IN an article I wrote for The National earlier this month, I explained why I see Labour winning this year’s General Election yet feel a Keir Starmer premiership is likely to be overwhelmed by crises because his programme for government is not fit for the immense political challenges that lie ahead.

I advised the Yes movement to hold its nerve and use the next 12 months to improve both the case for independence and our strategy for securing it ahead of a golden opportunity to advance in 2026.

A Yes offer which says nothing much will change just won’t cut it.

This theme was picked up by George Kerevan this week in his column about the crisis engulfing local government where he highlighted the “savage cuts” the Tories have implemented that have affected road maintenance, leisure services, environmental services, planning and adult social care budgets.

The marked decline in the quality of these local services was noted in a recent National Audit Office report, while George warned: “The latest Tory Budget has huge unspecified cuts written in for after the General Election.”

Labour’s election strategy is based on the conclusion that voters are sick of the Tories and their brand but not their policies. Starmer therefore offers more of the same tax and spending limits and more privatisation.

READ MORE: Ignoring the Labour threat is a politically suicidal strategy for SNP

After 14 years of attacks, working people must apparently settle for a “Blue Labour” repeat of the 1997 election.

Readers may recall just how unpopular Starmer’s mentor Tony Blair was when he stood down in 2007. I made this point in an article I penned for Scottish Socialist Voice recently.

“Those seeking solace in ejecting the Tories from office,” I wrote, “should understand the implication of what follows.

"It is not enough to be anti-Tory in times like these. The reason Blair was so detested when he left Downing Street was not just because of the Iraq War.

"He was also as big a conservative as his idol Thatcher.”

The National: Tony Blair Image: free

Labour were damaged for almost two decades by its association with Blairism. Labour supporters would be well advised to take note that warmongering and privatisation are still vote losers.

The Tories face substantial problems on several fronts. Economic protectionism and trade tariffs loom large, which risk a worldwide recession.

Our social care provision remains a national disgrace. Living standards continue to fall for millions.

The chronic shortage of affordable housing worsens by the day, our justice system is in tatters and ever-widening inequalities between rich and poor, increased racism and other social divisions blight the land.

Labour will inherit all these crises and more. Yet Starmer and his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves present a programme that is not just conservative, it is reactionary and history suggests it has failure written all over it.

It all comes gift-wrapped in a chorus of praise for Thatcher!

As multinational corporations abandon globalisation and set in train a period of protectionism, the ailing British economy faces further instability and uncertainty.

I suggest this new world order will impact badly on Britain and upon the living standards of millions. Labour are clearly unprepared for what is to come and therefore unfit to deal with the immense crises that lie ahead.

My view is that the prospects for independence will improve as the unpopularity and vacuity of Labour’s approach mounts.

In the short term, I anticipate the SNP losing many of their MPs this autumn as voters’ imperative to get rid of the Tories swings behind Labour – but how lasting will that be?

Over the past 12 years it has sometimes felt that the sole purpose of independence was to get rid of the hated Tories. It wasn’t. It is nowhere near enough reason to support Yes, far less persuade those not yet convinced of the attractions of self-determination.

Independence is far more transformational than that as far as I’m concerned.

Labour’s victory in 2024 will, in my estimation, be followed by a multi-dimensional crisis which could well consume Starmer’s administration. Those economic problems are likely to be accompanied by several others.

Labour are in the wrong place politically on Gaza and the war in Ukraine looks increasingly bad for those like him who invested so heavily in a victory for Kyiv.

And Labour’s plan to counter the impact of climate change and reduce emissions has been all but surrendered.

Blue Labour today are 20% ahead in the polls. But by the end of next year they could be that far behind.

If I were a Labour supporter, I would be concerned by the path the leadership is on and its prospects for 2025/26.

And I’d be questioning whether Scottish Labour can survive given what the Starmer/Reeves government has in store for

working people and the implications of all this for the national question.

Colin Fox is national spokesperson for the Scottish Socialist Party and was a member of the Yes Scotland advisory board from 2012-14