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.Views: 1980
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