Labour’s shaky grasp of history

A recent article by former Labour MP, Maria Fyfe shows how desperate the No campaign has become as the polls seem to be turning in favour of Yes. Writing in the Sunday Mail, Maria Fyfe makes great play of the past achievements of Labour governments at Westminster in passing reforms which have benefitted women.  None of this is to be denied. It is however her interpretation of this which is misleading at best, and bordering on lying at the worst.

First of all let us note that once again the No campaign is reduced to extolling the past. When it comes to the future though Maria Fyfe is on very shaky ground. The core of her argument for voting no is that a vote for Labour is the only way to ensure the further delivery of progressive legislation. Let us leave aside for the mement that the current Labour party does not sound very progressive. Recent history manifestly shows Maria Fyfe’s claim up for the lie that it is. In the UK general election of 2010 Scottish voters did massively vote for Labour. But what happened? We ended up with the current nasty Tory led government. The same result happened in the 80s and 90s. Scotland votes Labour, yet we ended up with Tory governments. Nothing in the least progressive about that! Instead we got the bedroom tax and the poll tax. Yet this is what Maria Fyfe and Labour wants to continue! Progressive change in Scotland will remain forever dependent on the electors in England voting the same way. What can one say? No thanks!

The other major problem with Maria Fyfe’s analysis is that it is based on the assumption that the progessive policies she refers to would not have happened in an independent Scotland. This however is the worst kind of history. As Maria Fyfe is at pains to point out thes reforms only happened under Labour governments. And in each case, Scotland also voted Labour. So, for Maria Fyfe to argue that these reforms would not have happened in an independent Scotland, she will have to argue that the Labour Party in Scotland would not have supported these reforms! For almost certainly Scotland would have elected a Labour government in the 60s, 70, 80s and the 90s.

So either Maria Fyfe is telling us that Labour in Scotland is not and never was a progressive party, or she is somewhat economical with the verity. Either way the only way to ensure a fairer and more progressive future for Scotland is to vote Yes for independence.

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