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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  • Mary

    Well said Craig. He is a thoroughly decent man. He even rises above the criticism from the pocket pols.

    Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn ‘not bothered’ by rivals’ criticism
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33940435

    ‘Left-wing Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has brushed off criticism from his rivals, warning against the debate turning “puerile”.’

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I have an idea that Corbyn infuriates his opponents by being so reasonable. There’s nothing to attack.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Lord Palmerston

    The Blairites hate him because they understand that he will scare
    away the votes they need for place and power.

    His rise is a wonderful development for UKIP who must have higher
    hopes now of replacing Labour in England. Labour’s 6th-form Marxists have become the best promoters of English Poujadism!

  • Mary

    An e-mail from him this morning.

    ‘In the last few weeks many people have signed up as Labour supporters and members.

    If you are a brand new joiner to our party, I want to welcome you. If you have been a member in the past and have come back, welcome home.

    I believe Westminster politics forgot something – it’s that if you stop giving people a reason to vote, loyalty evaporates along with votes.

    That’s why my campaign has stood for straight-talking, honest politics. You can read more about what I’m standing to deliver here.

    My campaign is giving people a clear reason which is a choice between another five years or more of self-inflicted pain and austerity or investing our way to a prosperous and fairer society. A lot of people, both new and former Labour supporters seem to agree with us that this is the sensible way forward.

    I am standing to deliver a new kind of politics of a fairer, kinder Britain based on innovation, decent jobs and decent public services.

    If you want to be involved in my campaign for Labour leadership, please join our movement here.

    Sign up to hear more from us in the future

    Yours sincerely

    Jeremy Corbyn’

    http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/

    He is in Stoke on Trent tomorrow.

  • Rehmat

    I think, it’s better for Jeremy Corbyn to stay out of Scottish debate.

    Jewish Chronicle has already accused Corbyn of anti-Semitism for not answering it posed to him. On August 12, the site claimed:“We are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.”

    Below are sample of those questions:

    1.Did you donate, as alleged by its founder, to Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), a group that publishes open antisemtism, run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen — an organisation so extreme that even the Palestine Solidarity Campaign refuses to associate with it?

    2.Have you, as Mr Eisen claims, regularly attended DYR’s annual conference?

    3.Why have you accepted an invitation to appear at a conference on August 22 alongside Carlos Latuff, the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist?

    4.Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?

    I do wish Corbyn can clean his anti-Israel slate.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I really don’t think anyone can make sensible predictions about whether or not Corbyn will prove popular with the electorate. The evidence to date suggests to me that he will, but that’s all – a suggestion. I don’t think it can be said with safety that the people packing his auditoriums are all old-style lefties, Marxists, Militants seeing their chance to get back into the Labour fold, and so on and so forth.

    More likely, in my view, is that a large number of them are people who have been politically apathetic, because they see no difference between the three major parties (as they were. Corbyn is presumably a welcome change. Who can say how such people will vote at the next GE? I think that shouting that Corbyn is unelectable and counter-shouting that he is the best hope for Labour yet has more to do with political faith than it has to do with actual knowledge for any of us.

    That doesn’t mean I have any time for the Labour neo-cons like Blair and Straw and Campbell. These people might be facing criminal trials if Corbyn becomes PM. Not a word from them about their personal interest in seeing that he does not, in all their commentaries. That is contemptible.

    I will be happy to wait and see.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Edward Andrews

    The irony is that there is no connection between a supporter of a United Ireland and those who seek that Scotland takes her place among the nations of the World. Corbin is a Unionist like the rest of them. We have an agreement in that the Tories are our enemy and must be frustrated, however that does mean that we, outside the captivity in Westminster give to us by the NO voters we have no community if interest with Unionists.

  • Clydebuilt

    Saddened to hear fellow SNP supporters have attacked Corbyn. I’ve nothing but admiration for the bloke. all day the state broadcaster has told us that Corbyn is bad , with no address allowed. So the establishment don’t want him elected, they must see him as electable. Same for the Tories If they really thought he was unelectable they wouldn’t be doing their best to rubbish him.
    Corbyn poses a real threat to the established order.

