Scottish ‘national lite’ will not save Labour

Sir, – Scottish Labour deputy leader, Alex Rowley’s call that Theresa May pursue a soft Brexit for Scotland has been widely reported (October 21).

Given that Mrs May is unlikely to have heard of Mr Rowley, still less to have any reason to take her cue from a party in possibly terminal decline, one wonders what Mr Rowley is up to.

With his call for home rule for Scotland and tacit support for a second referendum, he is beginning to sound like an echo chamber for the SNP, presumably because he believes that is the way to stem the haemorrhaging Labour vote.

The problem is that if Scottish Labour rebrands itself as Scottish national lite (SNL) , why wouldn’t Labour voters with nationalist inclinations prefer the real thing?

That is, of course, what distinguishes him from his leader Kezia Dugdale, who has no truck with SNL, is implacably opposed to a second referendum and also backed Owen Smith against Jeremy Corbyn in the recent Labour leadership election. Despite his current position as a vociferous Corbynista, Mr Rowley has not always been so wholehearted about the Labour leader, notoriously advising that Mr Corbyn give Scotland a body swerve in the run-up to the 2016 Holyrood election.

Despite his obligatory denials, Mr Rowley is conducting a high-profile campaign for Ms Dugdale’s job. Why else fly in the face of his leader and official Scottish Labour policy by declaring his views on Corbyn, a separate Scottish Brexit, a second referendum and an independent Scottish Labour Party? Why the public meetings and media coverage? All this might eventually secure Mr Rowley the top job in Scottish Labour, but it’s hard to see how a Corbynised SNL will save Scottish Labour.

Linda Holt.

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