Since Jeremy Corbyn is currently in Scotland using the platform the BBC have given him to tell Scots their government aren’t doing enough to mitigate UK austerity, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of how Labour really compare to the SNP, and indeed what Corbyn’s vision would mean for us.
In their general election manifesto the SNP pledged to fight for an end to the two child tax credits cap, and for Universal Credit roll-out to be halted to prevent further cuts, and also for the benefits freeze to be lifted. Conversely, Corbyn’s Labour manifesto only committed to ending the rape clause and long wait times for receipt of Universal Credit. Indeed the Resolution Foundation confirmed that Labour’s manifesto would only have reversed a quarter of the cuts from/still to come from these policies. Whereas the SNP’s manifesto pledges would have reversed/prevented 100% of these billions worth of cuts. Incidentally the SNP manifesto also argued for reinstatement of the Work Allowance, and while Labour’s mentioned it, they made no commitment to its reinstatement. Labour’s abysmal timidity in addressing real poverty can only be described as Tory-lite on welfare.
And when we look at Labour’s performance at Westminster under Corbyn, it isn’t any better. While the SNP voted against the IP Bill, Labour voted for it; while the SNP voted for the Greens’ PR and Electoral Reform Bill, Labour abstained; while the SNP refuse to take part in the House of Lords, Labour are still adding peers; while the SNP have a principled opposition to Trident, Labour supports it; and while the SNP vote against welfare cuts at every opportunity, Labour abstain on PiP cuts.
Labour in government is worse still. While the SNP has mitigated the bedroom tax, housing benefit cuts for 18-21 year olds, and lifted the public sector pay cap, the Welsh government has mitigated/reversed none of these austerity policies. All while Corbyn accuses the SNP of being a ‘conveyor belt for austerity’ no less (just another example of how Labour rhetoric tends to depart from reality).
The SNP has also managed to implement universal policies such as free tuition fees, while Labour in Wales have instead decided to raise them, and that’s despite saying they would look into scrapping tuition fees before the general election.
While the SNP move forward with policies on everything from land reform to rent controls and baby boxes, Labour in Wales again offers nothing. Our public services do better too, not least our NHS, which is currently the best performing in the UK.
The SNP has also invested in Our Power, a non-shareholder energy company run by social housing providers that invests profits into local communities. Furthermore, despite successive Tory and Labour governments refusing Scotland the ability to develop a public sector bid for ScotRail, thanks to the SNP the power to do so has now been devolved and when the franchise is next up for tender the Scottish government will be able to put forward a public bid for the first time. In the meantime they have ensured that ScotRail is the best performing rail franchise in the UK.
Labour’s grand offer to Scots on the issue of rail privatisation was to release a Momentum video today consisting of patronising stereotypes (at times verging on xenophobia) and the outright falsehood that the SNP could have submitted a public sector bid the last time the ScotRail franchise was awarded. Momentum’s video, of course, made no mention of the fact that Labour could have addressed rail privatisation in government or indeed that they could have given us the power to nationalise in Scotland but they chose to do neither. And it won’t shock anyone that Momentum failed to in any way acknowledge that Labour-run Wales doesn’t have a nationalised rail service either.
It’s clear from all this that if we now had a UK Labour government reliant on SNP parliamentary votes, the SNP would have been pulling Labour to the left on several major issues, there’s just no argument there. And if we had a devolved government running Scotland like Labour run Wales, we would have much more poverty and far less opportunity, innovation and equality. And if Corbyn got his way, he would keep Scotland in a union where we are still saddled with massive cuts, and he would expect Scots to be taxed more to mitigate these cuts (rather than use any revenue we raise for the betterment of our country), demanding the purpose of Scots devolution is reduced to mitigating Westminster policy. In addition he would hit us with a hard Brexit, and all the economic pain that comes with it, and he would do so while promoting the falsehood that it’s impossible to be a member of the single market without being a member of the EU. Indeed Corbyn has embraced that old Labour tradition of abandoning all integrity whenever it suits.
So we can’t say we don’t know how Corbyn and his supporters operate, and nor can we say that we don’t understand what their vision is for Scotland or what it would mean for us. So while Corbyn brings the fight to the SNP on austerity (all the while ignoring the cause, and well aware that he is campaigning with a Scottish Labour that’s in coalitions with the Tories instead of the centre left SNP in many local councils) let’s remind Scots that all he has is empty rhetoric and dishonesty, and that we all deserve much better.
Article written by leyaterra