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This article was written on 23 Jan 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP and me

I find myself feeling massively conflicted. There’s the emergent Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, which is espousing genuine Labour values for the first time since the leering sociopath Tony Blair took power, and then there’s the drive for Scottish independence. Both can’t succeed. For Labour to win, the SNP would have to lose in Scotland and I don’t want that to happen.

This is a genuine conundrum. I like Corbyn and believe he is that rarest of things in politics: a genuinely good man with principles that you can respect. However. The media are doing everything in their power to make sure that his message is muddied to the point of incomprehension and almost every story that you read about him is either wholly or partly fraudulent.

I’m enjoying the sense of fearful panic among the leader writers that they don’t understand why he’s popular and the growing awareness that their newspapers neither reflect nor lead the public mood. Sooner or later, though, amongst all this desperate scrabbling around for something to throw at him, they’ll grind the public down until they agree with them if only for a quiet life and some peace, and so it’s likely that we’ll end up with a Tory government for the rest of our natural lives.

While I don’t want this to happen and hate the Tories so viscerally it almost has a physical existence, there is a thin sliver of hope. While England is clearly entering into some kind of deranged marriage with the Tories, Scotland can at least save itself. Every vote cast for the Conservatives is a vote cast for Scottish independence, a vote telling them that England has lost the plot, completely and irredeemably.

And that leads me neatly on to what I do want to happen. England can go Tory, because the country is beyond help, but Scotland has the wherewithal to save itself. A wholly SNP government is as clear a vote for independence as I can possibly imagine and the time is nearing when a referendum will be held, and won. In which case, I’m off to Scotland on first train after the result is in.

By the same token, if the UK vote to leave the EU, it makes that Scottish independence so much more likely. England, just to reiterate, is home to some vile reactionaries and appears set to drive itself over a cliff that compromises equal parts racism and xenophobia. Even if it was to stay in the EU, the EU itself would have to make too many compromises to make it remain, so I think, with a heavy heart, that the UK should be thrown out no matter how it votes in the referendum.

I want the European project to succeed, passionately, and that means that if the price is the UK being told to mount its shabby bike and pedal off into a sunset that looks instead like the huge, angry ball of pitiless fire that is aggressive American capitalism, then it has to do that. Quality of life will fall away quite steeply, but people will still vote Tory, just as the Trump supporters vote Republican, because they’ve voting for an idea rather than an actuality.

The Tories, and Trump, are in love with a fiction that everything can be great if you just work hard, never have bad luck, don’t get old and most certainly never get ill. Especially not ill in the head, because that looks difficult to cure and the DWP probably prefer that you die. The election manifesto of both parties can be summed up by saying ‘you can get rich’ endlessly, on a loop, like a wind-up monkey banging a tatty drum until everyone loses the will to live and screams for the sweet release of death.

And you can’t get rich, of course. The idea is preposterous. Social mobility in America is somewhere around zero and we’re going backwards. Where you’re born predicts your life chances with terrible accuracy and the limit of your aspirations has to be owning a slightly bigger television or a house so small that it looks like it’s been coughed up by the mock Tudor fairy. Call me mad, but those things don’t look very appealing.

To Scotland, I say save yourself. I’ll come and join you. To the EU, I say throw the UK out now before they drag you down with them. And to Jeremy Corbyn, I say that, well, you’re probably the best politician I’ve seen since John Smith died, but for my own sakes, rather than England’s, I think it’s too late to change your destiny.

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