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.