Monday 13 March 2017

Scottish Labour and the Tories are spouting identical rhetoric

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stated her intention to seek another Scottish Independence referendum. It's beyond doubt that she has a democratic mandate to do so given the fact that the SNP manifesto states that they will seek another independence referendum "if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will".

Since then David Cameron went on to lose his self-serving EU referendum gamble and now Theresa May is intent on dragging Scotland out of the EU (and the Single Market) against the will of the Scottish electorate.

The official Tory reaction to Sturgeon's announcement was astoundingly brass-necked. The party that delivered an unbelievably rushed, astoundingly dishonest and incredibly divisive EU referendum campaign has the absolute gall to try to claim that a Scottish independence referendum shouldn't happen because it would be "divisive".

The Tories won't be able to prevent the Scottish Parliament from approving an independence referendum because the SNP and the pro-independence Scottish Greens have a clear majority, so if the Westminster Tories block an official referendum, it'll clearly and undeniably be a bunch of English Tories (divisively) blocking the will of the Scottish parliament, which would be the greatest gift possible to the independence movement as they launch an advisory referendum (like the Brexit one was) and campaign with "English Tories are trying to silence Scotland and dictate our future: Vote Yes".

However brass-necked the Tory stance is, Scottish Labour seem to want to match it with pure strategic ineptitude.

The Labour Party know that aligning themselves so closely with the Tories during the 2014 independence campaign was the main causal factor in losing 40 of their 41 Scottish constituencies at the 2015 General Election. They also know that abjectly failing to differentiate their stance on Scottish independence from the Tories allowed the Tories to beat Labour down into third place in the Scottish parliament elections in 2016 by posing as the real unionist option.

Given that Scottish Labour have lost so much already by imitating the Tories so cravenly, you would have thought they'd do everything in their power to make sure they differentiate their message this time around, but no ... The Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale tweeted exactly the same rhetoric as the Westminster Tories about another Scottish independence referendum being divisive.

Dugdale's Tweet was met with an absolute hail of condemnation, but Scottish Labour clearly aren't listening. They're stuck in a self-righteous bubble of delusion that they're absolutely right, and the Scottish electorate are a bunch of idiots for rejecting them.

It seems highly unlikely that Scottish Labour will abandon their strategy of treating the Scottish electorate with utter contempt as they crudely ape the Tory party, but in my view their only remaining hope is to clearly differentiate themselves from the Tories, perhaps by doing something observably different like pushing for a devolution max option on the ballot paper.

If they stick with their failing tactic of imitating the Tories then they'll simply hasten their (already rapid) decline into political oblivion.

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