22 July 2015

Will Mhairi Black join Labour if Jeremy Corbyn wins?


I had to read Mhairi Black’s maiden speech closely, and listen to it several times, to write my critique of it and Scottish socialism last week. Incidentally, her speech hasn’t been watched ten million times. It just hasn’t. Ask any Nationalist who tells you it has been to explain their methodology and how Facebook video works. It hasn’t been watched 10 million times.

But there is one passage that really stands out, in light of Jeremy Corbyn taking the lead in the Labour leadership race.

Black quoted Tony Benn, one of her heroes, approvingly. He is Ed Miliband’s hero too, but never mind.

She also reached out the hand of friendship to Labour and said the following:

“I like many SNP members come from a traditional socialist Labour family and I have never been quiet in my assertion that I feel that it is the Labour party that left me, not the other way about. The SNP did not triumph on a wave of nationalism; in fact nationalism has nothing to do with what’s happened in Scotland. We triumphed on a wave of hope, hope that there was something different, something better to the Thatcherite neo-liberal policies that are produced from this chamber. Hope that representatives genuinely could give a voice to those who don’t have one.

I don’t mention this in order to pour salt into wounds which I am sure are very open and very sore for many members on these benches, both politically and personally. Colleagues, possibly friends, have lost their seats. I mention it in order to hold a mirror to the face of a party that seems to have forgotten the very people they’re supposed to represent, the very things they’re supposed to fight for.”

That seems pretty clear. She is a socialist (offering hope, try telling that to the Venezuelans, the Cubans, the Chinese in the 1960s and 1970s) and she is not a nationalist, or at least her nationalism is secondary (by a long way) to her socialism. She wants Labour to change.

The only logical conclusion then is that if Corbyn does win, Black, along with other left-wing SNP MPs, will defect to join a Bennite Labour party led by Jeremy?

After all, nationalism had nothing to do with what happened in Scotland, according to Black. That being the case, how could she stay in the SNP which wants to cut corporation tax for big business, alongside capitalist pro-market SNP MPs such as Ian Blackford (ex-Deutsche Bank) when comrade Corbyn is in charge?

If she stayed in the SNP in such circumstances she would be putting party before principles. Surely she would never do that, not after everything she said last week about socialism and Tony Benn? Tricky business practical politics, isn’t it?

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX