Labour, the UK’s largest political party, has elected a left wing leader by a landslide. This is not a revolution, but a giant evolutionary step forward. Even those on the right recognise that Jeremy Corbyn has offered many hope where there was none, and that policies such as reducing student debt and nationalising the railways are hugely popular right across the UK’s political spectrum.
Kezia Dugdale was one of the first people to meet Jeremy Corbyn after his election, and he has made it clear that he will support her in her efforts to rebuild Scottish Labour. When he visits Scotland in the coming days I fully expect that he will call on the SNP to work with him in Westminster to oppose the Tories by winning arguments, not playing games in parliament. However, I very much doubt he’ll have much time for the SNP’s woeful Holyrood record on education, policing and the NHS.
As positive as many people are about the impact on inequality Jeremy Corbyn can have has a conviction politician, the very last thing the SNP hierarchy want is for the news agenda to be dominated by jubilant left wingers supporting his agenda. This is because Jeremy Corbyn’s vision is not the regressive centrist platform cloaked in a tartan left wing veneer so loved by the SNP, but something which is genuinely focussed on delivering social justice in every corner of the UK. This is a real threat to the SNP’s dominance.
To distract the SNP’s core support from Jeremy Corbyn’s positive agenda, Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to play her referendum card early. By talking up the chances of a second referendum in the near future, she simultaneously reassures hard-core nationalists whilst keeping on side those on the left who reluctantly see the SNP as the necessary means to deliver a socialist Scotland once independence is gained.
Whilst the SNP may have been successful in moving the agenda back on to the ground they are comfortable with, I am hopeful that the rebalancing of politics across the UK will expose their record in government to forensic scrutiny by the Scottish public.