BY EFFIE DEANS
There used to be lots of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and MSPs willing to fight for Britain. Where have they all gone?
What happened to Jim Murphy? He’s only 52. He used to stand on Irn Bru crates and did a good job arguing against the SNP. Now he was last heard of working for Tony Blair.
What happened to Alistair Darling? He’s only 66. He led the campaign in 2014. But he has now even retired from the House of Lords. He shows no appetite to take on the SNP again.
What happened to Douglas Alexander? He’s only 52. He now works at Harvard and is no longer interested in us.
What happened to Danny Alexander? He’s only 48. He works for an investment bank.
What happened to Gordon Brown? He’s only 69? He occasionally mutters something about federalism, but otherwise does nothing to fight the SNP.
The whole Left-Wing establishment in Scotland that gave us the Scottish Parliament has retired hurt. They thought that the Scottish Parliament would give them power forever. No one could ever challenge a Labour Lib Dem coalition.
Having created the condition for Scottish nationalism first by joining with the SNP in an anti-Tory coalition and second by creating a lopsided devolution settlement which was so ill thought out that within twenty years it was being used to attack Britain, these people have left the mess they created behind them for someone else to clean up.
That person is the last Left-winger standing in Scotland. That person is George Galloway.
George is 66, but he has rather more energy than pretty much everyone else who used to be a Labour MP. He has just become a father again and he can still stir up Scottish politics.
I’m a Conservative voter. I support Boris Johnson and Brexit. But just as the Left in Scotland has been ineffective in opposition so too has the Right. Ruth Davidson did very well in 2017, but in 2019 the Conservatives in Scotland lost seven seats and independence was once more firmly on the agenda. We must wait and see how Douglas Ross does, but he is hardly a household name even amongst those who follow football.
George Galloway now leads Alliance for Unity. It has a single purpose to defeat the SNP in next year’s Scottish Parliament election. It will only stand in the list seats. This means that people can still vote Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem, but we will use our second vote for Alliance for Unity. The aim is to maximise the number of Pro UK MSPs. A secondary aim is to put pressure on the established opposition politicians. You must improve your performance or lose your jobs and join Mr Murphy, Mr Alexander and the rest.
Do I agree with George Galloway about everything? No.
Some people have been coming to me with objections about things that George has said or done in the past. I’ve never met George and I’ve only followed his political career from a distance. But let’s take the objections in turn.
Some people say George supports a united Ireland. Well lots of British people of Irish descent do. It’s a perfectly legitimate political position. John Hume shared it. I disagree with it. I hope Northern Ireland remains part of the UK. But it’s not up to me. According to the terms of the Belfast Agreement that was ratified by the people of Northern Ireland in 1998, the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland is up to the people of Northern Ireland. So, it has nothing to do with me and it has nothing to do with Scottish politics. So, we can all agree to differ on this one.
Some people say that George supports the Palestinian side in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. This too is a perfectly legitimate position. Lots of British politicians hold these views. I tend to support the Israeli side of the argument, but this is an issue about which reasonable people can differ. But once more it has nothing to do with Scottish politics. Whatever happens in the Scottish Parliament election next year will have no influence whatsoever on Israel.
Some people say that George Galloway says controversial things about rape or other matters. Well this is exactly how I write. I try always to say exactly what I think and use reason to defend it. So does George. I don’t care if other people find my views controversial or if they think it is not a good look. Intelligent people like George do say controversial things. This is because they can think. Dull people always wonder what someone else will think about what they write. This is what makes them dull.
George Galloway came up with the very best argument against Scottish independence in 2014. The Left is about class solidarity rather than nationalism. He therefore stated, “My case isn’t that Scotland couldn’t be independent, but shouldn’t”. It would be a betrayal of the working class not merely in Scotland but in other parts of the UK. This immediately undercuts the SNP claim to be Left-wing.
Conservatives like me have only a limited appeal in Scotland. Many Scots will simply dismiss us as Tories. But a real socialist like George can undercut the SNP argument and expose it for what it is. Nationalism is always grounded in selfishness and always opposed to solidarity because it rejects class solidarity in favour of nationality. If we had made that argument in 2014, we would have done much better.
I am only slightly involved with Alliance for Unity. I am still learning. We have only just begun. But don’t reject the best chance we have of dismissing the SNP because you remember George saying something you disagree with or remember him fooling around as a cat. George has a fine mind and he can argue and debate. He can take on Sturgeon and beat her, because he has a better mind and a better argument than she does. He can communicate that argument. The SNP are therefore scared of him. That has become still clearer in recent days. My timeline is full of Scottish nationalists insulting George. They are not insulting any other Scottish politician.
Lend George your vote. Alliance for Unity has shaken up Scottish politics more this summer than anyone else in years. If this continues, we can overthrow the SNP next Spring.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.