THE Labour party is still flailing about, trying to reconcile the increasingly irreconcilable political expectations of the electorates of Scotland and England. It was reported over the weekend that the Labour party is considering changing its constitution in order to rule out formal coalitions with the SNP and other “nationalist parties”.

Faced with an immediate backlash, not least from the Labour party in Wales where the minority Labour Government often relies on support from the independence supporting Plaid Cymru in order to get its policies passed. Labour sources have denied the reports but have instead suggested that a pledge not to work with the SNP could be included in the Labour manifesto for the next General Election.

The move is clearly aimed at de-fanging any Conservative attack on Labour in England in a future General Election, however, in its zeal to make a pitch to England's Brexit-supporting constituencies in the North and Midlands of England, the Labour party has clearly either overlooked or discounted the effects of such a policy in Scotland.

Is Labour really saying that it is prepared to ignore how people in Scotland have voted to allow the Conservatives to govern as a minority administration? It would appear so. The proposal is clearly aimed at the SNP who are to be designated as politically unclean by Labour in a way that even the Conservatives are not.

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This sends a clear message to people in Scotland that the Scottish constitutional debate is beyond the pale of acceptable politics as far as Labour is concerned. This is despite the fact that the main motor driving that debate is deep dissatisfaction in Scotland with the democratic deficit and lack of accountability of Westminster governments - which Scotland has repeatedly rejected at the ballot box. Starmer appears to be signalling that the Labour party will double down on the disregard for Scotland's choices which characterises the Conservatives. That is hardly the way to revive the party's fortunes in Scotland. Vote Labour, Scotland, we promise to ignore you, too.

This would indeed sound the death knell for what we are still being told is a Union. At least until “single great country” Truss takes office, independence-leaning Labour supporters who are maybe as much as a quarter or more of Labour's remaining support in Scotland will desert them.

In Scotland, we see Labour administrations governing with the formal or informal support of the Conservatives in a number of local authorities. Yet this does not appear to bother either Keir Starmer or Labour's branch manager in Scotland despite the fact that the Conservatives are a nakedly right-wing populist Anglo-British nationalist party which trades in xenophobia and the hatred of migrants and “Europe”. The hypocrisy is obvious even to those who do not closely follow politics.

The other obvious implication is that the Labour party now prioritises the maintenance of the British state above the importance of social democratic and redistributive policies. Labour sees the maintenance of the British state in its current form as being far more important than the opportunity to reform that state in order to address its manifest inequalities and its failures of democratic accountability if doing so means reaching an agreement with the hated SNP.

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Putting the needs of the state above the needs of the people is, to put it mildly, somewhat problematic for a party which insists that it is a democratic socialist party opposed to nationalism. Yet that is exactly how Labour is positioning itself in order to appeal to Brexit supporters in England who are motivated by English nationalism. Labour is prepared to sacrifice the democratic wishes of Scotland as expressed through the ballot box at the altar of post-Brexit English nationalism.

In that case, Labour is itself now an Anglo-British nationalist party and logically must prohibit itself from governing with Labour MPs. Alternatively, Labour could just drop the cant about “nationalism” and admit that its real problem is with democracy and self-determination in Scotland and a Scottish electorate which obstinately refuses to vote for the party.

On current showing, Labour is not remotely close to reviving its fortunes in Scotland. That's what happens when you allow your Scottish policy to be determined by Ian Murray, Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar, and the other tribal über-unionists of the Labour rump in Scotland.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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