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A Labour case for Yes

Posted on January 07, 2014 by

It should come as a surprise to nobody that yet another senior Labour figure has come out for independence. It’s more of a surprise that anyone should be surprised.


Much of the credit for that must go to the “Better Together” campaign, who with the extensive help of the Scottish media have done an excellent job of portraying the independence campaign as an SNP-only obsession. Yet that picture belies the real benefits that independence can bring the Labour Party in Scotland.

It does a great disservice to the name of the Labour Party that once-revered figures like Alex Mosson (former Lord Provost of Glasgow), Sir Charles Gray (former leader of Strathclyde Regional Council) and Dennis Canavan are suddenly treated as pariahs, with at least one prominent Labour councillor calling for Sir Charles Gray’s expulsion from the party when he announced his backing for a Yes vote in November.

I’ve often been asked to sum up the argument for Yes from a Labour perspective. Let me put it this way: who do you see as the more credible Labour politician – Dennis Canavan or Alistair Darling? They could have that debate, if only Darling would accept. (Perhaps if he’s not up to debating with Dennis, he can take on his own former boss at Lothian Council, John Mulvey – I’m sure he could still teach Alistair a thing or two.)

It’s only through independence that we’ll see a cutting of the ties from the Westminster Labour Party, allowing Scottish Labour to return to being a party representing the needs and aspirations of the people of Scotland. In reality a Yes vote would offer Labour the driving seat in Scottish politics. What will become of the SNP following independence is unsure, but with their unifying raison d’être having been achieved a real Labour Party could again seriously challenge their dominance of the centre-left position in Scottish politics.

However this will require more effort from Labour than just waiting patiently for the nationalist bandwagon to fall apart. We need to return to the founding principles of the Labour Party – fairness, equality and social justice. We need to embrace long-standing Labour traditions of nuclear disarmament and strong public services like universal healthcare and education.

We need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our trade unions and abolish the draconian anti-union laws imposed by Tory governments in Westminster and not repealed by Tony Blair or Gordon Brown when they had the keys to 10 Downing Street for over a decade. We need to stand up for those that the Labour Party was created for.

Most importantly, the public will not vote for a negative party. The Labour Party of today in Scotland only seem to do one thing well – say No. We need to create a vision for Scotland based on the founding principles but evolving for a modern nation of the 21st century.

That’s why today we’re very proud to announce the first of six national events hosted by LFI, entitled ‘A Labour Case For Yes – A Labour vision of Scotland’s future.’

These gatherings will feature speakers from Labour’s past, present and future in Scotland, who will outline the reasons why the Labour movement should vote Yes this September. Those addressing the inaugural event will include:

Bob Thomson – Scottish Labour Party Chairman (1990-91) & Treasurer (1993-99)
Sir Charles Gray – Leader of Strathclyde Regional Council (1986-92)
Alex Mosson – Lord Provost of Glasgow (1999-2003)
Jeane Freeman – Special Advisor to First Minister Jack McConnell (2001-05)

With speakers of such a calibre (alongside myself and LFI deputy leader Deborah Waters), the true qualities of the Labour Party will be on display. I’m proud that they speak for Labour and the Labour movement. I’m proud they’re voting Yes.

2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Labour For Independence, and a big year for Scotland. It’s time to decide between a future chosen by ourselves, or a future foisted on us by a government hundreds of miles away. It’s time for Scotland, its people and its Labour movement to grasp the thistle.

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109 to “A Labour case for Yes”

  1. Allan, a typically brilliant piece from you mate, passionate and articulate and full of the optimism and hope that has been missing from much of this debate.

    I am delighted to see Bob Thomson’s name on your list of speakers. A fine man, a good comrade and someone I am well overdue a catch up with.
    I look forward to these events.

  2. Jimsie says:

    I do believe that a positive referendum result hinges on how many Labour supporters vote yes. These are the people we must persuade to come on board.

  3. G H Graham says:

    Welcome aboard Mr. Grogan.
    You do know that in time, you will be recognised as one of those who influenced the collapse of what is known as “Scottish Labour” (a myth of course), but will also be rewarded in time for helping to give birth to a new Labour party in Scotland that represents & executes the true spirit of socialist principles.

  4. gordoz says:

    Totally agree but it comes down to the ‘Dunfermline’ question.
    Hopeless candidate, all lover the place on policy, clear lies, For / against poll tax freeze ?  
    Mugs still vote for anything ‘red’, never mind London Labour candidate ?
    Same due in Cowdenbeath ?

  5. chalks says:

    Slowly but surely they are coming over.

    I’d imagine it’ll be 3-6 months out from the referendum before certain current Labour MSP’s and former MP’s come out for it….which is a shame, but I’d imagine they would want to make as big an impact as possible.
    Whether coming out now would do that or when the attention of Scotland is on them closer to the time is arguable.

  6. handclapping says:

    Labour in Scotland has been let down badly by its “leadership”. LfI has been a breath of fresh air in shewing that democracy can still work in the Labour Party.

  7. Paul says:

    As we all know the yes campaign is not all about the Scottish National Party but once independence is achieved how can the electorate think of going back to voting Labour under it’s present leadership. Would something for nothing not still apply with them?

    Being a cynic is the present opposition to the SNP been deliberately made weak so as to leave the Scots with no viable alternative than Westminster it would certainly appear so The thought of wee Ruthie, Lamont or worse still that Liberal eejit in charge makes ones blood run cold there is no alternative to the SNP.

  8. Murray McCallum says:

    The twitter exchange between the two councillors regarding Charles Gray’s expulsion from the Labour Party seems both factual and honest to me.
    It demonstrates the rigid British National structure of the Labour Party – it seems impervious to any change.
    This, I think, is important as it shows beyond any doubt that any promises of “more powers”, “devo max”, or whatever from the Labour Party must be seen in this cold light.
    Given the principles that LFI was established on, I find it disheartening to see ‘Scottish’ Labour Party supporters eagerly campaigning for the Tories to govern Scotland. They surely have a chance to build something better?

  9. Jimsie says:

    I was aged 14 when I made a pilgrimage on my bicycle to see Keir Hardies house in Holytown. My politics have never changed but Labours has. Perhaps independence would have them reverting back to being a socialist party. We”ll see.

