The Next Step for the RIC

Radical Independence Conference Gather In Glasgow

In the aftermath of the No vote, we have seen a massive rise in people joining the SNP though Greens and SSP have also saw a big increase in their numbers. This was always excepted as many feel that SNP are the best chance of gaining independence. What is worrying is that many people on the left but were unaffiliated have now joined the SNP and many others who are affiliated are falling into the Nat Trap. Given, the SNP government have made some good strides towards social justice within the confines of the Scottish parliament but I have long argued it is easier to come across as left leaning while you are in control of a devolved parliament. We are already aware of the SNP fascination with Rupert Murdoch and cutting corporation tax so these things alone should scare off those of us on the Left.

When I talk of the Nat Trap I refer to those being caught up in the Nationalistic mood. It is fantastic to see so many people still willing to fight for what they believe in and that so many haven’t been disillusioned with the result but for RIC as a group, we must be wary of such Nationalism. RIC was founded on the basis of gaining independence as a means to an end rather than independence as an ends in itself. We want to see an independent Scotland for democratic reasons and because we see socialism achievable in Scotland while almost impossible in Britain. However, since the referendum there has been such a concentration on the independence issue that it seems the real reasons the group started might be falling by the wayside. As Socialists and others on the Left we cannot forget that while independence is what we want, we are still living under the control of right-wing Westminster, facing Austerity along with inequality and all the other wonderful bonus’ we get for being part of Great Britain. We must remember that these things too must be fought against. There has been much talk of devo-max and continuing the fight for independence and while RIC will always argue for independence, I propose that we now concentrate on other matters. The SNP have large numbers and will make the argument for Indy/Devo-Max but who is arguing against Austerity, who is arguing for left-wing politics etc? It must be RIC.

On the face of it the Radical Independence Campaign are a ragtag grouping of lefties who can only see Scottish independence as a route to Socialism. But, in reality RIC was arguably the second biggest group in the Yes movement and possibly the most effective at gaining votes. What is most astounding about the movement is what it has achieved. The desired goal was independence as a means to Socialism and even though the referendum was lost, it still achieved something remarkable. In essence it united the Scottish Left which only a year before seemed impossible.

RIC has done brilliantly well in joining together groups that have split and splintered. The group signatories include people from right across the Left spectrum. From Independents and Greens to SSP, Solidarity, ISG and CND. What is crucial is that this movement is kept together and used to its full potential. If used correctly RIC can become a defining and game changing force on the Scottish political landscape. What is so vital about continuing with the success that RIC has had is not only to champion left-wing politics but to move the political sphere in Scotland further Left too. This will be of massive benefit to the people of Scotland as they will have politics that are about them but it will once again show the gulf between politics in Scotland and the rest of Britain.

In order to become the force it has the capability of becoming, RIC must change. All things considered, the group was very well organised during the referendum campaign despite the fact there was no real organisation to the group. We could carry on in this vein and we would have successes though we would have nothing near the success we could have if we broaden the group more organisationally and become more constituted. The movement is almost totally democratic with vast majority of decisions – if not all – being made at local branch level. We cannot move away from this although there should possibly be an Executive Committee created which members are voted on to along with a Chairperson and a Treasurer. Creating an EC will help the group massively. If nothing else it will mean that there will be more than 1/2 routes for people to go through and will take the pressure off certain members of RIC who are ran off their feet. It will mean that some decisions can be made quicker and more effectively though constitutional decisions and other important matters must be voted on at branch level as they are now.

The movement must put emphasis on the need for council houses, a living wage, nationalisation, nuclear disarmament etc. These things must be put before the independence agenda as we must be the voice of the left in Scotland. RIC must become a hub of debate. We must start argument and keep the arguments going so they do not fluff out. It is a necessity to bring the argument to the people in power and make sure that the argument stays there. The arguments must be pushed so hard that the media have no option but to recognise and engage in them. We must try to have the country talking of the issues I mentioned above just as they talk about immigration, as if they are talking about an issue we have a chance of winning the argument. If an issue is not discussed, how are we to win over anyone? RIC must follow the ideology that was behind its creation by talking politics. Activism is a key part of grassroots politics but creating arguments that will win over the people is more so. Each branch should be actively discussing politics between themselves so our argument is continuing to evolve. Though not everyone may like what some may say, others will learn from each other and debates will rage that could create the ideas necessary to build the Scotland of the future.

Though it will not be popular, I believe the Radical Independence Campaign must change its name along with its form. For one, having independence in the name narrows the perimeters of debate whether us within RIC like it or not as those we debate with will always refer to it negatively. Also, the campaign itself is over and we find ourselves at another stage all together. Campaign also gives connotations of short-term while RIC has to be the opposite if it is to make a real difference in Scotland. For a new challenge we must have a new name.

RIC has achieved so very much but it cannot stop now. It can become something that Scotland hasn’t seen before in a long time. A left-wing movement that can influence decisions and bring politics back to the people.

Comments (112)

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    1. Jim Stamper says:

      Agreed. Connor Cheyne needs to move somewhere else away from RIC which did a brilliant job and can continue to do so if it ignores almost everything he suggests; that includes changing the name which would be a big mistake.

  1. Craig B says:

    Tell them to piss off.

  2. Craig B says:

    I am a socialist myself, and participated in RIC during the Referendum campaign. If people want to be in a socialist party, let them join the SSP or any other grouping of their choice. The huge support for Yes didn’t all come from revolutionary socialists, though some of it certainly did, and trying to use that enthusiasm to usher a new socialist party in through the back door, is not a legitimate activity.

    This is a campaign for independence, and as regards that campaign (not necessarily its governance of the country), the link with the SNP must be kept. It is the major part of the Yes movement. And this is about that movement. How an independent Scotland is to be governed is another matter, which will be determined, when we get the power to determine it, in an independent Scottish parliament.

  3. David Hood says:

    Lets keep things clear; being radical or an RIC supporter and being an SNP Nationalist are neither mutually exclusive, nor is independence an end point for the latter. Independence is the enabler – and this is recognised by all in the Yes camp. So lets not talk about ‘Nat Traps’ please.

