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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  • Alan Chewings

    Just watched JC Rally online. He certainly set the hall on fire and you could feel the energy.
    If he becomes Labour leader and I certainly hope he does, then there is a strong possibility that many former Labour voters will return to back the party.
    JC knows it’s going to be a hard slog, but he is on the road to convincing thousands of traditional Labour voters to back his campaign of returning Labour to its real values and principles.

  • Salford Lad

    I feel the Jeremy Corbyn campaign merits action by all internet armchair warriors. If you wish to elect a Leader who is anti-austerity and is head and shoulders above all the other neo-liberal stooges, vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
    Expect a lot of vested interests and MSM demonisation in the coming weeks. For the price of a beer/£3 you can make the difference.
    A small step for the representation of ‘we the people’.
    We have to make a start.
    Here is the means to support Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party Leadership.
    The voting system is Proportional Represenation (PR) so 2nd and 3rd choices also matter.Tactical voting is required.
    Vote Jeremy Corbyn 1st choice and no-hoper Liz Kendall 2nd choice is the way to go.

  • Mary

    Included in the verbal diarrhoea spurted by Julia Hartley-Brewer* this morning in the paper review on Sky News when the forthcoming Americanization of Cuba was discussed. She has apparently been to Cuba and thinks it beautiful but backward.

    ‘You can’t even buy a tube of toothpaste there. It’s the epitome of Jeremy Corbyn type socialism.’

    Yes Julia. Obese Americans soon be coming off the boats swigging their Coke and stuffing down burgers. Their teeth will be nice and white and even.

    * Some scribbler in a variety of tabloids but a posh bird.

  • Mary

    Doug. That line is nothing new. The JC et al have been at it.

    The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer

    Don’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn, urges new Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan

    Jewish Labour veteran voices ‘concern’ over Jeremy Corbyn’s views

    Lewis’s comments are included in the latter.
    He is a member of Labour Friends of Israel and has made multiple visits to the entity.

    His voting record
    How Ivan Lewis voted on Foreign Policy and Defence
    Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
    Consistently voted for the Iraq war
    Consistently voted against an investigation into the Iraq war
    Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
    Generally voted for more EU integration
    Voted a mixture of for and against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
    Generally voted for strengthening the Military Covenant

  • Mary

    Salford Lad. The procedure was closed on the 12th. The ballot papers are going out. Some weeding out of applications for eligibility has been done.

  • Anon1

    Of course the SNP are upset about Corbyn. First they pretend it’s an English matter, then they pretend Corbyn supports independence, and when they can no longer pretend that Corbyn is anything but a massive threat to the SNP, they go on the attack with the usual online abuse.

  • Mary

    This has just come in. Back to toothpaste!

    Brushing Your Teeth with White Phosphorus?
    Dr. Vacy Vlazna
    August 14, 2015

    ‘The truth they don’t want you to see, while Little Hamza slept, Israel bombed Gaza with White Phosphorus. But it’s okay, Israel was only defending itself.’

    Black phosphorus little Hamza with your keloid scars?

    Dr Vlazna hits the nails on the head of satanic practice and belief.
    This was in AD 2014.

    The reason why there is this concerted attack on Jeremy is because he stands against such atrocity as this and speaks out.

    Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters in Sydney, Australia. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

  • Resident Dissident

    In reality its irrelevant what Jeremy Corbyn’s views are in relation to the Union as the chances of him becoming Prime Minister are next to non existent, but even in the unlikely event that he did achieve some power please be under no illusion that he will centralise rather than decentralise power. The regimes he supports tend to be ones that centralise power. If you look at his economic programme you will see the central role he gives to a National Investment Bank in driving such growth.

    Who do you think will run this National Investment Bank, who do you think will set the criteria for what it invests in and will ultimately decide what investments it makes. The Bennite way always involved a healthy dose of democratic centralism I’m afraid – get control of the main committees and then decide the programme was always the way. How else do you think the 1983 Manifesto and the previous 200 page+ programme was foisted on the Labour Party. This picking winners approach of a National Investment Bank has had some success elsewhere where it has been aimed at identifying long term areas for investment – but that is not what is being proposed. Instead the areas for investment will be picked by the successors to a man who picked incredibly expensive aircraft for the wealthy and a car compamy producing poorly designed/technically obsolete cars that no one wanted with appalling management which had got the trade unions it deserved.

  • Mary

    Why Israel Is So Concerned About Jeremy Corbyn

    14th August 2015

    ‘Disinformation and propaganda can take the form of omission just as much as straight forward lies and deception. There is no doubt that that all political parties, one way or another, in the past have been staunch supporters of Israel’s illegal actions over Palestine and its people, more particularly, in the offensive of Gaza starting July 2014. British government complicity that enables impunity of Israeli war criminals also profits from the death, destruction and apartheid regime imposed.

    A future Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn would almost certainly reinstate the law on Universal Jurisdiction that was quietly amended by the previous Cameron government in order to facilitate the entry into Britain of Israeli politicians and military personnel without fear of arrest for alleged war crimes.

    That contentious action was taken by the then Conservative Foreign Minister, William Hague, in order to accede to the demands of Binyamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel, and against the opposition of UK human rights groups.’


  • BrianPowell

    The Tories will always be there in Westminster. I’m not interested in being drawn back to the General Election Seesaw there.
    Corbyn doesn’t carry the rest of the Labour Party. The Tories will have a field day with any substantial changes of policy from Labour.
    he doesn’t support Independence or further powers for Scotland.

