Why Should Scotland Care About Jeremy Corbyn?


As someone who has lived in London the majority of their life, it’s easy for me to tell you why Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are so great. I’ve had first hand experience of a Conservative constituency – it’s not pretty! The independence debate stood in stark contrast to Westminster politics, as progressive policies were seen as a vote winner. It’s not surprising that the Yes campaign gained the support of many left wing people in Scotland. It is difficult, for me to argue why Scotland in particular should care about Corbyn when I know that many people believe in the view that the Labour Party he is head of has ‘betrayed’ this country. Although this statement may hold some truth; we do need to take a look at the change in the Labour Party since this timeframe.

Labour is no longer under the leadership of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or, to look at a more recent matter, Ed Miliband who two years ago claimed he will have no coalition with the SNP on BBC’s Question Time. Labour now falls under Jeremy Corbyn, who has made a noticeable difference in helping the Party fall into the centre-left wing category it belongs to. Growing more and more popular with young people. Corbyn seems to be the right man to bring back the support Labour once had in this country. I may be biased but it seems to me there is definitely a positive attitude for Corbyn around campus. There is an obvious attempt from him to care for the younger generation and it’s not going unnoticed. Winning the leadership election by 61% and encouraging a united party, Corbyn seems to be the best leader for Labour. Considering the increase in membership to the party under his leadership to an all time high, it seems that many agree. The question to ask now then is why Scotland is not also behind him?

To answer this question we need to look at the party who have the majority here and that’s the Scottish National Party. Since 2007 the SNP have become increasingly popular. In 2015 there were 112,208 memberships and this number has no doubt grown larger over the past year, but what is it that sparked this surge in support?

Apart from the ‘betrayal’ many speak about when it comes to the Labour party we can’t deny that the vote for Scottish independence helped to sway many. It’s the SNP who rally hard for Scottish independence and with this being a heavy part of their campaign, it’s easy to see why so many stand behind them and against Labour. Yet both parties seem to have a very similar agenda. Looking at just a few surface ideals, both parties are looking to raise minimum wage and both are very much against the cutting of disability and employment allowance. As well as this we must also look at the disappointing result in the EU vote; both Sturgeon and Corbyn were strongly against the Brexit campaign and now both must deal with the result as best as they can.

But why chose Corbyn over Sturgeon? David McGinley, a second year Law student, says “I think he’s (Corbyn) is important because he’s offering an actual alternative to austerity now, while the SNP seem to just refuse to use any tax powers and act like independence is the sole solution to problems.” As mentioned previously the SNP are very much in favour of Scottish independence and whilst it would be nice to see an independent Scotland, we also need to realise that it wont be the cure of all problems currently being dealt with. In terms of austerity it’s no lie that Corbyn has repeatedly spoken about being against the cuts for the NHS and his plan to increase the taxation on the rich should he become Prime Minister.  

We also can’t deny that while the SNP are a good party and they have Scotland at the heart of their manifesto, they can’t help rid the UK of a Tory government. Jeremy Corbyn remains the leader of the party that are able to campaign and rid Downing Street of the Conservatives. We only need to look at the London mayoral elections to see that the support for the Labour party is growing and support for the Conservative party is decreasing. This goes to show that Scotland potentially have so much power in helping with taking down a Party who has, in my opinion, little care for their country.

Finally, as someone who has only recently moved to Scotland, I understand wholeheartedly that my opinion on the matter may lack some experience and understanding. However, though I am behind an independent Scotland in the future, I can’t help but ask: Is this what is best in our present situation? As it stands would Scotland be better off an independent country or is independence a dream that’s being pushed forward because currently things are bleak and there is a want for celebration and patriotism? I believe that Corbyn’s Labour is well suited for this country and that maybe we should look past the mistakes of the Labour party, in their betrayal, and look at the good its new leader has done.
[Kelly Macarthur]

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