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.
“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.