Jeremy Corbyn and Mhairi Black 211

There are very few people who support Irish re-unification but oppose Scottish Independence. I do not know of any. I have always, from my knowledge of Jeremy Corbyn and his general political philosophy and way of thinking, and that of many of his close associates, believed him to be sympathetic to Scottish Independence.

I do not claim to know Jeremy well. I have shared a Stop the War platform with him a few times and exchanged a few emails. He assisted this blog by asking some parliamentary questions I suggested on Fox/Werritty, and he successfully intervened with then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at my request to stop the imminent deportation of an Uzbek asylum seeker.

His behaviour in all of those contacts was absolutely admirable. I like and admire Jeremy, something which is not popular with my fellow Scottish nationalists. One thing Jeremy Corbyn could never be described as is a unionist – he comes from a totally different political place. I also sympathise with his extremely difficult position in wrenching the Labour Party away from the Blairites and the fact that he cannot fight every battle simultaneously.

I therefore have no doubt Mhairi Black is telling the truth today, that Corbyn revealed to her that he privately supports Scottish Independence. I am sure that, like me, Corbyn sees it as part of the decolonisation process of burying the British Empire.

I also have enormous admiration for Mhairi, with whom I too have shared a platform several times. Like many, I am impatient for Mhairi’s leadership of the SNP to begin. But I am not quite certain it was wise to reveal Jeremy’s confidential comment. It is unlikely the current state of the Labour Party will leave him able at this moment to take a more forward stance on Scottish Independence.

I do understand and sympathise with Mhairi’s impatience. But as with Independence so with Trident. I have no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is 100% and fundamentally opposed to nuclear weapons, and is an unilateralist. I also have no doubt that in power he would act on that. But at this stage on his road to power he cannot take that stance in the struggle for control of the Labour Party. I do not regard this as “selling out”, I regard it as realpolitik and I am prepared to withhold judgement for a few more years as his plan is worked through.

There is an important element that should not be missed. The Blairite leadership of Scottish Labour is increasingly unrepresentative of Labour Party grassroots in Scotland. There has not – despite the constant media propaganda – been a great surge in Tory support in Scotland, which has an iron ceiling around 25%.

What has happened is that many Labour Party supporters who switched to the SNP around the 2014 referendum, have gone back to Labour. But they still retain their belief in Independence; opinion polls regularly show that a quarter or more of Scottish Labour Party voters support Independence, and that support is steadily growing.

I know personally several 2015 SNP voters who have reverted to Labour, including members of my own family. In every case the reason is the same. They like Jeremy Corbyn and, while they would prioritise Scottish Independence, the SNP leadership has been downplaying Independence. Sturgeon very openly campaigned at the Westminster election on the basis that she wanted unionists to feel comfortable voting SNP, and that a vote for the SNP was specifically not a vote for Independence. Some people took her at her word and decided they might as well vote Labour, if a vote for the SNP was not a vote for Independence anyway.

The upshot of all this is that I believe we are seeing a historical trend against hardline unionism among Scottish Labour members and voters. I strongly believe Jeremy Corbyn is not an enemy of the Scottish people in the way that the Tories and the Blairites are. It is healthy that Mhairi has provided us with an opportunity to get this discussion a bit more open; breaking down the tribalism of Scottish politics is a long haul.

I should add that my personal view is that we should stick with the SNP. We are stuck in what I would call the Sturgeon Paradox; falling support for the SNP has hit the confidence of the leadership to go for Independence, but the lack of campaigning for Independence leads to falling support for the SNP. My view remains that getting behind the SNP, and strongly urging the MSP’s to call Indyref2, is a much better route to Independence at this moment than working through the Labour Party or through fringe parties.

I was astounded at the size of the march in Glasgow on Saturday – the biggest pro-Independence demonstration I have ever addressed. This horrendous Tory government and its relentless media propaganda has only strengthened the resolve of masses of ordinary Scots. I was also very happy to see SNP MP’s and MSP’s actively participate, something missing from pro-Indy gatherings the last few years. This needs to be the start of a huge summer of full on campaigning.

211 thoughts on “Jeremy Corbyn and Mhairi Black

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  • quasi_verbatim

    MSPs, MPs, MEPs, Labour worthies and Tory wets for and against; Holy Grail Indyref2 and Quisling Sturgeon.

    Never since James VI rode South with his Hungry Scots have the waters been so murky.

