By a Newsnet reporter
 
Labour for Independence (LFI) has taken the first step into entering discussions with Scottish Labour Party members over the party’s stance on independence.
 
Yesterday, Thursday 29th of November, LFI West Coast Co-ordinator Alex Bell was asked to take part in a discussion on independence at the Strathkelvin Labour branch.

At the meeting Mr Bell told the group, the referendum no longer represents a choice between David Cameron and Alex Salmond.

Mr Bell said: “Independence gives us a third option, an option which returns Labour to the people, to the core of our founding principles.  A ‘Canavan’ option if you will.”

Mr Bell then went on to criticise New Labour’s ‘focus group’ approach which he claimed had shackled the Scottish Labour party.   The LFI official argued that only independence could break these chains.

Labour for Independence founder Allan Grogan has hailed the meeting as a turning point within the Scottish Labour party.

Mr Grogan said “I think it shows that there is unrest within the party as to how the independence decision was made.  I hope that this will be the first of many such meetings around the country.”

Before the event a defiant Mr Bell commented: “It’s clear that many in Labour are deeply unhappy with the direction the party is taking us.  We’ll have this debate whether the party leadership like it or not.”

Labour For Independence was set up by Scottish Labour Party member Allan Grogan who became frustrated at the continual refusal of party bosses to acknowledge support among a sizeable number of Labour party supporters for independence.

Alex Bell is a Labour party member from North Ayrshire.  He is a former branch secretary, CLP treasurer and NUPE shop steward.  Alex currently works as West Coast Co-ordinator and Labour members’ liaison for Labour for Independence.

Labour for Independence is a rapidly growing group within the Scottish Labour party.  On social media sites it has over 1500 Facebook likes, over 1000 twitter followers and over 25,000 website hits. The group has also begun to recruit ambassadors around the country which is already expanding the groups reach into communities.

Comments  

 
# spagan 2012-11-30 09:01
As you are out and about and come across a Labour voter/supporter/member - simply ask them what it is about their Party that they believe in.
Usually, it is about social justice or looking after the weak in society or something like that.
Your follow up is to ask how they feel about Brown and Blair helping the rich to get richer and the gap between rich and poor getting wider and wider - after 13 years in power at Westminster.
Final question is to ask "Don't you think we could do better ourselves?"
 
 
# Puskas 2012-11-30 14:32
Quoting spagan:
As you are out and about and come across a Labour voter/supporter/member - simply ask them what it is about their Party that they believe in.
Usually, it is about social justice or looking after the weak in society or something like that.
Your follow up is to ask how they feel about Brown and Blair helping the rich to get richer and the gap between rich and poor getting wider and wider - after 13 years in power at Westminster.
Final question is to ask "Don't you think we could do better ourselves?"


Mr Spagan, Yup I did just that in East Kilbride last Saturday.
Red, White and Blue brochures. Labour Party with ex Mp Adam Ingram in attendance.
Insults reigned on myself like I hate the English, We canny sing oor ain songs at the fitba.. Get the message Spagan..
Anyway I did notice that many citizens refused or handed back the brochure..Myself I handed it back when I realised my stupidity. LOL
 
 
# clootie 2012-11-30 09:04
I look forward to strong political parties of the left and right which have the interests of the Scottish people as their key motivation. Regardless of personal political stance you need a strong debate to ensure balance.

I think Scotland will be left of centre. However my main desire is that we decide!
 
 
# Highland Tiger 2012-11-30 09:33
I think Labour for Independence will play a vital role in winning the Independence Referendum. So many people are blinkered in their view of the SNP and Alex Salmond in particular, they will vote against Independence as they think it is a SNP/Alex Salmond thing, and they just don't see the bigger picture.

If Labour for Independence took a more prominent role in the Yes campaign, that would get the message across to die hard Labour voters who would vote no just because they don't vote SNP, to come on board and still support their own party.

In my opinion, Labour for Independence has a big part to play in winning the referendum vote. That would also pose a problem for BBC Scotland, as that would eliminate one line of attack they wouldn’t just be able to attack Alex Salmond or the SNP to the same extent.
 
 
# Jimbo 2012-11-30 09:51
A lot of Labour supporters I speak to will be voting in the referendum along Party lines - Labour v SNP.

They can't seem to grasp it's about the country's future, and not about Political Parties. Allan Grogan & Co are doing good work in trying to get that message across.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-11-30 10:15
That's the real problem you describe Jimbo.
It's pointless trying to convert party members, they are unlikely to open their minds to Independence.
The challenge is to get voters to understand the referendum is not an election, it's to decide the right of Scots only to shape and govern the country we all love.

Who would deny Independence, denies future generations the freedom to make it's own decisions.
 
 
# Bubs 2012-11-30 13:56
The campaign needs the support of a large chunk of the typical labour supporter base to succeed. So Jim I disagree with your point of it being pointless trying to convert party members. If we can convert a few of these, especially high profile members, then we'll get a large number of there followers too.
 
 
# Will C 2012-11-30 11:00
@Jim Johnston - "Who would deny Independence, denies future generations the freedom to make it's own decisions."
Jim that is one of the best quotes I have heard in this whole debate so far. If you don't mind I would like to use it as much as possible as it is very powerful and evocative statement.
 
 
# HighlandBark 2012-11-30 12:43
Good quote, but if you're going to use it publicly, I suggest you amend it to read:

"Who would deny Independence, denies future generations the freedom to make their own decisions."

