Scorgie do I make the palpably false claim that human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay were worse than those committed elsewhere on the island by the Castro regime. You be telling us next that there is freedom of speech and no government corruption in Venezuela – or at least giving another pathetic attempt at the ends justifying the means.

  • Paul Barbara

    Give just ONE case of Human Rights abuse in Cuba which compares in the slightest with the world-wide condemned abominations committed by the US against illegally held ‘prisoners’ (‘Kidnapees’ would be closer to the truth) in Guantanamo?
    Venezuela allows a level of Free Speech which would not be allowed in any (or virtually any) other country; daily the opposition press (heavily subsidized by the ‘Great Satan’ to the north) spews out vitriol, including incitement to mutiny, revolt and to overthrow the legitimate government. If the Bolivarian government do start to clamp down, it’s jolly well about time! Government corruption? Sure there is – you tell me ONE country in the world where there is no corruption. Crime? Sure there is – this usually follows in countries where the governments don’t kow-tow to the US Corporations. From Michael Manley’s Jamaica to Mexico, guns are pumped in to fuel the crime rate and create dissatisfaction among the population for a government that can’t ‘protect’ them. Ukraine was a recent example, with snipers shipped in by the ‘Usual Suspects’ (U.S., pun accidental but appropriate).
    Ends ‘justifying’ the means??? Oh, you mean the ‘War on Terror’!!!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Where did that come from, about Tom Watson?

    “Another thing – Jeremy’s running-mate for Deputy Leader is Tom Watson, another good guy. He has campaigned to expose the plague of paedophilia in high places, and it’s cover-up.” Paul Barbara, 2:47am this morning.

    Paul, do you have a link for this info.? Thanks.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Paul Barbara

    You are a complete nutcase. If I knew who you were, I’d apply to have you sectioned on the grounds that you are depriving the supermarket aisles of a prize mutterer.

  • Dave Lawton

    @Habba

    “You are a complete nutcase. If I knew who you were, I’d apply to have you sectioned on the grounds that you are depriving the supermarket aisles of a prize mutterer.”

    Who are you talking about? Yourself.

  • Paul Barbara

    Dear Habba, don’t vorry, be ‘appy…
    Having been ‘Sectioned’ under 60 & 65 in the past, I should vorry, already? Check with your ‘handlers’!

  • Paul Barbara

    @ suhayl – I have already conceded I made a mistake about Tom being Jeremy’s ‘running mate’ (but I do have first-hand knowledge Tom backs Jeremy to the hilt). Re Tom’s anti-paedo credentials, a quick check provides ‘Westminster paedophile ring claims: Campaigners closing in on truth, says Tom Watson MP’: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-news/2015/07/27/westminster-paedophile-ring-claims-campaigners-closing-in-on-truth-says-tom-watson-mp/

  • John M

    Hmm, like in a lot of “quiet” men, still waters run deep. I think the basic problem is that we don’t exactly know what he thinks about Scottish Independence and that opinions of some years ago might not still apply. He should be asked directly, and hopefully he’s as forthcoming and open as he appears to be about other matters – it will be interesting to see. His reticence at the meeting cannot be interpreted either way, I believe. It certainly wouldn’t be illogical to support an Irish union as well as wish to keep the Scottish one. His own political certainties have stood him in good stead for the moment, but when might a welcome and refreshing adherence to a coherent and consistent political philosophy be seen instead as a political rigidity, especially by such enthusiastic proponents of Scottish independence as Craig Murray?

  • Resident Dissident

    “but I do have first-hand knowledge Tom backs Jeremy to the hilt”

    I have first hand knowledge that you are a liar.

  • Paul Barbara

    @RD If it’s as good as your other ‘knowledge’, it’s not worth a plugged nickel. To think taxpayer’s money goes to paying jokers to post this kinda stuff! Still, better than upgrading Trident, I guess.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Ba’al Zevul
    17/08/2015 10:36am

    Yes, I knew about that – I should think there’ll be quite a few next issue.

    You’re welcome. Isn’t it just such a sweet fairy-tale vision.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • OldMark

    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142144/the-key-questions-jeremy-corbyn-must-answer

    This JC article was discussed on Newsnight yesterday. Avi Shlaim bravely came out with guns blazing in defence of Jeremy Corbyn. He likened the attacks on him, based on who he may have associated with in the past, correctly to McCarthyism. He also stated the obvious fact that the leadership of both Labour and Tory parties has been excessively partial to Israel for so long that successive Israeli governments have got used to this state of affairs- and are highly vexed by the prospect of a pro Palestinian MP becoming the next Labour leader.

  • Tom

    I agree with much of what you say about Corbyn (although I wouldn’t be so sure he doesn’t threaten SNP votes). Corbyn is feared by the political and media class because a) he is clearly a man of integrity and honesty who will campaign for the British people rather than foreign interests and b) he has the capacity to hoover up votes not just across the conventional Left but also the large protest element of UKIP.
    I hope he wins. I’d think seriously about voting Labour for the first time if he became leader.

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