Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today warned that Scottish Labour have lost the plot. Scotland’s place in our country should never be a subsidiary part of a deal to get the keys to Downing Street dropped in your back pocket.
If it were only one errant contribution at the Edinburgh Festival after a glass or two of red wine, I would dismiss it as a misunderstanding. But John McDonnell’s sympathetic noises about another independence referendum are part of a theme that has been developing over some time.
Ed Milliband seemed unable to dismiss claims about a Labour-SNP coalition or alliance in the 2015 election. I suspect that was more incompetence than intent.
Two years ago Jeremy Corbyn said he would be “absolutely fine” with another independence referendum.
And earlier this year, in her parting words as an MSP, Kezia Dugdale believed that Jeremy Corbyn would sanction another vote on Scotland’s constitutional future as the price for securing power.
For the United Kingdom it is bad news that any potential governing party would so lightly concede to another divisive vote especially as we have so much to contend with already with Brexit. The lessons of Brexit are the lessons for independence – breaking up is hard to do. Scotland’s place in our country should never be a subsidiary part of a deal to get the keys to Downing Street dropped in your back pocket.
But this is also an admission of defeat for the Labour Party. Once dominant north of the border, they diminish by the day.
Labour is scheming. They will not stop Brexit in all circumstances. Yet even the Government’s own studies show that every kind of Brexit will put jobs at risk.
That is why so many Labour supporters are now backing the Liberal Democrats and why so many of its members have joined us too. We want to stop Brexit – no qualifications.
The scheming on Brexit mirrors the scheming on independence. Lacking clarity as they are only interested in their own advance before the advance of the country.
We want to stop independence – no qualifications. I know many lifelong Labour supporters are emotionally attached to the party. They hope things may change. I understand that. But there comes a point when enough must be enough.
Let down on Europe, let down on dealing with anti-Semitism, let down on Scotland. How many more times will they be let down? They, like me, came into politics to make a difference.
Liberal Democrats have made mistakes, but boy have we learnt from them. Labour seem incapable, in fact unwilling, to learn from theirs.
Time is short. Boris Johnson is rallying his supporters. Look at the effect on his election at PM on apparent support for independence – the Conservatives can’t be trusted to win the case for the UK. We need to unite to rally ours before it is too late. You will find a home with the Liberal Democrats but more importantly a force for good, for change, for internationalism, for progress. Join us.