Corbyn’s Scottish Dilemma 62


Jeremy Corbyn held his meeting with Scottish MSP’s, quite literally next door to where I live. I considered wandering down to see, but decided the rugby was more interesting.

Corbyn faces an unwinnable dilemma in Scotland. Kezia Dugdale is a standard issue Blairite, though thankfully too absolutely stupid to be dangerous. The advice Corbyn has been getting from Scottish Labour is to concentrate on attacking the SNP, and that is what he has been doing. On Andrew Marr on Sunday he really raised the anti-SNP rhetoric and hasn’t calmed down since. The idea of any kind of anti-austerity co-operation in opposition to the Tories has been drowned in an outbreak of high octane tribalism.

As Scottish Labour’s dwindling professional cadre has no thought but trying desperately to hang on to the jobs they have left, in coming Holyrood and Council elections (where they face massacre), it is unsurprising their line is so shrill. But Corbyn adopting it is going to alienate a lot of people, including me, who wish him well.

But Corbyn is stuck with the need to parrot the tired Scottish Labour lines that did for Lamont and Murphy. If Corbyn tries to impose a more thoughtful and more left wing agenda on Dugdale, and to tone down opposition to Independence, then Corbyn will stand accused of continuing to treat Scottish Labour as a branch office and of imposing Islington’s will upon them. Just as with his shadow cabinet, his problems with Scottish Labour will only be solved when the membership get rid of the Blairite troughers, and that isn’t happening any time soon. On top of which the Corbyn rising Labour membership effect is much more muted in Scotland, because the Left has already joined the Independence movement.

There is of course a parallel dilemma which I and others face. I want to see Corbyn do very well in countering the neo-con consensus in Westminster. But I don’t want him to be another block on Independence. I genuinely hope that England will recover from its domination by Tory politics. I want to see England, Wales and Northern Ireland as progressive neighbours and decent societies.

The most amusing effect of the establishment’s efforts to deal with Corbyn is that he is ridiculed and demonised in England while precisely the same media organisations in Scotland try to promote him as an antidote to the SNP. But Jeremy should realise that if he is getting the backing of the right wing media in Scotland, it means he is getting his line on Independence wrong. It is very disappointing that he did not use his visit to Scotland today to signal that an attitude to Independence other than outright hostility is possible for members of the Labour Party.

In short, no matter how much I may like Jeremy I can see absolutely no reason to vote for Scottish Labour.


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62 thoughts on “Corbyn’s Scottish Dilemma

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  • SomeStars

    “The bland leading the bland”

    From a more outside perspective, the first sentence told me everything I want to know about Criag. More than I want.

    This blog has become a joke. A rather sad and cruel one. I would suggest it’s Craigs Corbyn dilemma. Not that his political opinions are significant at all, though i’m sure he imagines them very much so.

    It’s surprising some otherwise seemingly intelligent articulate posters can’t see the wood for the trees. Though many seem to grinding strange axes that I would not show anyone, let alone think useful in this day and age.

  • Salford Lad

    @ John Goss
    Ukraine was a bait to bog down Putin and degrade and distract Russia for decades, supporting a corrupt and failed state.
    He rebuffed the bait and plucked the plum of the strategic Crimea, the rump Ukraine has been left for Europe to contend with. The Eastern Ukrainians of ethnic Russian descent ,fled into Russia during the destructive bombing by Poroshenkos forces,Estimates about 2.5 million refugees.
    We have another refugee crisis on the horizon,as the failed Ukrainian economy implodes and starving Western Ukrainian flee into Europe.
    Another mess created by Uncle Sam and deposited on a European plate.
    The pivot point of World power is now playing out in Syria. The line in the sand has been drawn by Putin and his SCO allies of China,Iran,Hezbollah.
    A real danger of escalation into nuclear Armageddon has arisen, but the Washington bully has to be faced off sooner or later.
    The Saudi and Qatar monarchies now realise their days are numbered and Israel has also been checked.
    A new world order will emerge,when the dust settles in Syria. We can only hope we will live to see it.

