Organisers struggling to keep up with requests to get involved by former no voters after interest “exploded” with the announcement of second referendum
INTEREST in the Scottish Labour for Independence (LFI) campaign group has “exploded” since the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a second referendum.
Around a hundred members had gotten involved with the campaign since it was re-organised in the months following the UK’s vote for Brexit in 2016, interest has surged, including many former No activsits, have joined since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in Edinburgh yesterday (13 March) that she would ask the Scottish Parliament to back a second poll on independence. The campaign told CommonSpace that numbers have almost doubled in under 24 hours.
Speaking to CommonSpace, campaign organisers said they were struggling to keep up with applications, including from party activists who were No supporters in the 2014 independence referendum.
Commenting on the new influx of support, Scottish Labour for Independence national organiser Scott Abel said: “We’ve been contacted by people from all over the UK, Labour members from England, Wales, from Ireland, wishing us well and asking how they can help.
“A lot of new members, a lot of ex-No voters and campaigners.
“It’s exploded, it’s hard to keep up with it.”
“A lot of new members, a lot of ex-No voters and campaigners. It’s exploded, it’s hard to keep up with it.” Scott Abel
Abel said that LFI were already preparing to take the argument to Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), the democratic local organisations of Scottish Labour, in a bid to win as many activists as possible to the independence cause in coming months
“It hasn’t really been a hot topic in CLPs until now. But it will be going forward, and that’s what we’ll be engaging in the next couple of months
“We’ve got members now in every CLP in Scotland, there’s not one we don’t have an LFI member in and we have our ears to the ground. You can already tell the people you can sway [to support for independence].
“Our main aim over the next couple of months, before we hit campaign mode, will be to be very active within our CLP’s – that’s crucially important for Yes as a whole, that we do that.”
Abel said members of LFI were in agreement with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about Scotland having the right to hold a second referendum, but expressed disenchantment with the leadership and the direction of the party in Scotland.
Abel, who is a member of Aberdeenshire west CLP, added: “Corbyn was absolutely right – most of our members support Jeremy. It’s something we’ve discussed and you can’t fault him on that, it’s absolutely up to voters whether we have a second referendum.
“There are still 500,000 Labour voters out there, as of last year at least. Are they going to be convinced by federalism ideas in the party, or by this leadership in the party, I’m not convinced, and I think Labour voters are unconvinced.
“How long is it going to be until we have a Labour UK Government again? More than a decade?”
“How long is it going to be until we have a Labour UK Government again? More than a decade? And once that government finally appears, is there still going to be appetite in UK Labour to go forward with federalism? I think voters will be unconvinced by that as well, as so will members
LFI will hold a national meeting on 8 April in Dundee to organise internal structures and strategy for the forthcoming campaign.
Picture courtesy of Màrtainn MacDhòmhnaill
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