During the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign the SNP’s Yes Scotland ran a series of informal events in church halls across the country. In these meetings problems in the UK were emphasised and a Yes vote was argued to be the solution. Jeremey Corbyn’s rally for the Labour leadership in Edinburgh used exactly the same approach, but Mr Corbyn was genuine and was willing to outline his proposals for solving the problems that Scotland and the UK faces.
As somebody to the left of the party, there were many ideas to get excited about. There are proposals to bring the national grid and the railways back into public ownership. Furthermore, Mr Corbyn also has plans for everything from ending student debt to expanding social housing and investing in high-tech manufacturing.
Jeremy Corbyn and his smorgasbord of proposals is offering people across the country hope. Hope that the Scotland and the UK can become a fairer and more sustainable country which plays a positive role in the world. This is his strength.
Whilst this vision is admirable, it is perhaps heavy on idealism and light on realism. The proposals are comforting but, in many ways, are a parody of what one might expect from a socialist. The problem being that what was on offer from Mr Corbyn sounded like a shopping list, rather than a coherent agenda for seeking to change the UK. This is his weakness.
Indeed, at the event there was very little opportunity to ask any questions and those in the Labour party who are questioning Mr Corbyn’s vision were labelled as “the enemy”. This fails to reflect that fact that everyone in the Labour Party is fighting for social justice, and the true enemy in that fight are the Tories and the SNP. We can’t deliver social justice with infighting
Furthermore, proposals on rent controls and the NHS showed that he’d made little effort to tailor his talk to the devolved set-up in Scotland. He also showed very little understanding of the situation Scottish Labour finds itself in.
Despite these concerns, Mr Corbyn has managed to capture people’s appetite for change. The hope that he offers is powerful.