The pro-independence group Labour for Independence has announced that the first in a series national events which it intends to stage in 2014, will be held in Glasgow later this month.
The event, entitled, ‘A Labour case for Yes, – A Labour vision of Scotland’s future.’, will take place on Thursday 23rd of January in the main conference hall of the STUC (333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow.)
Beginning at 7.30pm it will feature an impressive panel made up solely of members of the Labour Party, Labour grandees and prominent members of the Labour movement.
Speakers already confirmed to attend include:
- Former leader of Strathclyde regional council, Sir Charles Gray
- Former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson
- Former Special Advisor to Jack McConnell, Jeane Freeman
- Labour for Independence Leader and Labour Party member Allan Grogan
- Labour for Independence Deputy Leader and Labour Party member Deborah Waters
- Former Scottish Labour Party Chairman and Treasurer Bob Thomson, who will discuss the benefits of the Common Weal Model in Scotland.
The group intends to stage another five similar events in Scotland’s major cities in the months leading up to the referendum.
Commenting on the event, Labour for Independence leader Allan Grogan said that it would highlight the fact that a vote for independence in September is not a vote for the SNP:
“It is important for people to see that a yes vote this September is not a vote for Alex Salmond or the SNP, rather an opportunity to improve the lives of all people in our country.
“The fact we have such strong support within the Labour movement is testament to the merits of what independence can bring to Scotland and also towards the restoration of the Labour Party to its founding principles.”
Mr Grogan, who is a Scottish Labour Party member, set up Labour for Independence after becoming increasingly frustrated at party bosses’ continued refusal to acknowledge support for independence among the party’s grassroots. Mr Grogan said the group was rapidly growing within the Labour Party and continues to recruit a great deal of support from both Labour members and supporters throughout Scotland.
Recent high profile announcements from former senior Labour party figures have suggested a growing disaffection within the Labour party at the party’s hardine pro-Union stance.
On Sunday John Mulvey became the latest senior Labour figure to come out in support of independence following similar announcements from Sir Charles Gray and Alex Mosson towards the end of 2013.
The former Lothian Regional Council Leader and ex boss of Better Together chief Alistair Darling, urged other Labour supporters to vote Yes in the referendum, and said: “I have gone from being a sceptic about the relevance of devolution given all the other major political issues of that time to being absolutely convinced that Scotland’s future now lies with independence.”
Pointing to the benefits that independence can bring to the Labour movement in Scotland, Sir Charles Gray said:
“The sound argument for Scottish Independence is fast crossing the political divide, but the Labour case is at the top and remains there due to the increasing interest by solid Labour voters and active Trade-Unionists who anticipate a post-referendum Labour victory.”
The announcement of the events from the Labour group coincided with a speech by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who told an audience in St Andrews University that a Yes vote was cross party.
Ms Sturgeon said the referendum “transcends party politics” adding that there was was already “a pronounced movement” away from a No vote among traditional Labour supporters.
“Sometimes from No to undecided, but also movement towards Yes.”
She added: “We all want Scotland to succeed – no party has a monopoly on that ambition.
“If you accept the principle that the best way of ensuring success is to give ourselves the powers that help determine it, then it doesn’t matter whether or not you support the SNP or our specific plans for using those powers.”
“…Party loyalty should not be a decisive factor in this debate.”