Pedantic perhaps, but I believe that typos, spelling, punctuation and grammar errors always dilute the effect of the message.
 
 
# Zed 2012-11-30 11:35
I would love to see a poll of Labour voters and their voting intentions in the referendum.
Many in the media, and Labour leaders themselves, tend to believe all Labour voters are Unionists.
To a certain extent they are when they keep voting for a Unionist party. But we know there are various reasons people in Scotland vote Labour including blind allegiance and habit.
Voting Labour doesn't mean voting No.
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-11-30 15:14
At the meeting Mr Bell told the group, the referendum no longer represents a choice between David Cameron and Alex Salmond.

It never was the case, Mr Bell.

Its all about deciding what's best for Scotlands's future.

What a fantastic opportunity lies ahead; lets grab it with both hands and make Scotland a better place to live for generations to come.

Vote YES.
 
 
# Proadge 2012-11-30 17:40
Thanks for this Newsnet but just to note that there is no such entity as the 'Scottish Labour Party', despite what the Daily Record and the state broadcaster might have us believe. There is, currently, only the British Labour Party and their explicitly subordinate representatives in Scotland.

Which kind of goes to the heart of what this article is about.
 
 
# ButeHouse 2012-11-30 18:03
Those who feel Labour voters are the key to success in the 2014 Referendum are absolutely right.

Allan Grogan has set up a mechanism which will allow thousands of 'soft' NO voters to cross over to the YES Camp.

The message that this is not a battle between Labour and SNP is slowly getting across to Labour supporters who are already forming a steady trickle over to the YES side of the fence, largely due to Allan, Alex and friends in LFI.

That trickle will become a flow and then a flood and each conversion is like TWO votes one for YES one LESS for No.

For every 10,000 Labour supporters who vote YES the NO Camp has to find 20,000 to make up the difference.

I reckon 50,000 Labour supporters voting YES will be the difference between victory and defeat in 2014.

VOTE YES
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-11-30 20:03
We did a poll in A&B about ten years ago. We got around 12% of 25,000 back,
As it was obviously an SNP survey a majority of the returns came from SNP supporters. However a substantial number came back from those identifying as supporters of other parties. Of those 54% identifying for Labour said they would vote YES, 57% of LibDems
and even one in five identified Tory voters said YES. Since that point I have recognised that the splitting of the Labour Party on Independence is essential .
We now have the polarisation - idependence v union - we have always needed, rather than left against right but our enemies are still trying to play party political games.

Anybody in South Argyll can call in at 229 Argyll Street Dunoon where there is a YES centre which is open from noon till 3.30 every day.There is SNP, Labour For Independence and Green in it.
 
 
# Marian 2012-11-30 22:29
One of the things that struck me about the march for independence to Princes Street Gardens in September was that the majority of people marching appeared to be identifying themselves as being from a number of different "socialist" parties.

I thought then that if someone from the Westminster Labour party was watching them go by, that they should be very very worried......
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-11-30 22:54
Marian

Exectly right. My feeling, supported by little snippets of information, is that the Labour Party is in deep trouble and their Spring Conference may see a major split. Good to see the James Connolly Society marching down with us in September . This is more important than many will realise. If that particular wing splits off off the Labour Party in West Central Scotland it is curtains for Labour.
 
 
# Will C 2012-11-30 23:17
@sneckedagain - I might be wrong but I do not think the James Connolly Society is a "wing" of the Labour Party. James Connolly was a republican, a nationalist and a socialist, I doubt very much if his supporters would be members of a right wing party.
 
 
# ds12 2012-12-01 09:20
Lets hope this organisation can attract a big hitter in the Labour party to back them.
I also saw they planned to deliver their message in "strong labour areas" this is vital that they can get leaflets and bodies out to pass on their message.
In the past I would have said they should just join the SNP but not now it has to be an independence movement not a political party.
 
 
# stewart kellett 2012-12-01 13:43
It's great to see that people (Labour) are waking up to the fact that this is not about the SNP or Alex Salmond it never was. It's about the people of Scotland deciding to do what is best for them. I think this Labour group have opened the whole debate up and deflected it away from all this SNP or Salmond bashing. Which incidentally doesn't do the Scottish people any favours.
 
 
# Soloman 2012-12-01 18:40
It's been a con by certain Labour politicians trying to link the parties to the union or independence with Alex Salmond being used as the figurehead to attack.
As you say the people have started to awake from their slumber!

X Vote Yes X
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-12-01 22:28
Will C
I know. The James Connolly Society is not a wing of the Labour Party but the section of our society who hold Connolly in high eesteem hold the Labour Party together in parts of Scotlamd
 
 
# mealer 2012-12-03 10:59
I dont know if we'll see a big split in the labour party,but I think we'll see a softening of attitude among backbenchers.So,they wont come out in support of YES,but nor will they make too much effort for NO.We could see a siveable number of Labour MSPs adopt..."well,its upto every Scot to consider the pros and cons and make up their own mind" as their stance.If they dont,and YES wins,where are they going to be? They will have lost all credibility.
 
 
# think-indy 2012-12-06 20:38
This is exactly whats required. The formation of the parties that can campaign in their own right for independence. show that it's just not an SNP thing. This will give the referendum more credance to the general public and hopefully more confidence in voting yes.
 

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