Labour leader says it is not the job of Westminster to prevent Scotland holding another referendum on independence
Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would not block any Commons vote on whether Scotland should hold another referendum.
Jeremy Corbyn has said it is “absolutely fine” for Scotland to hold a second referendum on independence, signalling Labour would campaign again for Britain to remain united.
His comments came amid persistent speculation that the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was about to demand a section 30 order from Westminster to allow a legally binding vote to be held on Scotland’s place in the UK.
The Scottish National party (SNP) leader has repeatedly said a fresh ballot is “highly likely” following the Brexit referendum, which saw Scotland vote to remain in the European Union while the UK as a whole voted to leave.
The Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, has made it clear she opposes another ballot on independence, but Corbyn said on Saturday he did not think Westminster should try to block one if Sturgeon insisted on it. .
“If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the job of Westminster or the Labour party to prevent people holding referenda.”
He said if there was a vote in the I’m going to take a break from social media except to post articles and videos and the occasional events.
On a daily basis I have angry strangers yelling at me, on the one hand, that I’m responsible for the destruction of the Labour Party, and on the other, I’m a right-wing sellout careerist who’s allied to Tony Blair and possibly in the pay of the Israeli government (and that I’m a Blairite cunt who needs to go fuck myself, and so on and so forth).
Nobody who actually knows me thinks I’m driven by anything other than what I believe, even when they disagree with me. Both my parents are staunch supporters of Jeremy Corbyn; they’re leading members of their local Momentum branch. They don’t agree with lots of what I’ve said. Unlike the increasingly frothing keyboard warriors, neither doubts for a second that what I says comes from the heart.
I find myself constantly engaging with people denouncing my motives while sending abuse. And my friends ask: What are you doing? Why are you wasting your life on this nonsense? And they’re just right.
Added with the usual far-right extremists sending ever more creative descriptions of how they’re going to torture and murder me, I’m no longer convinced social media is as useful a tool for political debate and discussion as it once was.
I know the obvious responses to this. Put your violin away, stop pitying yourself. Get a thick skin. You put your views out there, expect to get attacked. That’s how this works.
But to be honest it isn’t about that. I’m just wasting my life. I wouldn’t choose to walk every day into a room full of total strangers screaming mindless abuse and making up what I think and what my motives are, but in a sense that’s what I’m currently doing.
I can’t help look at some of it as distressing, not because of me, but because of the cause I love and have devoted my life to, the left, the movement that exists to rid society of injustice, exploitation and bigotry.
Look, I’m told all the time that these angry and bitter people are completely unrepresentative. I know that to be true. In real life, nobody ever comes up to me and behaves like this, not once. Which is probably an argument for spending less time arguing with strangers and more engaging with decent, good-natured people in real life.
I never wanted to write or do any of the stuff that I do. That’s not because I’m a traitor, or a turncoat, or corrupt, but because it’s a sincere fear that haunts every moment of my waking existence, and something I’m beyond desperate to avoid.
A source close to Corbyn said: “Westminster blocking a second referendum would give the SNP exactly what they want – more grievance.
“Kezia Dugdale is absolutely right to oppose a second referendum at Holyrood and to keep the pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to rule one out. However any hypothetical deal on a second referendum is highly premature as there would need to be lengthy negotiations around the timing and the question on the ballot paper, given the remain/leave precedent set in the EU referendum.
“All of these negotiations would happen at a time when the SNP should be focused on education, where attainment is falling, on the NHS, which faces a workforce crisis, and on our economy which sees 220,000 Scottish children live in poverty.
“Next week Nicola Sturgeon must rule out a second referendum and get back to the bread and butter issues.”
“Clearly to win requires all opposition parties to unite on this. That, we seem to be able to do but it also requires Conservative abstentions or votes with us on it …
“It seems to be an important message to put that EU nationals make a massive contribution to our society, in health, in education, in science and engineering, in agriculture, in so many ways. And they ought to be given the opportunity to remain in Britain. That would help to frame the future relationship with the EU after Brexit.”
“If the Commons does not accept those Lords amendments it goes back to the Lords. If they persist it comes back to us a day or two later. We will keep on with this.”