Saying “yes” to independence for Scotland is very tempting, but those of us left with the Westminster elite feel dismayed that a country with a strong Socialist tradition want to go it alone. We all want the chance to say “yes” for an independent West Midlands not mention Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. So why say “no”?
I remember the great struggle for an independent South Africa under a seemingly Socialist ANC led eventually by the iconic figure of Nelson Mandela. The name was going to have to change to Azania if I remember correctly. I can’t say from personal experience since I have only set foot on South african soil briefly, in transit to and from Zimbabwe, but I am sure things have changed greatly. For the better for many, yet not by any means for all. An elite continues to exist, not along the apartheid lines with black people excluded from power, but leaving many, the majority black, still waiting for a modest place at the table. Socialist it surely ain’t.
With the Westminster elite launching themselves on Scotland only days before the referendum, comment that panic had set in seemed spot on. Given that they are the very reason that we’d all say “yes” how wise the idea was remains to be seen. Why say “NO”?
Seumas Milne writing in the Guardian sums up why Salmond’s promises can’t and won’t come to fruition:
The message that if you vote yes you’ll never get another Tory government could hardly be a more powerful one in a country that polled 42% for Labour and less than 17% Conservative in 2010 and ended up with Cameron as prime minister all the same.
But the idea that a yes vote would be a short cut to a progressive future in a Scandinavian-style social democracy is another matter. It’s not just that Scottish voters aren’t being offered genuine independence at all. Instead, the state cooked up by the SNP is one signed up in advance to the monarchy, Nato, the EU and a currency controlled from London.
Sure, Whitehall and Brussels will negotiate terms if it comes to it. But that will certainly be on the basis of harsh debt and deficit limits – turning an already tight fiscal inheritance into a turbo-charged austerity that would make the kind of welfare system Salmond is promising impossible to deliver.
On top of that the SNP, which would doubtless rule the roost in the aftermath of a vote for independence it would rightly be seen to have brought about, is still no party of the centre-left. Backed by tax avoiders, hedge funders, privateers and Rupert Murdoch, its central economic policy is to cut corporation tax 3% below the British rate to attract capital to Scotland.
The Socialist Labour Party in Scotland is calling for real Socialism to be established which is not on the agenda of the SNP:
Statement by Socialist Labour Party Scotland
Scotland Needs Socialism – Not Sham Independence
A Scotland in the European Union, NATO, under the fiscal and economic jurisdiction of the Bank of England and with an unelected monarch as head of state may have gained some elements of separation after a Yes vote but what it will not be will be independent. And this is the SNP’s Plan A!
This anti-independence would deny the Scottish people through their elected parliament, without outside interference, the right to invest in …industrial regeneration, to retain the NHS as a free at the point of need public health service, to build homes for the 200,000 plus on council waiting lists or freely develop policies to tackle many of the other essential needs of the Scottish people. There would be no independence either when it comes to fishing or farming policy. And with the drive towards “fiscal and monetary union” in the EU, economic policy as well as tax, pensions and welfare benefits would all be further subject to decisions and veto from outwith Scotland.
The Socialist Labour Party in Scotland is opposed to this sham independence and advocates a NO vote. The Scottish people, as do the peoples of Wales and England, need jobs, social and welfare security and a vibrant productive economy. Working people need to know that they can rely on a National Health Service and be able to look to a future dignified life in retirement free from financial worry. Salmond’s so-called independence jeopardises these things because it will undermine the unity that built the welfare state after the second world war and open up our public services to the bureaucrats of the EU commission, the IMF and the sharks of international finance – ask the Irish, the Greeks, the Portugese, the Cypriots, the Spanish or even the Italians.
Our world remains in the grip of the greatest capitalist economic crisis in living memory and the only long term viable solution for working class people everywhere is to move in a socialist direction. To achieve that we need to build the widest possible unity of working class people – separation and division as proposed by the SNP and their confused, red tartanites and MacTrotskyite acolytes undermines this and would be a backward step.
SLP Scotland say No to the EU, No to NATO, No to the monarchy and No to tax cuts for the big corporations.
Vote No on 18th September.