So Jeremy Corbyn, as expected, won the latest Labour Leadership Contest 2016. Corbyn won with 61.8% of the vote over Owen Smith, actually increasing his mandate in the process. What does this mean for Scotland as Corbyn is no friend of Scotland just really indifferent. Jeremy Corbyn is not that popular in Scotland, a YouGov poll in July had Corbyn on
-36% in general and -47% among Labour members, Owen Smith is rumoured to have won the popular vote amongst Labour members in Scotland.
Jeremy Corbyn’s voting record on Scotland is also indifferent, he was absent for most of the votes on the Scotland Bill but did manage to be against greater tax raising powers for Scotland, he voted against measure for national insurance, voted against the Scottish Parliament having power over Child Benefit and Tax Credits, voted against Scotland having powers over Abortion Laws but voted for the minor tweaks to social security measures coming to Scotland. Hardly inspiring. Corbyn has demonstrated the usual Westminster ignorance of Scottish politics with accusations like the SNP privatised Scotrail and Cal Mac, Labour Politicians were even advised not to mention the word Scotland on visits but to emphasise towns and cities. Corbyn is a strong advocate for Irish unification but Scotland appears to leave him cold, and while he may not stand against any future Scottish referendum, he gives the impression that he doesn’t really care all that much.
So what does the Corbyn win mean for Scotland? Sadly it will mean at least another 10 years of Conservative Government, maybe even more. I am indifferent on Corbyn in most ways, he seems ok and is providing some in England with an alternative, I would certainly rather have him than Theresa May, but he will be pilloried even more in the Yoon press. No doubt the New Labour plotters won’t go away, many believe that Tom Watson, Deputy Labour Leader, is behind the various attempted coups against Corbyn and I have some sympathy with that given some of the things I have read about him.
It will be interesting in some ways to see what happens, Corbyn will plod along being pilloried in the media, plotted against by Labour MPs and being pretty much ineffective against the Tories. Kezia Dugdale may or may not survive but I don’t get the impression that Corbyn cares either way. So for Scotland we are at yet another cross roads, devolution will go no further. We will be faced with even more pressures as Barnett is slowly eroded over time as more and more privatisation creeps into English Public Services, effecting our pocket money and putting the Scottish Government into ever-increasing difficulties around the budget and public services.
Corbyn’s indifference will have a detrimental effect on Scotland and his election will in many ways put us back in our box as far as Westminster is concerned, yeah we will be annoying but overall just a midgie to be swatted away. Corbyn’s election is probably not good for Scotland.