  10. Thepnr says:

    It will be great if a number of current Labour politicians come over and openly support a Yes vote in the months leading up the referendum.
    Just as important though is to persuade those that normally support Labour that it is in their interests to vote Yes in the referendum. That’s why these national events that LFI are promoting are so important.
    I hope these events can be well publicised and as many Labour supporters who may be currently undecided are encouraged to attend. I also hope the events can be videoed and put up on youtube and the LFI website.
    Good luck in the months ahead Allan and well done in getting to where you are now in such a short space of time.   

  11. Macart says:

    Well said Mr Grogan.

  12. Greannach says:

    It’s good to see some Labour voices urging Labour to get back to its founding principles. Callaghan, Kinnock, Blair, Brown and now Miliband have been a disaster for ordinary people’s morale, leaving many in rUK to think that UKIP might in some way represent their interests. It is fantasy to imagine that Labour in rUK can ever change from their current Tory-lite policies and ambitions – they won’t win there on such a platform. Likewise it is fantasy to imagine that people of the calibre of Johann Lamont, Ian Gray and Margaret Curran could ever recognise a founding principle if it came up and bit them. Labour’s only chance is to support independence and try to regroup in spite of their appalling record over the decades.

  13. Robert Kerr says:

    Mr. Grogan.
    I heard you at the Calton Hill. First time ever and was impressed. 
    Good luck and please be careful. 

  14. Nan says:

    Allan Grogan you are a shinning light and aspiration to all labour voters and beyond, who want what is best for the people of Scotland.

  15. Jimbo says:

    “What will become of the SNP following independence is unsure, but with their unifying raison d’être having been achieved a real Labour Party could again seriously challenge their dominance of the centre-left position in Scottish politics.”
    I wouldn’t like to see the ascendancy of a Scottish Labour Party based on the premise that the SNP has served its purpose. I would much prefer it if they were able to challenge for power purely on the grounds that they were genuinely worth voting for.
    To achieve that high ideal, Labour in Scotland would have to have a complete clear out of the present crew, who have shown time after time since the inception of the devolved Scottish parliament that they are utterly inept and thoroughly unfit for office.

  16. A very sensible article! 
    Allan thrust argument that only independence can salvage a progressive social-democratic/social-liberal labour party is entirely correct.
    Labour party internal politics has become a patchwork of petty moribund swabbling; with ‘successful Scottish Labour’ candidates basically proto-london lobby fodder for Westminster Palace.
    Independence would enable us in the Labour tribe to reclaim the spirit of home rule which defined the early founding movement. Keir Hardie and the early labour movement campaigned for home rule for Scotland. And it seems to me if there is virtually no prospect for achieving it inside the UK framework, we then have a socialist (non-nationalist) intellectual obligation to see it achieved outwit the UK.
    Besides, post-2017 EU referendum, England will pull itself (and us if we let it) into the global anglosphere and outside of the international community of nations. Internationalism demands independence, EU membership and membership of the EU convention of human rights!

  17. faolie says:

    Allan, brilliant, and best wishes for your tour. I used the very same argument canvassing for the SNP (a long time ago) with Labour voters. Just vote SNP the once I said, then return to Labour at the first SGE. How the voters laughed at me. But here we are now, and Labour voters are exactly in that position, but with a hugely better chance of independence than then.
    However, I have to agree with @Paul: can you imagine getting JoLa as FM of an independent Scotland? Maybe they’d haul in a big hitter, redundant ex-Labour MP to take over? There’d be a big list…

  18. Dick Gaughan says:

    It’s interesting how many on the Left of the Labour Party (or what used to be the real Labour Party) are supporting Yes. The contradictions between Labour in Scotland and Labour down south have become clearer all the time and those between much of the Labour Party membership in Scotland and the Scottish Leadership have deepened to the point of crisis.

    It needs the real heart of the Labour Party to wake up and realise that unless they give full support to Yes they’re on a hiding to nothing.

  19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The question that has to be faced is what kind of respect could possibly be afforded to the Labour Party in Scotland after a YES vote if it has gone into the referendum in the NO position.
    One only has to think of the sour, offensive, dishonest, brainless and virulently anti Scottish contribution to our national debate by “leaders” so called reading a London script in our parliament and in all our public forums and wonder what respected place can such as Foulkes, Lamont, Curran, Martin, “Lord” Robertson and many other have in our future.
    It’s a rough old game politics right enough and there is still time and the silence from a number of previously vociferous enemies is interesting but my admiration to the brave members of Labour for Indy is boundless.
    But after YES vote times will be interesting 

  20. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    No chance of any labour MSP’s or MP’s publicly  supporting Independence. That would require integrity and representing the needs of the Scottish  people rather than London rule.
    I would like to see LFI (an  SNP front according to the MSM) organise a hundred events before the referendum to take the message direct to the people.  

  21. MochaChoca says:

    I think timing would be everything for further Labour figures coming across in favour of independence. I agree getting the biggest impact is important but if they wait ’til the opinion polls show a majority YES they’d just look like rats deserting a sinking ship.
    The other point raised here about the future of the SNP, given the PR setup of Holyrood I don’t see any problem with Labour (as it tries re-establish itself as a viable option and tone down the hate speech) alongside the SNP.
    Isn’t the most likely outcome in Holyrood, once things settle down, going to be centre-left consensus politics?

  22. bunter says:

    Good article, but a pity LFI wasn’t able to field anyone for these last few by elections and raise its profile in the media, though its would be a costly business for the fledgling organisation. Would be interesting to test the water though  and also could shed some of  Lamonts vote.

  23. ronnie anderson says:

    Daily politic,s just now, Paul Flynn Lab MP, talking about Parliament for Hire, Wedding,s & such. NOO hears me thinking that,as with the Parliamentairian,s we,re bought & payed for, buy everybody with a couple of million to give away, thats everybody, other than the Tax Payer / Electorate. Westminster estate,s must be in dire trouble .

  24. desimond says:

    Enjoyed the article and really enjoyed Allans speech on The Hill and wish him the very best.

    I cant help feel the Labour brand, for want of a better phrase, is tainted beyond repair. Is there that much difference between the party ideas of the followers of Labour for Independence and ideals of the members of the Scottish Socialist Party?

    Post 2016, a new formed Labour Socialist Democrat party would have one great Acronym!