  • Mark Golding

    Could Jeremy Corbyn be Labour Party leader, and Prime Minister?

    Marc Roche from Le Point versus Owen Jones from The Guardian versus Safak Timur from BBC Turkish Service versus Michael Goldfarb from globalpost.com.

    Recorded from BBC News Channel HD, Dateline London, 01 August 2015.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEodQRyUQ5A

    We know the SNP itself positioned itself to the left (I mislike that term) of the Labour party and achieved 56 out of 59 seats – an accepted wipeout. That development begs the question – will the English clan react to the same Blairite toxicity, to reset the agenda and move away from the rigid pro-austerity orthodoxy? With a backdrop of economic crisis, wars and more wars, falling living standards, tuition fees and all, can we expect the perfect storm for the wall or barricade to fall in British politics as spirit unites?

  • Dave Lawton

    @Remat 9:21pm “I do wish Corbyn can clean his anti-Israel slate.”

    Remat Before you make any more wishes. I will have a wish.
    My Wish is you should clear up Remats world. You point out the Soviet Spy Klaus Fuchs
    was Jewish. He was not. How do I know this,well he was at the same University
    Physics Laboratory as myself and he was not Jewish. Get your facts right because
    it throws doubt on what else is stated on Remats world.

  • mike

    Yay!

    I do hope Corbyn is not a centralising, beer-and-sandwiches type of leader, if he wins.

  • Geoff Huijer

    Being for a united Ireland doesn’t necessarily translate into a desire for Scotland to be free of Westminster rule; just ask George Galloway.

  • glenn

    With Corbyn a very strong contender for leader of Labour (maybe they should re-brand themselves as “Real Labour”?), and Bernie Sanders the same for the US Democratic Party, we might actually have very progressive candidates up for election, and eventually governing their respective countries.

    This rapid turnaround, after seeing politics ratcheting to the right for nearly 40 years, is the first glimmer of genuine hope for nigh on two generations. By “hope”, I don’t mean the wistful dreaming of “Hope and Change” of Obama supporters, or the “must be better than the last lot!” hopes when Blair got elected. This time, we have on offer genuine progressives with a solid track record.

  • nevermind

    A very encouraging outlook. I have been arguing the same on Radio Norfolk today, the many common goals between the two parties are obvious. Still I cannot hear the call for a fair and proportional electoral system?

    Is the SNP going to chime in with Labour if they want to offer a choice referendum on electoral systems,? or are they going to overlook this and wave it off? effectively agreeing with the Tory ultimatum set in 2011?

    Devolution is a nightmare to come, were we as the electorate can’t change the minorities that get elected by an unfair vote and are fleeced by new powers, giving money to the same idiot local administration that wasted millions?

    PR is the key to a more sustainable society that recognises its weak and needy, but which also holds companies to their social responsibilities they signed up to. I was very buoyed by what I heard today from Jeremy and somewhat disturbed by the dirty electoral tactics of new Labopurs establishment lackeys.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Being for a united Ireland doesn’t necessarily translate into a desire for Scotland to be free of Westminster rule; just ask George Galloway.”
    _____________

    I agree Geoff, too many Leaders of London’s main parties, have made promises that have never materialised, and although I have respect for Corbyn and his left leaning stance, I’d much rather prefer he kept a low profile on Scottish politics.

    Tomorrow either Kezia or Ken will be named as the leader of the branch office of Labour in Scotland, if Corbyn wins the race for Labour leader in England Ken or Kezia will have a left orientated boss.

    Dugdale the favourite, has recently sided against Corbyn, only recanting her opinion of Corbyn in last few days.

    No one has been officially elected leader of the Scottish or English Labour party yet, but already they’re are signs of unrest from Dugdale.

    Who’s probably been promted from London Labour to act so.

    I’ve no idea how Corbyn will react to the SNP,and vice versa if Corbyn is elected as leader.