  4. davidhood123 says:

    Lets make things clear; being radical or an RIC supporter and being an SNP Nationalist are not mutually exclusive, nor is independence the sole end point for the latter. Independence is the primary enabler and a necessary condition – and this is recognised by all in the Yes camp. So lets not talk about ‘Nat Traps’ please.

  5. Bill Boyd says:

    Sounds to me a good argument to get involved in the Common Weal, which is about creating a fairer Scotland based on purely democratic principles, without party affiliation or any specific time limits.

  6. Duncan McCabe says:

    Three points:

    1. RIC is currently looking at its organisation and structure and the development of a constitution. There is a working group in operation and all local groups are free to contribute suggestions.

    2. The name of the organisation will be part of the above process, but it is already clear that many activists and local groups wish to retain the existing name including ‘independence’.

    3. It is a common mis-conception, but RIC is not a socialist organisation. There are many socialists active in RIC, but there are also many Greens, anarchists, feminists, community activists and many people who do not identify with -isms of any kind – hence the name ‘radical’.

    1. The Greens are a pretty socialist party overall. Certainly far more than Labour, who still have the cheek to claim to be a socialist party.I don’t see what is wrong with the name RIC personally.

  7. oldbattle says:

    RIC has a vital role to play as a movement in order to lead, encourage, demand, reform and agitate the parties that made up YES so as to ensure that genuine democracy, fairness and aspects of socialism with green policies are realized within a sovereign Scotland.
    To attempt to create another political party seeking power would be a reductionist futile exercise satisfying egos but signifying little save for contempt of the many who have supported RIC precisely because it was an agency of change yet not a party. If there are RIC folks who wish to seek power then they could join one of the existing parties. Let us be careful that RIC does not become a front for `SWP activity in the light of SWP’s loss of credibility or be drawn too close to power.
    An autonomous movement of the national liberation left is quite enough to ensure it creates sufficient pressure on the rest!

  8. Scottie says:

    I guess my question Conor is if you are standing on a doorstep in the lead up to GE 2015, what are you going to urge people to vote?
    Would you form a political party?

  9. davidhood123 says:

    Remember ‘divide and rule’; the No / UK state side would love a plethora of competing independence parties, as it plays right into their hands. RIC was at its best as a movement within a movement. To make more parties now, would make future elections fragmented and the pro-indy alliance weakened. Ditto Common Weal, and other Yes groups. We need to take time to think here – the differences between those parties and groups that made up the Yes (Alliance) didnt have too much to separate them; but they needed to stay as one to defeat London.

    1. Daryl Philip says:

      A change of name and focus and distancing our self from SNP makes sense, independence will be a natural progression, but as socialist movement we can lose so much ground by only focusing on independence. Is one party politics good for Scotland, the SNP should not be given free reign to do what they want at Holyrood, for fear of arguing against them encase it damages the independence cause. We need land reform, council tax reform, a living wage, social housing, we need all this now, I am not convinced the SNP will deliver any of the above, so we need a strong left movement in Scotland to challenge the SNP to make progress, whether this is through SSP, Greens SPS, Labour, or a new Party. To just join SNP and keep pushing for independence as a main goal, could be at a detriment to Scottish social justice, if more devolved powers are judged by the people of Scotland to change life’s for the better, then independence will be a natural progression.

  10. I agree that Radical Indy has done great work, but it seems a pity the writer has fallen for the Labour line of “SNP loves Murdoch, SNP desperate to cut Corporation Tax, SNP are horrible Nationalists”.

    Judge them by their actions, which you admit have been good – do you think they’ve somehow been disguising themselves for 7 years, to lull us?

    I’ve been listening to this sort of rhetoric my whole life. The SNP, by allowing the Yes Campaign to have a free rein, have done more to empower working people in this country than any lefty clique during my lifetime.

    We need independence, and we need to fight for a better Scotland. Allowing the unionists to label us and split us up, isn’t a good way to operate.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Agreed Anne. Your post is very good, sums up by thoughts as well.

      1. Mine also. I lost interest at “Nat Trap”

      2. daz bell says:

        Same here, the writer of this article sounded a bit big headed to me, no offence intended, but this sounds like a back door article set to discredit the SNP. i for one am happy with what Alex, and now Nicola are achieving and what they plan on doing. we need to stay as one, not discourage votes away from the biggest chance of independence we have.

    2. Daryl Philip says:

      But I don’t think the SNP record has been that great, so that why we need to challenge them to do better. The council tax free was a cycnical ploy to win middle class support in the referendum at the expense of working class people due to the regressive nature of the tax, instead of freezing the tax they should have reformed it to make it fairer for all.

      The have done little of land reform until they where forced into making a start on it last year.

      We may have free higher education, but at the expense of grants for poorest students, our grant levels are at amongst the lowest level in Europe. So a student from poor area may get free fees, but must take out a massive student loan to cover cost. would it not be better to charge say £1000 per year for all, with the money raised paying for grants to allow higher education to be more affordable for the poorest students.

      And people are right to focus on issues such SNP desire to cut Corporation tax, it totally sends out the wrong image of a future Scotland, business friendly not people friendly, it does not suggest increased workers rights and terms and conditions giving more powers back to trade union.

      When a future referendum comes, the left movement most distance itself completely from the SNP with an alternative white paper, pointing to a future Scotland built on social and environmental justice, the RIC are of course this movement, but like labour being in cahoots with Tories in better together, maybe the RIC should be completely separate from SNP in any future referendum

      1. liz says:

        This sounds exactly like quotes from Lab Party – Scottish branch.

        RIC can separate themselves from the SNP if they wish, to be truthful I never thought of them as joined at the hip anyway,

        Remember though, without the SNP, there would have been no indy ref at all.

        And as for
        ”And people are right to focus on issues such SNP desire to cut Corporation tax, it totally sends out the wrong image of a future Scotland, business friendly not people friendly, it does not suggest increased workers rights and terms and conditions giving more powers back to trade union.” – what makes you think that this is SNP policy.

        Folk can say what they like, we need this, we need that, but until we have at least FFA we will never be able to afford anything.

