Friday 30 January 2015

A second chance for Scotland

I had to check the date on this article about Miliband and Murphy performing as an SNP-hating double-act as it could have been from pretty much any UK general election period in the last two or three decades. The message from British Labour in Scotland is always the same. It is never about policy. It is never about the people of Scotland. It is never about aspiration. It is always about the SNP.

British Labour and their Tory allies are desperate to get back to business as usual They are desperate to get back to the cosy duopoly that has served the British parties so handsomely whist serving the people of Scotland so ill.

They are more terrified than ever that Scotland's Yes campaign-inspired break from the British two-party system - with its faux rivalries providing only token cover for a shared neo-liberal agenda - will infect England's politics and threaten to bring down the structures of power and privilege which define the British state.

We should be aware of what is implied by these attacks on the SNP. We should be aware of what it is that is being challenged by the people of Scotland using the SNP as the agents of change. We should be aware of what it is that Miliband, Murphy and the rest are defending when they lash out at their SNP rivals.

It is not Labour principles which are threatened by the increasing rejection of British Labour in Scotland. British Labour has not represented those principles in decades. It is the British establishment which is being challenged. And that challenge comes from the people - the grass-roots masses who found their strength and their voice through engagement with the Yes campaign. The SNP is merely the tool which the people of Scotland will use to break free from the stultifying grip of the old order and the old ways in order that they can build a new politics and a renewed nation.

The British parties are bent on denying this renewal. They are determined to preserve a system which guarantees them patronage, power and privilege in return for unquestioning service to the ruling elites of the British state.

A few months ago, the people of Scotland held in their hands such democratic power as is only vanishingly rarely afforded the people of any nation. We baulked at seizing that power. We chose to relinquish it. We opted to hand that power over to those who had denigrated us and our nation at every opportunity. People who insulted us with ludicrous scaremongering and abused us with lies. We threw ourselves on the mercy of a political machine which knows neither honour nor principle. There was always going to be a price to pay for this folly.

The coming election is our opportunity to make a stand against the destructive grinding of that machine. It is not a second chance at restoring our nation's rightful constitutional status. But it is the best chance we're going to get to make it clear that we are not content to go backwards. That we are determined to move Scotland forward following the torch that was lit by the Yes campaign.

The British parties in Scotland are the obstacle to that progress. Thursday 7 May is our opportunity to sweep that obstacle aside. Let's not screw it up again.

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