  • Wile E Coyote

    And, all this thanks to the Don who recruited a poor miranda from a lowly background into the CIA at Oxford. God help us from satan and its cohorts.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    thanks to Ba’al for the Bella Caledonia link, which kind of sums up the position.
    CM
    Funny you should mention QT. It was a truly depressing experience and contributed to a sleepless night. The Kinnock loon was quite defensive and careful , and Charlotte Church was nice but had little ready ammunition under her belt.
    You may be right about the BBC stuffing the audience but I have a feeling that the general political movement in England is rightwards, despite the Corbyn effect in reviving some sense of social purpose of the Labour party, after the Milliband lite-touch years of non-opposition.

    Generally I am picking up a rightwards drift in simple conversations in people who don’t take much detailed interest in politics i.e. the ‘norm’ of this country. I have noticed several overt expressions of racism recently expressed in a hostile and ‘confident’ way, unlike in the past when people would speak ‘sotto voce’ I think it is being fuelled by the propaganda but it is also fuelled simply by fear and uncertainty wrt issues such as the refugee crisis and the malicious madness of Syria.

    The depressing part of QT was that the ‘left speakers seemed to lack conviction and failed to put points across strongly. Kinnock was hopeless-for whatever reason -either it was an endogenous uselessness, or he was avoiding leaving any evidence of a conviction or principle lest it disadvantage him in his future career path.
    The terrible thing is that genuine debate is being suppressed.There was absolutely no coherent case put forward for the abandonment of Trident.
    The first question was about the absence of button pressing guts of JC. Fudge from Kinnock. Absolutely no attempt to oppose the specious assumption and malicious intention in the question. Charlotte was unable to back up her defence of the JC position.
    My feeling about Kinnock was that he was quite plausible but probably a bit thick.

  • Robert Crawford

    I have said Labour are incompetent all my 50 years of having the vote.

    What is it that Corbyn does not understand about the fact that New Labour were “annihilated” at the last General Election?.

    Scotland as a country was a “safe seat” for Labour, and their incompetence “blew it” for them.

    Everyone in this world is entitled to be Independent and free from a master.

    The people of Scotland, especially the young, put the fear aside and voted to be rid of the fear tactics of the Tory Party, the Lib-Dems and New Labour and annihilated all of them, bar one each.

    The people of England did the same by voting for Corbyn as the New Labour Leader. Unfortunately, he has shown his true colours now.

    He (Corbyn) intends to keep us (Scotland) under England’s thumb.

    Fuck off!!!.

  • nevermind

    Its not a dilemma, but decision time. Too many commonalities make both the SNP and Labour a target for the right wing media in the UK.

    Corbyn will be shot down by his own Blairite tribe, they will be the one’s splitting labour and the larger British public, politically inept as they are will vote for those who promise them more of the same.

    Concentrate on Independence for Scotland, cause JC will run against a wall of opposition, Labour and SNP must try and bury the ego’s in both parties and align on those issues they agree. Sadly the Lib Dems have stood themselves aside with their reluctance to save 100 billion, they will prop up the Tories, how much masochism can they stand.

    Running Britain is a racket, it has nothing to do with democracy.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    From a more outside perspective, the first sentence told me everything I want to know about Criag.

    Yes, come to think of it. Anyone serious about becoming a functional part of the SNP – such as being selected as a candidate for election – would have been down there like a greased ferret, making copious notes and devising counters to Labour trying to get its voters back. And bugger the rugger.

  • Jemand

    Seems like Corbyn’s Labour, SNP and the Tories are all determined to bring down the UK in their respective quests to obtain control over its flapping rudder.

    Instead of focusing on the fundamental resourcefulness of its people, asking why people can’t get a good education, why they can’t obtain properly paid work, why they can’t afford a home and why they feel alienated in their own neighbourhoods, these political monsters prefer to posture on big ticket ideological issues that form the dividing lines between their political religions. Like the Sunni versus Shia battle, the wellbeing of the people is secondary to the quest for supremacy, ideological purity and personal profit.

    This dysfunctional political process has rusted over the machinery of society thereby preventing institutions from functioning effectively. Ideological differences flowing down the command hierarchy from department to front counter of service providers bring heavy costs with every purge of ‘the old way’.

