Lead by example

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Carole Ford (Letters, 17 July) writes that “the instinct towards solidarity and mutuality is the basis of the Labour Party’s unqualified opposition to independence”.

There is a paradox here, because recent polls indicate that around 30 per cent of the Labour Party membership have indicated that they intend to vote Yes in the referendum.

However, I have to say that I read Ms Ford’s undoubtedly sincere letter with wistfulness. My own unqualified support of Labour’s socialist principles began to wane following the death of John Smith.

It disappeared entirely during Tony Blair’s New Labour experiment when, in a naked attempt to grab power at any cost, he moved the party so far to the right that it became impossible to distinguish Labour from the Tories.

There have been many consequences of this policy, not least of all the sight of the Tories lurching further to the right in order to reinstate the clear blue water between Labour and themselves.

Today, we are faced with the unseemly sight of the Labour Party desperately trying to prove to the electorate that it can match, or even outdo, the Tories, as can be witnessed by its policy of removing Jobseeker’s Allowance from unemployed young people. Not a good example of mutuality and solidarity with the disadvantaged.

In this scenario, voters look for options and when we see the Liberal Democrats abandon most of their principles in a quest for the ministerial keys, cars and cash, is it any surprise that so many people are banding together to campaign for independence?

I support the SNP and independence because it gives us the opportunity to work towards a political system and society where these principles of mutuality and solidarity are channelled to all sections of our communities here.

Following independence, there should be a much more focused direction of support for the disadvantaged and, if that does not happen, then we’ll know how to place our votes in future elections.

The sad fact is that while Labour is controlled by people such as Ed Miliband and Ed Balls playing catch-up with the Tories, we in Scotland are powerless to help the disadvantaged in other parts of the UK.

However, we can hope that if Scotland votes for independence, the example of us taking our destiny into our control might just stimulate Labour supporters in rUK to demand that their party returns to policies closer to their founding principles.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh

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