ANAS Sarwar is looking an increasingly lonely figure in Labour Party circles. While the Labour Party’s leader in Scotland is clinging for dear life to the hollow shell of the United Kingdom all about him in the party are running for the lifeboats.

The party’s shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Louise Haigh “sparked fury” (The Daily Mail) by suggesting Labour remains neutral in any future poll on Irish reunification.

Her argument that it is for the people of Northern Ireland to determine their own constitutional future may seem an entirely reasonable one to the rest of the democratic world but it is deemed dangerously close to revolutionary in a UK now irrevocably opposed to giving its constituent parts any escape route.

There are, of course, no existing plans to hold such a vote in Northern Ireland and it is pretty much a given that were such a vote to be held Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the UK so the matter is entirely hypothetical but it is nonetheless another sign that Labour members are struggling against the constraints of its leadership’s Unionism.

The Labour Party in Wales has been overtaken by such a sensible faction that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been moved to praise it for its grown-up attitude to politics. Its Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is so sensible that that he believes it is entirely possible to support the principle of the United Kingdom while accepting the idea that the Welsh people might want to have a say in whether to remain in the UK or not.

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He is therefore entirely comfortable with the idea of setting up a constitutional convention in his country that accepts independence as one of a number of entirely legitimate options for the future of Wales.

But while senior Labour figures are relaxed about putting independence on the table for debate in Northern Ireland and Wales its leader in Scotland is resolute in standing beside Boris Johnson in attempting to deny the Scottish people any opportunity to even consider the question.

Like his leader “Sir” Keir Starmer and the British Prime Minister, Anas Sarwar will argue that Scotland made its decision in 2014 and that’s that; which is a little disingenuous given that they all disagreed with the referendum as well. The Better Together side’s reluctance to even engage in the debate, the string of events cancelled because they pulled their representative out at the last minute, the continued refusal of requests they abandon Project Fear and articulate a positive case for Unionism … all these are forgotten in the haste to portray indyref1 as literally the last word on democracy.

But if senior Labour figures are prepared to countenance Irish reunification and Welsh independence, what is it about Scotland that makes its independence so outrageous that it must not even be mentioned as a legitimate ambitions?

Before we even get to that question it’s worth considering why Labour’s position matters to anyone? After all it is years since the party was a serious force in Scottish politics, its claim to serious consideration destroyed by its decision to stand alongside the Tories – a party which should have been its arch enemy and too toxic to join forces with on ANY cause – in Better Together.

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The attention given to Labour by the Scottish media is laughable given its dismal performance in Scottish elections. As evidence just look at the publicity given to every utterance by Gordon Brown, no longer an elected representative and incapable of fulfilling any promises he makes to the Scottish people. Yet from the coverage he receives in the Scottish press you would be forgiven for believing we stand on the cusp of a Brown-inspired golden age in which Scotland has all the powers of independence without actually being … you know … independent.

Why, asked one commentor forlornly, doesn’t Gordon Brown enlist Nicola Sturgeon’s aid to fix this battered ,bruised and outdated Union?

Well, here are three reasons:

1: It can’t be fixed. 2: Gordon Brown isn’t in a position to fix an inefficient dustbin collection; 3: Nicola Sturgeon has no interest in fixing the Union. She want to dump it in favour of becoming a progressive, successful and fair country, an ambition destined to be always thwarted by membership of the UK.

More evidence of the Scottish media’s inability to move on from decades of being in thrall to Labour. The acres of “serious” coverage given to an interview with former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell in which he attempted to paint a dystopian picture of Scottish politics gone to the dogs ever since – and you can guess this bit is coming – it turned its back on Labour.

It might be news to Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale but Scotland dumped Labour because it betrayed the country and its own principles. Our country was transformed by the first independence referendum campaign which brought new life to our politics after decades of inertia and the quashing of our ambitions. Nothing would persuade us to go back to the days when Labour dominated Scotland.

IF that’s the case who gives a toss what the party’s views on independence are? Well, it’s becoming possible to imagine a UK with a Labour government. Still not likely. But possible.

Boris Johnson can’t survive many more speeches like the Peppa Pig’s breakfast at the CBI conference. You don’t have to buy into the hype about Tory disaffection with their leader to accept that there is a limit to how incompetent even Johnson can get away with appearing.

Things must be bad for his leadership when even Ruth Davidson piles in to criticise him and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross feels brazen enough to leave a tantalisingly delay before confirming his support for the Prime Minister’s leadership at the third time of asking in a radio interview.

We’re still some way from the Tory party ousting Johnson, not least because there’s a shortage of acceptable candidates to replace him. Gove? Patel? It’s hard to see either of them uniting the party. It still feels a little early for a Sunak challenge.

But even if the Tories run out of patience with Johnson and show him the door it’s still unlikely there will be a Westminster general election before May 2024, by which time Scotland should have held indyref2.

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Call me crazy but I’d rather see the pressure mount on Labour to change its ridiculous policy on Scottish independence, if possible before that referendum and certainly before the next Westminster election.

I’d rather go into indyref2 with the UK Government isolated in the eyes of the world insisting on the undemocratic position of standing against the vote. That adds authority to a Yes vote and makes subsequent discussions with Westminster simpler.

There is simply no intellectual argument that sees Labour supporting discussions on independence in Wales and on Irish reunification but not on independence for Scotland. What would be the justification? That Labour can’t win Westminster without Scotland? Untrue.

Since 1945 only two general election results, in 1964 and February 1974, would have been different in terms of the largest party if Scotland had not taken part. On two more occasions the exclusion of Scotland would have given a different party a majority. In October 1974 Labour won a majority. They would still have been the largest party if Scottish votes had been excluded but would not have had a majority.

In 2010 the Conservatives did not win a majority and formed a coalition government with the LibDems. Had Scottish voted been excluded they would have had a majority.

So on most occasions since 1945 Scotland had no real effect on the general election result.

So what’s really behind Labour’s opposition to a vote on Scottish independence? Whatever answer they come up with had better be a good one, given that influential figures within the party have already bowed to the democratic argument in Wales and Northern Ireland.