Labour thumping victory over the SNP in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election was achieved in part by backing off from Net Zero policies, the war on the motorist and gender woo. It’s the latest signal that the Left-wing party is shifting to accommodate the inconvenient realities that the public is keenly aware of but political elites so often like to try to ignore. Iain Macwhirter has more in the Spectator.
In recent months the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has outflanked the SNP by moving significantly to the centre Right. Indeed on key issues of tax, energy, welfare, gender and the Union Sarwar is in danger of treading on traditional Tory territory.
Scotland already has the highest taxes in the U.K. with those earning over £50,000 paying around £1,500 more than in England. Humza Yousaf is committed to increasing the burden still further. But Labour’s message to the voters of Rutherglen was that Scots are paying quite enough tax already and getting precious little in return for it. Labour now has a “presumption against tax increases”. Nor has Mr. Sarwar supported the SNP in its vehement opposition to the U.K. Government’s two child cap on benefits, what some Labour MPs used to call the “rape clause”.
On Net Zero, Scottish Labour has distanced itself from the SNP/Green slogan of keeping Scotland’s oil and gas “in the ground”. Sarwar now accepts that development of the controversial Rosebank oil and gas field off Shetland will go ahead and agrees with Rishi Sunak that fossil fuels will still be needed “for decades to come”; Labour even opposed the SNP’s low emission zone in Glasgow.
Sarwar has also disowned the Scottish Government’s Gender Reform Recognition Bill despite Labour having voted for it only last year. Sarwar now says there needs to be greater protections for women against predatory men invading their spaces by self-declaring themselves as female. And of course Labour remains a staunch defender of the Union and resolutely opposed to any repeat referendum on independence.
Worth reading in full.