THE Morning Star launched a Scottish Edition on Saturday, backed by Unison Scotland, the EIS and NASUWT Scotland. Welcoming the launch, Richard Leonard boasted that the Morning Star is “the only paper that can be guaranteed to give working people and organised labour a fair hearing”. Scotland editor Conrad Landin headlined: “Scotland edition can offer coverage nation deserves”.

It is to be hoped that this coverage will not continue the Star’s recent run of SNP-bad stories, often as vitriolic as those printed in the right-wing press (when, for example, it should have taken Glasgow Labour to task, the Star blamed Glasgow’s SNP administration for the state of the People’s Palace and for the women’s strike for equal pay).

Of course it has its own, different reasons for attacking the SNP. To the Morning Star, socialism is a UK matter. It chooses, mistakenly in my view, not to link its copious use of the word to the theme of Scottish independence. Nationalism is for extreme-right neanderthals, it seems to think. In this, it shows its ignorance of the history of the many great socialist advocates of Scottish independence; figures like RB Cunninghame Graham, John Maclean, who was Lenin’s First Consul in the UK, and Hugh MacDiarmid. It was McDiarmid, lest we forget, who wrote three hymns to Lenin, as well as the incomparable The Skeleton of the Future (at Lenin’s Tomb). Sadly, this history doesn’t stop the Morning Star waving the butcher’s apron in Scotland as enthusiastically as The Scotsman, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express.

Granted, the Star has long since abandoned its communist position and turned Corbynite. Its current strategy is clear. Ths Scottish working class has to give up voting SNP, return to the Labour fold and get Corbyn into Westminster. It forgets that Corbyn has nothing to offer Scotland, certainly not free student tuition fees, free care for the elderly or socially owned water, to name a few items on his wish-list. Apart from stopping the Tory bedroom tax, the SNP also refused to implement Lansley-type health reforms, which I believe costs NHS England more than £1 billion pounds to administer.

The Morning Star also forgets those long decades of Scotand voting Labour, only to get Tory or Blairite governments. Ah, but Corbyn is a real alternative, I hear his advocates say. Admittedly, he is a social democrat and a bit left of centre, but so, I think, is the SNP. Labour will have difficulty outflanking it on the left.

There will be no indyref2 according to Richard Leonard. We can expect the Morning Star and its trade union backers to say the same, curiously in the name of socialism. I sincerely hope this false, anti-SNP argument will be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Alastair McLeish