I Wish I Could Understand It

I wish I could understand pro-independence folk voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s party. Really, I do. I know more than a few people personally who staunchly support independence, but who wanted to support the last great hope of the British Left – and so, voted for his candidate. I even remember this back in the 2015 General Election campaign, where folk I know who were deeply involved in RIC, the SSP, and non-party initiatives told me they would’ve voted for a socialist candidate with a red rosette.

I’ve thought about it for months, now. I still don’t get it. Put aside the fundamental issue of independence (or even respecting the mandate of the Scottish Parliament to even hold a referendum, let alone the notion of independence itself) for me, and there are still so many dealbreakers. The party is committed to renewal of nuclear weapons – dealbreaker. The party is committed to a complete UK-wide withdrawal from the European Union despite Scotland, Northern Ireland, & Gibraltar voting to stay – dealbreaker. The party refuses to adopt even the extreme compromise of Single Market Membership & retention of Free Movement – dealbreaker. And that’s not even considering the fact Corbyn’s party will stop at nothing to destroy the SNP, even if it costs them a shot at government.

I mean, look at this. For God’s sake.

Wings provided a very short and concise piece of advice for Mr Corbyn, but there’s one problem: Mr Corbyn’s party are 3rd in all 13 Scottish seats currently under occupation by Theresa May’s party. Of those 13 seats, a paltry 3 of them appear in the 150 best shots for a Corbyn gain:

Renfrewshire East, Scotland: 7,150 majority, 6.65% swing to win

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, Scotland: 7,526 majority, 10.28% swing to win

Aberdeen South, Scotland: 9,603 majority, 10.91% swing to win

All but two of the UK Government Party-held seats in Scotland require a greater than 10% swing to win. Mr Corbyn’s party needs 325 MPs to vote for him to become Prime Minister. As Wings says, even if you replace every single SNP MP with one from Mr Corbyn’s party, his net gain is 0. Unlike David Cameron’s party devouring their erstwhile coalition partners, Corbyn taking SNP seats cannot provide him with a majority, be it the 18 marginals, or even all 35. Even taking every single seat in Scotland would not be enough for an overall majority, and would rely upon a pact with the decidedly unreliable Coalition Party – which neither side is remotely interested in.

Is there anywhere – anywhere at all – that Mr Corbyn could find more seats?

The newspaper illustrated helpfully lists the marginal seats on Mr Corbyn’s Great Scottish Adventure:

Glasgow South West, Scotland: 60 majority, 0.08% swing to win
Glasgow East: 75 majority, 0.10% swing to win
Airdrie and Shotts, Scotland: 195 majority, 0.26% swing to win
Lanark and Hamilton East, Scotland: 360 majority, 0.36% swing to win
Motherwell and Wishaw, Scotland: 318 majority, 0.38% swing to win
Inverclyde, Scotland: 384 majority, 0.49% swing to win
Dunfermline and Fife West, Scotland: 844 majority, 0.83% swing to win
Edinburgh North and Leith, Scotland: 1,625 majority, 1.44% swing to win
Glasgow North, Scotland: 1,060 majority, 1.58% swing to win
Glasgow South, Scotland: 2,027 majority, 2.27% swing to win
Dunbartonshire West, Scotland: 2,288 majority, 2.60% swing to win
Linlithgow and Falkirk East, Scotland: 2,919 majority, 2.60% swing to win
Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Scotland: 2,613 majority, 2.80% swing to win
Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Scotland: 2,541 majority, 3.05% swing to win
Glasgow Central, Scotland: 2,267 majority, 3.15% swing to win
Glasgow North West, Scotland: 2,561 majority, 3.30% swing to win
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), Scotland: 1,007 majority, 3.40% swing to win
East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, Scotland: 3,866 majority, 3.57% swing to win

Here’s the thing: that last seat – East Kilbride, Strathaven, & Lesmahagow – is number 64 in Corbyn’s 150-strong list of target seats. Therefore, if we exclude the SNP, there are 45 other seats which are more winnable to Corbyn than East Kilbride, Strathaven, and Lesmahagow.

Here they are. Notice anything unusual about those seats?

