Young Scottish Labour activists (average age around 30) have responded to their party’s historic defeat/low poll (18%) on December 12 with the statement on self-determination below.
At the same time, several senior party figures, including Neil Findlay MSP on the Left and Monica Lennon MSP, have given backing in principle to the SG/SNP demand for #indyref2.
Like others, we publish this Open Letter without commentary as a contribution to the continuing pre- and post-GE2019 debate – we take no side in that debate.
“We demand radical self-determination for Scotland. The Scottish people have, in successive elections to both Holyrood and Westminster, elected majorities in favour of a new referendum on independence. Setting aside the arguments for and against independence, we must not allow a hardline Tory government – which has no mandate here – to override Scotland’s democratic will.
Should all attempts to secure a second referendum by legal and constitutional means be obstructed by the UK government, we support an escalating strategy of non-cooperation and civil disobedience against that government, pursued at all possible levels: from the Scottish Government legislating on, or refusing to cooperate with, matters ‘reserved’ to Westminster, to grassroots non-violent direct action within and outwith Scotland.
We support a deep and radical vision of self-determination, encompassing political, economic and cultural life. In particular, we believe that in spite of defeat, the policies put forward in Labour’s 2019 general election manifesto still offer a valuable starting-point for tackling the climate emergency and redistributing economic power to the working class, who produce Scotland’s wealth and have the right to control it. Successive Scottish Governments have failed to use the full range of devolved powers to transform Scotland in this direction, despite their repeated insistence on Scotland’s progressive consensus.
We also believe, however, that the limits of devolved power must not be treated as the closed horizons of Scotland’s future, and we demand that the Scottish political establishment begins to think and act ‘as if’ it has the requisite independence to radically address the overlapping crises facing working-class communities in Scotland, from the climate emergency and austerity to drug deaths, housing and the hostile environment.
We refuse to abandon the people of Wales, Northern Ireland and England to Tory rule, even if Scotland chooses to pursue its own road to socialism. We believe that real self-determination can only be achieved through cooperation between movements and across borders. We call on the left across the UK to back our demand for a second referendum on independence and to fight with us to secure a radical democracy for all the peoples of these islands.”
Le Brech, Aberdeen Central CLP / IWGB
Didier Alexandre, Aberdeen Central CLP
Scott Abel, Aberdeen South CLP
Reuben Duffy, Airdrie & Shotts CLP / GMB
Emma Milligan, Airdrie & Shotts CLP
Brendan Moohan, Almond Valley CLP / Unite
Graeme Hyslop OBE, Ayr CLP / EIS
Ryan John MacKenzie, Caithness & Sutherland CLP
Annette Thomson, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley CLP
George Thomson, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley CLP
Huw Sherrard, Clackmannanshire CLP, Social Media & Press Officer
Avar Wilson, Clackmannanshire CLP / IWW
Matthew Gallagher, Clydebank & Milngavie CLP / EIS
Ryan Bazga, Coatbridge & Chryston CLP, Social Media Officer / Unite
William McCabe, Coatbridge & Chryston CLP / Unite
Stella Rooney, Dundee CLP, Youth Officer / Unite, Chair of Young Members in Unite Scotland
Owen Wright, Dundee CLP / Unite
Drew Livingstone, Dundee CLP / Unison
James Thomson, East Kilbride CLP / PCS
Emily Talbot, East Lothian CLP / Unison
Alistair Craig, Eastwood CLP
Calum Barnes, Edinburgh Central CLP / Unite
Ian R Close, Edinburgh Central CLP
Paul Cumming, Edinburgh Central CLP / PCS
James Cameron, Edinburgh Eastern CLP
Matthew Beven, Edinburgh Eastern CLP / Unison
Tommy Martin, Edinburgh Eastern CLP / Unite
Ally McIntyre, Edinburgh Eastern CLP
Jessica Fenn, Edinburgh Eastern CLP
Robert Dransfield, Edinburgh Eastern CLP / Unite Community
Adam Knight, Edinburgh Eastern CLP
Claire Thomson, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP / Unite
Patricia Johnston, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP, Youth Officer / Unite Community
Paul Tait, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP / UCU
Oliver Goulden, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP
Mike Cowley, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP
Shaun Cassidy, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP
Morgan Tooth, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP / Unite
Lorcan Mullen, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP / Unison
James McPherson, Edinburgh North & Leith CLP / Unite
Finn Oldfield, Edinburgh Southern CLP
