AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would revitalise the Scottish Labour Party and enable some its brightest people to shine at Holyrood, the chief strategist of the Yes Scotland campaign claims today.
Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Stephen Noon says that Labour would have an important role to play in building a new Scotland in the event of a Yes vote next year.
After independence, Noon believes that Labour would be freed from “difficulties” caused by its link to London and be free to work hard for Scotland.
Noon’s article comes at an unsettling time for Labour with allegations of vote-rigging in the Falkirk constituency leading to Ed Miliband calling for a re-examination of the UK party’s relationship with its trades union funders.
Noon writes: “Recent events in Falkirk should not divert us from the place a vibrant Scottish Labour Party, released from some of the diversions and difficulties created by its London link, will play in our nation’s future.”
Noon says that independence would see Scottish Labour become very different from the Westminster party.
“One of the tactics of the No campaign is to present the choice in 2014 as somehow being about Alex Salmond and the SNP,” Noon says. “But the reality is that Scottish Labour, and the values that sustain and drive that party – values shared in whole or in part by many of us in Scotland – will have an important role to play if we are to make an independent Scotland the sort of success we all know it can and should be.” According to Noon, independence would enable Westminster-based Labour politicians such as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander to work with emerging talent at Holyrood such as Jenny Marra, Kez Dugdale and Drew Smith.
Noon adds: “The key point is that the independence pool of talent isn’t just the SNP… or the Green Party. And, just because I am SNP, doesn’t mean I can’t recognise and applaud the contribution from Scottish Labour if and when the country chooses a different, independent path.”
Last night, Labour’s Drew Smith was unimpressed by Yes Scotland’s overture.
Smith said: “The Yes campaign would be best advised to focus more on turning around their failing bid for independence instead of speculating on what Scottish Labour might do.”