What would have been dubbed as an extraordinary surprise six months ago became the most predictable and unsurprising occurrence at around half past eleven yesterday morning. Jeremy Corbyn, champion of the socialist left of the UK Labour Party, thrashed his other three leadership opponents to become the new Leader of the Opposition. A man who I suspect did not even expect to be in that position and probably still pinches himself at the prospect of the job that lays ahead of him.
I was very tempted to share my immediate views on social media once I first properly absorbed the news yesterday evening, but resisted. I didn’t want to rush to immediate judgements in the heat of the moment, especially in the wake of an election of a new leader who could potentially re-define the political landscape on the left across the rest of the United Kingdom. Now that the ripples in the pond has settled, I have concluded that my overall feelings on him are entirely neutral and nothing else.
He doesn’t overwhelm me with excitement nor will he tempt a vast number of people north of the border to join in the wave of activity that has defined much of this recent UK Labour leadership contest. He might sway a small handful of Yes voters to come back to Labour, but he won’t win back the vast majority of the 1,617,989 voters who cast their ballots for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom last year. The motivation to take Scotland to independence is irreversible and shall never be changed in any way, shape or form.
Despite having never met him, Jeremy seems like a very nice gentleman. He certainly will dilute much of the obnoxiousness which tarnishes politics in general. He is a man who doesn’t go around floating his ego left, right and centre for the sake of doing so and this is a refreshing approach. And I agree with some of his opinions on areas such as Trident, the arts and tackling inequality. But the fundamental issue in the current context of things is one that we both have irreconcilable differences in some other areas. And most of all, I want Scottish independence and he doesn’t.
I certainly think that Jeremy Corbyn will be more civil when it comes to understanding why people like me support Scottish independence. I do not expect him to behave with a high degree of contempt towards pro-indepndence supporters, unlike other pro-union politicians. But Jeremy Corbyn must not stand in the way of the aspirations of more and more Scots who are coming to the conclusion that enhancing Scotland’s autonomy is the way forward to make the nation a better place for everyone. Scotland’s politics and aspirations belongs to Scotland and the rest of the UK’s politicians and aspirations belongs to the rest of the UK.
Unlike a few others, I am in no mood to be sucked into the red flag waving utopia that has arisen in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s entrance into the limelight. By all means I sympathise a lot with policies of a socially democratic nature and support the excellent initiatives that the Scottish National Party have made happen since 2007. But I am also a pragmatist. Scotland does not belong to one side of the political spectrum. Scotland belongs to everyone living within our great nation and catering for the needs of all of our communities, urban and rural, is fundamental to the nation’s ongoing success.
And most of all, I am fundamentally in favour Scotland becoming an independent country within it’s own right. In order for the Scottish nation to truly flourish, we need the autonomy to take our economy, society and politics in the direction that applies to our country’s needs, otherwise the national interest of Scotland will be unacceptably damaged and severely compromised.
And finally, to quote former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond:
“For Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”