‘IT’S time for change.” “Communities are crying out for change.” “People are yearning for change.” “Voters want change and the way to get that change is to vote Labour.”

You may have seen the contrived and orchestrated messages such as these on social media and ­elsewhere. They have proliferated since a ­YouGov poll suggested Labour may win as many as 403 MPs at the ­forthcoming election, giving Keir Starmer a 150-seat majority.

Such surveys reflect the mood of many who feel “we have to get rid of the Tories, we need to see the back of Rishi Sunak (below) and his cronies as they have been in government for 14 long years, through the harrowing Covid pandemic, the punishing cost of ­living crisis, two referenda and ­several other bitter disputes”.

The National: Rishi Sunak

“We are desperate to be shot of them and their contempt for ordinary ­people. If only Labour can do it, so be it!”

The argument’s simplicity is ­unmistakable. And Yes supporters are not immune to it as they flock to Labour in large numbers. Perhaps the central question to ask however is do voters really believe Labour will make the economic, social and ­political changes they want to see?

Starmer’s mantra – “people want change and the only way to get that change is to vote Labour” – is not only dishonest, it is a slogan that may hang around his neck like a noose in due course!

On independence they will ­continue, like the Tories did, by ­denying Scotland its right to ­self-determination.

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On the economy Labour have been explicit, it intends to follow the ­Tories plans. On industrial relations Labour will stand, not on picket lines in solidarity with striking workers, but alongside the bosses and ­corporate elite despite receiving millions of pounds from those trade unions.

The people behind PFI now ­promise you increased private sector involvement in running the NHS.

On public service funding Labour promises more austerity and cuts. And on the social care crisis in this country they aim to continue with the same wholly inadequate ­provision so exposed by the Covid pandemic, ­instead of the publicly owned, 21st century service families urgently ­demand.

And with regards to international relations, they promise more Nato warmongering and like the ­Tories will insist “Israel has a right to ­defend ­itself” even as it massacres 33,000 ­innocent Palestinians and ­assassinates aid workers in cold blood.

“Change?” That’s the last thing on Labour’s mind! The fact is Labour are offering no alternative to the Tories whatsoever. And proposes no change to the wealth and power relationships in Scotland today.

It lacks the guts for a fight like that. In 125 years, Labour have never been disposed to transformational ­changes of any kind. Starmer’s election ­strategy is further evidence of that.

He has concluded the Tory brand is toxic, but their policies are not. That is why he is copying them. Is this a cowardly political approach? Yes, it is. Is it fundamentally dishonest and undemocratic? Certainly.

Serious attitudes are therefore ­needed to expose Labour in ­Scotland. Its inevitable failure will, in due course, help the independence cause.

It is also true that the forces that stand in the way of meaningful change in Scotland are far more profound, powerful and ominous than Labour.

Corporatism, the innate ­conservatism of the wealthy with their Edinburgh public schools, ­secluded landowning estates, ­private hedge funds with billions of pounds “under management”, their ­relationship with the British ruling class and the ­unelected powers that be, are all lined up in opposing the kind of changes voters are seeking and independence represents.

Independence is about challenging that hegemony, or it is about nothing. SNP leaders should take note.

Their message that ­independence means little will change [employed to placate and calm middle class ­reluctance to embrace the Yes ­message] is not only ­conservative, it is doomed to failure, for it ­fundamentally ­contradicts the biggest attraction our message has – hope!

As I have said in these pages before, I expect “Blue Labour” to win the election this autumn. I see it entering “a political death spiral” in Scotland thereafter however, because it has no answers to the huge problems facing 21st century Britain.

They may be 20% ahead in the polls today, but I can see them 20% ­behind in Scotland within a year of the ­election because those paying close ­attention already see through them.

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The Yes movement needs to be prepared for a new political landscape that is quite unlike the current one.

We need to draw the right ­conclusions about the forthcoming General election and recognise the strategic failures that were made in our own approach since 2014 if we are to secure the profound, ­transformational change Scottish ­independence implies.

Colin Fox is co-spokesperson for the Scottish Socialist Party and was on the Yes Scotland Advisory Board from 2012 to 2014