After an amazing victory in the Labour leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn steals the show even though just a few months before he was a distant outsider. He won 59.5% of the vote in the first round and was given a clear mandate to lead the party as he topped in all three categories of the Labour Party. Now that he is leader, his first – and arguably, his toughest – contest will be to try to win back Scotland in next year’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections. However, two major barriers lie in his way: the SNP and Scottish Labour.
The first barrier is a no brainer. The SNP have been polling spectacularly, after May’s triumph when they took 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland they were also tipped to increase their majority in Holyrood just one year later. With the election of Corbyn some think that he may have thrown a spanner in the SNP machine. However, it does not look like it. The SNP are now a household name across Scotland and the party has only just started. Corbyn may turn many heads but at the end of the day Scottish voters will return votes to the party that has been well received in the last few years. Plus if another independence referendum is on the SNP manifesto then you can expect there to be a new burst of energetic campaigning from Yes voters.
The second barrier Corbyn faces however is even more troublesome than the SNP – for his chances to compete with the SNP. Scottish Labour is a party that no one cares for anymore. The Labour Party itself may have been energised with hope but the Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, is just another figurehead of same-old-New-Labour. She only reminds voters of its incompetence, naivety, and betrayal of 21st Century Scottish Labour. Her own comments about Jeremy Corbyn before his victory also show the disconnect she has with traditional Labour voters. The only hope for Scottish Labour is if the deputy leader, Alex Rowly, and Jeremy Corbyn himself are spearheading the election campaign, not Dugdale.
However, here comes another predicament. Jeremy Corbyn does not understand Scotland. His position that there should not be another independence referendum will not win any SNP voters. That just leaves us with Alex Rowly. Can one-man singlehandedly somehow save a dying party and compete against the majority party that only seems to be growing? I highly doubt it. Labour are dead and buried in Scotland.
If Jeremy Corbyn is not the answer for Scotland, then what is the point? If he cannot somehow win an unwinnable battle then why does anyone think that he has a chance of winning a UK General Election? The answer is actually rather simple.
It is no lie that England is the centre of British politics and the three other home nations will always have a lesser say no matter what. England is the real battleground for the two main parties. It is also fertile ground for a new kind of political view. Turnouts in England have been anything but good; voter disillusionment is far more common than it should be. Only 25% of the electorate voted for the Conservatives, of those who voted it was only 34%. There is a large amount of non-Tory votes that Corbyn could easily win over by continuing to promote his vision of hope and honesty in politics.
What this means to Scotland is anything. If the SNP include another referendum in their manifesto, and the SNP do return a majority in Holyrood, then a referendum will certainly be on the cards. This referendum will be majorly decided by the EU referendum more than anything will, but regardless of what the outcome is, I can expect nothing but a victory for the independence camp. Corbyn, as much as he is the Union’s last hope, can do nothing to stop the inevitable. In addition, with the referendum being before 2020 General Election, a Yes victory could embarrass the Conservatives and cause them to lose the election. An independent SNP-led Scotland and a Corbyn led UK could be an extremely led partnership. A Union without shackles. I hope that a United States led by Bernie Sanders could join in on the fun too; or is that too much?