Southampton Itchen, South East: 31 majority, 0.03% swing to win
Arfon, Wales: 92 majority, 0.16% swing to win
Pudsey, Yorkshire and the Humber: 331 majority, 0.31% swing to win
Hastings and Rye, South East: 346 majority, 0.32% swing to win
Chipping Barnet, London: 353 majority, 0.32% swing to win
Thurrock, East of England: 345 majority, 0.34% swing to win
Preseli Pembrokeshire, Wales: 314 majority, 0.37% swing to win
Calder Valley, Yorkshire and the Humber: 609 majority, 0.52% swing to win
Norwich North, East of England: 507 majority, 0.55% swing to win
Broxtowe, East Midlands: 863 majority, 0.78% swing to win
Stoke-on-Trent South, West Midlands: 663 majority, 0.80% swing to win
Telford, West Midlands: 720 majority, 0.81% swing to win
Bolton West, North West: 936 majority, 0.92% swing to win
Aberconwy, Wales: 635 majority, 0.99% swing to win
Northampton North, East Midlands: 807 majority, 1.00% swing to win
Hendon, London: 1,072 majority, 1.03% swing to win
Mansfield, East Midlands: 1,057 majority, 1.05% swing to win
Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, North East: 1,020 majority, 1.07% swing to win
Milton Keynes South, South East: 1,725 majority, 1.34% swing to win
Northampton South, East Midlands: 1,159 majority, 1.41% swing to win
Pendle, North West: 1,279 majority, 1.43% swing to win
Milton Keynes North, South East: 1,915 majority, 1.50% swing to win
Morecambe and Lunesdale, North West: 1,399 majority, 1.53% swing to win
Finchley and Golders Green, London: 1,657 majority, 1.58% swing to win
Camborne and Redruth, South West: 1,577 majority, 1.63% swing to win
Putney, London: 1,554 majority, 1.66% swing to win
Harrow East, London: 1,757 majority, 1.73% swing to win
Watford, East of England: 2,092 majority, 1.78% swing to win
Copeland, North West: 1,695 majority, 1.97% swing to win
Morley and Outwood, Yorkshire and the Humber: 2,104 majority, 2.01% swing to win
Vale of Glamorgan, Wales: 2,190 majority, 2.04% swing to win
Corby, East Midlands: 2,690 majority, 2.24% swing to win
Swindon South, South West: 2,464 majority, 2.40% swing to win
Worcester, West Midlands: 2,490 majority, 2.42% swing to win
Crawley, South East: 2,457 majority, 2.44% swing to win
Blackpool North and Cleveleys, North West: 2,023 majority, 2.47% swing to win
Chingford and Woodford Green, London: 2,438 majority, 2.60% swing to win
Reading West, South East: 2,876 majority, 2.78% swing to win
Derbyshire North East, East Midlands: 2,861 majority, 2.84% swing to win
Carlisle, North West: 2,599 majority, 3.02% swing to win
Southport, North West: 2,914 majority, 3.04% swing to win
Rossendale and Darwen, North West: 3,216 majority, 3.21% swing to win
Truro and Falmouth, South West: 3,792 majority, 3.35% swing to win
Scarborough and Whitby, Yorkshire and the Humber: 3,435 majority, 3.40% swing to win
Walsall North, West Midlands: 2,601 majority, 3.41% swing to win
Stevenage, East of England: 3,384 majority, 3.43% swing to win

A couple of things about those seats:

  • 41 of 45 are located in England
  • 4 of 45 are located in Wales
  • 44 of 45  are held by the UK Government Party
  • Corbyn’s party are 2nd place in all 45

As if it needed pointing out, those 44 UK Government Seats would be more than enough to get Jeremy Corbyn over the line, assuming he actually works with the SNP. I don’t doubt that Corbyn will be doing his whistle-stop tour of England & Wales, of course. I also acknowledge that any political party will want to get as many seats as it can – obviously – as I don’t doubt the SNP will be looking to reclaim their lost seats from all three other parties. But the only reason I can think Jeremy Corbyn making such a point fighting for SNP seats is for the exact same reason the Theresa May’s party spent such a huge amount of time, effort, and money for SNP seats – because, ultimately, his party does not want to work with the SNP.

Once again, think back: once the Independence Referendum was done and dusted, David Cameron said to Nick Clegg “Let Labour sort it out. It’s now their problem.” That’s a Conservative Prime Minister telling a Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister to let the Labour party “sort” Scotland out. And, sure enough, those 7 Labour MPs returned in 2017 were not considered victories for the Independence Movement, for Socialism, Federalism, or even Jeremy Corbyn himself – they were victories For The Union.

