The National:

GERRY Hassan's argument [The National ‘Extra’ 6/7/2020] that Scottish Labour is finished unless they support Independence might as well urge the birds to be bees for Sir Keir Starmer has made it abundantly clear he intends to move his party in the opposite direction. Starmer's goal is to make Scottish Labour the main Unionist party here again.

Younger readers may not appreciate Labour played this role historically and kept to the script word for word throughout the 2014 referendum. Who can forget Gordon Brown's desperate "vow" in the final days of the campaign promising "more powers for the Scottish Parliament" to halt the momentum behind the Yes vote.

Those powers remain paltry of course after another failed promise. And yet at the same time the SNP Government refuses to employ many of them to challenge the grotesque inequalities that blight our nation in their own advocacy of neo-liberal orthodoxy.

The SNP has bullied many on the ‘soft Left’ into swallowing things they shouldn’t have.

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: Scottish Labour are in a tailspin, but there is one way out

The privatisation of NHS facilities like Edinburgh’s Sick Children’s hospital, the public spending cuts that have ravaged our local services, the right wing economics outlined in the Sustainable Growth Commission and their evasion on the long promised abolition of the hated council tax are just some that readily spring to mind.

Then there’s indyref2, where the SNP wasted four years tying our case for independence to membership of an anti-democratic, neo-liberal European Union rather than improving the economic case. Despite encouraging polls, we have ended up in a strategic cul de sac unable to steer our way to independence because the SNP leadership are bound hand and foot to an unobtainable Westminster Section 30 order. There is every reason why people who support independence might be looking for an alternative to the conservative SNP and its record of managerialism on behalf of a corporate elite.

But with Labour moving to the Right again Hassan is wasting his breath, if I may politely say so, in urging their adoption of independence.

It is even possible Labour will halt their "tailspin" as Hassan calls it and make progress in the polls in Scotland at the expense of the Tories. Carlaw’s party has stolen a march on them in recent years in Unionist circles.

Scottish Labour sits at just 12% support under Richard Leonard. They have now concluded their position can most easily be improved by capitalising on a post-Corbyn image of competence and by stealing away Unionist votes from the Eton led Tories.

Those who support independence but do not hold with nationalism, the political constituency Hassan has in mind, must therefore look elsewhere next May.

They would be better served by supporting the Scottish Socialist Party. In so doing they will be advocating for example a National Care Service free at the point of need and publicly owned like the NHS. Given the appalling number of deaths in Scotland’s private residential care sector it is hardly surprising this demand has raced to the top of the political agenda.

Surely the best legacy we can therefore leave our citizens after this terrible pandemic is to bring social care provision into the 20th century and put it on a par with the NHS; free at the point of need, publicly owned and run where both residents and staff are looked after far better than this model can deliver.

Those backing the SSP next May will also be supporting a £12/hour living wage to end the poverty pay and insecurity rampant in this country today, again a figure only the SSP promises. They will be backing the introduction of free public transport to help curb the greenhouse gas emissions damaging our climate. And they will be voting for a modern democratic republic for 21st century Scotland.

Whilst Labour will not "walk the walk" to independence the Scottish Socialist Party will give voice to working class Scots opposed to a unionist Labour Party and a conservative SNP.

Colin Fox is the SSP joint National spokesperson and was SSP MSP for the Lothians from 2003-2007