  25. david says:

    one saving grace for scotlab is they still have decent people like grogan hanging in there. im pretty sure mr grogan and his collegues working with him at the moment are going to be at the forefront of the new scotlab party after indy. i cant see the current scotlab with their hateful nastiness and intellectual poverty surviving and mr grogan is going to be popular.

  26. Onzebill says:

    O/T Henry McLeish has a centrefold in the hootsmon today advising what the labour party in Scotland need to do to ensure a no vote in September. There has previously been speculation on this site that Henry is a closet Yes, possibly in the future, but unfortunately not at the moment on today’s evidence.

  27. Robert Kerr says:

    Indeed he is going to be popular.
    Just wait till he is a “cult figure” like Alex Salmond. To be derided and smeared with invective and spite. Come on BBC/MSM we know you can do it!

  28. FreddieThreepwood says:

    As I’ve said before, if Maclean, Hardie, Maxton et al were alive today they’d vote ‘Yes’. Theirs was a Labour Party for people – not power

    Gaun yersel’ Allan – IMO Labour for Indy is absolutely crucial for the chances of success in Sept.

    No pressure!

  29. Gizzit says:

    Given the chronic dissonance between “traditional” Labour values and the Johann Lamont position of “side with the Tories rather than acknowledge an SNP policy as worthwhile”, I reckon we’ll see an increasing number of defections from No to Yes.
    Furthermore, it will be a useful exercise – it will clearly differentiate between politicians of principle, and time-serving troughers.

  30. Beastie says:

    Allan, as an SNP member and a follower of Labour for Independence on Facebook I’m well used to your well thought out and sensible work but this one is probably the best I’ve seen for a while.

    If Scotland needs anything it needs a strong party to stand and question SNP policy. I say this, as I’ve stated, as an SNP member but I would say this if I had no party affiliation because I do not believe a party of government should essentially have carte blanche to do just about whatever it wants because no one is big enough to stop them. It undoubtedly goes some way towards keeping folk honest. That said, of course, one of the things that scunners me about politics in general is that attitude of objecting to something your opponent does even if it clearly has merit. I would like to see parties working together for the benefit of the whole rather than the usual partisan bickering on every single subject. By all means disagree when you have reason to, but arguing for the sake of it is ridiculous.

    I think if you can get just one Labour MSP onside it would be an utter coup. I do not believe that they are all good little ‘toe the line’ party members, for all they’re meant to be, and some of them must have sympathies with the independence argument. If one goes, more would follow. And I would greatly like to see someone standing at a by election, parliamentary or council, under an LFI banner, because that would also send a shudder through the No camp.

    I wish your group all the best for the future, and I will stand beside your members quite happily until at least 19/09/2014, and afterwards in the horrible thought that the job might not have been done comes to pass. Allies until Scotland sees sense and votes yes.

  31. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Good luck LFI and Allan Grogan.
    A Scottish MSP defecting would be sweet, but even better would be an MP…Katy Clark perhaps? Just a suggestion. Why not go ahead and ask her? Come to think of it, she’s my MP, so perhaps I should…

  32. desimond says:

    The worrying thing is that while we see sensible caring thoughtful Labour people like Allan we also see the standard drones like Drew Smith ( who promoted this guy to be a prominent Better Together spokesman?)  or Kezka Dugdale playing the “I will simply ignore your question and make empty statements of intent” last night on Newsnight Scotland reminding us that Labour will pass “control out to the local councils as Edinburgh can seem as far from someone in Inverness as London can!”. She promised more devolution promises will be bound in a manifesto….dont hold your breath for that,  as well as remembering how those Lib Dem manifesto promises worked out in reality!

    Scottish Labour…a truly dreadful future awaits if these pair are prime examples of the next gen waiting to step up once any post NO vote, Lord and Ladyships are handed out to Johann and her posse.

    PS : An old Kezka link for those who may have missed it –

  33. Thistle says:

    We will be videoing and live streaming (if possible) the event mentioned by Allan. Please do what you can to promote.
    Scottish Independence Live Events

  34. alexicon says:

    Mr Grogan, I, and I’m sure many on here, would be willing to distribute leaflets in our respected areas for your party.
    Do you have a system/contact set up where I (we) could volunteer?

  35. Kev says:

    LFI are absolutely key to winning the referendum, as labour voters are the ones most likely to say “im up for independence but I dunno cos I’m no a fan of that Salmond”…
    These folk need to be convinced by strong, respected Labour politicians, past and present (I also find that Labour speakers at Yes events are by far the most impassioned, and that is very important – plenty of folk will vote with their hearts come September)
    And wouldn’t it be a great embarrassment to Johann Lamont  and a great inspiration to Labour voters if Grogan delivered a White paper – entitled “Scotland’s Future with Scottish Labour” – outlining their plans after a Yes vote, or maybe all will be revealed on their tours, I certainly hope so. I wish them great success in converting the labour masses, the future of our country depends on it…

  36. Les Wilson says:

    I think this is a game changer. A real chance for the REAL Scottish labour of old to re emerge into the party it was meant to be. One without Westminster corruption but on this occasion, one that has the interest of the Scottish Nation at their heart. We can be magnanimous later.

    Regarding the SNP position, I would personally wish for them to win the first Scottish elections for the very fact that they are now experienced in running the government and are best placed to see us through the first period. After that it will depend on what policies they wish to run with that will make the appeal required for voters to keep them in power. 

    Aside, the Unionist tactics from now until the referendum are becoming more apparent, all the Councils run by them will continue to  complain and create or attempt to make the SNP a cause of conflict with these Councils. People are to be hoodwinked and used to suit their purpose. Along with the MSM helping to cause the distrust and this is a Westminster labour tactic.

  37. chalks says:

    It’s just McLeish gathering some attention, when Labour don’t do as he suggests, he’ll then have a reason to come out for Yes
    ‘Left with no option’

  38. HandandShrimp says:

    There are some big guns and well respected Labour figures coming out in favour of a Yes vote without for one second departing from their Labour principles. I appreciate that this will annoy the hell out of Grahamski, Martin, Ruddy, Kelly and Hotandcoldtaps who will no doubt all seek to say that they can’t remember who these people are and suggest that they were always on the dark side of the force anyway. However, their annoyance is just a free bonus what heartens me is that these individuals will give hope to those amongst Labour’s ranks who feel inclined to vote Yes but were looking for a lead. May many more join their ranks.  