Just ask Gemma Doyle.

(credit to Rob Dunsmore)

The threat the SNP pose to the UK Establishment is the independence movement’s greatest weapon. For all the talk of the SNP being “the new establishment,” of falling into the same trap as other parties, the fact of the matter is that for as long as the SNP’s first aim is an independent Scotland, they will always be the greatest internal threat to the perpetuation of the United Kingdom Establishment, for the simple fact they don’t want it to exist any more. Labour are just as complicit in this as the other two parties which made gains in 2017, and have been since the time of McCrone, and beyond. Be under absolutely no illusions otherwise.

I have plenty of time for RIC, the SSP, the Greens, and other pro-independence supporters who might not necessarily vote SNP: they did a lot of work during the original referendum campaign, and continue to be loud voices. Labour don’t want to know about it. Labour consider you vote fodder, reminiscing about those halcyon days where their votes were weighed rather than counted. They don’t care why you vote for them, as long as you do: they’ll do whatever they please regardless.

Katy Clarke, long regarded as a Socialist Labour MP, was one of the 40 Labour MPs unseated in 2015 who did not seek re-election in 2017.

Labour simply don’t deserve you, pro-independence supporters. Neither do the SNP. No party deserves voters. But given the choice between a party with a clear cause, and a party with a naked desire for votes and power who will work with other parties against the one with a cause? The choice seems obvious to me.

But then, as I said, I guess I just don’t understand it.

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13 thoughts on “I Wish I Could Understand It

  1. No one could argue with this AL.

  2. jimnarlene says:

    Brilliant analysis, bang on the nail head

  3. benmadigan says:

    A lot of lefties may have voted SNP because they saw they had no chance of socialist policies under a Conservative or New Labour UK Govt. Once they thought they had a chance – bye, bye SNP.

    The independence movement needs to articulate a vision for a future Scotland that goes far beyond party politics so that people from all sides of the political spectrum can support the vision. https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/corbyn-for-pm-its-a-great-british-thing/

    • alharron says:

      I guess my problem is that I don’t see Corbyn being a vehicle for those policies either, for the simple reason that he’s only one man, with perhaps 40 MPs *at most* who are undivided in their support. The PLP have stopped at nothing to stop him, & continue to undermine him a la Chukka Umana/Ian Murray. Scottish Labour are the same, as evidenced by Gemma Doyle’s praise of Kezia (helpfully repeated by the Daily Record editorial). And that’s not even considering the civil service, business interests, and the big giant Brexit on the horizon.

      Plus, I don’t particularly care how “socialist” your policies are when you’re still going to spend billions on WMDs which are more likely to kill countless numbers of your own citizens via accident/leakage than be used for their intended, evil purpose.

    • Reider O'Doom says:

      That’s not actually what happened; that SNP voters switched to Corbyn’s left-leaning vision. Check out Wings from 27/6/17, where, in an article entitled Things Can’t Only Get Better, you’ll find an excellent analysis of the 2017 GE vote.
      A quote from the article:
      “Whereas Labour votes had increased by 40% in England and Wales, the figure in Scotland was a feeble 1%. (And 70% of those extra votes came in a single seat, Edinburgh South, which the party already held.)”

  4. Cactus says:

    Excellent Al.

    Top tunes by ra way 🙂

    This is the bit where I get to see my auld avatar pic.

    Red & lime, that’ll do just fine.

  5. David Agnew says:

    its safe to say that there was no Corbyn bounce. There was however a Tory Flop. May was brought down by events to such a degree, that the weak sauce politics of Corbyn looked preferable. Prior to these events, Corbyn was expected to lose and lose big and poor old Scottish labour was fighting to keep its single MP.
    When you look at the votes on the day in Scotland, labour barely shifts. Not so much a labour bounce as SNP voters staying at home. The reasons for that are varied but it cost the SNP dear. But we also saw unprecedented levels of gerrymandering by the unionist parties, using tactical voting to get the Tory party into power in Scotland. But that is not how it was going to be portrayed and anyone who voted labour, no matter how principled Corbyn might seem, seemed to have forgotten who ultimately was going to profit it from their vote. It was never going to be treated as an endorsement of Corbyn but of Kezia Dugdale and those abstaining stalwarts of Scottish labour.

