There is only one reason why a political party would adopt – or acquiesce to – a policy set out by their opponents and that is they see it as a threat and they are trying to neutralise it.
Kezia Dugdale has said that in the event of a future referendum she would Scottish Labour politicians to campaign for independence if they agree with it.
Let’s assume my logic in the first paragraph is correct. Dugdale is doing this because she says the SNP as a threat. Well, duh – I’m sure is your response. However, the threat is no longer electoral as the SNP have long since established themselves as Scotland’s party in parliamentary terms. The threat the SNP now pose is to the very existence of a Labour Party in Scotland.
Dugdale is trying to communicate to voters that they can support independence in principle and still vote Labour. Essentially, she’s reversing a long used SNP tactic.
Can it work and help Labour keep the vast majority of their seats at Holyrood in May? If it’s communicated relentlessly and coupled with a lefty manifesto then it’s possible.
The other outcome is that it doesn’t and Labour move one step closer to the abyss in Scotland.