  39. Geoff Huijer says:

    I wish LFI all the best.
    However, as someone has already mentioned, (certainly for me at least)
    the Labour ‘brand’ is so toxic that I can only think of self-interest, lying,
    duplictous, Tory-esques when I hear the name.
    I know this is not the case with LFI but ‘Scottish’ Labour have
    already sold their souls as far as I’m concerned and the lack
    of upstanding, intelligent, caring individuals appalls me.

  40. gavin lessells says:

    LFI badly need funds. I made a contribution some time ago. How about the rest of you?

  41. ronnie anderson says:

    Alecicon, is it beyond the realm,s of possability, that there SHOULD be a COOPERATION across the board, No political boundries, in the Yes campainer,s, were all in it TOGETHER. I hope ther,s wider cooperation Region / City / Town / Village. GET A REGISTER formed. Leaflet,s can be delivered far n wide, at the one visit, COOPERATION<COOPERATION.

  42. setondene says:

    All we need now is Tories for Independence.

  43. Linda's Back says:

    No surprise that Edinburgh Evening News only gave a couple of short paragraphs well inside the paper with the bland one column headline “Labour man to vote YES”.

  44. Jon D says:

    setondene says:
    All we need now is Tories for Independence.

  45. Illy says:

    Dumb question: What’s the actual difference between SNP policy, and “Old Labour” policy, other than the push for Scottish Independance?

  46. Taranaich says:

    I’m an SNP man, have been since I was able to vote. I wouldn’t say I have an instinctive tribal dislike for Labour – I too was taken in by the enthusiasm and excitement in 1997, though my uncannily wise mother foresaw Labour’s descent into Neo-Liberalism – but I do think a lot of the focus on “labour” and the working class feeds into a continuation of the class system. After all, if socialism is about all the people owning the means of production and controlling the economy, then the focus on one strata seems a bit unsocialist. Perhaps I’m just being caught up in semantics, or I’m just distrustful of anything to do with the UK classes. Or maybe I’m just plain wrong!
    However, putting that aside, one of the things which impressed me most about my visit to Holyrood was the cross-party groups. I’m sure both sides still had their disagreements, but I really loved attending a group with SNP and Labour members and ministers working together on something. They weren’t trying to undermine each other with petty snipes or disagreements, they genuinely seemed to try their best. THAT’S what I want to see in a government, people working together to get things done in spite of party affiliation in order to enrich and develop their country.
    Of course, First Minister’s Questions was another matter entirely, and is too frequently a northern imitation of the dread Westminster shouting matches: but we’ve seen occasions, like the Marriage Equality discussion, where everyone finally put their grievances aside and treated important matters with the gravity they deserve. As such, I absolutely welcome a Labour party which acknowledges that some things are bigger than tribal feuds and winning power. Depending on what happens with the SNP post-Indy, I don’t know if I’d vote for a new Scottish Labour over the SNP diadochi, or the Greens or SSP, but I’d definitely welcome their voice.
    New Labour isn’t working: time for True Labour to step up.

  47. Cath says:

    “Furthermore, it will be a useful exercise – it will clearly differentiate between politicians of principle, and time-serving troughers.”
    That’s not fair. Undoubtably there will be troughers and timeservers who follow the party line unthinkingly, or will do what they need to for their own careers. But there will also be people who genuinely hold a view that the union is best, for whatever reason and will argue that. It doesn’t matter whether we think it’s wrong, or it’s based purely on emotion, or whatever. If you’ve genuinely looked at the facts, thought through the issues and come to a conclusion for yourself that you’re on the no side, fair play. And if those people argue their case with consistency and without abuse and lies, it’ll be a healthy debate and we’ll all come out of it stronger and work together whatever the result.
    The problem isn’t people who’re on the no side, it’s those who argue dishonestly, who spit venom and abuse at those who dare disagree with them and engage in smear campaigns, who lie and seem to go all out to bring Holyrood into disrepute and drag the debate into the gutter. And a lot of Labour MSPs unfortunately seem to be like that.
    I hope some of them shift to yes. But I’d also be happy to see some committed no voters among them come out and say “the way this debate is being run is wrong.” McLeish is at least doing that, and credit to him for that. Problem is what he’s saying would have been great in 2007 but is far too late now and Labour in Scotland couldn’t deliver, so it comes across as dishonest in a different way.
    Perhaps he’s positioning to come out for Yes. Or perhaps positioning the no side for yet another fundamentally dishonest tactic – pretending that a no vote will lead to the kind of Utopian Britain he’s fantasising about.
    One thing I keep hearing is that there are Labour politicians who’ll vote yes but keep silent about it. That would be betrayal to my mind. Politicians have taken on a job that involves leadership and opinion forming. To support a yes vote, but to remain silent is cowardly and makes a person not fit to hold political office. What Labour should be doing is allowing their genuine no supporters to debate openly with their yes ones and both to enter on the side they choose.

  48. gordoz says:

    McLeish is a NO, (or a time wasting muppet distraction)

  49. david says:

    Dumb question: What’s the actual difference between SNP policy, and “Old Labour” policy, other than the push for Scottish Independance?
    one difference i noticed was snp refuse peerages while scotlab drool at the mouth just thinking of one.

  50. Robert Kerr says:

    Crystallography even, WoS is a source of much knowledge
    I enjoy.

  51. Cath says:

    McLeish is just bizarre at the moment. I don’t get what he thinks he’s doing but it doesn’t seem helpful to honest debate.

  52. kininvie says:

    @Taranaich @Allan
    I agree with you that a revived Scottish Labour party should avoid the rhetoric of class warfare. Creating artificial divisions within a small country is a luxury we won’t be able to afford. Equally, Allan, I’m not certain that instant repeal of all the trade union legislation is the way to go. What we are going to need is an entirely different relationship between unions and employers, and I’d love to see LfI coming up with fresh thinking on that front. Mind you, we’ll need to avoid the German inclination to keep their union reps sweet by flying them off to expensive weekends with fine food (and ‘other’ kinds of entertainment). Something that works for Scotland, and not just for sectional interests, and which finds a way in which unions really represent their members and not just their own ambitions for power…. Not easy – but if you can make a start on the ideas, it would be very appealing to many Labour voters I reckon.

