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Time for a truce

SNP and Labour need to work together on Brexit

Plenty of time for fighting later

Originally published in the Sunday Mail 1st October 2017

The civil war between SNP and Labour is so vicious because they share so much, trading voters, members and policies over the years.

But with no clear road to a 2nd Indyref now is the time for a truce.

Mainstream opinion in Scottish Labour wants the UK to remain in the single market, mainstream opinion in the SNP wants that for both Scotland and rUK, at least — mainstream Scotland agrees.

Both sides have their nutty fringes, from Tommy ‘The Perjuror’ Sheridan and his cybernat hangers-on to the sinister Stalinists too close to Corbyn for comfort.

Normal politics must continue: Scotland has a working government and parliament with a full legislative programme — Westminster doesn’t.

This monstrous Octo-Bill on Brexit — 8 arms connected for one purpose — will dominate Westminster, not for 1 year, but 2, and after Mrs May’s concessions in Florence, perhaps another 2 after that.

At its heart is a political horrorshow: a technical power, an antique dragged out of the museum and dusted off — Henry VIII powers. Tory ministers, as the King-in-parliament, can write laws by decree: Gove, Fox, Queen Andrea all.

This is only for things kissed by EU law, but that’s a slobber-load since 1973.

In 1972 the old Northern Irish parliament was prorogued and replaced by Henry-VIII-in-the-North, now Westminster has prorogued itself. It wasn’t good government then and it won’t be now.

In the election Mrs May sent 2 sidekicks off and they wrote a manifesto that exploded on contact with reality. The Brexit bill is this 12,000 times.

When I was a kid the telly had endless public information films about house fires, fag ends, burning sofas, everybody dying (ask yer Grannie). Then we made inflammable sofas illegal.

When David Cameron’s hippy guru Steve Hinton was on the rampage — this was the first regulation he tried to torch.

This is what will be going on for 24 EU laws every working day. Lobbyists who know which burning sofa has how much loose change down the back are nudging’n’fudging already.

And normal politics will out, if you find a trace of lipstick on something you can ‘fix’ it with a decree, as they intend to ‘fix’ devolution.

To fight this war we need experts — our MPs need help.

During the IndyRef the SNP built a machine: self-organising groups, software systems, fundraising and an open coalition.

We should offer these skills to friends of the EU in and out of Parliament to build a public campaign of experts to surface all the meddle and muddle, to find the political bombshells hidden under Henry VIII orders and explode them, to stop this farce as soon as we can.

Once we have done that we can fall back to fighting each other. Whilst I admire the energy that the wider ‘Corbynist’ movement has brought to Labour, I am not going to pretend I love Corbyn — but nor do I demand love back.

But I will put out a hand to anyone, the lost pro-European Tories even, in this, the current fight.

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