As I See It
Corbyn digs an indyref hole for Dugdale
Devolution is doing no favours to the party that created it. After their recent declarations of unity, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and her boss Jeremy Corbyn are as far apart on policy as they are with any of their opponents.
Mr Corbyn’s announcement that he would accept a second independence referendum puts him firmly at odds with Ms Dugdale who has nailed her mast to the union and said she would not support a new poll.
“If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held,” Mr Corbyn told the Press Association during a trip to Glasgow.
Speaking about the prospect of a second referendum only last week, Ms Dugdale told her party’s conference in Perth: “Our country still bears the scars of the last one, and no one wants to go through that again any time soon.
“That’s why Labour will never support one in the Scottish Parliament.”
Mr Corbyn’s comments have stirred considerable anger within the party and handed a propaganda coup to their opponents. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Always a pleasure to have Jeremy Corbyn campaigning in Glasgow”.
His words will sound like treachery to his Scots leader who has been forced regularly to dismiss any suggestions that they are not singing the same tune.
Labour’s support is already in a distressed condition and with the party looking in two directions north and south of the border on nuclear defence and now on the constitution voters would be forgiven for asking exactly what the party is offering.
Ms Dugdale insists that she is in charge north of the border, and that the devolution settlement allows for divisions of opinion. She has worked hard at restoring credibility and building a set of policies that she believes voters will back.
This latest division with the party HQ, however, is fundamental to the future of the whole UK. It is untenable for any party to have contradictory policies on the constitution.
There is only so much hokey-cokey politics that voters will take and Mr Corbyn’s position on independence will be hugely worrying for loyalists who must be wondering what the future holds for the party.
Quite simply, Labour must decide whether it is one party or two, or risk tearing itself apart.