Lessons and advice

Lesley Riddoch would have a point about lessons the SNP might learn from “Corbyn’s surge” if the only thing that mattered was electoral success. If actually delivering on the vote-winning promises is any kind of priority then the lessons aren’t so straightforward.

My healthy scepticism may be tending towards harsh cynicism, but I am not dazzled by Jeremy Corbyn’s “bold and radical” baubles. The pedestal he’s been raised upon is, from where I stand, gie shoogly. Those who are impressed by Corbyn’s newly acquired gleam of righteousness should consider how readily the halo can become a noose when the media turn against him – as they inevitably will.

Let’s not forget that most of what Corbyn is now talking about has been SNP policy for some time. And big chinks of it have already been delivered. What does Corbyn have to teach the SNP about free education? Who has lessons for whom when it comes to the NHS? Is it not the SNP which has kept alive the flame of universality against blustering storms that were as likely to emanate from British Labour as from the Tories?

The SNP may not have the gaudy novelty value of a Corbyn, but they do have a record of quiet competence. I know which I prefer.

I could be wrong. Maybe Corbyn would, in the still unlikely event of becoming PM, match the SNP’s record in delivering things that may have been considered “bold and radical” before a decade of SNP administrations made them commonplace in Scotland – free prescriptions, concessionary travel, personal care, and the rest. He might even surpass the SNP’s achievements. In theory, at least, he won’t have a UK Government trying to thwart his efforts at every turn, because he will be at the head of that government. But we have to wonder whether the unaccountable forces of the markets and the media will permit him to be as “bold and radical” in practice as he has been in campaigning. Especially when one takes into account the fact that among the forces trying to confound him will be as much as half of his own party.

I’m sure the SNP is open to learning lessons from whatever quarter. And I don’t doubt that the party hierarchy is ever grateful to the likes of Ms Riddoch for their unstinting advice. But were’ talking here about a party whose success over an uncommon number of years might justifiably be described as phenomenal. So I’m no more persuaded that this counsel is required than I am that Jeremy Corbyn is an example worth emulating.

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8 thoughts on “Lessons and advice

  1. Hugh Wallace

    But you don’t understand, Peter. We Scots can only learn lessons from our betters in London because, ultimately, we are only second class Brits, even to those – like Ms Riddoch – who genuinely espouse independence. The idea that Scotland and its government could teach them doon sooth a lesson or three is literally too much for many to even contemplate. And the idea that a Scottish government should be seeking to emulate the good practices of, say, the governments in New Zealand, Denmark, Canada or Iceland rather than looking for ‘radical’ and ‘progressive’ policies from an as-yet unelected UK party which has, in the recent past, helped create the UK we know and love, is just barmy… Please get back in the box with the rest of us second class citizens of this Great Nation of ours.

  2. manandboy

    Yep, I agree, Peter.

    Corbyn’s policies – been there, done that, in Scotland.
    The day we need to find policy role models among Westminster’s Unionists, it’ll be a sad day.
    It may also be worth noting that ‘radical’ is actually not that popular in Scotland, though the ‘radical left’ are addicted to it; most Scots I think prefer ‘ ca’ canny ‘, while those of retirement age prefer ‘ tried and tested ‘.
    The Union of course has been tried and found to be very testing indeed, to the point of disastrous for Scotland and a bounty for England.
    That’s where Corbyn collapses as an example to follow, even though the media reports him to be more amenable than May to another referendum.

  3. Abulhaq

    For decades Scotland was the make weight for Labour. England might drift in out of love for ‘socialism’ but Scotland, Corbynite before Corbyn, could be relied upon to stump up, no questions asked. Not any longer, I trust. The vote for us then we’ll ignore you until the next time syndrome has been ‘Scottish’ Labour’s wee conceit. The red pied piper was always on hand to lead the hopeful to the land of empty promises to the repeated tune of ”it wisnae us’ when asked, respectfully, to give an account.
    This election is about unionism. About a 300 year loveless marriage, the damage wrought to our country and our people during it and the well reasoned demand for divorce.
    We need to find our own way. We need to promote our own style of politics. We need a modernity the ‘feudal’ system of BritState could never hope to offer. Whatever the ‘cost’ we need to free ourselves from this pathetic bondage.

  4. James Coll

    For what it’s worth, to anyone, I agree with you Peter. Corbyn’s cut and paste of SNP tried and tested policies added to a few aspirations, public ownership of railways, might impress those south of Hadrian’s Wall for whom SNP polices would be a novelty. How many Corbynites actually know about our existing SNP policies? Few, I suspect. We are ignored even by those who steal our policies. And why not? They’ve nicked everything else. Who is to benefit from the big oil find? Us, or bankers in the Cayman Islands?

  5. grizebard

    I’m more inclined at the moment to think the main lesson the SNP need to learn is how to handle an election campaign that is thoroughly orchestrated against them by the BBC.

    1. Ayrshirelass

      I also think that in Scotland even in what was a UK election all the unionist parties ganged up against the SNP.
      In England the lib dems and other parties at least fought the Tories

  6. Ayrshirelass

    I rather think that Corbyn learned from the SNP rather than the other way around both in terms of policies and getting the vote out.
    I think independence supporting Corbyn voters should realise is that sooner or later ( sooner in my view) there will be a swing back to the right in the country. That is the nature of the two party system at Westminster which is not going to change.

    Do we really want our children and grandchildren to have to gp through this fight all over again twenty years down the line when more damage has been done or do we want an independent Scotland where they can flourish.
    Remember it was the UK labour party who blocked more powers to Scotland and I dont think Corbyn had a problem with that.
    We need to keep focused and realise that voting for the SNP is the only way to sexure our future.

  7. Geach

    Apart from the fact that concessionary travel and free personal care were introduced by the Labour/LibDem governments?

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