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Thu, 4 June 2020

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By Hft
By Dods General Election Hub 2019

ANALYSIS: Mhairi Black confirms the SNP is more like New Labour than they will ever admit

ANALYSIS: Mhairi Black confirms the SNP is more like New Labour than they will ever admit
2 min read

Firstly, I need to declare a conflict of interest.

Holyrood magazine is a sister publication of PoliticsHome. So you really should know that before I heap praise on the fascinating interview with Mhairi Black in this week's issue.

If you haven't been paying attention, you may have missed her revelation that despite becoming an SNP MP in 2015, she has never had a proper conversation with Nicola Sturgeon.

You may also be unaware that shortly after entering the Commons, Alex Salmond told her he would ask Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh - who was also an SNP MP at the time - to take her out clothes shopping to help her "find her own style".

But another part of the piece was equally revealing, or at least it was to me.

The left-wing Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP - who famously once claimed Labour had left her, rather than the other way around - told Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes: "I get the SNP has that wee string of neoliberalism through it and that kind of Edinburgh pandering to banks and to businesses, and stuff like that, and I get that I’m totally the opposite.

"I think it’s almost like I’m a micro example of what the SNP is as a party in that you’ve got Karl Marx in one corner and then you’ve got somebody who’s basically got a conservative point of view in the other and the two of us argue it out and by the time that’s done, we reach something that’s pretty digestible for most people and that is the SNP."

A party with hard-left elements which tacks to the centre in order to make itself more electable. Doesn't that sound a bit, well, New Labour? That's the New Labour regularly denounced by the SNP for having sold out on its principles in pursuit of power, betraying the people of Scotland along the way.

Of course, all parties are broad churches. And nationalist parties by definition need to accommodate members from all parts of the political spectrum in order to pursue their shared goal of self-determination.

But Black may well have inadvertently revealed that the SNP is far more like New Labour than they would ever publicly admit.


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