Thursday, 18 September 2014

One small step ...

Voted ... taken a deep breath, enjoyed the clean air and sunny skies of Galloway while walking wee Dillon back from the village hall polling centre and now wait to find out what the sovereign people of Scotland are going to decide is their paramount, considered will. The pressure is off, there is no more to do, I feel relaxed and can say to myself I have done all I can to create the conditions for a Yes Vote.

This is a campaign that started for me in 2006 when I was writing for Labour List, on a regular basis, seeking to warn Labour apparatchiks and members in London and England of the potential threat of the growing SNP support in Scotland. This in a Labour Party which took its 'Scotch' vote for granted and their Scotch MP's as 'shoe ins'.  I proposed the need to look long and hard at a new federal settlement for the UK Union, seek to create a new union, fit for purpose in the 21st Century, a mix of a parliament for England combined with greater regional autonomy within England, alongside full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. A new UK Union which took political power away from a small self selecting elite in Westminster and put it back with the electorate - the principle of subsidiarity which Labour has long claimed to believe in.

Yet this was a Labour Party deep in its Blairite rush to be 'minime' Home County Tories and in doing so left me and a large chunk of their Scotch vote behind. Having made us politically 'homeless', Scots, like me, looked past the propaganda and rhetoric we had been fed, to find a social democratic, left of centre party we could accept in large amount, a party which thought about Scotland first and not just narrow Westminster electoral advantage: The SNP. 

A party I finally joined in 2011 - to do my bit to secure a 'Yes vote' and set Scotland on a political and economic path of its own choosing, veering away from the death wish of neo-liberal decline it was being dragged down into by a Westminster and 'City' elite.

A party in place of a Labour Party which may regain my vote when the Augean Stables of a mess (which is Labour's current Scottish region) is resolved and they rebuild the CLP structure to make it accountable to its membership (not the Unions, Co-op and the rest but like the SNP its membership - truly OMOV). Having done that they will need to weed out the current, time served incompetents like Baillie, Lamont, Murphy, Alexander and the rest of that little cabal along with the old style Labour Mafioso in their councils like Glasgow. Then they only have to be able to present credible policies predicated not on 'we hate the SNP' but 'we want the best for Scotland'.

Even with the best will in the world, I do not think Dennis Cavanan, Alan and the rest of Labour for Independence can manage that heroic work by 2016, maybe by 2020 but not by 2016 - I stand to be proven wrong. Maybe the real option is to let the Tory contaminated Labour Party in Scotland to simply die and allow a new left wing party to arise, Phoenix like, from Labour's ashes, based around the great work done by the Radical Independence Movement in re-connecting with Labour's disillusioned and disenfranchised voters in the 'Schemes'.

How about calling it the Labour and Socialist Party?

On Monday - Yes or No, I will return to watching and analysing the antics of our political parties, their leaders, their press releases and filleting out what is so. On a Yes vote I will be as hard on the SNP or any other members of the negotiating group involved in ending the Treaty of Union, as I have been on the No Campaign, these last three years or so.

The battle may yet be won but the peace and future of Scotland has not. For the next few days I am taking a break, trusting the next stage of Scotland's rebirth does not take another eight more years.