    This myopic obsessing over political detail like ‘who’s shaking hands with whom’, rather than examining the quality and efficiency of service outcomes, is only making matters worse. It’s like a town hall filled with shouting peasants fighting over the colour of their village motif rather than the cause of recent crop failures.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I’d always thought this was Kipling, too. But it isn’t.

    When wilt thou save the people?
    O God of mercy, when?
    Not kings and lords, but nations!
    Not thrones and crowns, but men!
    Flowers of thy heart, O God, are they;
    Let them not pass, like weeds, away,
    Their heritage a sunless day.
    God save the people!

    Shall crime bring crime for ever,
    Strength aiding still the strong?
    Is it thy will, O Father,
    That man shall toil for wrong?
    “No,” say thy mountains; “No,” thy skies;
    Man’s clouded sun shall brightly rise,
    And songs be heard instead of sighs;
    God save the people!

    When wilt thou save the people?
    O God of mercy, when?
    The people, Lord, the people,
    Not thrones and crowns, but men!
    God save the people; thine they are,
    Thy children, as thy angels fair;
    From vice, oppression, and despair,
    God save the people!

    Ebenezer Elliot

  • SomeStars

    Ba’al Zevul

    I was looking from a more overall perspective. Ie, A bloated self important contemptuous political attitude is not to be desired in any modern politics.

    I know he used Noam Chomsky quotes to promote his book but is he even a socialist? I get a distinct feeling he awaits some credible’ movement (but think he’d not see anyone good enough) or group to lift him up on their back, make him ever so important. It doesn’t work like that, in fact instead of lifting those around him who support him he treat’s them with barley disguised contempt.

    I think if he was serious about joining or supporting any political force Labour (now) would be the most fitting. But seems he has a whole set of fixed positions and grievances he won’t budge from no mater how things change in the real world. Life turns on a dime. (but I actually don’t imagine him being able to join any party)

    Who would support a man who’d rather watch the rugby (and gloat about it publicly) when there are arguably more significant things happening right outside his door. No matter where you put yourself, it looks like he disregards everything but his own opinions.

    The press would have a field day with remarks like that. And anyone serious would quite rightly agree. Even a ‘fellow Scott’ must see serious questions here.

    Goodbye.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A bloated self important contemptuous political attitude is not to be desired in any modern politics.

    Pardon me. I thought it was the norm.

  • SomeStars

    “I thought it was the norm.”

    Is it? and even if it was across the board? But in reality there is far more nuance than this and good stand out examples with stand out backing.

    Maybe you’ve been on this blog to long. Doesn’t Craig moan himself about political disengagement. No fool like an old fool.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It’s his blog. He can pontificate as much as he likes, from any standpoint he chooses. What I like about him is that he lets everyone else do the same in the comments. I’ve been here long enough – if you haven’t – to know that he has in fact joined the SNP. And it has taken me only half an hour to form the impression that you are (a) as self-important and contemptous as you suggest him to be and (b) possibly American. If the latter is so, do explain your interest in UK domestic politics.

  • Robert Crawford

    A good point was made in Common Space the other day regards New Labour and Corbyn.

    “While you were away we changed the Locks”.

  • John Goss

    “A new world order will emerge,when the dust settles in Syria. We can only hope we will live to see it.”

    Nobody wants to die, not even we older people. However the future should be for the young. Unfortunately it is often gerontocrats who want the world to go out with a bang. Let’s hope it does settle down. Anybody who thought the Yanks were funding ISIL to topple Assad while claiming to be opposing them are spot on.

  • Jon

    I think one could credibly argue that rugby is more interesting than watching Blairism under Scottish Labour get trounced again. And I say that as someone with no interest in odd-shaped balls at all.

  • Jon

    I think if he was serious about joining or supporting any political force Labour (now) would be the most fitting.

    Isn’t this in doubt, though? We don’t know which way the Labour party is going to swing under the new leadership. Craig theorises that Corbyn will crowd-source a left-wing policy platform and then ask the party to back him. It’s even more at risk of right-wing entryism than the leadership elections, but if he can develop the party system to reject suspicious new members, perhaps he can pull it off.

