After a bruising week the Labour Party is due to do some soul searching. One of the questions it should consider is whether to continue as a unionist party on the issue of Scottish independence.
Independence is the right way forward for Scotland. Countries like Nigeria, India, even the United States have all prospered after leaving the British Empire. None of them want to rejoin.
The Labour Party stands for modern progressive democratic values. Scotland wants to be independent to pursue our modern progressive democratic values. Even inside the straightjacket of union the Scottish government has introduced free prescriptions, free university education and the Scottish Child Payment. Why would Labour want to be an obstacle to more such policies?
It's clearly better democracy to have the country of Scotland represented internationally by a Scottish leader of a Scottish government. Local concerns can be better raised in a polity of 5 million people instead of lost among the concerns of 65 million.
I'll give a specific example of where the UK government has thrown Scottish interests under the bus. Whisky. Trump imposed a 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky which cost the industry millions. No one was there to stand up for Scotland when this trade war broke out. In fact, given a range of options it's possible that the UK negotiating team felt Scotch whisky was the best option because "Scotland's half out anyway." Then Brexit happened. Whisky exports to the EU went from £100m in Jan 2020 to £34m in Jan 2021. Another trade deal negotiated where the UK did nothing to protect our interests.
There will be a place for Labour in an independent Scotland. A new Scotland-specific party could in fact do rather well once the SNP is no longer carried by the independence question but rises or falls on the quality of its government. Historically Labour has done very well here.
Independence is not about punishing the rest of the UK. It's about building an amazing country that will be an example to the world, including offering hope and an excellent example to the rest of the UK. In time things will be better in places like Hartlepool if Scotland becomes independent, prospers, and shows people that there's an achievable progressive and fair society that can be attained just by voting for it. We will be your prosperous successful cousins next door who will show ordinary British people that there's no need to settle for two lost decades.
a sizeable chunk of the Labour party quietly supports independence or at least believes that Scotland should be allowed to choose.
it's an awful look to be siding so closely with the Tories, you encouraged Labour voters to vote Tory to block the SNP and you may never get them back. It looks like policies imposed by London on Scottish Labour politicians who cringe at having to defend them.
the solution Labour proposes from time to time of some sort of enhanced devolution or federalism is a solution no one asked for, no one wants and shows a top down out of touch managerialism which is something we've seen in Labour before and which voters across Britain really dislike. If you really want to annoy voters then mansplaining your wonkish ivory tower technocracies is the way to do it. Don't tell us, listen to us.
it's easy for people in Scotland to feel that some people in Labour in England want to keep us trapped here because we give you 50 seats that won't vote Tory. That's electoral colonialism and is a shameful reason to deny people self-determination.
while we're still in the Union friendship with the SNP is of enormous tactical advantage to Labour. In 2019 Jeremy Corbyn ruled out working with the SNP to form a government. Had he agreed to then he would have only needed 278 seats for Labour + SNP to form a coalition government. The bar in 2024 is raised by nearly 50 seats for Labour to win. You do want to win, right? Bringing the SNP on side is your best chance to do that and that means embracing at least our right to self-determine but better supporting our efforts to create an amazing friendly neighbouring country that will be your best achievement in government. Remember Atlee, the PM who created the NHS, considered Indian Independence his 'finest achievement'.