        Lastly – ”council tax freeze benefits the middle class most” is complete nonsense, it benefits the folk caught in the centre.
        Those who earn enough to be outside benefits but not enough for the effects of paying full council tax to make life very difficult.
        GCC who are forever complaining about this, they need to reign in their profligate waste of tax payers money

      2. Daryl Philip says:

        Liz how can you defend a council tax freeze or council tax at all, its a regressive form of taxation which favour higher band house holders over lower band. Instead of freezing the tax, they could have made it fairer by decreasing the amount paid by lower bands, but also increasing the amount paid by higher bands, you would still get the same net income, but lower band properties would not be subsiding higher band properties. I would like to see a change to a Land value taxation, which the greens not the SNP have as a policy. check this out for more details

        1. lastchancetoshine says:

          “its a regressive form of taxation which favour higher band house holders over lower band.”

          Which is why the Scottish government would have stated:

          “Scottish Ministers consider the current Council Tax system as a whole to be unfair and are committed to consulting with others to develop options for a fairer and more progressive local tax, based on ability to pay”
          (consulting with others because it’s not within their power to sort it out themselves)

          “they could have made it fairer by decreasing the amount paid by lower bands, but also increasing the amount paid by higher bands”

          Except they couldn’t could they, as it’s not a devolved power to change it and the levels are set by local authorities. While the freeze is a bit of an ill thought out fudge which diverts funds where they might be better used it’s hardly the bastion of no-liberisim that you seem to be wanting to paint it.

          Absolutely correct to criticise the SNP where appropriate, and it’s essential to be able to hold our elected representatives to account – (the whole point of independence?) but please spare us the finger poking over something they didn’t introduce, don’t control and would replace if they had the powers to do so.

  11. Annette says:

    I agree with Craig B, all pro-independence groups and parties ought to work together and then, once we have independence, we may well go separate ways and support separate policies.

  12. The point being made here is not to “split” the Yes vote at all. It is that the SNP have the Independence arguement at the forefront. RIC will always argue for Independence. However, who is arguing against Austerity right now? There are issues facing us here and now that many are ignoring as they are so ingrossed in the Independence issue

    1. muttley79 says:

      Who is arguing against austerity right now? The SSP, the SNP, the Scottish Greens, the STUC and all the other unions, Common Weal, voluntary organisations, and many individuals in Scotland and beyond.

  13. Ian Patterson says:

    Well, for one, I am glad Connor Cheyne has had the opportunity to express an opinion (the RIC opinion, I guess) on this site, and I also think he has ‘something to say’. There are aspects of that with which all people might not agree – but that’s fair enough, and entirely appropriate in a democratic envirnonment – so for my part, “Thank you, Connor (RIC)” – and I say again, I’m glad he had the opportunity.

    There are big issues at stake here; and, as I write, I am mindful of the ‘unveiling’ tomorrow {ie on 5 Nov 2014) of the ‘’ website(s) which – if I understand the ‘resource(s)’ correctly – these will facilitate (indeed, maybe even promote?) the potential for inter-party/inter-faction activity: all orientated towards the notion of Independence for Scotland. If that objective is achieved, even if instigated from more than one deological stance, how can that be a bad thing? Let’s sort out any inter-part/inter-faction concerns afterwards; but for goodness sake, let’s not loose any mutual support that might be possible, along the way.

    1. Dave Coull says:

      “I am glad Connor Cheyne has had the opportunity to express an opinion”


      “(the RIC opinion, I guess)”

      No it bloody well isn’t, Ian Patterson!

      No way does Conor express “the RIC opinion”.

      He expresses his own personal opinion, with which some folk in RIC might agree, and a great many folk in RIC will disagree.

  14. Juteman says:

    The British State will try to hijack the Yes/Indy movement, and cause splits and infighting.
    Folk need to always be alert to their tactics.

  15. Flower of Scotland says:

    The SNP were always a party of mixed alliances, with the future being, that when we got Independence, we would THEN vote for the parties that we are aligned to. What are you griping about please? Just focus on Independence with the SNP and then……..

  16. Mark Coburn says:

    Unfortunately the writer hasn’t taken into account two things:

    1) As a result of the 60,000 who’ve joined the SNP since the referendum, the SNP itself will be changing as a result.

    2) Give Nicola Sturgeon a chance to develop her own stewardship. Remember that in a debate with Johann Lamont she said that she was in the CND before she joined the SNP. This might also be another clue.

  17. maxi kerr says:

    Let’s all wise up here and remember we are in a war for our freedom through independence.We must all fight under the largest flag which is the SNP banner if we are going to win this war.After our goal has been achieved we can embrace proper democracy and fight on our own beliefs….But remember this enemy we face as you may have noticed is a vile bag of vipers and will stop at NOTHING! to continue the rape and pillage of our country and its resources,so come on and lets stick together and do this.

  18. David McGill says:

    It would be a great shame to see RIC become directly involved in the current political set-up. There is already sufficient choice amongst the existing political parties which support independence: SNP Greens and SSP. The magic of RIC is that it is an amalgam of like-minded individuals drawn together to build a better Scotland by common aims of greater fairness and social justice, and seeks to create this by influence and example rather than power. In that sense it may be better it remains apolitical.

    The SNP deserves great credit in allowing the YES Movement the freedom to grow organically and giving support and praise to its allies. Their reward is the extraordinary increase in their membership and that of the other parties. Their legacy should be the continual drive and energy that only an organisation like RIC can provide in the struggle for independence. Let RIC be the conscience of YES and what it stands for.

    All constituted bodies require some form of structure – someone has to act as chair, draw up agendas or sign cheques. Appointing an executive does not necessarily place power in the hands of the few, but constituted appropriately can ensure that it delivers what it promises and shares out responsibility.

  19. arthur thomson says:

    RIC have been a brilliant part of the independence movement. It would sadden me and many others if RIC was to discontinue this support. I don’t understand how this would benefit the people who compose RIC. The issues you refer to are the issues that all of us in the indy movement need to pursue. The indy movement and the SNP are not synonymous and there may well be big differences of perspective. However, getting people in Scotland to debate the issues of housing, wages, nuclear disarmament, lack of democracy, the role of the right wing press, the banks etc etc is absolutely key to moving the indy movement forward. Brainwashing people into acceptance that there is only one perspective – that of the unionist parties – is the policy that the unionists have collectively adopted since records were kept. May I also say that, if you were to push yourself to thinking outside your box, you might understand that there are people AT LEAST as radical as you who support the SNP simply as the vehicle that provides the best and most practical hope of ENABLING a Scotland that is governed for the benefit of ALL its people. I hope RIC will continue to be an integral part of and an influential mover in the indy movement.

