Should Scottish Labour become fully autonomous?

Public Entrance Scottish Parliament

With Jim Murphy ready to depart the Scottish leadership, in order to survive above the border the Labour party needs to make dramatic reforms.

Asked by Andrew Marr on Sunday if Scottish Labour should become a fully autonomous party, outside UK Labour’s control, Andy Burnham, potentially the next Labour leader, said that:

“There is a case for that and I will look at that.”

He then went on to say that Labour are the party for the entire United Kingdom, not the Conservatives.

Burnham makes a good point. Scottish Labour’s only hope might be full independence from the UK Labour party in order to combat the SNP.

Why? One of the main reasons the SNP took all but three of Scotland’s seats was that they made the case that they would make Scotland’s voice heard. They branded themselves as the party of Scotland, on the back of their referendum defeat, emphasising that in a hung parliament they would get Scotland’s voice heard.

A fully fledged independent Scottish Labour party would be able to work with rUK Labour on many issues but also make independent policy. Being a separate party would allow them to make the case that they represent “Scotland’s voice”, whilst also making the case for the UK by working with the main Labour party.

SEE ALSO: With Murphy set to resign, who should lead Scottish Labour?

Furthermore, an independent Labour party could go someway to distance the Labour brand from the Conservative brand, as the two parties stood side by side in the ‘Better Together’ campaign, something which arguably pushed many Scottish Labour voters to vote for independence.

Of course there would be negatives to this. Scottish Labour members would not have a say on who should lead the main Labour party, and in turn who potentially becomes the Prime Minister. Furthermore, it could lead to some deep divides in the overall ‘Labour’ movement in Britain if Scottish Labour take a policy stance majorly different to the policy of rUK Labour.

However, if Scottish Labour are to survive and beat the SNP surge moving towards full autonomy might be the best option for the party.


Public unsure about Labour leadership candidates, suggests poll

Liberal Democrat leadership battle: a choice between two futures

Chuka Umunna pulls out of Labour leadership race