  53. Clootie says:

    Great to see established names moving to supporting independence that must make others at least think about getting more information surely.
    O/T I found this economics blog very interesting

  54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What’s the actual difference between SNP policy, and “Old Labour” policy”

    Assuming “Old” means “up until the mid 1990s”, then not a very great deal.

  55. proudscot says:

    Good article Allan Grogan. I am both an SNP member and a firm supporter of independence. However, as someone who believes in democracy, I would like to see a strong genuine Scottish Labour Party challenging the SNP for the governance of an independent Scotland. However, such a challenge will hopefully not be based solely, as at present, on mere tribalism and mindless anti-SNP, anti-Salmond, sentiment – as espoused by the “Willie Bain Principle” and demonstrated every FMQs by Johann Lamont!
    Final thought Allan, could you not appeal for funds at your forthcoming gatherings, and then persuade the likes of Dennis Canavan to stand as an LFI candidate in any future by-election in the run-up to the referendum? If nothing else, it would gain your movement the publicity it is currently being denied by the BBC and MSM in Scotland.

  56. desimond says:

    BBC manage to turn free school meals into a jibe at Scottish Government for not providing childcare right here right now. ( story)

    Meanwhile seems Labour not happy kids being fed and wont support the idea…doh!

  57. HandandShrimp says:

    McLeish is pro Devo Max. I think he is torn. He doesn’t support Yes as such but it is a lever towards his preferred option. Not sure what he will do if nothing concrete is laid on the table by the No mob. He might say sod it I’m going with the Yes vote or he might say sod it I am going with the No vote. I wouldn’t like to call it.
    If there had been a Devo Max option I think McLeish may well have led that option.

  58. Chic McGregor says:

    Ronnie, there has been lots of cooperation.  Unfortunately the MSM spin put on that, and the only context in which they mention LFI, is that it is proof that LFI is an SNP front.

  59. Chic McGregor says:

    Thanks for link MochaChoca.  The business case and economy are important too.  Moral – everybody will benefit from Scottish independence.

  60. chalks says:

    Coming closer to put up or shut up for him…..I think he will be a Yes, but he is giving the Labour Party A LOT of time to sort out what they want to happen with a No.
    He is in a perfect position to come out for Yes once SLab release their ambitionless blueprint for a Scotland in the Union.  As are many others.
    People are literally waiting for it, Labour know this, god only kno’s when they will release it….18th Sep?

  61. Jimsie says:

    @ Taranaich. ” If socialism is about all the people owning the means of production and controlling the economy”. What you are describing here is communism, which is of course an extreme form of socialism which has been tried and found wanting. Modern day socialism is about redistribution of wealth in a capitalist system which is controlled by regulation. In this respect the SNP are a more socialist party than Labour.

  62. HandandShrimp says:

    Supposed to be March as far as I know. Certainly 6 months would be plenty of time for people like McLeish to make their minds up. If Henry and others came down on  the Yes side in time for the full three months of full blown campaigning then no one would pay any heed to the slow burn to get there. A great many are not going to decide until those last few weeks and if a lot of big guns from other parties are seen to be pro Yes then it will make the tranisition very easy for a great many.  

  63. muttley79 says:

    All the best Allan.  You and others in LFI are doing a great job in promoting the pro- independence message to the still influential Labour movement in Scotland.  If we do get a Yes vote in September you and others in LFI will have played a key role in that achievement.

  64. Chic McGregor says:

    “Assuming “Old” means “up until the mid 1990s”, then not a very great deal.”
    Often wondered if Kinnocks “We’re all right” which he shouted out three times at the Lab Conference (pre 92 election) wasn’t perhaps some kind of inside joke.  The ‘right’ part was shouted louder than the other two words. He even seemed to involuntarily laugh right afterwards and mumbled something about ‘we have to get some serious talking done’ in a strange insider joke tone which was apparently not for audience consumption.
    Kinnock is now usually given the ‘credit’ of having laid the foundations of New Labour.

  65. Jimsie says:

    Chic McGregor Labour had dived to the right before Kinnock. Jim Callaghan could hardly be described as a leftie. 

  66. Chic McGregor says:

    That is true Jimsie.  Where the paradigm shift took place which completed the conversion to red tories is not an easy thing to pin down.

  67. Cath says:

    “Labour not happy kids being fed and wont support the idea…doh!”
    Why won’t the Scottish government bring this in? Will Salmond feed our kids? Why won’t he?
    Oh, he will? Right well it’s a terrible idea! 

  68. Jingly Jangly says:

    O/T Reading an old Scots Magazine  Aug2000, article by Rennie McOwan called Pride of Place he states, and I quote “When the first anniversary of the devolved Scottish Parliament came round I watched a BBC Scotland TV News Bulletin item about it and was astonished to see one of our MSP’s compared with Captain Mainwaring of “Dads Army” fame, with film clips to demonstrate the alleged point
    The whole tone of the item was one of scoffing, I thought that it was a disgraceful editorial decision to portray the anniversary that way and it shows that the Scottish cringe is still alive and flourishing”
    Nothing much has changed then!!!

  69. Dal Riata says:

    Heard Allan Grogan speak at the first Independence March and Gathering in Edinburgh. I was well impressed, as were the others in attendance that day.
    It’s great to have LfI on board the Yes Scotland train. That train is getting fuller as we reach the ‘Scotland says ‘Yes’ to independence’ station.
    One question for anyone out there. Would a party that had ‘Labour’ or ‘Conservative’ in its name in an independent Scotland – even when preceded with ‘Scottish’ – not still have an association, in some people’s minds at least, of being merely continuances of the previous Westminster-based parties and their idealogues? Personally, I don’t know. But I believe that may be the case, at least for a number of years, until differences become apparent (when, and if, there are any) . The association with the UK’s Labour and Conservative parties’ names are so strongly identifiable with their policies, Prime Ministers and MPs from the life of the Westminster government – from its initiation, to this day – that the vison of the words ‘Labour’ or ‘Conservative’ is a toxic one to some, if not many people. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  70. alexicon says:

    “What’s the actual difference between SNP policy, and “Old Labour” policy”
    One wants Independence for Scotland and the other wants to remain under the thumb of Westminster so they can line their own pockets.

  71. Alan MacD says:

    @WelshIrvine And who the hell are you to tell me what my party should be? Or to speak for the dead? Who the hell do you think you are?

