Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Who are the splitters now?

When is it time to rename the heterorthodox orthodox?

Typically when a new group forms, splintering off from a pre-set contemporary organisation it becomes 'heterorthodox'. That is, it is a new way of thinking implicitly seeking to reject the prevailing orthodoxy which went before it. 

The problem is when it comes to Scottish Labour politics, labourforindy aren't 'heterorthodox' at all. It isn't even a revisionism of a predetermined theory within the movement. LabourforIndy actually seems to be the truer orthodoxy by comparison to 'Scottish Labour'! 

A question of values

Take a look at the values of 'Scottish Labour' and Scottish Labour for Independence' and you can see what I'm getting at.

The former opposes Scots home rule, accepts (or at least fails to meaningfully oppose) neo-liberal economics & actively participates in subsidising low pay by corporations at taxpayer expense. The latter calls for implementing Keir Hardie demands for Scots home rule, house of lords abolition, socialism and redistributive justice. If we take the record of both organisations, and compare it to the foundational Labour Movement in Scotland, and the UK more widely you come to startling realisations. Most notably, LabforIndy seems to be more 'orthodox' in defending core Labour values than the 'official' Scots Labour Party! This raises an interesting question does it not? 

When do we rename a 'heterodoxy' orthodox?

For the most part, labelling labforindy 'splitters', 'revisionists' or anti-orthodox labour dissenters seems entirely ill founded. Perhaps the reverse is true? Could it be that 'Scots Labour' are the revisionists, dedicated to altering foundational labour movement values; abandoning socialism, rejecting home rule and dismantling ideological commitments to redistributive justice? 

Numbers speak for themselves

My thanks to Wings for drawing my attention to this

Ironically, with these kinds of numbers, LabourforIndy is damn close to enjoying a bigger membership than 'Scots Labour' in the whole of Scotland!


  1. It has always been a mystery to me that the ordinary Labour voter in Scotland wouldn't want to rid his branch of the party of the influence of the London party which by Peter Mandelson’s own words needs to persuade large numbers of stockbroker belt voters to go with them instead of their natural home, the Tories.

    You can’t do that without offering the policies that these middle and upper middle classes are looking for.

    And these policies aren’t what people are looking for in most of Scotland.

    I was once leafleting for the SNP in a Dundee council estate when I met a guy around mid twenties that I had been trying to help get a job. He asked what I was doing. I told him, and asked if he was going to vote for the SNP… “Nah”, he replied, “I’m working class; I be voting for the party of the workers”.

    I just stared at him. It was 2007. The party of the workers resembled the party of Keir Hardie in virtually no way whatsoever, save for it sharing the same name. Nationalisation was no longer a policy; the abolition of the Aristocratic House was not on the cards; banning the bomb was a relic of the past, and wars against the working classes of Baghdad or Kabul was the order of the day. The beginnings of the assault on the social security system and the free national health service was underway, and the still unemployed lad was about to find that Labour were going to make his life a living hell.

    My only consolation was that I’d have put my shirt on it that the lazy little bugger wouldn’t bother his lazy backside to go to the polling station and vote.

    I admire Allan Grogan and his movement.

    I despair of the likes of Johann Lamont and Iain Gray, or Margaret Curren with her "foreigner" obsession, and, although I salute his bravery last weekend, Jim Murphy and his slavish adherence to Blairism.

    Tom Harris seems to me to be indistinguishable from a Tory or a Liberal (is there a difference nowadays?).

    I can't help seeing them as traitors to the origins of their party.

    Of course things change.

    But poverty and need hasn't changed and no one in Labour appears to be standing up for the poor and the dispossessed, the sick or the old.

    So, I wish Allan and his group the greatest of success. It takes bravery and commitment to stand up for what you believe against what are, after all, very very powerful forces. Some of them downright evil (as councillors in Glasgow found when they refused to tow the line).

    May his party prosper.

    1. A very eloquent comment Tris.

      However I'd put it that labourforindy isn't a new party, its a grass roots attempt to reclaim our party.

    2. Taken on board and yes, you're right!