    1. As always in politics, to find the motivation, ask the question: who benefits from the action?
      Splitting the Yes movement benefits….?

    2. At no point did i say that we would no longer support Independence. Infact i stated that we would always support it and argue for it

  20. Hi folks, Conor Cheyne here. I would like to point out that RIC is a movement and shall stay that way. At no point did i say that RIC would become a political party. I also stated that RIC will continue and always support Independence though as a Socialist, I do not see Nationalism as the way forward. I am arguing that RIC must continue to stick by the principles that brought it together, Independence as a means to a Left-Wing Scotland. We must fight for Left-Wing causes be it as part of Britain or outwith and currently we are part. We do not have a strong left-wing movement in Scotland campaigning against Austerity, War etc and so i believe RIC should be that movement.

    I will say again, RIC is a movement. Not a party and so is not a vote splitter nor will what i have said divide the Yes grouping. SNP have done well in Government but as a Socialist, they do not suit me. Since we are campaigning for a DEMOCRATIC, Independent Scotland, I do not think it is fair that so many believe that we should all get behind the SNP even if we do not support SNP policies.

    1. Hi Conor, thanks for coming back on.

      I also don’t feel everyone should join the SNP in order to campaign for independence. However, I will be disappointed if there isn’t an alliance of pro-indy parties standing in GE2015, that people like me (not a member of a political party) can work for.

      However, in making your point, you didn’t have to make the SNP into a Nationalist strawman to attack. After all, we all know which side the Nationalism came from during the campaign – the Proud Scot klaxon was only ever sounded by unionists!

      I look forward to working with you and your comrades in GE2015, and any subsequent independence campaign. 😉

      After all, what we really all want is to make life better for the ordinary people of Scotland. And you have to credit Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon for both making it clear they didn’t see independence as an end in itself but as a way to deliver that.

      1. Yes, i agree a Pro-Indy Alliance would be of great benefit. I think people have misconstrued my article as an attack on the Independence movement rather than a plea for a broadening of targets for RIC.

        In terms of SNP, I was not attacking them. What I was saying is that for myself and many others on the Left, the SNP policies do not match to what we believe in. It was not an attack on them directly as I do believe they have done more good than any Government since possibly Labour ’45

    2. Steve Arnott says:

      Conor – a word of advice, amigo, which I’ve mentioned to you before. Try not to capitalise words that shouldn’t be capitalised. Notable examples here are Socialist, Nationalism, Independence, Left-Wing and Austerity. This is not just a stylistic or grammatical point. It makes you seem as if you have only read socialist tracts written between 1880 and 1930 – something I know not to be true. It also is suggestive that you are conceptualising Socialism, Nationalism, Left-Wing as simple, singular, clearly defined entities when they are nothing of the kind. Many people will simply not get past such a blizzard of inappropriate capitalisation.


  21. Clootie says:


    I stopped reading when you launched into an attack on the one party that gave us the chance to change Scotland. An attack before you had even presented a winning plan or vision.

    I’m fed up with people telling me what we should not do, what we cannot do, what we should oppose, what we should fight.
    Perhaps you should look at how we can gain the power to influence a direction of travel closer to your deeply held views.

    We need a Fairer society in Scotland. Much Fairer. However it is difficult enough to create unity of purpose without someone demanding one unique version.

    On the other hand you could well be just a vote splitter as already pointed out.

    How about being FOR something we can all agree on instead of being against EVERYTHING which is not your ideal…

    I support RIC and The Reid Foundation Common Weal. However if I have a significant chance to change the course of politics in the general direction of those aims I will grab it instead of complaining about theoretical options.

    We need to unite under a commom banner to make progress. If you adopt the stance of ALL of your desires now or NOTHING then you will achieve the latter – NOTHING..

    Do you really believe we should now dump that which we aligned on during the YES campaign and split into well meaning factions AGAIN!

    We need compromise NOW. Once a new direction of travel is set we can fine tune it.

    1. I refer you to my comment above.

  22. John says:

    Many feel that SNP are the best chance of gaining independence – and they are correct. There will be plenty time and opportunity to form political parties of all types when SNP bring us independence. We all need to get behind SNP because they are our only hope.

  23. lastchancetoshine says:

    The policies of a party are decided by their members, don’t lets assume that all those new SNP members have no say.

    I’m not sure I can go along with this “we’ve been terribly successful so let’s do something completely different” argument, there’s a huge risk of loosing the strengths that made the RIC a success.

    And can we drop the (labour invoked) meaningless corporate tax bogey man until such point that it’s A. actually possible to collect it of the multinationals that don’t pay it anyway and B. have powers to set all our own taxes.

  24. muttley79 says:

    I cannot say I think this is a good article. The idea that there is not many left wing Scottish nationalists is ludicrous. You would think the likes of R.B Cunnighame Graham, Margo MacDonald, Stephen Maxwell, Isobel Lindsay, and many others at the present moment would never have been part of the SNP going by this article.

    1. It reminded me of students who had just joined the SWP in the 90s, lecturing us about workers’ rights. 😉 I think that’s what I reacted to in my first post.

      There’s nothing wrong with youthful idealism, so long as they don’t keep making the rest of us reinvent the wheel. At the moment, he can’t see past the word “Nationalism”, I think. At least he’s not telling us we have to vote Labour!

  25. muttley79 says:

    Sometimes I really wonder if some people fully appreciate how long many people have striven and worked, tirelessly for decades upon decades, to get us to where we were in September.

    1. Ceitidh says:

      Completely agree with your thoughts there, Anne – well said.

  26. Fred says:

    This guys politics are erse for elbow. To have a left wing Scotland you first have to have a Scotland.

    1. You too have failed to read the article. I am not saying that Independence should no longer be a target for RIC. That would defeat the purpose of the group. I argue that we need to broaden the horizons past Independence. Independence will be at the forefront now until we achieve it. Until then, we need to fight against Austerity, Wars, Tax cuts for the elite etc.

