The Burd has articulated it beautifully:
Labour reckons that to build a yes campaign by focusing on the differences in our identities and by suggesting that the only way to remove the threat of right wing Tory rule from our political lexicon is to opt for independence is unhelpful and disingenuous. It’s not.
What is disingenuous is to suggest that if we vote to stay in the Union, we will get the kind of Labour policies we want in a 2015 UK election. We won’t. What we will get is a right of centre Labour – Blairite Labour – because appealing to middle England, paring off the voters from the open arms of the likes of UKiP in constituencies in the south of England requires Labour to pitch itself differently
It’s long been clear to me that the kind of policies accepted as basic good sense in Scotland have been rejected by the Westminster parties as barriers to winning power. Now while I’ve criticised particularly the Labour Party for being willing to dump principle for a sniff of power (and haven’t even started on the LibDems), it is fair to seek power as the place you can best put principle into action.
But what has happened to government-aspiring parties of the Left in England is that they have been swept along with the rightward march of the Overton Window in the seats that make a difference (ie a small number of marginals), and as they try to not only win but retain power, have become what they previously simply aped for electoral purposes.
Thus in England, powered by the marginal seats, the national politic is drifting further and further from Scotland’s Overton Window. Because Scotland is relatively powerless by having a small number of Westminster seats, and almost none of them Left/Right marginal, we’re dragged along too.
I know that the same argument could be made for much of the North of England, and that – politically – the border is somewhat arbitrary. And that an effective system of PR would have mitigated the impact. And that a federal system or DevoMax might have helped too.
But we’re being offered none of those things. We’re being offered an opportunity to cut the line that drags us along with Westminster’s rightward drift and to set our own course.
What, you mean you’d rather achieve social justice in none of Great Britain?