IF you ask anyone what the SNP is all about, I pretty much guarantee that they will suggest that it is Scottish independence, above all else.

If you similarly ask most people what the Labour Party is about at this moment, most people would not have a clue how to answer.

In a nutshell, that is a difference between these two parties at present.

I am not a party politician, and I’m an apologist for no party. That said, and although I have been deeply critical of it on occasions, there is an underlying conviction and a set of principles that underpins the SNP, which I welcome.

In my lifetime, the same might also have been said of Labour. I’ve also been critical of that party in the past, but at least I knew that deep down, even if occasionally quite well hidden, its intention was to make the lives of those less well-off in the UK better than they might otherwise have been.

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Despite all its relatively recent troubles, nothing persuades me that the SNP has changed very greatly. Its leadership, and its membership, remain pretty much true to its cause, even if they do not always agree on how to get there.

That might still be true for many members of the Labour Party. Although hundreds of thousands of those members have either left or been expelled over the last few years, I am sufficiently generous to think that the majority of those who remain are people of principle. The trouble is that in the case of Labour no one can be sure that this is true of its leadership.

As a cascade of recent events, including yesterday‘s debacle in the Westminster Parliament prove, the only thing that Labour’s leadership is now interested in is power for the benefit of those at the top of the party. Anything and everything else is compromised in pursuit of that goal.

I should not, perhaps, be terribly surprised about this. Labour’s leadership is neoliberal to its core. Most of them were educated at Oxford University, where they learned what I think to be a corrupted form of politics, philosophy and economics. That version of those subjects suggests that achievement of personal ambition at whatever the cost to anyone else is the goal of human life. This is the doctrine of neoliberalism.

This neoliberal thinking is embodied in the idea of profit maximisation when it is applied in the business environment. That thinking says that profit should, apparently be achieved without concern being expressed for those (or the environment) harmed whilst achieving that outcome.

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In the political sphere, this idea is expressed as the pursuit of power, with any harm to others that achievement of this goal involves being similarly dismissed as inconsequential.

Anyone of sound mind now knows the harm that neoliberal business has caused. Climate change is its responsibility. The future of the planet has been imperilled by it. So far, most of business is seemingly indifferent to that fact.

Now we are seeing the full political consequences of neoliberalism. Once, that was only found on the Tory benches. Now it has pervaded everything that Labour does. The SNP’s membership needs to be warned: it is at risk, as the actions of Nicola Sturgeon all too often suggested.

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The consequences of this ethical collapse within politics are enormous. Labour was happy to put party political interests above those of democracy itself yesterday.

Labour was also willing to claim that the safety of its MPs who appear to support the continuation of a genocide in Israel, was more important than the safety of Palestinian people suffering untold harm in Gaza. Labour ruthlessness that is indifferent to the needs of anyone but its leadership was put on blatant display yesterday.

I have long argued that neoliberal capitalism and the consequent shareholder focus of large companies has been a curse for humanity for which we are all paying a considerable price.

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Now, we are seeing that the price of neoliberal politics is at least as high, if not higher.

There was a time when politics was a vocation. People sought power to deliver better outcomes for the world at large. It was just about possible to maintain that myth until David Cameron and George Osborne secured power in 2010, when it became apparent that their austerity programs were deeply unethical, and they just did not care.

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Now, Starmer has joined their ranks in the pantheon of neoliberal charlatans seeking power in this country. He is now making it clear that nothing is meant to get in the way of his path to power. Unfortunately, he is likely to succeed.

We will live in a desolate place until he and all his ilk are swept away and out of power to be replaced by people of principle.

In that case, the SNP should hang on to its principles and cherish and nurture them with care. They are what the future requires.