    The Labour/SNP dilemma in Scotland for progressive politics is a tough one. Labour under Corbyn might become more left than the SNP (emphasis on the ‘might’) but for a moderate social-democratic wealth redistribution and escaping the neoliberal London order, I think I’d presently vote SNP in Scotland too.

  • Janet

    Trust Corbyn? No chance.

    He’s still a Westminster man. He’s already buckling under pressure. Besides, he needs Scottish votes and resources for the Yookay. If he becomes PM, it would be just another Callaghan Govt, which helped to shaft Scotland last time.

    SNP/SNP next May.

  • Mary

    Incredible that BBC2 Daily Politics had Mark McGowan the Artist Taxi Driver on in a filmed interview in his cab and then afterwards in the studio!

    43mins in on http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06fw07t/daily-politics-02102015

    Daily Politics
    02/10/2015

    ‘Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Jo is joined by journalists Ann Treneman and George Parker to discuss the Conservative Party conference and why a Labour donor heckled Jeremy Corbyn.

    There is an interview with The Artist Taxi Driver, who has been an internet hit. Guests include London mayoral hopeful George Galloway and Conservative MP Chloe Smith.’

  • Muscleguy

    @MJ
    If you think the SNP doesn’t already deal with press hostility now you are dreaming. I can’t see it getting any worse than when they all latched onto Murphy as the next Great White Hope.

  • Jon

    Janet – as above I currently favour the SNP north of the border. However, supporters of one party or the other must be careful not to develop inter-party hostilities – if Labour can be turned around, the memberships will need to press the leaderships to work together on shared goals.

    Corbyn is only a ‘Westminster man’ in the sense that he is a reformist and not a revolutionary. He has nothing in common with the band of rogues otherwise – don’t chuck the baby out with the bath-water!

  • Mary

    How should the Conservatives respond to Corbyn?

    Chair: Paul Goodman, Editor, ConservativeHome.
    •Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP.
    •Ian Birrell, Contributing Editor, The Mail on Sunday, and former speech writer to David Cameron.
    •George Eaton, Political Editor, New Statesman
    •Chris White, Former Conservative SpAd to two Leaders of the House (William Hague and Andrew Lansley) and a Chief Whip (Patrick McLoughlin). Now Associate Director, Public Affairs, Bellenden.

    Time: 2.30pm on Monday October 5 in the Conservative Home Marquee.

    LOL especially seeing Fox there.

    http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2015/10/responses-to-corbyn-hear-liam-fox-ian-birrell-george-eaton-chris-white-at-conhomes-conference-fringe-meeting.html

  • Ken2

    Things will only change when Scotland votes for it. Votes for change are increasing.

    The English working class vote Tory. Thry voted for Thatcher and have voted for Cameron. Live now pay later. They vote for inequality, illegal wars, tax evasion and banking fraud. Oxford trotters.

  • Ken2

    The BBC are shit at reporting how well the SNP are at running Scotland. The BBC is controlled by Westminster. The Head is appointed by Westminster for a gigantic salary and funded £2Billion for shit repeats and poor reporting. People have to view the Net or go to other News Channel to get a balanced coverage of what is going on. Cameron gives out the orders every week. One of the bosses is a criminal banker that Cameron has give a job. An associate of ‘Lord’ Green the other criminal banking advisor who assisted tax evaders for years. They should all be in jail.

  • Jon

    Ken2, we are broadly in agreement about the difficulties posed in our electoral system. But assuming we agree that propaganda works, I am minded not to be completely critical of the electorate. Whilst all countries will have their genuinely selfish elements, aren’t most people affected by poor quality information when they vote?

    I fear that come the next election, the wave of propaganda regarding Corbyn may cause some people to vote Tory, even though those voters support universal healthcare and a fairer taxation system (neither of which are radical policies). I think there are twin problems relating to civic education and the media, and both are going to need substantial attention before people start voting knowledgeably.

    That all said, Scotland seems to have rejected the propaganda wave, and that’s without any media reform. So the situation is not impossible.

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