How to win the Labour vote
From the onset the No campaign have been aware of this and have successfully, aided expertly by the mainstream media in permeating the notion that a Yes vote is a vote for Alex Salmond or the SNP.
I have been talking to Labour voters when out campaigning almost every day and the one prevailing reason for voting No is that they wont vote ‘for that Alex Salmond.’ Once we get past this Labour voters become very open to the benefits independence will bring and the possibilities of a return of a real Labour Party in Scotland.
On the flip side of this, Yes Scotland have been somewhat naive in their understanding of the tribalism between Labour and the SNP. Labour voters do not respond well to SNP strategists telling them why they should vote Yes. They have also failed to realise the reality that Yes Scotland is often seen to represent the SNP. Hardly surprising when they embrace the White Paper as the main arguments in terms of the referendum debate.
In contrast Labour for Independence has in the case of Labour voters (and SSP, Greens and RIC have done the same for their own in less Labour specific areas) highlighted the different vision we have for an independent Scotland.
We have focussed on areas such as removal of Trident, a return to universal public services, using our finite resources to invest in social housing, creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, increasing manufacturing and industry and providing low cost housing to the 157,000 on waiting lists in Scotland.
With a flurry of recent polls suggesting that Labour support for Yes is now between 28-35 per cent, a dramatic rise from the 9 per cent when Labour for Independence was founded, shows that our campaign is working and we will endeavour to continue to get our message across throughout the remaining weeks of this campaign.
There is of course a debate which should be occurring and can be heard within the No campaign away from the leaders of the group soundbites. The notion that we would be abandoning our brothers and sisters in Northern England and beyond. This is of course not true. We will continue to campaign for the rights of our comrades in the rest of the UK.
This is not about removing ourselves from others plight, rather a genuine opportunity to create a fairer, more equal more socially just society, seeking real answers and action to the issues that effect us, some of these problems are intrinsically Scottish and require a Scottish solution.
The very notion that we as socialists and democratic socialists are voting Yes to become an inward isolationist nation is ludicrous. as I have said many times my solidarity does not end at Dover so why would it suddenly end at the Scottish Borders following independence?
One example of this is Labour for Independence’s call that the first foreign policy act of an independent Scotland is to recognise the state of Palestine. By doing so, we are not seeking the removal of the nation of Israel, rather an acknowledgement that in the pursuit of real peace within the area, both nations must be recognised as equals to ensure a fair and lasting peace.
Until that time comes we will continue to condemn the actions of the oppressive military regime of Israel and support our comrades in Palestine of their rights to not only live within their rightful land, but gain access to the natural resources required to properly take care of their people. This hardly sounds like the actions of an isolationist nature and we will continue to campaign and fight for injustices against our comrades throughout the world.
So after combating the socialist arguments for voting to stay in the Union, how do we continue to win over the Labour vote? We have to accept that they will not be wooed by the SNP or Alex Salmond, that it requires Labour voices talking to them. This is what we at Labour for Independence have been doing for the last two years and we will continue with all our efforts until 10pm on 18 September.
But we also need your help to spread our message. Got a Labour friend voting No or undecided? Send them our way, we can win their vote, we can convince them of the opportunity to have a real Labour Party in Scotland, one which we can be proud to vote for and be a part of. We can win this referendum, but we need to unite as the left.
Recently I read a very apt quotation from South American revolutionary Simón Bolívar; to paraphrase he said; “Political gangrene cannot be cured with palliatives and Britain is totally and utterly infected with gangrene. A green mango will ripen, but a rotten mango never ripens; the seeds of a rotten mango must be saved and planted so that a new plant may grow. That is happening in Scotland today.”
We have a tremendous opportunity to create a fairer, more equal, more prosperous and socially just Scotland.
That is something all Labour voters can get behind.
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