      1. manandboy says:

        You come across as someone who wants to argue and fight.
        When you get to around 50, you’ll change your mind.
        Then you’ll be like the majority and in the majority
        – that’s the people who get things done in a socialist democracy.

      2. John says:

        Funny how all those who have commented seem to have failed to read your article. Your comments seem to be backtracking from what your article actually says. We are all very aware what supporting SNP will achieve and that it is as someone said is a vehicle to an independent Scotland. Judging by your comments I think you are now beginning to realise that you don’t need to attack SNP by using language like ‘Nat trap’ to get your point across.

  27. leginge says:

    this is the start of history repeating itself – when the progressive movement for change becomes splintered and fragmented from within by misguided idealists. How many times have we seen that happen ! Conor – what exactly is your problem with a name ? ie ‘nationalist’, are you trying to resurrect the red tory taunt of fascist SNP ? get real man and look at the record of the SNP, it’s actions not your infantile perception of it’s party name that matters. And by the way, please explain how reducing corporation tax is somehow inherently anti-left ? If it’s purpose is to increase the overall tax take by producing more jobs and hence more tax ? Or are you just ‘theoretically’ against business ? I’ve seen a lot of politics in my time and my abiding memory is of the Left continuosly shooting itself in the foot, especially when the prize of actually having an influence is in sight. Please don’t repeat the tragedy.

    1. red army says:

      Reducing corporation tax is, as you put it, ‘anti-left’ , though I think the term anti-working class would be more accurate, because it essentially transfers wealth to the corporations through increased profits, which will generally find its way into the pockets of the rich through corporate bonuses/ share dividends.

      Leaving aside the dubious point oft repeated by those on the right of the political spectrum that reducing tax increases tax intake, the results of sucha taxation policy generally attracts the most profit hungry corporations, attracting low-paid / low skilled jobs that can and will be outsourced elsewhere when a better deal can be struck by the corporations with some other compliant government.

      In general countries which have followed this model of economy (lets call it what it is – neo-liberal) have beenthe worst affected by the current global recession, whilst other economies, notably the Scandinavians, have pursued a different approach to tax/ spending and been ‘relatively’ unaffected

    2. Daryl Philip says:

      As Red Army says, a reduction of corporation tax is not a left wing policy as it promotes neo liberalism, which is free market ideology which advocates austerity and subsides to the rich.

      Naomi Klein states ‘ The three policy pillars of the neo liberal age – privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and the lowering of corporate and income taxes, paid for with cuts to public spending’

      I think the white paper failed on all of the above, yeah the SNP want to renationalise the royal mail, but with Brian Souters support they where never going to nationalise the buses, and will they nationalise the trains in five years time? Did they advocate increased workers rights? Not sure where they stand on a financial transaction tax or levey? A big increase in minimum wage?

      1. muttley79 says:

        You are focusing on one tax to the complete exclusion of all the other ones. Do you think small businesses and companies would not benefit from a cut in corporation tax, or are you going to be like the author of this article, and ignore this aspect of the policy? How are you going to pay for all these things you support out of a matter of interest?

  28. Frank says:

    Mr Cheyne, I was wondering how long it would take before you radicals started trying to splinter and take over the whole movement. The arrogance of this post is astounding. I wholeheartedly agree with leginge. The superb record of the SNP in governing this little country on ‘pocket money’, with due regard to democracy and social awareness is clear for all to see, except those who cannot open their eyes. The SNP have shown themselves to be internationalists by their rhetoric and actions throughout their time in government and can only be described as nationalist in terms of putting our nation first. The other type of Nationalism (note the capital letter) belongs exclusively to Britain and those who engage in wars which are illegal.

  29. I’m outside Scotland, so I’m not going to insist on this, but abbreviating the name of a political or cultural ‘opponent’ is often unnecessarily offensive in itself. I’d look at the case you’re putting again – tho’ I might not agree – if you worded it less awkwardly.

  30. Gary says:

    To call for Scotland to become an independent nation state makes you a nationalist. You are looking to organise society via the nation state. That’s nationalism. Maybe left wing nationalism but a form of nationalism nonetheless.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Yes, Gary, but that’s not what people generally seem to mean when they use the term nationalist. The modern world is organised into nation states and will be unless the neoliberal capitalist imperialists win out. Representative democracy and the nation state grew up hand-in-hand. I despair of people who see themselves as socialist but somehow can’t see that the SNP and the broader Independence movement is the single biggest threat to the neoliberal (i.e. robber baron capitalist) agenda in Europe today.

      1. Brian Fleming says:

        ….will continue to be…..

  31. The referendum is over, yes, but the desire and the campaign for independence certainly is not!

  32. sean says:

    I read this becoming increasingly interested, Im surmising that RIC intends to become a credible alternative socialist political party to the wholly discredited “Scottish” labour party, though Im snp tor thirty years and you may not get my vote, I believe Scotland as a whole would benefit from a credible socialist opposition. I am enjoying the fact that the SNP are filling the vacuum left by labours implosion, after being patronised for decades, but a one party state is never a healthy thing in the robust democracy I wish to see for Scotland. All I would ask is a little patience, let the natural swell that has developed do its job of putting labour out of its misery over the next two years (enough time to get organised) then rise and become the socialist voice for Scotland, Work with the SNP in the short term to achieve this end, then be the socialist force you wish to become and if the people decide a government of and for an independant Scotland.

  33. Jim Bennett says:

    Connor, I’m not quite sure that I know what it is you’re advocating. A brief summary reads to me like:
    – SNP bad…
    – Independence should be de-prioritised by RIC…
    – RIC should campaign as the lead left movement on all social issues…

    Honestly, I’ve read your article several times and am still quite confused by it.

    How about this Connor… read the Bella article published just after yours by Robin McAlpine, and the background to how Commonweal are working, i.e. influencing, not controlling debate and campaigns. It’s probably the case that alongside the feminists, greens, socialists and others who attend RIC events, that there will be a sizeable proportion of SNP members there too. The great advantage that this brings is putting the sectarian gas at a peep that has dominated left politics in Scotland since John McLean was a boy.

