#Indyref – Tearing the Left in Scotland Apart?

As the debate looms closer to the vote in September, l am somewhat intrigued by the almost schizophrenic displays of the Scottish Left. Whether it is the soft left of some or the socialism of others, the binary vote on UK membership has got their voters in a major spin. They struggle with the interplay of nationalism, democracy and “union” with a small u, see a left thinking philosopher squirm a bit here


I sympathise with those on the left who are struggling with this. On the one hand they are all passionately anti Tory, still hate Thatcher with an unholy zeal and blame her and the Tories for, well, anything and everything.

On the other, the natural inclination of the Left is to be inclusive and international, a multi faceted comradeship free from race, religion and sexual orientation issues, intent on securing fairness and equality for the common person.

The Yes campaign however, is turning brother against brother (in a party political way) and is creating massive schisms that may take years to heal regardless of the #indyref outcome. Old trade unionist and SNP leader Jim Sillars championing the Yes vote, abetted by Tommy Sheridan, with George Galloway brilliantly shouting for No. Who would of thought that eh?

As an aside, did you know Sillars “was” a trade Unionist, Labour MP, SNP MP, Militant leftist possibly prepared for “direct action” to secure independence, a Deputy Leader of the SNP and affiliated with the SNP 79 group? me neither.


The televised debate between him and George Galloway was great telly, not for the left, but great telly. I don’t agree with Galloway’s politics, but he was brilliant.

There is no doubt that the left and Labour voters will have a major, in fact deciding influence in the September vote. This is really upsetting the hard-core separatists, who now understand they are losing the battle, the claimed narrowing of the vote having vanished. Salmond’s call to Labour at their recent conference was telling, prior to then he had little time for them.

If Scottish Labour and the rest of the left abandon their brothers in the rest of the UK by voting to separate, they know they consign them to Tory rule for at least two generations, if not for the foreseeable future. So, as well as having to compute the considerable risks and doubtful benefits of separation, they have this huge nagging loyalty to the UK movement.

This sits very uncomfortably with thinking labour voters who understand how key they are and have been in the wider UK context, and, that in the last 30 years, Labour has had it’s fair share of government and plenty of leading Scottish front bench players.

If these conflicted people who have voted labour or left, in the past or currently, are true to their political principles, they will, when push comes to shove, vote No, because they understand all too well and at a base level the “union” is the key to our mutual benefit and the principles of the left.

It’s getting squeaky bum time now, the voting date swiftly approaching and while I know it must be hard for them, the voters of the party that gave us devolution will also deliver us from separation. I never thought I would be encouraging the Left to pull together, but I am!

Steve Sayers – Voting No.



4 thoughts on “#Indyref – Tearing the Left in Scotland Apart?

  1. great graphics!!

    I went to a recent SSP run meeting on independence at Kirkintilloch – mainly to see Jim Sillars speak because having heard him speak out against wind, I was interested to know his politics.

    Unfortunately, he’s just another old Labour politician – the type who almost destroyed the UK through massive debt.

    However it did give me a glimpse into the thinking on the left of politics in Scotland. And at first I thought the comments about UKIP were just coincidental, but they came up time and time and time again. That was quite revealing, because clearly UKIP are eating into their “traditional” support and they made it very clear how much they disliked the way their support was ebbing at the expense of UKIP.

    Indeed, having spent much of the night calling UKIP xenophobes – the last question was about Europe – to which both speakers more or less endorsed the views of UKIP about leaving.

    I left realising I knew far less about the left and their motivations than I did when I went in.


    1. I agree with you on Galloway. I don’t agree with his politics at all but he’s a good orator and recognises the importance of the Union. I’ve found his views on the indyref to be particularly refreshing. I wonder though if maybe he’s pissed off too many people over the years for him to be a central player in the No camp.

      Having said that, I’ve spoken to a few Yes voters who have said that if Galloway was to join Scottish Labour (in iScot) and run for First Minister they would vote for him unreservedly.


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