Do Ed Miliband, Tony Benn and George Galloway and now Sir Menzies Campbell (who appeared on today’s edition of The Sunday Politics Scotland) have some sort of problem with foreigners? It sounds like they do. For instance, read these words from Tony Benn, the great elder statesman of the Labour Party, this summer:
“If Scotland wants to be independent they have the absolute right to do so. But I think nationalism is a mistake. And I am half Scots and feel it would divide me in half with a knife. The thought that my mother would suddenly be a foreigner would upset me very much.”
When asked about Benn’s views in a recent Holyrood magazine interview, Labour leader Ed Miliband had this to say:
“I am not the only person with family ties abroad and family is family, whatever the accent or postcode. But the Scottish people with family in England, or vice versa, will be living in a foreign country if Alex Salmond gets his way, that’s just a fact. We live in an increasingly interconnected world; we shouldn’t be building artificial barriers, we should be working out how to work more closely together.“
And on an episode of Scotland Tonight a few months ago, where Galloway discussed the issue of Scottish independence with YesScotland chair Dennis Canavan, the Respect MP talked passionately of solidarity between working-class people, which Scottish independence would, he claimed, damage. He felt just the same solidarity, he suggested, with bus drivers in Glasgow, Bradford and Belfast.
To which the most obvious immediate response is “What about bus drivers in Dublin, Oslo, Marseilles, Toronto or Lagos?” Does George Galloway not have the same sense of solidarity with them? Clearly not, if he feels that Scottish independence is somehow contrary to his solidarity with bus drivers either side of the border. If Scottish bus drivers somehow becoming citizens of a different country to bus drivers in his own Bradford constituency has any relevance to his ability to be in solidarity with them, you have to wonder about the nature of his socialism and his solidarity.