Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Senior Labour Party Official Backs YES

A senior Labour Party official helping run the constituency of two shadow ministers at Westminster has revealed that he is voting Yes in September.

Jamie Kerr is Vice-Chairman of Renfrewshire South, the seat of Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Jim Murphy, who is Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

Mr Kerr, who was Labour candidate for Shetland in the last Scottish parliament elections, is clear that his decision to support independence is not because he is disgruntled with his party.

He talks of his ‘difficult journey’ and of his dissatisfaction that the party have taken the stand against independence without proper discussions with the rank-and-file members.

‘It’s been a difficult journey, but as a Labour activist, I’m decided to vote Yes in September,’ Mr Kerr said. ‘The party has taken a strident No line without discussion, and it’s hard to speak out against that, but I’ve made my decision to be open about it.

‘It is not natural for Labour to be anti-independence, especially with no discussion. Yes is compatible with membership and support for Labour. Why is there such a strident line?

‘Our party is not and has never been defined by the constitution. It is a party of social justice and ordinary members, although they may not speak out because of the party line, will make their decision on that basis. Like me, they will all still be campaigning hard for Labour after a Yes vote.’

He insists that his decision to support independence – and that of many other loyal Labour members and voters – comes down to one of social justice.

‘Members should ask: can we get more social justice and a more diverse Scotland with independence, or staying with the current setup?’ Mr Kerr said. ‘At the moment Labour listens to the South-east, which means we can’t be as radical as we’d like. I think we’d advance social justice in an independent Scotland. That’s why I’m voting Yes.

‘Labour voters are not unanimously behind the union – it’s not fair on them that the party does not represent their views. Many of them will be voting Yes in 2014 and voting Labour in 2016 – and by being so stridently No, Labour is alienating people who always have and will vote for us, whether Yes or No.

‘Politics in Scotland is different from politics in the UK, and in an independent Scotland Labour can catch up with this new political reality.

‘The European election results brought home this difference – the vote has led Westminster and Miliband to focus on immigration. I work in immigration law, and see the prospects of a better immigration policy under Labour in an independent Scotland. An independent Scotland with an independent Labour government could be more open, diverse and inclusive – that’s real solidarity.’
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