It’s not often any thinking person finds cause to agree with the odious Jackie Baillie, but she is perfectly correct in reminding her bosses that ““Scottish party policy is very clear”. It is very clearly as arrogantly anti-democratic as Tory policy on the matter of Scotland’s right of self-determination. As dogmatically anti-democratic as the policies of all the British parties. They all state emphatically that their policy is to deny Scotland’s democratic right of self determination. Each is as anti-democratic as they others.
Where Baillie bids farewell to reality and departs for the land of dumb delusion is when she says,
… Labour’s position on Scotland’s future is a decision for Scottish Labour, which the UK party must accept.
This is just wrong. There is no ‘Scottish Labour Party’. There is only the British Labour Party. The entity calling itself the ‘Scottish Labour’ is, in fact, ‘British Labour in Scotland’ (BLiS). Not being a party, BLiS has absolutely no policy-making powers. And no party may present different policies to different constituencies. That’s the law! One party! One policy! The reality that Jackie Ballie has lost her tenuous grip on is precisely the opposite of what she asserts. British Labour’s position on Scotland’s future is a matter for British Labour. And the pretendy wee party in Scotland must accept that policy.
It gets weirder. Because, notwithstanding Ballie’s tantrums, British Labour’s policy on the matter of a new independence referendum actually accords with that of BLiS, even though there is no need for it to do so. British Labour’s 2017 election manifesto spells it out in no uncertain terms. In a section titled – with unwittingly hilarious irony and characteristic hypocrisy – ‘Extending Democracy’, we find the following.
Labour opposes a second Scottish independence referendum. It is unwanted and unnecessary, and we will campaign tirelessly to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK. Independence would lead to turbo-charged austerity for Scottish families.British Labour Manifetso 2017
Evidently, democracy isn’t to be extended as far as Scotland. That passage could have been written by Jackie Baillie herself. Or any British Nationalist ideologue from any of the British parties. So what is she making such a fuss about?
It seems she’s upset about some remarks made by one of her many superiors which, on the face of it, appear to state another British Labour policy which is perfectly clear. Former Scottish Labour Party chairman Bob Thomson points out that McDonnell’s position is “a restatement of existing, long-standing Scottish Labour Party [sic] policy”. He reminds all concerned that policy dates from the 1989 Claim of Right,
…which was signed by every Labour MP – including Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling – except Tam Dalyell and endorsed by the annual conference of the Scottish party.
Bob Thomson goes on to explain,
This position has never been rescinded. There is also a lot of hypocrisy from Labour MPs and MSPs who support a second referendum on Brexit but oppose a second referendum on independence, the democratic principles are the same. (emphasis added)
The particular and relevant “democratic principle” to which Bob Thomson refers is stated in the opening words of the 1989 Claim of Right.
We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs…Claim of Right 1989
This is as explicit an acknowledgement of Scotland’s right of self-determination as we might wish for.
Remember what I said about “One party! One policy!”? Well, it seems I was wrong. Because British Labour clearly has two policies (at least) on the matter of Scotland’s right of self-determination. John McDonnell says one thing, backed-up by British Labour’s extant endorsement of the Claim of Right. Jackie Baillie says the opposite supported by British Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto. British Labour simultaneously acknowledges and denies Scotland’s right of self-determination.
Confused? You will be! Because, while the position referred to by John MCDonnell must take precedence over that stated by Jackie Baillie – he speaking for the real party while she speaks for a bit of the pretendy one (don’t ask!) – that isn’t British Labour’s true position. Their true position is the one stated by Baillie. The anti-democratic position which denies Scotland’s right of self-determination is the reality behind the soothingly democratic facade presented by McDonnell.
As I wrote at the time,
John McDonnell is undertaking to respect the Scottish Parliament. not now but at some unspecified time in the future, because he is as certain as he needs to be that there will be no Scottish Parliament by that time.
He is undertaking to respect the democratic will of the people of Scotland, not now but at some unspecified time in the future, because he is confident the Tories have a plan to ensure that the people of Scotland are prevented from ever deciding the constitutional status of our nation or choosing the form of government that best suits our needs.
John McDonnell is attempting to deceive the people of Scotland in the name of preserving the Union. Don’t be fooled!Read the words!
You could devote time and effort to untangling this web of lies and deceit. Or you could simply accept that it is a web of lies and deceit and that this is all you need to know.
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