    Sturgeon carries the whole party with her, has 56 MPs, majority in Holyrood and support in popularity by Scots. To reduce that for a someone in Corbyns position would simply be stupid.
    Though we saw what effect Gordon Brown had in the Referendum, so I wouldn’t put it past many Labour voters to stumble again.

  • Clydebuilt

    “Corbyn a massive threat to the SNP” , really?. Any threat will disappear when Labour collapse in the polls in the run up the 2020 GE. If he’s still at the helm.

  • Resident Dissident

    Yes Mary there are two missing from the second paragraph. That is what happens when you write your own text! BTW there is one missing from your only sentence in your 9:40am post – LOL.

    PS I don’t think Iarael will be even slightly concerned about Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Resident Dissident

    Mark Golding

    What odds will you give me on Jeremy Corbyn not being the next Prime Minister?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Good comment, Craig. With so much in common between Corbyn’s approach and most of the factors that attracted the SNP vote, it would be ludicrous not to acknowledge that and cooperate as far as possible.

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

    I do wish that to achieve political leverage in this country candidates did not have to go cap in hand to one of its smallest religious minorities.

    Unfortunately, Corbyn must be conscious that as potential leader of the Labour Party, offending this very influential minority would be suicidal to the party’s chances as a whole. Best to say nothing, therefore. Which, compared with the eagerness of the machine politicians to oblige BICOM, is an act of some courage in itself.

    In terms of numbers rather than of financial pull, I don’t think there’s much doubt that the number of potential voters who see Israel for what it is rather exceeds those who regard it as something to be supported at all costs.

    But this is a more general problem than it may seem. With (unlikely, I fear) Corbyn as PM, corruption and lobbying by all vested interests would be harshly illuminated, and, ideally, and where at all possible, prevented. Not just the Israel lobby.

  • Tim

    If Corbyn’s approach is what is otherwise attracting people who voted SNP, then that means it wasn’t the independence bit of the manifesto that they were supporting. If they now (again) vote Labour then they can’t vote SNP as well

  • Onwards

    Corbyn is against another referendum and against further powers for Scotland.

    Obviously he wants Scottish votes to help Labour back into UK government, and may well succeed in winning some Scottish seats back for Labour.

    However there may be the best chance for winning a second referendum when he is inevitably defeated in England.

    Come 2020, another 5+ years of Tories might be the last straw.

  • Republicofscotland

    For those of you who think Corbyn is a friend to the SNP and Scottish independence, think again.

    Corbyn’s wasn’t a particularly Scottish speech. In the 30 minutes there was only the one mention of Scotland and Scottish powers when the veteran left-winger mentioned in passing that Holyrood was to get more control over welfare.

    When asked by The National if he would stand in the way of another independence referendum, Corbyn ignored the question and moved on. He has previously said he believes the matter is settled.

  • Jon

    Onwards – I personally hope that Scotland gets another referendum. I think they can have one without the cooperation of the UK as a whole, so in one sense it does not matter what Corbyn thinks.

    However, a referendum is not guaranteed to come out Yes next time. My guess would be that if Labour win back Scotland – even without Corbyn as leader – a referendum might come out as No again. Of course, in order for this to happen, Labour would have to change to right sort of politics to win them back.

    In fact, if the neoliberal consensus follows through on its referendum promise for more devolution (because they are forced to, not because they want to) then Scotland will get the levers it needs for the social-democratic politics it wants, without the risks associated with a divorce. That also would point to a No.

  • Winkletoe

    Someone up there ^^

    What odds will [Mark Golding] give me on Jeremy Corbyn not being the next Prime Minister?

    High caution is pretty difficult to maintain continuously without the hermit’s way of life, and impossible for a Leader of the Opposition, so the odds would seem pretty high if the Cook and Kelley team are being brought out of suspended animation and burnishing their jackboots.

  • Winkletoe

    …as would certainly be being contemplated right now in certain rooms in Millbank and Vauxhall X.

  • MJ

    “However there may be the best chance for winning a second referendum when he is inevitably defeated in England.
    Come 2020, another 5+ years of Tories might be the last straw”

    Even if Nicola Sturgeon puts on her little red dress and wags her finger a lot there won’t be another referendum, regardless of the outcome of the next election.

    Oh yes and Corbyn will be standing throughout the country, not just England. It is the nationwide vote that will determine the outcome. Sorry to state the obvious, I’m sure it was just a careless error.

  • Mary

    Germaine Greer made mincemeat of Burnham and the Con MP Matthew Hancock on Any Questions last night. Questions on fracking, immigration, Chilcot, etc.

    The first question was: If Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour party, will it be annihilated?

    There’s a loaded question to start with!

    Any Questions? 14.8.15
    Ritula Shah presents political debate and discussion from the Broadcasting House Radio Theatre with Shadow Health Secretary and Labour Leadership candidate, Andy Burnham MP, the actor Tom Conti, the writer Germaine Greer, and the Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock MP.

    Next Friday on Radio 4 at 8pm,

    Any Questions?
    Ritula Shah presents political debate from the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House, London, with the Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn MP, the historian Dan Jones, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss.

  • Mary

    RD 10.33am Yes I leave lots of space for others who like the sound of their own voices here.

    ‘Why Israel is so concerned about Corbyn’ was the title of the article I posted. It was NOT a question so did not need a question mark.

    It was a statement of fact which the article went on to explain.

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