Shock horror - somebody in the Labour Party (a former First Minister no less) has said something positive about the SNP and independence! The Labour Party in Scotland is shocked to its core!
Here's the story:
So, basically, Henry McLeish has stated that he believes that the National Conversation, launched by the SNP Government as a way of debating Scotland's constitutional future, is a positive thing and that independence should be seen as a positive option for Scotland. Hardly earth-shattering stuff you would think?
But the Labour Party has got its knickers in a twist about it. The Labour Party in Scotland may well believe that Scotland is best ruled by London, but even they must acknowledge that there are many people who do not hold that view - quite legitimately. The whole point of the National Conversation is just that - a conversation. It doesn't say that the only option is independence, and that anyone who thinks the union has any good points needn't bother engaging with it. Indeed, the National Conversation, considers further devolution of powers to Scotland, short of independence.
The Labour Party in Scotland can only stick their fingers in their ears for so long, and try to ignore the 'I' word. However, in doing so, they will become even more removed from the people they say they want to represent. If the SNP Government is mature enough to debate the favoured options of the other parties in Scotland, then surely the other parties should be mature enough to debate independence. It simply isn't credible to just deny it's an issue. What are they afraid of anyway? They say that independence would be terrible, and we should just not talk about it. I suspect they don't want to debate independence because they know that the more people who are exposed to informed debate about Scotland's future, then support for independence will grow and grow.