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Increasing support for an illegal wildcat referendum is undermining the party’s attempt to win over unionist voters.
As well as forging a new unionist narrative, the government is expected to spend lavishly in Scotland.
Labour’s problem over recent decades is that it has largely been dragged to a position of constitutional reform more by a fear of nationalism than coherent advocacy of reform.
The constitutional and political paths to a second referendum are currently blocked.
No wonder Ian Murray is standing to be deputy leader — Scotland has become a major fault line in the Labour Party.
The truth is that for too long Scottish Labour has lacked a leader with the necessary force of character and clarity of message to gain a hearing.
Scotland’s only Labour MP, who today launched his deputy leadership bid, told the NS that the party had been harmed by its ambiguity on a second independence referendum.
The party cannot hope to be more nationalist than the SNP, or more unionist than the Conservatives, so it must find a distinct platform and language.
British rule in both Scotland and Northern Ireland depends on the consent of the people who live there.
The party knows that it must strike a generous and reassuring tone to win over sceptical unionists.
Another referendum in Scotland could be hard to resist.