On 24 April, Channel 4 News interviewed Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford. The interviewer put the scenario of Scottish independence to Drakeford. He then asked what effect, if any, Scottish independence could have on Wales:
What happens if Scotland breaks away, and there’s a Conservative government not willing to concede any more powers to Wales? Would Welsh Labour be adopting a more pro-independence agenda in that scenario?
Drakeford said there:
are a lot of ‘ifs’ in that question… but if they were all true… then it would fundamentally alter the context of the debate for Wales
But when Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar announced Labour’s manifesto on 22 April for the Holyrood elections, he took an all together different approach. Because Sarwar’s manifesto takes a hardline position against Scottish independence. And this seems to be out of step with key players in the Scottish Labour movement. A point that wasn’t lost on #IndyRef2 supporters:
The death of British Labour in Scotland holds maybe some lessons for its Welsh branch office. When reality sets in change happens.
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— Mr MacGavin 🏴 💙 🇪🇺 (@Gavin89540292) April 24, 2021
This article is part of The Canary’s #Independence2021 series.
While Drakeford said:
the Labour Party in Wales is focused on securing a successful future for Wales in a successful United Kingdom
He also admitted the UK is:
more in peril than at any time in my political lifetime.
He added that the current Westminster government is effectively fuelling the drive for independence as it ‘fails’ to see:
the fundamental need for reform. They believe that just by flying more Union Jacks around the place will somehow reassert the authority of a Westminster dominant government.
Furthermore, Drakeford has made it clear that there should be a referendum on Welsh independence if Plaid Cymru wins a majority in Wales.
But Sarwar isn’t seizing on this opportunity for a second referendum in Scotland. Instead, he’s backing the status quo. And as statistics are against him in the wider Labour movement, it shows he’s really at odds with the grassroots:
The STUC [representing 540,000 trade unionists, 39 trade unions and 20 Trades Union Councils in Scotland] versus Anas Sarwar of Scottish Labour [16,000 members] #ScottishIndependence #SP21 pic.twitter.com/Ia6E7dAecW
— Phantom Power (@PhantomPower14) April 23, 2021
And it’s especially difficult to understand when so many in the Labour party itself support independence:
"51% of MPs believe Scottish independence is now more likely as a result of Brexit, while 37% disagree. Results by party are more stark- a massive 83% of Lab MPs feel independence is more likely after Brexit, while just 29% of their Tory colleagues agree."https://t.co/QMVuVbfEDw
— Argyllander🏴🇪🇺 (@argyllander) April 16, 2021
Sarwar under pressure to drop indyref2 opposition after candidates back it | The National https://t.co/IRxXcvzASk
— @Camz99 (@Camz99) April 25, 2021
Rather than acknowledging reality – like Drakeford – Sarwar’s burying his head in the sand. But strangely, in taking that position, he’s actually not alone. Because Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is doing likewise. This won’t end well for either of them.
Featured image via – Wikimedia – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions & YouTube – ITV News
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