    From what I understand of what you’re saying, yours is a recipe to kill the best that RIC can offer off!

  34. kate says:

    If SNP were to drop support for very low corporation tax ,TTIP, NATO, it might allay fears that in future as govt of indy scot it could be tempted to take a more neo liberal path. TTIP wouldn’t only effect public ownership capacity re health. The EU is very neo liberal as it stands currently so for that to not have flow on in indy scotland needs much discussion,hopefully change as J Shafi says in recent indy tv interview. maybe SNP will not be tempted by greater neo liberalism, but it’s unclear. Time & hopefully new members will tell. To trust no one without reservation is just sensible.

    Anti austerity campaign is very important for people’s daily lives & for their belief in voting as meaningful.

    if RIC not a party so how can it split vote?!

    For name maybe change only a little, ie. Radical Scotland Campaign?

    i agree that murdoch’s approval is scary. this is a man who ordered his editors to ‘kill whitlam’ & unseat Australia’s reforming PM & govt in 1975. the US & UK intelligence forces, with Australia’s conservative opposition, also had that aim. The forces of reaction were successful together & the Queen’s rep sacked the PM in of the US’s more legal coups.

    During indy campaign Murdoch saw Salmond as a talented politician but was concerned he was working with dangerous radical elements & said so on twitter. Inequality now worries murdoch – he recently said so in G20 (?) speech to his peers. i think this is partly scotland’s doing. congratulations. but on the down side you have been noticed by forces of reaction beyond Westminister . business moguls like US citizen murdoch who don’t want core western nations going rogue & embracing radical social democracy, let alone socialism! The precedent for disarmament that future indy scotland could set = huge financial & ideological losses for US, & big hope for many worldwide

    Personally i think Salmond &/or Sturgeon et al are less likely to become committed neo liberals than to become political & media targets, seen as serious adversaries of US war machine and anti democratic, anti egalitarian forces in UK & internationally. At least if they continue to support nuclear disarmament, anti austerity & social democratic policies long term. And especially if come to hold balance of power with others in Westminister.

    SNP & its leaders need to be supported by those further left,but not uncritically.

  35. ailurotoo says:

    “other important matters must be voted on at branch level as they are now”
    Except, that’s not how it happens in the RIC branch I am involved in. We work on consensus.
    Yes, RIC will continue, and will continue to welcome all activists who want to make Another, better, Scotland possible.

  36. Michael says:

    When will some people in Scotland wise up to the fact that taxes aren’t set with the purpose of punishing those taxed.

  37. Justin Fayre says:

    Sorry can’t agree.
    While I think the SNP may have initially utilised left wing issues as a means to an end, I genuinely feel that as time passed they truly became collectively a more left leaning outfit.
    I am also sure that under Nicola Sturgeon, this left wing orientated stance will prevail. Time will tell if she can pull the vast majority with her.

  38. Peter A Bell says:

    I managed to wade through three or four paragraphs littered with appalling grammatical errors and some of the most inane nonsense posing as political analysis that I have ever encountered before I finally gave up on Conor Cheyne. If I want an ill-informed, distorted portrayal of the SNP I’ll read the Daily Record. At least it will be written in comprehensible English.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Sometimes Peter if you have nothing positive to say its better saying nothing at all?

      1. Peter A Bell says:

        It seems that my perfectly valid criticism has touched a nerve. But perhaps the fault is at least partly mine. Maybe I should have gone into more detail. But I doubt if you’ll like it any better when I do.

        You insist that we should respect differences. To the extent that this was directed at myself, I would respond by pointing out that the only things I have shown any disrespect for are bad grammar and inane fallacies. I suggest that these are both things well worthy of disrespect.

        One of the biggest problems facing the independence movement, and progressive politics in general, is the weight of the mainstream media as it is ranged against us. This weight is not measured in numbers – circulation, readership, viewing figures etc. – so much as it is measured in authority. Like it or not, the “quality” newspapers and the broadcast news services are generally regarded as authoritative in a way that “stuff on the internet” is not. Even as circulation and audiences fall, much of this authority remains. It remains because it derives from factors other than cold numbers. Factors such as the quality of presentation.

        If alternative media are to compete with mainstream media effectively they must do so, not merely in terms of the size of the audience that is reached, but also in terms of the way that alternative media are perceived by the general public. Articles littered with glaring spelling and grammatical errors do not inspire confidence. They do not speak with authority. Or, at least, they do not speak with the same authority as a well-crafted leader in The Scotsman or The Herald.

        I regard myself as a professional communicator. Don’t ask me to respect atrociously poor communication.

        Of course, it’s not only a matter of how a thing is being said. There is also the matter of what is being said. But Conor Cheyne does little better in this regard. It seems to me, at least, that his ideas for “reforming” the Radical Independence Campaign have more to do with harnessing its power to serve an outmoded leftist faction than with making it a more effective umbrella/focus for a large part of the new grass-roots political activism that was born of the Yes campaign.

        But where Conor Cheyne most starkly reveals the paucity of his thinking is in his remarks about the SNP. The drivel about “Rupert Murdoch” and “corporation tax” is nothing more than a mindless regurgitation of the propaganda spewed out by those determined to preserve the old order and the old ways. I’ve no doubt those same propagandists will gratefully snap up Conor Cheyne’s sole original contribution – the term “Nat Trap” – and use it for their own nefarious, divisive purposes.

        The effort to agree a future strategy is a worthy and essential enterprise. But it would be foolish in the extreme to pretend that every article purporting to offer a contribution to this process is of equal value. There is an important difference between genuine open-mindedness and a posturing even-handedness which devalues the best in the name of avoiding giving offence to the worst.

    2. Please tell me where I have attacked the SNP? What i have stated is that as a Socialist, I cannot agree with many of their policies. I am talking as a part of RIC, a Left-Wing grouping and I am saying that I do not see Left-Wingers moving towards the SNP as a good thing when we have a movement here cabible of pushing Left-Wing values

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        Believe it or not Connor, you made three direct attacks on the SNP:
        – Nat Trap
        – Corporation Tax
        – Murdoch.

        The reality is that RIC did mobilise many people to vote YES, however, the SNP probably motivated exponentially more. Most activists have moved with their feet and joined the SNP. The way you frame your points appears antagonistic to that move and that’s why you’re being met with hostility.

