Tuesday 2 July 2013


By Allan Grogan

Twa Rich Embra Lawyers
Going against the grain can be a daunting, yet sometimes, uplifting experience. But in politics it is often viewed as an ink blot on your copybook – by both sides. Disagreeing with the Labour Party in its opposition to independence and founding Labour for Independence guaranteed an uncomfortable ride. Suspicion among some Nationalists as to our intentions was to be expected. But it has been closer to home where we have faced our harshest critics.

Labelled a front for the SNP by no less a figure than our Deputy Scottish Leader Anas Sarwar, we at Scottish Labour for Independence (SLFI) have taken these accusations on the chin while insisting that independence will not only be good for Scotland, but for the Labour Party too.

Funnily enough, we never attended an SNP conference, meeting or social event. So it came as some surprise to me when I read that our former Chancellor, eminent Labour politician and Chairman of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, was to appear at the Scottish Conservative conference in Stirling.

If nothing else comes from this referendum, surely this indicates a seismic shift within the Labour Party in Scotland. The sight of a senior Labour politician at a Tory conference must have Keir Hardie, Bevan, Smith and Dewar burling in their graves.

The Labour Party's very foundations are fairness and equality, so in the interests of these values let's ask: If I were to represent SLFI by speaking at the SNP conference, how many of my party members would call for my immediate expulsion?

Other questions about Mr Darling’s curious decision need to be asked. Was our Scottish leader Johann Lamont, for example, aware of this engagement? If so did she try to forbid it?

If the answer is yes, then surely Mr Darling’s actions present a clear and present danger to the Scottish Labour Party.

The truth is that many within Labour are no longer sure where their party lies within the No camp. Was it a voice of protest from within the membership calling for a removal of Labour from Better Together that prompted the creation of United with Labour? If this is the case, then why is Mr Darling still the head of BT? More importantly, why is he given carte blanche to speak at another party's conference?
One Posh Boy from Oxford

I accept that currently SLFI is in a minority within the Labour Party in relation to the referendum. I also concede that when I speak, I do not do so for the Labour Party; I do not have that mandate. But nor does the Labour leadership, because they have acted without a members’ vote on such a crucial issue.

Yet I want to make clear that our issue is not with the Labour Party, the members, supporters and voters... we are still among you. Our battle is against the top brass taking our party to the brink of the abyss in Scotland.

In Westminster we are seeing Labour chase the tail of UKIP and the Tories. The desire to gain election-winning votes in Southern England is causing Labour to be further removed from its values and founding principles. One need only look at Ed Balls for proof of this. Despite demanding a Plan B for three years, he now declares Labour will continue the austerity package. This means further cuts, harder days and nights ahead for the poorest and most vulnerable. Some of the poorest right here in this country.

This is not why I, nor most Labour members in Scotland, joined the party.

Independence is not, of course a silver bullet. There is no magic potion to Scotland's ills. But many a learner driver will tell you that the only way to succeed is to have full control of all the levers of power.

For those within my party who say that a change of government is all that's needed, let me say this: If the imposition of the Bedroom Tax, ATOS deciding disability benefits, and anti -trade union laws, are not enough to convince you Scotland can do better, then the fact that the Labour Party in Westminster either voted for or abstained on these issues surely must.

It occurs to me that the longer Labour for Independence has been in existence the further the UK Labour Party moves to the right. But the more this happens, the more it proves our message to be true. Labour for Independence doesn’t just believe in Labour policy. We believe in what Labour truly stands for. We believe in a vision of a society based on equality, fairness and justice. We believe in a society for all. This vision is not only shared by members of our party but by former members, voters and supporters yet to come.

We are proud of Labour's trade union links, not because they fund us, but of who and what they represent. Most importantly we are proud to support Scottish independence, not as a final destination, but a starting point to a better, fairer and more socially just society.

At the Stirling Conference there were those listening to Mr Darling - and there were many more outside protesting the UK Government’s actions.