    7:37pm – 7 Jan 14
    Guess who said this?

  72. Rod Mac says:

    Those advocating an LFi candidate standing at a by-election do not seem to realise such an action would give SLAb the excuse to expel all those associated with the candidature.

    The MSM and SLAB would also use this as a pretext to “prove” LFi is nothing more than an SNP front.

    better they remain as a group still within the Labour movement.

  73. chalks says:

    HandandShrimp – Yep, it would also position these people at the forefront of their respective ‘new’ parties and more importantly probably secure them jobs in a New Scotland…..
    Dal Riata
    Sadly, in an Indy Scotland there will be the formation of a party that seeks a Union with England/Wales/Northern Ireland.  I am almost convinced considering the 30% hardcore unionists that exist.

  74. cath says:

    I doubt that Chalk. At least I doubt it  would last longer than a couple of terms before becoming a fringe lunatic group. You only have to look at the kind of paranoid delusional nonsense on the Better Together pages. The hardcore unionist think there will be no elections and Salmond will appoint himself dictator in perpetuity.  Some even seem to believe he’s immortal! They are convinced Scotland will become third world,  people from England will be sent home, and genuinely appear to think without England sending us money we’ll have nothing.  It’s tragic.
    One the reality of independence sets in,  most will wonder why they were so against.

  75. Chic McGregor says:

    I vote SNP, but I would not like to see a Scotland where they, or any other party, governed in perpetuity.
    I often have used an analogy to illustrate.  It goes like this.
    Think of the country as a rowing boat with two rowers and a cox.  The rowers represent two potential parties of government with different policies on welfare provision, wealth distribution etc.  The cox represents the electorate.  The cox knows where he wants to go and can see the way ahead, so gets to decide which rower should put his oar in the water and for how long.
    This way, the ultimate direction of the boat/country is determined by the cox/electorate.  That is how a democracy should work.
    If there is only ever one rower selected, or is selected for a long time, the boat will go round in circles and make no progress.
    But the worst possible case is when both rowers are on the same side of the boat.
    Then, it doesn’t matter which one the cox/electorate select, the boat/nation is not going to progress.  It will just go around in circles regardless.  Democracy is broken.
    The UK is already in that second scenario and has been for a couple of decades.  The electorate has no real choice.
    To extend the analogy, Scotland can be seen as a second boat being towed behind the first with two rowers and a cox of its own.  But the rowers only have teaspoons instead of real oars so try as they might they can do very little to change the direction of the bigger boat.
    At some point, the cox in Scotland’s boat may decide that the occupants of the big boat have gone incorrigibly insane and that it is time to cut the tow rope and give its rowers proper oars so they can set off in the direction the cox sees fit.
    However good a governing party is when it first comes to power, it is an unfortunate characteristic of human nature that if they are there permanently or quasi permanently there will inevitably be a tendency for them to become complacent, condescending and even corrupt.
    Far better to have a system where there are genuinely two oars on different sides of the boat from which the electorate can choose, even if you do not like one of the rowers.  That way, the ultimate direction of the country is governed by those who really matter, the people, and not by the rowers who have their backs to the direction of travel and their heads down and can only see their own oar.
    Examples in the real world, where countries have real choice and where it is exercised regularly, have made the best progress.  Britain, used to be one of them.  The gestalt intelligence and vision of the electorate is demonstrably superior to the introverted navel gazing of any one ideology.  But we need rowers on both sides to enable that national vision.

  76. Helena Brown says:

    Good luck LFI. We need a principled Labour Party even in opposition, and those representing the other view certainly do not have that.
    Some how I think come a YES vote there will be a whole lot of people who will be claiming to have always been of the Nationalist persuasion, but we will know all the names of the people who were.

  77. Helena Brown says:

    I have tried to edit my post but told that I cannot, I want to make it clear that I meant that they would have been Nationalist because they supported the people of Scotland and not the SNP.

  78. Dick Gaughan says:

    communism, which is of course an extreme form of socialism
    Really? Why “of course”?
    Modern day socialism is about redistribution of wealth in a capitalist system
    What you are describing is Social Democracy – or perhaps post Clause 4 Labour’s description of Socialism.
    But this is neither the time nor place for debating these – if you are in favour of a Yes vote, we’re on the same side. Until 19th September 🙂

  79. Andy-B says:

    Excellent piece Allan.
    As you say independence will breathe new life into SLAB, and possibly the Lib/Dems as well, a change of some personnel would be required though, especially amongst Labour, after  Johan Lamonts stomach churning something for nothing speech.
    As for the Scottish Conservative Party, a name change for them goes without saying, more so after the recent Maggie Thatcher revelations, on slashing the budget north of the border by using stealth cuts.

  80. Brian Mark says:

    John McLean supported Scottish Independence not as a member of the Labour Party but as part of the platform of the Scottish Workers Republican Party. He fought a General Election campaign and Council elections on a Home Rule platform. McLean’s ideas on home rule are contained in a collection of his writings under the heading of The Rapids of Revolution published in the late 1970’s (I think) by his late daughter Nan Milton 

  81. Andy-B says:

    Exi NATO secretary general Lord Robertson, claimed yesterday a vote for independence in Scotland could lead to the violent break up of Europe. Robertson went on to add a yes vote would have profound international implications.
    Robertson who Stewart Hosie tore too pieces in a uni debate, finished with if Scotland gains independence it could trigger the re-balkanisation,of Europe, leading to strife and dissent.
    The BT’s scaremongering stories just keep getting more desperate and bizarre as the pathetic unionists such as Robertson, scramble to make headway.

  82. Andy-B says:

    Still David Cameron refuse to debate Alex Salmond, saying it for Scots to decide amongst themselves. Yet Camerons London Government have published 13 different reports trashing Scottish independence, these negative reports have been paid for by our taxes.
    So for Cameron to say he’s staying well out of the debate is of course nonsense, and indeed it was Cameron himself who signed the Edinburgh Agreement. Cameron can no longer pretend to be outside the debate.
    it seems the Tory/Lib Dem Government has completely lost the plot, with Michael Gove the Education Seceretary attacking the tv show Blackadder claiming it is unpatriotic.
    Gove is probably defending the run up to the farcical Great War celebration which is to be predominately based in Glasgow, Hmmm I wonder why? says I cynically.