  • Bill Rollinson

    It was leaked on some weeks ago, France are to take our Nuclear mantle, which is probably why Corbyn is now ‘supporting’, it stops the unnecessary attacks.
    I too was saddened by Mhairi’s out burst, she’s better than that and a joy to listen to in the House.

  • Alan Page

    Jeremy Corbyn has always, as far as I, a contemporary of him believes, recognised the inalienable right of peoples to determine democratically their own destiny. This applies equally to Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh and everybody else in Europe. That is why he supports the principle of ‘Brexit’; not, perhaps, the less philosophical but much more practical reason for Brexit that fuelled the ‘leave’ campaign, but the fundamental belief that peoples – societies – should have the right to self-determination. That applies equally to the Scots in his book, even though as leader of the Labour Party in Britain he is ‘honour bound’ to promote his Party in Scotland in the hope that it will return Labour MPs to Westminster and give him the means to govern a troubled nation.

    • bj

      I’m totally out of this discussion, but as an outsider, I think people could appreciate your distinguishing here of the ‘principle’ and the ‘practical’.

  • APOL

    Between a bedraggled May Queen past her use by date and a future lost leader which one do you buy?

    This is a Corbyn quote right.

    “Based on the analysis conducted by Government scientists, there can be little doubt that the nerve agent used in this attack was military-grade Novichok of a type manufactured by Russia. Since that analysis was revealed by the Prime Minister two weeks ago, the Russian ​state has had every opportunity to offer a plausible explanation as to how a nerve agent stock of this type came to be used in this attack. It has offered nothing concrete in response except denials and diversion. Indeed, the only solid assertion that it has offered so far in its defence was that all stocks of nerve agents were destroyed many years ago—an assertion that has been contradicted by intelligence reports. That suggests that just over a decade ago Russia invested in the use of nerve agents and developed new stockpiles of Novichok to that end. There is clear evidence that the Russian state has a case to answer, and it has failed to do so. We can therefore draw no other conclusion than that Russia has a direct or indirect responsibility for this. [NB: this is still official Labour policy; as confirmed by Ben Bradshaw last week.]

    “The third issue is, of course, the war in Syria, where Russia stands accused of supporting and committing war crimes in its backing for the Assad regime, in what is now the seventh year of that desperate war.” >>
    Hansard. Quoted by OffGuardian.

    • bj

      May Porton Down actually be called or referred to as ‘Government scientists’??

  • Mist001

    There’s no way that Westminster will allow a second independence referendum to be held now, nor in the future. Sturgeon has already been slapped down and refused permission to hold another one by Teresa May. As far as I’m aware, Holyrood doesn’t have the powers to hold a second referendum on its own.

    This continual disingenuousness is what’s turned me off the SNP and it’s disappointing to see the same views expressed here. I am constantly stunned by how little or maybe, how easily Scottish Independence supporters are mislead and blindingly accept whatever they are told by the SNP.

    Craig Murray was good on the Skripal/Novichik case but as far as I’m concerned, he needs to take his head out of the sand regarding independence. It was after all, just a week or two ago that he was telling us how few, if any, countries achieved independence through the ballot box and now he’s telling people to support the SNP and a second referendum!

    To quote Alistair Darling, “Stupidity on stilts’.

    And I say this as fervent Scottish Independence supporter.

    • laguerre

      As you suggest, real political movements are never achieved by legal means.

    • Hatuey

      You are misconstruing what Craig was and is arguing here. He acknowledges and always has acknowledged that the best chance of achieving independence is through the SNP. When he discussed UDI etc. a couple of weeks ago, it was in the context of the SNP considering alternatives to a referendum.

      There’s a lot of frustration in pro-Indy circles right now. The SNP are going to take a hammering in elections if they don’t act on this. If they aren’t willing to fight for independence, and they don’t seem to be, then why on earth would anyone vote for them?

      Nicola Sturgeon should resign and let the party move forward. Her name is blackened now anyway, she couldn’t possibly win over no voters which her whole strategy over the last few years was apparently geared towards.

      I have no idea who would take over but it’s time for someone else, someone who really understands the weak position the UK government is in right now and is willing to attack rather than simply respond to attacks.

      • Jo

        “I have no idea who would take over but it’s time for somebody else…”

        One other point. Whatever Sturgeon does the SNP will take a hammering. The Party already took one at the last GE. Sturgeon appeared to recognise that it was down to Indyref2 that they lost 21 seats!

