Where Next Columbus

Where next Columbus (Crass Records)

Anothers hope, anothers game
Anothers loss, anothers gain
Anothers lies, anothers truth
Anothers doubt, anothers proof
Anothers left, anothers right
Anothers peace, anothers fight
Anothers name, anothers aim
Anothers fall, anothers fame
Anothers pride, anothers shame
Anothers love, anothers pain

The Scottish people have voted for, in reality, two centre right parties in overwhelming numbers.

And you have to congratulate the SNP and the Tory’s, they outmanoeuvred  everyone. The Scottish electorate have spoken and have voted for two parties that have very similar manifestos on tax, education and Local Government. We need to accept this fact and get on with it.

To the vast majority of the electorate, the whole election was based on Independence vs the Yoon’s. Labour tried to inject a discussion on tax, spending and anti-austerity, and the Labour haters just dismissed this as empty promises. The Tories put themselves forward as the saviours of the Union.

That is where the battle lines are now clearly drawn here in Scotland.

The SNP with their 59 constituency seats is yet another landslide, not unexpected of course, but still a concrete vote of confidence in their stewardship of Holyrood, by the majority of the voters. Whether you like it or not. More worrying was that the Tories increased their constituency seats and vote share, whilst Labours collapsed. The Libdems vote was slightly down, but they still increased their seats by 2, go figure.

In the regional vote things remain relatively the same, with the SNP trouncing everyone, the Tory vote increases, Labour collapses and the Libdems remain static.

   
Regional 2011 Regional 2016
Votes  %   Votes       %
SNP 876,421 44.04% 953,587 41.70% -2.34%
Labour 523,559 26.31% 435,919 19.10% -7.21%
Conservative 245,967 12.35% 524,222 22.90% 10.55%
Liberal Democrats 103,472 5.20% 119,284 5.20% 0.00%
Scottish Green 87,060 4.37% 150,426 6.60% 2.23%
UKIP 18,138 0.91% 46,426 2.00% 1.09%
SSP/Rise 8,272 0.42% 10,911 0.50% 0.08%
Respect/Solidarity 9,809 0.49% 14,333 0.60% 0.11%
I have grouped Respect and Solidarity results from 2011, as Solidarity did not stand against Respect.

Although the SNP percentage is down, due to SNP voters, voting for other parties, they are still streets ahead of any other party. It did indeed come down to a race to see who would be second place.

Both Rise and Solidarity campaigned on what they would call a Socialist, working class based Independence and in reality split their vote and split their message. They did increase their share slightly, but even combined they did not attain enough votes to get even Cat Boyd or Tommy Sheridan elected. They will blame the 2 votes SNP campaign for this, but I would hope they are now re-evaluating and taking stock of the realities.

So where next Columbus? The reality is, until the constitutional question is sorted and put to bed once and for all, there will be no change. Whether we like it or not the SNP have stolen the mantle as the party of the working class. No amount of hand wringing, debating or recrimination can alter that fact.

This election more than any other, was about Nation and Nationalism than it was about class politics. We on the left, whether Indy or Yoon, cannot continue to ignore or deny this fact. Class politics or ideology did not have a look in.

There is no point in pontificating about a perceived working class ideology of the SNP and that the electorate are voting SNP, because they are really class conscious but misguided.

The fact has to be acknowledged Scotland is now divided between Indy voters and Yoons. There is no class consciousness in this, there is no class ideology, just what Nation will win out in the end.

To late Labour now go back to their roots of talking about real home rule and a Federal UK. This would have been a much better counter in the indy ref, than joining Better Together, the straw that broke Labours back. It is not hindsight I am using here, I always said that Labour joining Better Together was a disaster.

The old arguments about left and right have vanished from Scotland, it is now YES or Yoon. This is not going to disappear, only fester and become even more divisive. We need to see through this rose tinted vision that the majority of the SNP voters are all really on the left and are voting on a class basis. They are not, they are voting for a perceived national magic kingdom, that independence will spew forth.

So what do we on the left do now? To criticise the SNP in any way will now be tagged as Yoon Tory rhetoric from the No left and as misguided interference from the sore losers of the Yes left.

The SNP need to be tackled on their policy decisions and on their manifesto. Not by the failed SNP bad and red Tory rhetoric, but by a clear and concise analysis and counter policy, that is thought out, valid and based on class politics.

They have a clear mandate to implement their manifesto. A manifesto that has low taxes, education and local government reforms that the Tories will fall over themselves to agree with. They will be able to implement those with a clear majority. Where policies differ from the Tories and are in anyway seen as “progressive” the Greens will support.

We on the left are, as ever, split on the main issue and as always are on the outside looking in. But we need to do what we have always done. Work on the streets, in our communities and workplaces. The Socialist message is missing and has been replaced by a petty non-existent Social Democratic nationalist message from the SNP, that the majority have voted for.

As ever cuts will continue, privatisation, people will be sanctioned, the foodbanks will be full, Zero hour contracts will increase, corporations will receive tax payers money, tax dodgers will still dodge and the poorest will suffer most.

We need to up our game, we need to make our message clearer and easier to understand. We need to convince people by our actions and our well thought out counters to the SNP Government, through a clear and concise class analysis. We are the few and they are the many, in this instance.

Educate, Agitate, Organise

It will be very interesting to see what Labour now does and how they will tackle this dilemma. I will of course produce a diatribe on this once it is clear.

And on the other side, with the SNP promising to start a summer campaign for Indy 2, will the YES family once again become a united front. Where criticising the SNP is not allowed and tacit approval is given to them regardless of their policy decisions, so as to maximise the indy vote? A policy that in itself has no class perspective, but is purely opportunistic, a fact I hope the YES left will accept if this does indeed happen.

See you on the streets some time.

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