Rory Scothorne, Edinburgh Southern CLP / UCU
Magnus Gwynne, Edinburgh Southern CLP
Declan Prosser, Glasgow Anniesland CLP
Alana McKenna, Glasgow Anniesland CLP
Michael John O’Neill, Glasgow Cathcart / BECTU
Scott Lumsden, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite
Oliver Robertson, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite
Alice Bowman, Glasgow Provan CLP / GMB/Unite
Kyle Scott, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite
Ryan Byrne, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite
Stephen Campbell, Glasgow Provan CLP / Unite
Matt McDonald, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison, IWW
Laura Dover, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison
Ewan Gibbs, Glasgow Southside CLP / UCU
Tam Wilson, Glasgow Southside CLP, LGBT Officer / GMB
Jessica Shenton, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison
Thomas Baylis, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison
Mark Faulkner, Glasgow Southside CLP
Bruce Milne, Glasgow Southside CLP / Unison
Giancarlo Bell, Glasgow Kelvin CLP, Vice Chair / Unite
Ben McKinlay, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Ross Clark, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Hollie Cameron, Glasgow Kelvin CLP / Unite
Ewan Kerr, Glasgow Kelvin CLP / EIS
David Clayton, Glasgow Kelvin CLP / BMA
Rob Jones, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Madison Plumridge, Glasgow Kelvin CLP / Unite
Duncan Hotchkiss, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Clare Patterson, Glasgow Kelvin CLP
Paul Rolwich, Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse CLP
Fraser Finlayson, Inverness & Nairn CLP
Mikey Reynolds, Kilmarnock & Loudon CLP / PCS
Dougie Main, Linlithgow & East Falkirk CLP
Gwen Wall, Maryhill & Springburn CLP, Fundraising Officer / BFAWU/GMB
Tessa Buddle, Maryhill & Springburn CLP / UCU
Cameron Thompson, Na h-Eileanan an Iar CLP / Unison
George Corner, North Ayrshire CLP / Unite
Malcolm Petrie, North East Fife CLP / UCU
Angus MacDonald, Orkney CLP
Lauren Gilmour, Paisley CLP / EIS/Unite
Simran Kaur, Renfrewshire North & West CLP / Unite
Rosaleen Leonard, Rutherglen CLP / Unison
John O’Neill, Perth & North Perthshire CLP / Unite
Tom Flanagan, Stirling CLP / CWU
Cian Lloyd Ireland, Stirling CLP / GMB/IWW
Matthew Ferrie, Stirling CLP / IWW
Daniel Deery, Stirling CLP / IWW
Callum McCormick, Strathkelvin & Bearsden CLP / EIS/UCU
William John McCabe, Uddingston & Bellshill CLP / Unite
Billy Stewart, Uddingston & Bellshill CLP / Unison
Here’s Ben Wray’s take on Common Space:
Analysis: Johnson’s swift rejection of an indyref demand is no surprise. His implementation of a Whitehall review into devolved government is not really aimed at quelling independence demands but to be seen to be doing something, without handing over tangible new powers to Edinburgh. Anyone thinking the election result would lead to a swift independence referendum will be disappointed. A protracted battle will now take place which may well run all the way into the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.
That is why the developments in Scottish Labour are so important – if the log-jam is going to be broken it will require fresh forces and new impetus to the movement. The fight for Scottish self-determination is first and foremost a democratic demand, and in that aim we should be looking to find broad unity across not just Scottish politics but civil society too.
And the Conservatives? Read Andy McIver here:
Their position has been ‘vote for us and we will stop indyref2’; they should alter it ahead of 2021 to ‘vote for us or we will not be able to stop indyref2’. In other words, the party should acknowledge that a mandate in 2021 will have to be respected, and there will have to be another independence referendum, so if you don’t want one then you had better vote Tory.
This change in strategy would serve three purposes. Firstly, it would incentivise the core vote in just as compelling a way as the current strategy – frankly, it’s not as though they are going to vote for anyone else. Secondly, it would respect democracy, and in times such as these, that would be a noble act. Thirdly, and most importantly, it would be a departure of the tired, old, failed Tory strategy of the last 40 years, which in the final analysis has always been: say no to Scotland.
Not for the first time in Scottish Tory history, they are struggling to see that this is failing, and is simply pushing people away from the Union and towards independence.
The irony of all of this is that the Nationalists’ strength is over-estimated by Unionists, who have become so paranoid about indyref2 that they seem blind to the fundamentals which are in place, and which may allow the unionists to record a larger win than last time, closing the book on independence just like they closed the book on Brexit.
All they have to do is smarten up. Are they able?