    • JohninMK

      Looking at the way that Governments and their masters operate I suspect that not only was Sturgeon slapped down but someone had a quiet word in her ear regarding how much better off she would be after she left politics if she played by the rules. There are plenty of examples in UK politics.

      So many leaders put themselves before their principle or followers and often invisible sell out.

  • Dan

    Scottish “independence” and Irish “reunification” have the problem of both being policies that three majority of people they’d affect don’t want.

    The Scottish issue has already been resolved as Scottish voters chose by a wide margin to remain in the UK. As for Ireland, let’s by all means have a referendum in Northern Ireland to see if people want to join the Republic. I think we all know what the result would be.

    • Bones and Dirt

      I wonder what the result would be if the referendum was Ireland-wide, rather than restricted to the artificially created construct of Ulster?
      I wonder what the Indyref result would have been without the Scots and Caledonians being settled out? Or if only ethnic Scots got a vote?
      I wonder what would have happened if the Palestinians had been given a referendum on who gets their country.
      Should the Angles go home to Anglia?
      Cultural identity is required for people to be fully human. Kinship matters.
      Imperialism, colonialism and conquest create problems that are complex and last for centuries or millennia.

  • BrianPowell

    You can’t get Independence by voting Labour. If, after seeing all that Labour has done those friends simply went back to Labour then they wouldn’t be able to handle Independence, they are only in for the politics and the Tories control that, one way or another.
    Shame, we got so close then the dilettantes are throwing it away.

    • bj

      I think he opposes it for pragmatic and practical reasons, I do not think he opposes it in principle.

  • Jo

    I think Ms Black has let herself down by making these claims, about a private conversation, publicly. I’m sure May, Davidson plus those “moderates” in the PLP will, however, be grateful for the ammunition. Craig is sure she’s telling the truth. In reality we don’t know and never will. Which, for me, makes Ms Black a real piece of work.

  • Republicofscotland

    “I therefore have no doubt Mhairi Black is telling the truth today, that Corbyn revealed to her that he privately supports Scottish Independence. ”

    That may well be true, but in my opinion it doesn’t change anything, Scottish Labour are a completely different beast on independence.

    Corbyn knows that he needs Scottish votes to defeat May if a snap election arises. Many seats in Scotland just need a small swing to win them for Labour, putting out favourable comments on Scottish independence could see those swings happen.

    Add in that Labour like the Tories are in a bit of a state, infighting controversial de-selections, anti-semitism etc. I’d rather we achieved independence first, then decide who we’d urge others to back south of the border.

    • FranzB

      RoS – “Corbyn knows that he needs Scottish votes to defeat May if a snap election arises”

      I don’t think that’s completely true. Corbyn could form the next government (if the numbers are right) by forming a coalition with the SNP. The SNP could make a condition of that coalition that the SNP would be able to call Indyref2. Corbyn could sell this by bigging up the democratic aspect of this to neutralise the Blairites.

      I think the SNP should just call a Scottish Parliament election on the issue of independence, and if the pro independence parties won, then they declare independence. Fortune favours the brave – but timing would be important.

      If Corbyn were to be prime minister, then I’d have thought the pro independence vote in a referendum would weaken at the light blue edges of the yes vote. Hence those who want another referendum are less likely to want Corbyn in power when that referendum takes place.

  • Ch Bostock

    So Craig Murray approves the fact that Mr Jeremy Corbyn is a supporter of unilateral nuclear disarmament and Scottish independence and also approves of Mr Jeremy Corbyn not saying so openly. Interesting given that Craig Murray claims to be for openness and transparency and interesting that he should attempt to justify Mr Jeremy Corbyn’s reticence by citing ‘realpolitik’.

    As for Mhairi Black, it is understandable that a gentleman past middle age should be an admirer of youth. There are many such. Politically speaking, of course.

    • bj

      Realpolitik will only ever be appreciated by those who possess diplomacy and finesse.
      Just innuendo doesn’t cut it.

      • SF

        Yes; she had a miscarriage. She revealed that when Theresa May was being criticized for not having children by the odious Andrea Leadsom.

        If you intended your comment to be as snarky as I interpret it to be, shame on you.

