LABOUR for Independence has had an “amazing” response since its relaunch was exclusively revealed in The National last week, showing support for an independent Scotland is growing among Scottish Labour members.
The splinter group backing independence, which used to have thousands of members, was all but disbanded after the 2014 independence referendum, but a fresh recruitment drive has attracted a host of new members after its re-emergence triggered by Brexit.
Labour for Independence (LFI) said that many new members were No voters in the referendum, but due to Better Together’s “broken promises” and the “Brexit nightmare” had changed their minds.
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LFI organiser Scott Abel said: “The response has been amazing. We have had loads of feedback and messages of support since our re-emergence. We’ve also had a flood of emails from people wanting to join. Some of our new members voted No in the referendum but they are right behind us now.”
One of the new recruits is former No voter Corrin Strain, 35, from Anniesland, Glasgow, who joined the Labour party last year in support of Jeremy Corbyn because she believed in his values and principles.
The organisational development officer for Glasgow City Council is also an illustrator who recently designed Christmas cards with a drawing of Nicola Sturgeon and the words: ‘I’m dreaming of an independent Scotland” underneath, which flew off the shelves over the festive period.
Her boyfriend Alex Torrance is a staunch SNP supporter and she admitted they have had lots of disagreements over the future of Scotland.
Strain said: “I have always supported the Labour Party but have only been a paying member since the end of last year. I was quite clear in my mind during the last independence referendum that I didn’t want an independent Scotland.
“I thought it would have been nice but I just didn’t really see there was much difference between cities in Scotland and northern England. That was my thought behind the Union. There was also a lot of rhetoric around at the time saying Scotland would get a government it never voted for.
“What has changed my mind has got a lot to do with what happened after the last referendum with the broken vows – all the things that never came to fruition – and then, of course, there was the EU referendum, which for me clearly showed that Scotland and England were different countries with different values and different beliefs.
“Coming up to the EU referendum there was always that thing that Scotland was a bit more liberal and had a more socialist outlook. It proved us right in the EU referendum. Now it looks things have to change and it looks like the only way things can change is by us breaking away from the rest of the UK in order to stay within the EU.
“Staying in the EU is very important to me and a lot of our laws are embedded in it with equality and human rights.”
In 2013, membership of the LFI fell apart after a Unionist journalist wrote an article claiming the group was nothing more than an SNP front designed to embarrass its British unionist opponents in the Labour Party.
The group now has the support of Scotland’s Yes2 campaign as it launches a fresh drive to persuade more disillusioned Labour voters to support an independent Scotland.
Strain is keen to get involved in helping raise the profile of LFI and boost its social media with her design talents. She is also planning to go to more local Labour meetings.
The National asked Scottish Labour to respond to the resurgence of LFI. A spokesman said: “Official figures from the SNP government themselves show that independence would mean billions of pounds of cuts that would hit the poorest in Scotland hardest.
“That level of austerity would be devastating for Scotland and it is unforgivable that the SNP misled the poorest communities in our country about what independence would mean. Labour are opposed to a second independence referendum. On the back of our membership cards it states that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone. Separation is not the answer.”