Zero prospects

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Lesley Riddoch (Perspective, 27 October) asserts that “Labour’s Better Together dalliance with the Conservatives has tarnished its image”.

But if co-operating with others was the disgrace that she implies then all parties, including the SNP, would stand condemned.

Ms Riddoch might not remember, but many of us do, that the 2007-2011 SNP administration in Holyrood only got its budgets through with the full-hearted co-operation of the Scottish Conservatives.

It seems strange that the SNP can be in bed with the Tories for four long years without a hint of criticism but, in the eyes of committed nationalists, Labour is somehow uniquely nefarious for expressing and supporting the will of the Scottish people in winning the shorter and more focused referendum campaign.

Maybe Labour’s real crime isn’t working with other parties; maybe Lesley Riddoch is really upset at Labour’s pivotal contribution to securing a No vote.

If the Scottish people really wish to think about the reasons for supporting, or not supporting, a political party, they might want to reflect that the SNP’s main and only policy of Scottish independence has been decisively rejected at the ballot box.

In the process, the SNP has gone from a single issue party to a zero issue party. It no longer has any philosophical underpinning or principled reason to continue beyond survival for its own sake, summoning up the dreaded and politically deadening prospect of an ad nauseam “neverendum”.

The SNP will not deliver independence any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime. It is true that Scottish Labour has problems at the moment but its core philosophy of solidarity, unity and delivery for the many, is a timeless idea that has not and will not go away.

Labour has proved over the past 130 years that it is here for the long run and the hard miles, working with the people, delivering what they want and need.

The accusation from nationalists of dalliance with the Tories is an attempt to detach Labour voters and to distract from the unpalatable truth (from a nationalist perspective) that the SNP lost the referendum and therefore its long-term raison d’être.

Perhaps Ms Riddoch’s next contribution should consider the crisis of the SNP with no core philosophy, and reflect that a political party without a sustaining philosophy is not really a political party at all.

Alex Gallagher

Phillips Avenue