  • Gail

    I’m sorry but as a potential PM there is no settling in period. If you’re not ready to do the grown up job then don’t stand up to be counted. I am sick of our leaders being graduate trainees. You’re either ready for the job or not.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Gail May 7, 2018 at 20:22
      Oooh, Gail, you’re so gung ho! May I infer you are not in favour of Jeremey Corbyn? Maybe something in the line of Netanyahu or it’s ilk would suit you better?
      Just asking. But thanks for explaining your interpretation of ‘grown up’.
      Can I, respectfully, give an alternative interpretation, ‘Telling it like it is?’, re Skripols, Douma etc?
      But I’m sure you will find a FEW like-minded (I can’t say ‘souls’ – so I’ll be content with ‘commenters’) on this blog.

  • BrianPowell

    Why would Mhairi Black say this to the Huffpost, what would be the point?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ BrianPowell May 7, 2018 at 20:26
      Excellent point. Seeing as Huffpost has just been exposed (yet again) of being a nasty kettle of fish, denouncing Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and Peter Henningsen, perhaps they set a trap for poor old Mhairi Black, giving her airtime to further (unwittingly probably) attack JC? That seems to me the obvious explanation – up yours, Arianna Huffington and Co. You’se been sussed, BIG Time!

      • Ort

        I fully agree with the “up yours”, but FYI Ariana Huffington took the money and ran– she sold off the Huffington Post to AOL in 2013, even though the name didn’t change.

        Now it’s owned by “Oath Inc.”– a subsidiary of Verizon Communications that serves as the umbrella company of its digital content subdivisions, including AOL and Yahoo!.

        Up theirs, too. 😉

  • Velofello

    Some clarity: SLab ( Scottish Labour) campaigned with the Tories against independence leading up to the 2014 referendum under the slogan Better Together.
    Presently Slab are in partnership with the Tories across Scotland in several local councils to assume control and so deny the majority SNP councillors office.
    If it walks like one, and talks like one….

    George Galloway is solely for George Galloway, and he has a glib tongue.

    Mhairi Black has presented Corbyn with a choice – Declare Yes or No to Scottish independence. I’d say that is pure politics by Mhairi.
    All is fair in love and war, and politics.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Velofello May 7, 2018 at 21:05
      I’ll refer you to my reply to BrianPowell May 7, 2018 at 20:26 above.
      A nasty little set-up by the Huff.
      How much longer will they be thought of as anything but a ‘limited hangout’ for the PTB’s ‘narratives’?

  • Vronsky

    On Jeremy’s occasional safaris to Scotland he tells lies, lots of lies. In the early days, I generously thought that perhaps he didn’t understand the witlessness of Labour in Scotland and simply regurgitated their briefing notes on trust. But on his subsequent visits he told pretty much the same lies, in spite of what would seem to me to be adequate social media commentary to cast doubt in his mind. I can understand realpolitik, but if it is *all* an edifice of lies I don’t think there’s much real in the politik.

  • andrew murray

    disclosing his comments was bad form and will only serve to drive him away from supporting independence

    • Paul Barbara

      @ andrew murray May 7, 2018 at 21:21
      Yes, that’s why I think it was a set-up. I know (nor care) nothing of Scottish politics, and have no idea who/what/where Mhairi Black is/was.
      But I have confidence in Craig’s judgement in Scottish politics (though not necessarily elsewhere!), so I very seriously suspect she was conned into giving her story to the Huff Post. So how would they have known JC had intimated his support? Via the ‘Spooks’, obviously.
      The PTB cannot abide the thought a man of the people, incorruptible in as far as it is possible, should get to be our Prime Minister, so every angle will be tried. Hopefully, ‘Inshallah’, to no avail.
      JC for PM!.

  • laguerre

    As far as I’m concerned, Scotland can have its independence, I’m for it, if Scotland is willing to work for it. Westminster will never agree, but they can be ignored, if independence is a real issue. Anything worth doing is never legal.

    I’m concerned about what follows. Isolationism, Scotland on its own, or indeed Brexit Britain on its own, is a nice political slogan, but not realistic. Some kind of relationship with the EU will have to be worked out. There are two sorts of models. You either have large states which are members and have a say, or marginalise themselves voluntarily, like Norway, for reasons of independence. Or you have a world of little independent states, like Scotland or Catalonia, who have their relationship to the EU. Guess what, the EU ends up as the dominant power much quicker. I don’t have a problem with that, but others do.

  • FranzB

    CM – “I am sure that, like me, Corbyn sees it as part of the decolonisation process of burying the British Empire.”

