Herald letter: Labour and Independence – Love They Neighbour.

YOUR correspondents (Letters, December 11 & 17) debate why and why not the Scottish Labour Party should change its policy so as to support Scottish independence. There are several very good reasons, which really should be obvious.

The first is that the Labour Party believes that “by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”. In other words, its philosophy is one of mutual support and co-operation, and indeed of loving our neighbour as ourselves. For my part, I cannot see how any Christian can simultaneously support that commandment and Scottish independence. (No doubt I will be enlightened by those who believe that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland are not our neighbours.)

In practical terms, this philosophy means that Labour supports the continued redistribution of UK resources, currently running from London and the southeast to parts of the country where revenues are lower and/or services are more expensive. As the Scottish Government tells us, Scotland is now consistently a beneficiary of this system. It would be illogical for Scottish Labour to turn its back on this major source of funding for public services and jobs in Scotland.

Secondly, in no time in my 41 years of membership of the Labour Party, 33 of them in Scotland, have I ever known anyone in any branch or affiliate bring forward a resolution that it should support independence. If these have occurred anywhere, they have obviously been defeated. Even in the 2014 referendum campaign when a “Labour For Indy” group popped up, it was found to be a handful of nobodies, whose main publicity photo comprised SNP activists pretending to be Labour members. Just why should Labour change its policies if its membership does not want it?

Peter A Russell

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