  83. Gordon says:

    For the last 6 years, we have seen progressive efficient management from the Scottish Parliament, despite the senseless obstructionism of the Unionist parties led by Scottish Labour working in concert with them.
    I am assuming that the incumbent Labour lot are London place-men (and women) that have been picked for their malleability and obedience rather than their abilities. I would hope that those who stand for Scottish Independent Labour in the new parliament will be people of genuine ability who will work in the best interests of our country. We have seen in the last parliament what a drag to progress a purely destructive opposition can be.
    In this new parliament we will see a legislature fit for the 21st century, not the so-called Mother of Parliaments, based on class, privilege and unelected peers fit for the 19th century. The regions of rUK may come to their senses and take the same course as us eventually, leaving London and the SE to reform itself.

  84. gordoz says:

    “They say the Conservative party no longer exists in Scotland, but it does. It’s just called Labour now”    Irvine Welsh – Twitter

  85. Sue says:

    @Dal Riata
    For me, it would depend on WHO were the leaders of the party, rather than WHAT the party was called.
    I’ve never voted labour and never would vote for a party run by any of the current labour shower in Westminster or Holyrood. However a party run by the likes of Allan Grogan (was well impressed by his speech at Calton Hill) may get my vote, it would depend on the policies. Same goes for Tories, a new party for wealth creation may get my vote, depending on how they planned to share/spend it once generated. I would need to be convinced they were honest about their policies before they would get my vote a second time, mind you.
    I suppose what I’m saying is, it comes down to trust in a party. In my experience, the SNP are the only party in recent years who try to do most of what they say they will do. I am glad that at least they do it deliberately.

  86. Ken500 says:

    When the going get’s tough, the tough get going.

    Salute Proud Socialists.

  87. annie says:

    Just watching Reporting Scotland, can’t help thinking Johann Lamont’s “you’ve got your priorities wrong” regarding free school meals for primary 1 – 3 is bound to mean a few more disgusted Labour voters jumping ship.  She perhaps didn’t think it would be broadcast on the 6.30 news, cue angry phone call from Labour spin doctor to the BBC.

  88. Ken500 says:

    A party that publishes a Manifesto and honours the pledges. Not a bunch of incompetent, greedy, lying, arrogant, ignorants. Say one thing and do the complete opposite, wasting £Billions of public money attacking the most vulnerable.

  89. Ken500 says:

    The Labour Party were reported by their MSM ie Labour Party members, to want free school meals for P1 to p3, the same as Engleterre. As soon as the Holyrood gov announce it – it’s the wrong thing to do. Lamentable knows about poverty having spent twenty years teaching poor kids. Why? Fifty years of Labour. Illegal Wars, Trident bank fraud, tax evasion for the rich, torture, rendition. Hidden McCrone report. Secret underfunding of Scotland.

    The poor kids being taught by Lamentable.

  90. Heather McLean says:

    Congratulations on a great article Allan! Looking forward to hearing you speak at the next Yes Dundee Drop In Cafe at the Kirkton Community Centre in Dundee on 18th January!

  91. Clootie says:

    I was thinking about Chic McGregors row boat (posted 4:48) and a picture of Westminster came to me. The same model but one rower is facing aft and the other forward. No matter what the cox does the boat just goes round in circles !

  92. Brotyboy says:

    @Heather McLean
    Where are these events publicised?

  93. Alisdair says:

    Chic Macgregor although as an ex-navy serviceman I like your anology, would it not be better to have more than four arms propelling the boat, surely it would be better for as many arms as possible rowing for the good of Scotland and her people? 
    Each putting their backs in for the betterment of all.  Although I agree there should be a cox (humans are worse than cats when it comes to hearding) should all the effort not be directed to all? 
    As as been said, and I paraphrase, ‘no one has all the answers’.

  94. Bill C says:

    Allan I shook your hand at the Edinburgh Rally and thanked you for LFI. I hope you will forgive me if I go slightly o/t. You see I am a retired teacher and I am totally disgusted by Labour’s actions in the Scottish Parliament today. Two points: 1. I taught in a primary school in Castlemilk in the Seventies/Eighties and used to collect “the dinner money” on a Monday morning. I dreaded the job, because every week I saw the effect that not paying dinner money had on the poorest children. Nothing was said, I made sure of that, but you could see the self confidence and self esteems ebb out of those children like snow off a dyke. 2. I was in that school when “Thatcher the milk snatcher” decided to deprive the children of milk. It was a sickening time. That is why tonight, I am am so disgusted with Labour. I never thought I would live to see the day when the Labour Party would decide to deny Scotland’s children the tremendous benefit (physically, mentally and socially) of free school meals. Sorry again to go o/t but I am really angry about this. Thank you for a fine article and for LFI once again.
    Bill Cruickshank

  95. Heather McLean says:

    Brotyboy -I posted the Yes Drop In Café on the Yes Dundee Facebook page. I think it’s on the Yes Dundee website but can’t find the link and Allan Grogan has posted it on the labour for Indy website
    Get in touch with me and I’ll make sure you’re added to our mailing list. I’ve got events lined up for February March and April and also the Yes Dundee /SNP Fundraiser Burns Supper on24th January. Tickets from SNP office Old Glamis Road

  96. Richard says:

    O/T almost
    i know that labour appears to have supported rendition but I am puzzled why a labour cooncillor frae edinburgh felt able to support torture

  97. Thepnr says:

    @Bill C
    Bill I am totally disgusted by Labours actions, not just today but for a good few years. That is why in 2012 I felt I could not vote despite never missing one as there was no party “worth” voting for.
    In your time in the 70’s collecting the dinner money, well you might have dreaded it and understandably so. However as you point out it was much worse for those collecting the tickets. Like me! I could never believe that this was necessary surely someone in authority in the education department could see that this was wrong.
    By being singled out like this in their time made many children’s life a misery including mine. Shame Shame Shame!
    Lets eradicate this, children are not poor, they have no influence on their surroundings.  They are just children and should be treated equally with respect.

    So free meals for all? So what we each pay a little more tax. Nobody goes hungry though and nobody is humiliated. 
    It’s called society, that which Thatcher so easily dismissed. We are better than that?