    One index of this decolonisation for Ireland is GDP per capita. In the year of accession to the EU, 1974, Ireland ‘s GDP per capita was $2519, whilst the UK’s was 45% higher at $3665. In 2015, Ireland’s GDP per capita was $61,600 whilst the UK’s was 36% lower at $39,900. Even during the post 2008 financial crisis, when Ireland took a bailout their GDP per capita remained ahead of the UK’s.

    Ireland’s productivity growth is way ahead of the UK’s. Taking 2010 as 100, at 2016, Ireland’s productivity index stood at 151.1, whilst the UK’s stood at 102.2. ( )

    If Scotland became independent and abandoned neoliberalism and austerity, and given Scotland’s resources, I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t increase Scotland’s wealth, and abandon the Tories aim of throwing more people into poverty. I think the IFS has it that Tory benefit cuts will mean that the Tories aim of getting 5.2 million children into poverty is on course.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    What is the difference between a Likud supporter and Jeremy Corbyn?

    The Likud supporter would serve me 88.8% Russian Vodka (for free)

    Jeremy Corbyn, would simply make me a nice strong cup of Irish Coffee and give me a nice pint of tap water (for free)


  • Anon1

    Oh get over it Craig. Corbyn doesn’t want Scottish independence. The SNP doesn’t either and nor do the Scottish people. It’s over.

  • reel guid

    We can all talk and talk about this and indulge in verbiage. Carwyn Jones of Labour surrendered the modest powers of the Senedd and Corbyn raised no opposition to the move. That’s what Corbyn thinks of Wales and Scotland.

    Also there is no Corbyn effect in Scotland despite Craig Murray’s fact free assertions about it. Labour still haven’t won a single council by-election in Scotland this year. While Corbyn led Labour only got ten thousand more votes in Scotland in the 2017 GE than the disastrous vote Miliband got them in Scotland in 2015. And seven thousand of that ten thousand vote increase came in the uber-Blairite Ian Murray’s constituency of Edinburgh South. Which means that in the other 58 Scottish seats Corbyn increased the Labour vote by three thousand. Fewer than fifty extra votes on average in those 58 constituencies.

    Some Corbyn effect!

  • strathedin

    I admire Mhairi enormously. But…and it’s a huge but…I think that, if ever, the prospect of her as leader of the SNP is quite some way down the road. She is a superb battering ram…but we need more than sheer force. You, Craig, I am sure, understand the necessity for finesse…and Nicola Sturgeon and her team are displaying that they appreciate the finer points against the authors of political diplomacy textbooks.
    The gradualism adopted by Salmond and the SNP have brought us to the brink of reclaiming our Sovereignty. If we had followed the Sillars mode, we would not be so far along the road, if, indeed, still travelling in the right direction. I have voted for Independence at every opportunity ever since I could do so, and devoutly wish it for my family and grandbairns in my lifetime. To throw away all our hard-fought progress because of rashness, I feel, would be unpardonable.

  • wall of controversy

    “There are very few people who support Irish re-unification but oppose Scottish Independence. I do not know of any.”

    George Galloway right any bells? You’ve appeared on his show… remember?

  • AntonyI

    How About all Scots vote to make Corbyn PM in exchange for him enabling Scottish independence? After both work together for a new loose European trade cluster with Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia etc.

  • SA

    So could someone tell me who is likely to benefit from this ‘leak’? Certainly not the beleaguered Corbyn, he has too much on his plate to be saddled with a new attack by the BBC and MSM to be making such comments.
    And in terms of realpolitik this is not the time for this diversion.

  • SA

    Something amazing happening just now on BBC 4 Today. Mishap Hussain is interrogating Mark Regev who is really sweating. She even mentioned how Israel is not even open about its nuclear programme.

  • certa certi

    Neither the English nor Scots have what it takes to be an outward looking economic power again. eg your respective fishing industries. Totally different industries now with different people compared to the distant water industries of the 50-70s. Back then Scots had to go to Hull and Grimsby, the English economy got the benefits. When new EEZs shut the fleets down crews transferred seamlessly to Oil&Gas and the industry reverted to small boat close water owner operator. Compare with the Galicians who rose to the challenge by going global, finding and exploiting new fisheries. Legally and otherwise. Brexit and Remain, the position of both Scots and English fishermen is to demand more of what’s close and easy. Rule the waves? Rule the duck pond. You won’t turn the Commonwealth into an economic anglosphere with Brits at the apex with that mentality. Give me Galicians with balls any day.

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