        The “left” is not a single party entity, I imagine that most of the SNP’s 50000 new members identify with the left. Your language
        “What is worrying is that many people on the left but were unaffiliated have now joined the SNP and many others who are affiliated are falling into the Nat Trap”
        will just alienate them.

        Socialists Connolly and MacLean didn’t see a problem with nationalism. I don’t either.

      2. Peter A Bell says:

        Your resort to mention of “Rupert Murdoch” and “corporation tax” amply demonstrates that you are only interested in the same kind of petty sniping at the SNP as has characterised British Labour in Scotland for the past decade or so. Otherwise, why would you so mindlessly regurgitate their propaganda.

        You claim that you “cannot agree with some of their policies”. But you show no sign of having any knowledge or understanding of those policies. All we can tell from your article is that you know only what you have gleaned from the mainstream media. Which means that you know less than nothing. You can’t even list those policies to which you object, far less offer a meaningful critique of them.

        Criticise the SNP if you must. Goodness knows, it is a party that is well equipped to answer any criticism. But criticise on the basis of facts and not ill-informed assumptions.

        Start by getting your head around the fact that the SNP has no special relationship with Rupert Murdoch or any of his newspapers. If you know differently, then present your evidence. Just try to remember that some bilious crap that has oozed from the pen of Alan Cochrane, like pus from a gangrenous wound, does not count as evidence.

        As for corporation tax, only the most shallow-minded buffoon looks at corporation tax in isolation. Abstracted from the range of means to which an independent Scottish Government might resort in order to promote sustainable economic growth,the rate of corporation tax is as close to being meaningless as makes no effective difference. Talking about corporation tax on its own is simplistic nonsense. The kind of simplistic nonsense which propagandists deploy precisely because of its appeal to shallow-minded buffoons.

        Let me make it clear that I am not calling you a “shallow-minded buffoon”. But you should be aware that, by parroting the crap fed to you by the British parties and their cronies in the mainstream media, you inevitably run the risk of giving this impression.

      3. Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill, NATO, EU, The Pound, The Monarchy. These are things which i greatly oppose yet the SNP support.

        Talking of corporation tax and murdoch is not an attack on the SNP. Some people actually support such things. I am saying where I and many others on the Left differ.

        Lastly, if you continue to support the neo-liberal agenda, be it in an independent Scotland or part of Britain then you are not Left-Wing.

        1. Peter A Bell says:

          “Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill, NATO, EU, The Pound, The Monarchy. These are things which i greatly oppose yet the SNP support.”

          If you were not so obsessed with a simplistic Left/Right dichotomy then you might be able to grasp the fact that the SNP’s success in attracting so many of Scotland’s people is explained by its pragmatism rather than any partisan appeal to the faux divides that characterise what we may now call the old politics of the British state.

          Even those who strongly object to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act (to give it its proper name) allow that something had to be done to tackle the issue of dumb sectarianism and the fact that football had become the fertile ground in which this was fostered. The more honest among them will acknowledge that, while the Scottish Government’s legislation was far from ideal, it was probably no worse than any other legislation might have been while still remaining effective.

          The most vocal critics of Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act appear to be those who equate freedom of expression with an asserted “right” to speak without first engaging their brains.

          On Nato, the EU and currency, SNP policy has been similarly pragmatic and has won often grudging support simply because its policies are seen to be founded on an appreciation of what is best for Scotland and its people rather than adherence to some rigid political dogma. Even when people don’t particularly approve of the policy, they appreciate the process by which that policy has been arrived at. A process which is markedly different from the unthinking partisan loyalties that people are so sick and tired of.

          The hard left in Scotland have at least one thing in common with nationalists of the fundamentalist/absolutist persuasion. Both prefer noble defeat to challenging victory. Both need to get out of the road and make way for a new politics. A politics, not of personalities, parties, and ideologies, but of people, communities and ideas.

      4. I think it is time to accept that there are many in Scotland who voted Yes but do not support the SNP. It is quite unnerving how anyone who disagrees with SNP policy is crowded around immediately these days.

        Remember, this is not an SNP only website. I have voiced my opinion on what the next steps for RIC should be and why those of us on the Left should be wary before jumping on the SNP bandwagon.

        1. Peter A Bell says:

          “I think it is time to accept that there are many in Scotland who voted Yes but do not support the SNP.”

          What a bloody silly comment! When has anybody ever claimed that everybody who voted Yes was an SNP supporter? As puerile straw men go, that one is quite spectacular in its vacuousness.

          And you can stop playing the pathetic victim. At least be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that it is not the fact that you are criticising the SNP which has brought you all this unwanted attention, but the fact that your criticism is so vapid, shallow and baseless. Learn that, when you are told that you are talking nonsense, this is not an attack on you but an attack on the nonsense that you are talking. Instead of immediately throwing up those defensive barriers, try examining the nonsense that you are talking in the light of the arguments and information provided by those who are pointing out that it is nonsense.

          Your talk of people “jumping on the SNP bandwagon” is woefully reminiscent of the disrespectfully dismissive attitude to voters which has brought British Labour in Scotland to its current parlous condition. It doesn’t seem to occur to you, any more than it occurs to any of the “Scottish” Labour elite, that people may be flocking to the SNP (and other Scottish parties) as a reasoned and reasonable response to political realities as they appreciate them.

          Why must it be “jumping on a bandwagon” when people join the SNP? Why can it not be a considered, rational choice as a means to achieving a desired outcome?

          My advice to you would be the same as my advice to British Labour in Scotland and their cronies in the other British parties. Stop treating the people of Scotland with such contempt.

      5. Yes, that is fine and well however I will reiterate that I will not support a party who are pragmatic in getting those on the left and the right to support them as I believe in a workers republic. I was stating that others with similar views to myself should be weary of the SNP on that basis.

        Actually, the Bill has been a complete failure. Sectarianism is still alive and well while people are having their doors kicked down in dawn raids and treated like terrorists for singing a political – not sectarian – song.

  39. bellacaledonia says:

    Just to defend Conor for a moment – as I did Paddy Hogg a few weeks back writing on UDI – Bella is a platform for ideas – it would be good if we can have a critical dialogue without attacking each other?