    Though I wish him good luck.

  • harry law

    Jeremy Corbyn may not be a Unionist but he will not expel Northern Ireland [NI]from the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the electorate who live there. May I remind you of the result of the border poll held in NI in 1973 98’9% voted to remain part of the UK, 1.1% opposed. Then the referendum in the Republic of Ireland took place on whether to drop articles 2 and 3 from the constitution i.e, the claim that the Island of Ireland comprised the whole of the Island [including the six counties]and its territorial seas.94.39% voted to drop articles 2 and 3, 5.6 opposed. And to make Irish unification dependent on a majority of citizens in NI wanting it. Opinion polls have indicted that even most Catholics do not want a united Ireland at this time http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/jun/17/life-and-times-survey-united-ireland This was also recognised when Martin McGuinness [sinn fein] teamed up with Ian Paisley and became good friends. On their many visits round the Province some years ago they were known as the chuckle brothers. How times change.

  • RobG

    If the Establishment don’t manage to nobble Corbyn beforehand, and he does become leader of the Labour Party on 12th September, I can honestly say that I’ve got no idea how things will pan out.

    Corbyn is no leader, like Nicola Sturgeon, as he himself admits. Jeremy Corbyn is instead a conduit for the way many people feel in this country.

    I would like to think that the SNP will drop their nationalist platform for a while (which they didn’t win 56 seats on) and go into some kind of alliance with Corbyn & Co to try and get the UK back on some kind of even kilter (ie, consign neo-liberalism to the dustbin).

    After that, I’m fairly sure that Corbyn would have no problem with Scottish independence, if that’s what the Scots want. The most important thing right now is the short term, and getting the UK back to being a real democracy again.

    At the moment it’s a complete joke egged on by a totally corrupt media.

  • Quarmby

    What an incredibly naïve article from Craig Murray.

    Corbyn may be riding a tide of support by following what Sturgeon and the SNP have done policy-wise, and he may have always been to the left of what Labour has become since John Smith’s death 20-odd years ago, which isn’t really hard to do. But he is also a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist, and no friend to Scotland’s aspirations, which will not be put back into the Unionist box he represents.

    Corbyn calls himself an ‘internationalist’. Yet he’s a part of the British State. His ‘internationalist’ pose is irreconcilable with his support of the unification of Northern Ireland into an Eire independent of the UK, whilst he won’t even contemplate further tax-raising powers being devolved to Scotland, let alone Home Rule or independence. A true ‘internationalist’ embraces independent nations working together in co-operation on a basis of equality, not on one of them being ruled by a massively asymmetrical other.

    To sum up:

    1/ Labour, along with all of the parties of Union, have already irretrievably lost Scotland.

    2/ Even if Corbyn rethought his ludicrous opposition to Scotland having the powers she needs within the UK, he’s not going to be around long enough even if the leadership election isn’t rigged to prevent him becoming leader. The neoliberals who run the Labour Party have already openly declared they’ll either refuse to work with him, or will actively launch a coup against him.

    3/ Corbyn is therefore irrelevant to the unstoppable positive direction in which Scotland is headed.

  • Cocainomics

    Over the last Parliament our cocaine sniffer burrowed £800b over 5 years (rocketing the national debt to £1700b) to pay for tax cuts to the rich, and pump the economy to get re-elected. Over the life of this Parliament he plans to burrow “only” a further £600b, the £200b savings coming from 5 years of ossterity,maintaining the tax cuts unaffected at existing levels. Clearly our accountants at the Treasury will end up having an even worse reputation than their Greek counterparts, remembering the Greeks only cooked up their books for a much lower £300b total debt, which they are struggling with now.