    Now it seems that the UK branch of the party and the UK media have taken note of what Kezia Dugdale was campaigning for. Not the return of Scottish labour, but the return of the Scottish conservatives. The Daily Record has gone into full melt down mode and is attacking Corbyn and puffing up Dugdale as his equal. The sheer hubris of this is jaw dropping. Hubris however will always have an encounter with Nemesis. Scottish labours nemesis is not the SNP or even those Yes voters, they have so needlessly maligned. No Scottish labours nemesis is Ruth Davison. This unreconstructed thatcherite wannabe has pulled a stunning move. By portraying herself as the only one to stand up the UK, she has captured a large part of the other two unionist parties vote share. She as also made these parties into extensions of the conservative party in Scotland. Never again can Scottish labour turn up at anyone’s door and say they are the Anti tory party. So there they are relying on a default win and hanging on a shoogly peg. To wrapped up int their own irrelevance and hating the the SNP for it. To obsessed with dabbing the SNP with shit to notice the outrages committed by Davison. Thus far Davison has shamelessly embraced bigotry in Scotland in a blatant attempt to drive a wedge between those who voted yes and those who voted no. She has also started to make the British army look like the paramilitary campaigning wing of the Conservatives.

    Scottish labours response?

    Talking complete and utter bollocks – every minute of every hour of every day.

    I said to folk who wanted to shift to Corbyn, and I’ll say it again to anyone else thinking of doing the same, who can’t see the harm.

    You are wrong to put your faith in a UK party. Your reasons and principles don’t have a seat at the table. They will always take your vote as nothing more than an endorsement of the status quo.

    • JGedd says:

      Excellent analysis, Al and excellent comment David especially that last sentence. I can’t understand either why young independence supporters would vote Labour. Why vote for the Kezia Dugdale party which is exactly the same as the Jim Murphy party? Have they forgotten the reasons why voters deserted that party? The reasons haven’t changed and Kezia has made it worse by her aligning herself with Tories in a Better Together alliance. I couldn’t ever bring myself to vote Tory and therefore could certainly never vote for the party which allied with them either.

      By the way, am I remembering wrongly, but I understood that a member of the Labour party who advocated voting for another party in the past, faced expulsion? Kezia is still in place, so I must be wrong ( never having been a member of the Labour party myself.)

  6. Alasdair Macdonald. says:

    Like the author, I, too, am at a loss to explain either the decision of people like Ms Cat Boyd and other prominent supporters of independence to vote Labour at the recent general election, and, more widely, to understand the pattern of voting across Scotland at that election. To a fair degree, I can understand why the Tories won seats in what were, historically (i.e. pre-c1990) ‘traditional Tory seats’ – essentially, people who had ‘leaned towards the Tories’ but had voted SNP ‘to keep Labour out’, were returning to ‘their’ party because they perceived, rightly, that it had a chance of winning. However, they were helped across the line by switches from Labour and LibDems to the Tories. It is the mindset of those whom I find difficulty in following. I think the same reasoning applies to seats which the LibDems ‘recovered’,

    The SNP did not fight a particularly good campaign – I am not an SNP member, but, being pro-independence, I voted for the SNP in my constituency. The mainstream media, print and broadcast, focussed relentlessly on a second independence referendum and on devolved issues like health and education, while substantially ignoring Brexit, austerity and the associated poverty. Why did so many SNP voters simply not vote? What did the 62% REMAIN vote in Scotland really mean?

    Is the sheer uncertainty of what Brexit might entail so worrying that people reverted to the ‘status quo’, i.e. two party politics , preferring the ‘devil-they-know’?

    Until the GE of 2017, I felt that the polity in Scotland was different from that of England and Wales, but, since the GE I no longer think that is the case. In some ways, the polity in England and Wales has become more radical and questioning, and that is a good thing. The tragedy of Grenfell Tower has caused a lot of examination of the neoliberal/Thatcherite hegemony of the Tories, LibDems and ‘New’ Labour. There is not just outrage at the deaths of 80(?) people, but also a realisation of what nearly forty years of deregulation, ‘light-touch’ regulation, ‘choice’, etc have connoted.

    Quite frankly, I am struggling to get any traction on understanding where we are now.

  7. Reider O'Doom says:

    May I be so bold as to ask why my reply to benmadigan has not been passed as fit for publication in your Comments section?

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