Yes voters and the temptations presented by Jeremy Corbyn

Author and playwright Alan Bissett

Reporter: Patience Magill

Leading Yes campaigner and Scottish author and playwright Alan Bissett has cast doubt on Jeremy Corbyn’s credentials in Scotland.

In an exclusive interview with Newsnet partner Phantom Power, Bissett confesses that Corbyn’s rise as Labour leader has had some appeal to left-leaning activists, including himself. Bissett came close to voting Labour in May’s UK general election, but drew short in the 11th hour.


So why did he reach that decision? Bissett blames Scottish Labour and its continued fierce attacks on nationalism and the Yes cause in Scotland.

The playwright’s intervention came as the Yes movement debates next steps and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon promises to “reset” he party approach to the constitutional question.

Last weekend former SNP leader Alex Salmond predicted that independence could be achieved “within four years” as a result of Brexit. Meanwhile many Yes activists have admitted to voting Labour in May, attracted by Corbyn’s radicalism.

Corbyn during his first leadership campaign

“He’s in favour of a hard Brexit, which puts him in the same position as the Tories. If you look at Corbyn’s position on Trident, admirably he has put his own position, but it is not the position of his party why is committed to renewal of Trident. He is perfectly prepared to over-ride his activists on Brexit but not on Trident,” comments Bissett.

“The internationalist left wing argument is in tatters because of Brexit. Scotland voted to remain and most people in the independence movement voted to stay in Europe. Scotland being independent is anathema to him. Either they don’t see Scotland as a country. There is an underlying British nationalism.”

Bissett’s interview comes on the heels of a Newsnet podcast interview involving Corbyn supporter and former leading Labour figure, Steven Purcell. He stated that a number of Yes voters in areas such as Glasgow, Dundee and Lanarkshire had been swayed to Labour by Corbyn’s approach. Yes activist Cat Boyd riled hardcore campaigners by writing that while she continued to support independence, she had voted Labour in May because of Corbyn’s left wing approach.


  1. Corbyn and his party oppose Scottish independence, they are old school unionists. That should be enough to correct any dewy eyed electoral flirtation. He and his Scottish allies can offer Scotland nothing new, nothing positive for the future.

  2. Corbyn leads a political party that has opposed independence since the beginning and has done everything in their power to stall the independence movement.
    Corbyn may be seen as wonderful by some, but the reality here is that the man does not make the party. The party makes the man. Proof of this is his stance on Trident and his quick change about another Scottish Independence Referendum.

    Corbyn may be the face of Labour today (at least until the next chicken coup), but behind him the labour that hid the McCrone Report, the party that ‘gave’ 6000 sq miles of Scottish waters to England, the party that sold us ‘the vow’ and many broken promises during indiref2014, the party that pulled the hand break on Scottish devolution and the party that turns a blind eye to the leader of its Scottish branch welcoming tory votes in certain constituencies and claps and cheers when tories took seats from SNP MPs ensuring that Mr Corbyn is not today in n10, is still the same anti Scottish one.

  3. The Labour Party is the enemy of people living in Scotland. As are the other Unionist parties.

    Through their actions, Scotland continues to be exposed to Tory Austerity, year after grinding year.


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