  • Peter Beswick

    I can’t believe people can’t work out how this pans out.
    No, Corbyn is no leader like Sturgeon! He is a leader like Ghandi but with issues. Not the race one because the Scots aren’t really a race but he displays a lot of not-knowing-what he’s doing syndrome with spectacular results.
    He doesn’t know what he’s doing but like Ghandi he’s getting lots of attention the type he had when he was a child where he rationalised grown up reactions to his odd behaviours as a reinforcement that people didn’t like him so he ignored them and that made them crosser and that proved he was right.
    Like Ghandi and Jesus he wasn’t Jewish, well Jesus started out being Jewish but when he started doing his own thing he became more unpopular. He wasn’t Indian either and that’s why some Scottish Indians probably don’t like him.
    But he learnt from his role models that the more you make people dislike you the more influence you muster; like Tony Blair who wasn’t Catholic and then he was but he may be Jewish now, in secret, who knows? But the Scotish Catholics and Protestants have plenty of reasons not to like him.
    So if you want to understand Corbyn and know what he will do if he wins you have to walk in his shoes and wait and see.
    It’s actually quite easy to see how this will pan out, Blair will read this and realise what he did wrong and start saying nice things about him and Corbyn, who won’t read this, will interpret his change of tactic as the child psychologist techniques he witnessed in his youth where he didn’t know how to respond so didn’t. That will prove to everyone that he is an agent of Blair and the people who don’t read this who didn’t like him will change their minds and vote for him and those that don’t like Blair will vote for him and because he gets elected boss of the party it will reinforce he’s doing the right thing and carry on.
    It will therefore be for the newspaper people to say he not very nice and more horrid than Hitler and that will turn everyone against him so THEN he realise he doesn’t know what he’s doing and will employ Blair’s speech writers and communication people and Browns smiling coach and Prescott’s speech therapist and etiquette coach and see if Max Clifford knows anyone who insn’t under investigation and then he will probably die of a blood clot or cardiac arrest.
    I think if you try and over think this stuff you are going to get cross so just go with it.

  • Gordie

    I want him to win for a number of reasons but would be surprised if he is not colonialist in his outlook towards Scotland. It’s a common trait in the UK labour party, a united ireland and yet a British Scotland. He’ll need the SNP however, as he has plenty opponents in his own party and some understanding may develop between the two camps when they work together to oppose the tories. Hopefully he wins and we’ll see how it unfolds

  • MJ

    “Corbyn was plainly taking the hand proffered by Mhairi Black”

    It’s her seat he’ll be taking.

  • Daniel

    As discouraging as it was to read Craig’s claim of partisan attacks by some SNP members on Jeremy, I must say that I am heartened by the amount of praise for him I witnessed on TV by said SNP members in interviews following the Glasgow rally.

  • LordSnooty

    Anyone who gets up the Strawman’s and Moral Tone’s noses has to be worth some attention.

  • Giyane

    Historical resentment at the way the British have treated them has not stopped former colonial citizens making their way to the UK. Scotland, although a neighbour is in the same situation. Indeed, even Scots reserve the right to belong to the bastard British state that continues to prosper today by destroying other nations by subterfuge and war.

    If there is a difference between national loyalties and private ambitions, where does an ethical Jeremy Corbyn fit in? Amongst Muslim Asians I have never found anyone who is interested in improving the ethics of UK domestic or foreign policy. In fact they mostly want to nurture historical grievances.

    You cannot a/ reserve the right to hate a nation for historical injuries and b/ try to improve that country going ahead , looking forward etc unless you personally engage in some kind of reconciliation/forgiveness in your own inner being. It can’t be done.

    Simply put, if you want the horrible Brits to love Islam, you have to love them and come to terms with the past. Similarly, in terms of Scotland and the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon appears to have done that excellent thing. Craig’s “tribal” tensions between Scottish Labour and the SNP will need to be cranked down for progress to be made.

    Is anyone else in the SNP prepared to grow/ expand their hearts enough to forward the project of socialism, the hard-won project of humanity over ruthless capitalism? Human beings are extremely intelligent creatures and if they detect animosity from someone on account of the crimes of historical predecessors, nothing to do with them, then animosity will win.

    How else do Tories=Capitalists=Colonialists constantly flourish over human generosity? It’s not just Corbyn’s job to overcome the past, it’s everyone’s’

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