Dear Richard Leonard,
You can accept this letter as my formal resignation from membership of the Labour Party. And you may not like to hear that you are the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Having been a Labour supporter for over 20 years, and member for over a decade, I have seen the party, particularly in Scotland, lose its identity, purpose, and relevance as it has moved toward becoming a party of sound byte policies, and pure opposition, devoid of any substance or reasoned opinion.
In the wake of the Brexit vote two years ago, I simultaneously sent formal communication to both Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturgeon. To Kezia I was imploring her not to play politics and not to immediately discount a future Scottish independence referendum without first taking stock and commissioning an evidence based economic report on the whole set of circumstances and likely costs and benefits to all potential outcomes. In other words, not to jump to a non evidence based position that could not be reasonably substantiated.
At the same time, in my email to Nicola Sturgeon I emphasised that I was not an SNP supporter, rather I was a Labour Party member, but that I was (I am) an expert on EU law and other aspects of international law, and that if required for any analysis in the aftermath of the Brexit result I would be willing to put party politics aside for the good of the country’s future.
The result of both of those emails? I received a timely and personally written response from Nicola Sturgeon, acknowledging my offer and outlining potential approaches that may have been taken. And from Kezia? No response at all and the actions that I suspected i.e. a kneejerk response to discounting a second independence referendum with no evidence base whatsoever.
I considered resigning from the party at that point, but convinced myself that things might improve. Sadly however, things have continued to go from bad to worse for the party I once loved, and your recent announcement of seeking to block another independence referendum by inserting it into the next manifesto is a step too far. Yet again, neither you nor the party (as far as I know) has conducted any real economic or social research that backs up the approach of automatically discounting such a referendum, and the only logical conclusion I can come to is that this is yet another cynical (and yet again horrendously misjudged) exercise in opposition for opposition’s sake.
Let me be clear. I did not vote for independence in 2014, but the circumstances HAVE changed. I’m afraid this is a point that cannot be rebutted, as there is no valid argument to the contrary. One of the main crucial arguments in 2014 was that remaining in the UK was the only way to definitely protect EU membership. And at the time that was absolutely correct. However that is no longer the case. Instead the only likely way for future EU membership for Scotland would be as an independent country, unless there is an almighty Westminster u-turn and somehow the UK does not depart the EU in 2019 as currently proposed. As such, and yet again, any hard decision to discount Scottish independence as of now without awaiting the eventual result of the Brexit process is indisputably premature. It is not something I will support (and nor should any reasonable individual who is not entrenched in rhetoric).
Sadly, these issues are so crucial that I cannot be party to, or complicit with their eventual outcome. Through your poorly judged approach to this issue, you have lost a formerly dedicated party member. My direct debit to the party will be cancelled with immediate effect.
Dr Allan T. Moore
Lecturer in Law and Criminology, UWS
External Examiner in Law, Glasgow Caledonian University
External Examiner in International Law and International Human Rights Law, De Montfort University