  98. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I thought Labour and Lamont had got to the bottom of the barrel already but today’s performance in Parliament proves I was wrong. I am appalled.
    There is obvioulsy no depths to which they will not sink in betraying Scotland.
    They are beaten.This is the involutary twitching of a corpse

  99. Bill C says:

    @Thepnr – I was privileged to teach some of the poorest children in Glasgow for over 30 years. During that time not once can I recollect Labour politicians doing anything to alleviate the poverty under their noses. Not everyone might agree with the SNP on matters out with the constitution, but give them their due, at least they are trying to do something improve the lot of their fellow Scots. That is something Labour can never claim.

  100. Papadocx says:

    Labour voted today to take the food out of school kids mouths. What kind of person would vote to do that? What kind of person would vote for a political party that advocated stealing the food from a kids mouth? SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN. BETTER ON OUR OWN!

  101. Davy says:

    How could a labour supporter, agree with their party leader in condeming free school meals for all primary school kids in classes 1 to 3, I can’t wait to hear how they can defend this policy direction.
    To me this would only be the starting point of trying to achieve free school meals for all primary school kids, but then again I would hope my party would put the benefit of our kids, before the needs and negative posturing of the labour party.
    And someone needs to remind Ruth Davidson that the money being used to fund this policy is our own, not Westminsters, dunderheed.  

  102. Thepnr says:

    I am giving them their due. That’s why I’m voting Yes even as a lifelong Labour supporter. Right now, well I haven’t stepped over completely enough to vote SNP.
    However, when I found out about LFI and after checking them out, I immediately joined them.

    Back to the roots of the REAL Labour party will do for me.

    Thank you Allan Grogan for having the balls to put your neck on the line and stand up for WE believe in.

  103. Chic McGregor says:

    “What kind of person would vote for a political party that advocated stealing the food from a kids mouth?”
    Or for a milk snatcher.

  104. creigs1707repeal says:

    Brilliant article Allan. Nice to hear there are still some real Labour voices around. I am certain the LFI gatherings will be a huge success, allowing ordinary Labour voters to see how their progressive, socialist values have much more chance of being realised in indy Scotland and can become a beacon to the rest of the UK and world. Keep up the great work.  ‘Nuff said.

  105. Taranaich says:

    @Robert Kerr:  Crystallography even, WoS is a source of much knowledge

    Indeed it is. 🙂

    @kininvie: I agree with you that a revived Scottish Labour party should avoid the rhetoric of class warfare. Creating artificial divisions within a small country is a luxury we won’t be able to afford. Equally, Allan, I’m not certain that instant repeal of all the trade union legislation is the way to go. What we are going to need is an entirely different relationship between unions and employers, and I’d love to see LfI coming up with fresh thinking on that front. Mind you, we’ll need to avoid the German inclination to keep their union reps sweet by flying them off to expensive weekends with fine food (and ‘other’ kinds of entertainment). Something that works for Scotland, and not just for sectional interests, and which finds a way in which unions really represent their members and not just their own ambitions for power…. Not easy – but if you can make a start on the ideas, it would be very appealing to many Labour voters I reckon.

    Interesting ideas. Don’t see it happening under current Labour, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

    @Jimsie: ” If socialism is about all the people owning the means of production and controlling the economy”. What you are describing here is communism, which is of course an extreme form of socialism which has been tried and found wanting. Modern day socialism is about redistribution of wealth in a capitalist system which is controlled by regulation. In this respect the SNP are a more socialist party than Labour.

    I wasn’t aware of that. Most of the dictionary definitions here state some variation of people owning/controlling means of production and economy:

    I wouldn’t know if communism itself was found wanting, considering most of the governments which touted itself as communist were really as authoritarian & self-serving as the capitalist pigs they claimed to despise (just look at USSR & China) but again, I’m not really that knowledgeable about the nuances of socialism.

    I think most of my problems with class is because the obsession with treating society as a pyramid offers the perspective that those higher up in the pyramid are more “important,” “worthy,” or “successful” than those in the bottom, when the argument could be made that they would not be at the top of the pyramid in the first place without the foundation of the lower floors. Really, I’d rather think that everyone in society is a specialist of equal value when it comes to contribution: a manager is no more important than a factory worker simply because there are more factory workers than managers, it’s simply the system which facilitates production. But then, something that’s existed since the dawn of civilisation is hard to shake.

    A lot of the time, society seems like a hierarchy with top-middle-bottom, when I’d rather it was looked on as a team, where every member is of equal value, even those who give orders compared to those who take them. Is Hannibal more “important” than BA Barracus, Face and Murdock simply because he’s the organizer? Is the paladin in a game of Dungeons & Dragons more valuable than the thief, druid, wizard, cleric, fighter and bard? But that’s just blue-sky thinking on my part.

    @Dal Riata:  Sadly, in an Indy Scotland there will be the formation of a party that seeks a Union with England/Wales/Northern Ireland.  I am almost convinced considering the 30% hardcore unionists that exist.

    Ah, but then the “burden of proof” that they so often tout (“we’re not offering change, the pro-indy people have to prove their case”) falls to them – and then, they’d have to prove joining the rUK would be better than independence. They certainly couldn’t then demand the “No Union” folk present their vision for an independent Scotland, because that’s what they’ve been doing for years. Somehow I think they’d have a wee bit of a tougher time coming up with positive cases than Yes have…

  106. Stuart Clark says:

    The one thing Scotland does not need after independence is achieved is a return to the ding-dong politics of old where the power struggle lurches from left to right like a broken supermarket trolley.  

    For goodness sake guys, accept that your arch enemy the SNP has done a good thing and look forward to a future where the human self interests of us all can be managed in a cooperative civilised and grown up way!

  107. Helena Brown says:

    Stuart Clark, I have to agree with you, other countries manage it. We tried removing the Westminster style of politics from Holyrood, look what has happened. Labour bang desks and howl like monkeys. I am not saying any of the rest are better but what we need is a Presiding Officer who sends them out of the house when this starts.
    For heavens sake lets do better. Surely the people of Scotland deserve it after 307 years of rubbish.

  108. chalks says:

    Taranaich and Cath
    It would as Cath says, probably only be for a couple of elections, but there would be a party advocating joining the union again….especially if their vote is 30% or so in the referendum

    I remember the multitude of parties that were campaigning in the first devolved gov election…some right wallopers….lol

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