Jim Murphy, the self-proclaimed man ‘for Scotland,’ still believes that he can close the unprecendented gap between his failing Scottish Labour Party and the SNP. He has set himself one hell of a task. With just over a month until the general election the polls have shown that since September last year 30% of Labour voters have moved over to the SNP. The state of play today forecasts a National Party landslide in Scotland; threatening the majority of Labour’s forty-one Westminster seats and making it almost the fourth largest party in that parliament. A recent negligible slowing in the rise of the SNP even has some over optimistic Labourites claiming this as a victory, but still nothing to “high-five” about.
Labour has absolutely nothing to be fist pumping or indeed high-fiving about. At Westminster, the real leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has given up on the idea of any support coming from the Red Tories north of the border. Rather he has now turned all of his attention to gaining support from the SNP in his power struggle against UKIP and the Conservatives. No, Miliband will not seek a coalition with the Scottish Nationals, but he is aware that Alex Salmond will be the only MP in the house with whom he can do business if he is to have a shot of becoming Prime Minister.
Here in Scotland, as we prepare for yet another Westminster general election, it is important that all of us committed to an independent Scotland stay focussed on that objective. It is true that this is not what we wanted, and so everything from here until we reach our objective must be considered provisional. To that end this May 7 election is important. We have to consider this to be the continuation of the 2014 referendum.
Whatever happens in May it is clear that there will be a significant swing to the SNP. Support for pro-independence parties has ballooned in the country since the referendum, but this will by no means guarantee the sort of clout that independence requires. Of the 59 available Westminster seats Murphy’s defunct Labour Party holds 41, and the SNP a mere 6. This is what is about to change. Neither the Scottish Green Party nor the Scottish Socialist Party currently hold any Scottish seats at Westminster, and so – unless their support in any constituency can show otherwise – votes for them at the general election – mathematically speaking – will only have a disruptive effect on the independence movement.
Scottish Labour is limping. It has weakened itself by supporting the Tories, and has shown itself to be a party committed to the ruination of working people, the weak and vulnerable, and the continued subjugation of Scotland. Having said this, we must bear in mind that Labour still has a die-hard and fanatical support base, and with this it poses a real threat to independence in Scotland. As was the case in the September referendum, every single vote will count. It is not simply a matter of defeating Labour in our country; it is also a matter of securing enough seats at Westminster. Any division in how we vote will be reflected in the general election and work to the benefit of Labour. We have to ask ourselves: Is it independence that we want or to see any particular party get a seat?
Our thoughts, after consideration of the state of play, are that we think tactically and put all of our support behind the pro-independence candidates who stand the best chance of securing the seat. Taking the seat is infinitely more important than who takes it or what party that candidate represents. Yes, this policy will have a serious effect on the smaller pro-independence parties, but we must also remember that all of this is provisional until we secure our nation’s separation from Westminster. Right now, any little differences that we have can give Labour the reason it needs to start high-fiving again. Our magic number is 34 seats. More is better, but we need to reach 34 pro-independence seats at Westminster if we are to stay on course for independence in the next five years.
– Butterfly Rebellion