Labour’s hegemony in Scotland is over

SSP Canvassing Teams - Early March 2015

SSP canvassing teams in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley report some Labour voters are moving to us

by Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson With the General Election two months away, the polls predict a hung Parliament at Westminster and Labour being routed in Scotland. David Cameron is desperately trying to milk figures showing an ‘economic recovery’ with record numbers of people in work and living standards returning to 2008 levels. Ordinarily these would see the Tories emerge triumphant on 7 May. But most voters do not feel better off and George Osborne’s promise of further austerity infers more dark days ahead.

Given the unpopularity of the Tories and Lib Dems Labour should be streets ahead but Ed Miliband’s programme and leadership does not inspire confidence. Voters have clearly not forgiven Labour for the 2008 crash or the worst recession in 80 years that followed it.

So another Coalition Government seems likely. Bookmakers Ladbrokes offer odds of 1/5 on no overall majority with the Tories favourites to win most seats. If such a result does occur Labour will dump ‘Red Ed’ as their leader. And he will not be the only Labour MP to lose his job. Most of his Scottish ‘colleagues’ are set to join him.

Scotland’s famous ‘one party state’ where Labour ruled for generations is finally at an end. Their ‘dead hand’ domination of Scottish politics is over ‘bar the shouting’ as the SNP appear set to win 30-40 seats.

Labour are in complete political and tactical disarray. Allan Cochrane writing in The Daily Telegraph [9/3/15] claimed Jim Murphy has even been trying to ‘out left’ the SNP. For Blairite Jim Murphy, such a strategy represents utter desperation after a decade trying to outdo them on the right.

Cochrane also informs us that Tory and Lib Dem voters in Scotland intend to vote Labour to ‘keep the Nats out’. But there are simply not enough of them to compensate for the number of Labour voters flocking to the SNP.

In his speech to Labour’s Scottish Conference in Edinburgh Miliband emphasised how terrible a Tory Government would be for Scotland in an attempt to persuade votes to stay loyal. From the man whose party was ‘in bed with the Tories’ throughout the Referendum this was richly hypocritical.

Labour compounded their unpopularity by reneging on their ‘Vow’ promising more powers for Holyrood in their submission to the Smith Commission in January. So their demise has been entirely of their own making.

They are now split on whether to rule out a pact with the SNP if they don’t win an overall majority. Blairites like Ian Murray MP [Edinburgh South] desperately try to hold the line that an SNP vote puts the Tories back in Downing Street.

But Miliband refuses to rule out a deal because he fears it will only invite further enquiries about whether he supports coalitions with the Lib Dems or the Greens.

And yet he knows his refusal incites a further backlash from Labour voters who watched him ‘get into bed with the Tories’ but now rule out ‘getting into bed’ with the left of centre SNP.

Labour voters are abandoning Miliband in record numbers because they want more powers for Holyrood and believe, rightly or wrongly, the Nationalists are the best way of getting those powers.

Of course there is also a warning for the SNP in all this as Labour voters are uncomfortable at being described as ‘nationalists’. Theirs is, on balance, more of an anti-Labour mood than a pro-SNP one.

Scottish Socialist Party canvassing teams in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley report some Labour voters are moving to us. The SSP’s message is clear. We want more powers for Holyrood to protect working class people from another Tory Government.

We want powers that will improve the lives of Scotland’s working class majority such as a £10/hour living wage, ending zero hour contracts, ensuring women receive the same pay as men for work of equal value, rescinding the worst anti-union laws in Europe, extracting politics from the grip of the moneymen who control it and clearing out the stinking corruption at Westminster.

Whilst the SNP airily claim to be ‘standing up for Scotland’—without outlining which one they mean—the Scottish Socialist Party can be much more honest and clear.

We are standing up against exploitative bosses and the rich, against greedy and apparently uncontrollable bankers, against the landed gentry reaping billions in subsidies from the wind farms on their enormous estates. And we stand up for the majority of Scots, those who are toiling on poverty wages and casual, insecure contracts.

We stand alongside those on welfare, those victimised and stigmatised by UKIP, young Scots in need of a home of their own, a trade, and an adequate income. And our manifesto will outline our unique programme for an independent socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic when it is published in the next few weeks.

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