In 2014 the SNP built their campaign to break up the UK around inequality and the damage austerity was doing to Scotland. This had a huge impact and, despite their lack of credibility on either issue, it powered them to victory in 2015 & 2017.
Day-by-day since then the reality of the SNP’s record in government has been shown to be in sharp contrast to their 2014 rhetoric. We’ve seen public services go backwards whilst Nicola Sturgeon obsessed about a second divisive independence referendum that Scotland didn’t want. Voters saw that the SNP were simply using fighting inequality and austerity as a vehicle for furthering their constitutional obsession.
Nowhere was this more stark than the council elections. People saw that whilst SNP local government manifestos across Scotland had a clear commitment to tackling “Tory Austerity”, none were willing to say they’d do anything about cuts imposed by the Scottish Government.
So whilst it’s correct that the SNP lost votes on the 8th of June due to their constitutional obsession, Labour won votes because of the clear commitment we had to fighting austerity imposed by Westminster and Holyrood.
We were clear that we’d protect the poorest by opposing austerity and the Scottish Government’s willingness to cut services for the vulnerable rather than use its revenue raising powers. We were just as clear about this as the damage we feel independence would do to Scotland.
That’s why I will be arguing that Edinburgh’s Labour Councillors should not back any city administration that’s unwilling to oppose cuts inflicted on our capital by the Scottish Government. I also want to see the city administration make a clear commitment to protecting the benefits the UK and EU single markets give Edinburgh.