The Corbyn effect has not been able to turn around the Labour Party's disastrous general election result in Scotland. Bob Fotheringham outlines the obstacles facing Labour in the Holyrood elections this May.
On the surface Scotland — an almost Tory-free zone since 1997 — should provide fertile ground for a Corbyn-led Labour Party. Opposition to austerity, war, Trident and support for refugees are all now deeply ingrained in the political culture.
During Corbyn’s election campaign thousands turned up to hear him at meetings across Scotland. This seemed to reinvigorate the Labour Party, particularly those members who identify with the left. Corbyn spoke at a rally of almost 2,000 in Glasgow organised by the Scottish TUC in opposition the Tories’ Trade Union Bill.
August saw the launch in Scotland of RISE (Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism), a new left alliance initiated by activists from the Radical Independence Campaign, the Scottish Socialist Party, and socialists and activists.
Around 600 people attended the launch event in Glasgow.
RISE aims to bring the Scottish left together under one umbrella which can pose an electoral alternative to the Labour Party and the nationalist SNP, with the first test being the Scottish parliament elections next May.
The political earthquake of the SNP's general election result proves that the anti-austerity message wins. But the lesson is lost on Scottish Labour.
The bemused look on the face of Jim Murphy, then leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, the day after the general election summed up the fate of Scottish Labour. His explanation for what had happened was an object lesson in delusion and denial. According to Murphy the almost total wipe-out of Labour at the hands of the Scottish National Party (SNP) was as a consequence of “two nationalisms — Scottish and English”.
The independence referendum last September showed that people in Scotland want to see radical change. While the left has grown out of that movement, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has quadrupled in size. Its membership has just passed 100,000, which means one person in 50 in Scotland is now a member. The latest polls show an 18 point SNP lead over Labour and predict they’ll win 47 seats to Labour’s ten.
The radical left has a real opportunity to build on the referendum vote, argues Carlo Morelli, as neither the "austerity-lite" of the Labour Party nor the SNP's "one nation" addresses the needs of the working class.
The Scottish Independence referendum in September 2014 marked a watershed in Scottish politics. It created a dynamic change in Scottish politics and arguments as to the implications for the future. Central to this debate is the question of class, as it was the movement of the working class that determined both the outcome of the referendum and its consequences.
The Scottish referendum provided a unique opportunity for young people in Scotland to get involved in politics.
Despite the defeat on 18 September, the grassroots nature of the Yes campaign has meant that these activists are not going away. The youth of Scotland is politicised, angry and already fighting for a better world. Thousands of young people were at meetings and on the streets discussing how to scrap Trident, end austerity and protect free education.
The No camp may have won the referendum, but the working class anger that drove the Yes campaign is here to stay. Iain Ferguson reflects on the movement and its fall-out.
As the Scottish independence referendum result was announced on the morning of 19 September, a sigh of relief could be heard from every section of the British and global political elite.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Scottish referendum campaign has been the way in which it has reinvigorated political debate and civic life across the country. The flourishing of activism has been predominantly on the pro-independence, Yes, side of the argument and noticeably left wing. It has also fed into all manner of other campaigns, from the movement against the Bedroom Tax to the outpouring of rage against Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.
David Cameron probably has had better days as prime minister than when one of his Eurospectic MPs, Douglas Carswell, defected to Ukip. Even worse, Carswell stepped down from parliament to force a by-election which could lead to Ukip’s first elected MP being returned, just months before a general election. This would be used to say that Ukip is not a wasted vote when it comes to parliamentary, as well as European, elections.