Labour for Independence was outside, with the people, where Labour belongs.



  1. Best of luck to Allan in his campaign. I've no time for New Labour but the original Labour party, well that's a different matter. He mentions Atos and the bedroom tax. I wonder if he knows that Labour didn't just vote for this but actually brought them in in the first place. Bedroom tax for private tenents in 2008 and yes Atos was Tony's government too. The coalition has just gone a step further.

    To be honest they might as well have a joint LibConLab conference since you couldn't put a fag packet between their policies. Let's stop the neo-liberal merry go round and build a fairer, more just Scotland, Vote Yes

  2. Yes PP. We will need a Labour Party in independent Scotland and the current one is hardly fit for use.

    I think a lot of them will return to Labour values, but it will be hard for some of the right wingers who have mocked the kind of socialism that has its home in Keir Hardie land.

    I'm not sure Jim Murphy or the great administrator Tom Harris will feel Labour is their home.

    Allan and his team may have a place to fill. I hope so. I admire people with the guts to stand for what they believe in, and it seems to me that Allan does. Leastwise he has more to lose than to gain by going against the party he's been a member of for so long.

    I'm pretty sure Allan knows that Labour brought in Atos and bedroom taxes.

  3. Unless (not very likely) something changes cant see
    me voting Labour ever again.Not that they give a toss
    after all its Tory voters they are after wish people like me
    would just feck off and die.

    I say to people now why do you vote Labour you might as well vote
    Tory at least Cameron does what he does because he believes in all
    that shite..

  4. Sad for you Niko...

    But if we win in 2014, you might get your Labour party back.

    If we don't... well even the Scotsman admits that the Uk is all about London. And London has twice the population of Scotland. if you add in the Home Counties and the rest of the SE... we are but a tiny spec. They aren't going to bother about the likes of us.

    Where do Labour voters go in Scotland?

    SNP? Not if they are intrinsically anti independence.

    Scottish Socialists? Well, if they would straighten up and fly right and work at changing things ... and less about getting revenge on Tommy Sheridan, maybe.

    Liberals? Pffffff. Don't make me laugh.

    Nowhere to go.

    But didn't Mrs Harperson write to you to ask you rejoin. Just shows, old Harry's got a heart.

  5. tris

    Where do Old Labour voters go in Scotland?

    we slowly fade away into history and
    become extinct...........we had our
    little time in the sun.

    Now is the time for Neo-conservative
    hegemony.Its life but not as I wish it.
    The snp wont win Independence wont happen
    The Torys will have Alex Salmonds head
    on a stick.

    And all the people will cheer

    1. Oh come on Niko. Fatty Eck may not be everyone's cup of tea, but ... they would prefer Eton Dave?

      Surely not.

  6. Just because one Labour MP goes to a Tory conference (to speak on the fringe about the better together campaign) doesn't mean a hill of beans.

    This is a pretty poor attempt at propaganda Trisie


    But I'll give you and Mungie an A* for effort.


  7. Oh Dean... Thanks buddy. That's the first A I've had since primary school!!!!

    But you know, Labour is trying to distance itself from Better Together, because it is seen as something that fundamentally the Tories are running. David Cameron. Even the BBC say that it is an organisation run by the Conservatives and Liberals...

    They have pushed Alistair forward because they know that a Tory (and now their bedfellows The Limp Dumbs) are pretty poisonous here... and they think that Alistair is our wee Darling.

    So Chic and Annabel who were supposed to be even partners are sitting quietly, saying nothing.

    In the meantime Labour Has set up something that Gordon Brown is fronting, but it isn't actually a proper organisation. It has no management; it has no web page, no Facebook, no Twitter feed... no registered office. I can't remember what they are calling it, but i always think of it as Better Together apart!!!

    Darling does seem a bit out on a limb here.

  8. Why do I have a feeling in my waters that the Labour party, especially the Slab are going to implode and the No movement with it?

    Is is in the Runes?

  9. :) Beau sourire