    The independence movement is broad and deep, driven by progressive and radical forces wanting real transformation. I’m not asking people to agree with each other – but can we have a conversation that respects difference and tries to listen to others?

    We are in a position where people are trying to agree future strategy and being open minded is essential.

    Thank you.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Yes, Bella, you’re right. Connor put his head above the parapet and initiated a debate, so kudos to him.

      On the other hand, there have only been a couple of personalised attacks on Connor. The rest has been reasonably robust debate and in debate, the way that the argument has been framed (by Connor) can lead people to respond in similar ways.

      As Sappho said, if you’re at all squeamish, don’t prod the beach rubble!

    2. lastchancetoshine says:

      “I will not support a party who are pragmatic in getting those on the left and the right to support them as I believe in a workers republic.”

      If we all took that stance there would have been no referendum and no RIC to change. This attitude is no better than Labour MPs saying they would rather a permanant Tory government than an independent Scotland.

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        Connor. “you misty-eyed SNP folk”. This is juvenile sectarian nonsense. Grow up, son.

  40. leginge says:

    Conor initiated the debate using offensive simplistic propaganda against the SNP and its supporters. Also, it seems to be a mantra of the Left that ‘reducing Corporation Tax’ equals neoliberal supporter of rapacious global corporations intent on hammering the working class. So that means Alex Salmond is such and so the smear spreads among leftwing minded people. I can see Conor’s deliberate smear by association. Owen Jones, that so-called great Leftie, did just the same in his Guardian article when he came out in support of the NO camp.As Peter A Ball previously commented – please elucidate your criticisms with facts not regurgitations from MSM.

    1. In what way was it offensive? I will repeat, the SNP support cutting of
      Corporation tax – FACT. As a Socialist i do not support that at all. I was appealing to other like minded people that this is not the way forward in my opinion. Nothing offensive.

      If we can now not question a party, especially a governing party then we are in a political crisis

      1. Peter A Bell says:

        How often do you have to be told? Talking about corporation tax in isolation makes absolutely no sense. When you attack the SNP in the way you do then you have no right to be offended when people assume that you are just parroting the same propaganda which was deployed by unionists during the referendum campaign.

        For anyone whose thinking on the issue has risen even marginally above the inanities of that anti-SNP/anti-independence propaganda, it is perfectly clear that there are circumstances in which a reduction in the headline rate of corporation tax make perfect sense. Even an old, dyed-in-the-wool socialist such as myself can appreciate that, as part of a wider strategy for sustainable economic growth and re-industrialisation, there can be sound arguments for reducing corporation tax.

        Only mindless ideologues oppose something because it doesn’t conform to their rigid dogma. We’ve had enough of that crap. I want a politics that serves the nation and the people, not some tattered manifesto.

      2. Peter you continually miss my point. I am not playing the victim card either. What I am doing is explaining my article for you misty-eyed SNP folk who cannot see fault in the party or that others may disagree with their policies.

        I will not bother replying to you again as this debate feels like hitting your head against a brick wall.

        1. Peter A Bell says:

          You make my point. You are not replying to me or to any of the points that I have made. You are responding to some “misty-eyed SNP”-type who exists only in your silly imagination.

          Here’s a little intellectual exercise for you, if you’re up to it. Go back over all of my comments and find the bits where I state, or even suggest, that the SNP is without fault. When you find no examples, ask yourself where you got the daft idea that I had said what you imagine I said when it was actually the voices in your own head.

          The reality is that I am vastly more aware of the party’s faults than you are. This is inevitable because everything that you have written here indicates that you know less than nothing about the SNP and its policies. You have not once made a meaningful comment on any of these policies. All you have done is parrot the crap you’ve read in the Daily Record.

          If you ever post a sensible criticism of the SNP and/or any of its policies, you might even find that I agree with you. But you’re going to have to undertake a major exercise in educating yourself before that can ever happen.

      3. muttley79 says:

        You are unable or unwilling to admit that corporation tax is merely one tax. Why single it out? You do know that small companies and businesses would benefit from a cut in corporation tax don’t you? You are deliberately focusing on one tax, and even then you only mention corporations. This is not an intelligent position to take, in fact it is deceitful, as you are not providing context, or other salient issues around it. It is just a straight forward knee jerk dismissal of the issue. The political issues are far more complex than you seem to be arguing.

      4. What would you like me to say about the policies? That corporation tax cut will not help stimulate job creation as it has been tried and failed many times. We are already at a shockingly now level of corporation tax. That the Offensive Behaviour bill has failed and only isolated some members of the Scottish-Irish community. The NATO stance shows that SNP are no different to other imperialistic parties as thats all NATO is.

        I could say much more. Need i?

      5. Alex Buchan says:

        Connor, although I agree with many of your suggestions for RIC, and many of your criticisms of the SNP, you lost my support when you went out of your way to be provocative by use of the term Nat Trap (in capitals) and then equating the response, which you must have known you would get, with sinister motives. “It is quite unnerving how anyone who disagrees with SNP policy is crowded around immediately these days”

  41. Dave Coull says:

    The Radical Independence Campaign is radical, and it is pro-independence, and it is a campaign.

    NOT a party.

    I was at the very first RIC conference in Glasgow in 2012, and I was involved in forming our local RIC group in 2013, and that is the basis on which both the national campaign, and our local group, were founded.

    Although it was understood from the start that RIC would campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum, unlike the “Yes Campaign”, that was never the sole purpose of RIC. It was always understood that, whatever the result, RIC would continue after the referendum. AND that it would continue to be radical, pro-independence, and a campaign.

    There were Anarchists, Feminists, Anarcha-Feminists, Greens, socialists, trade unionists, community activists, and, as Duncan McCabe has pointed out, folk who don’t identify with -isms of any kind, involved in RIC right from the start.

    There has been some talk of calling RIC a “movement” instead of a “campaign”. However, as several folk have pointed out, that would lead to us getting called Rimmers. And that word had a very rude meaning even before Red Dwarf used it about Arnold. In any case, changing “campaign” to “movement” is a difference without a difference. The point is, neither of these things is a “party”.

  42. muttley79 says:

    You still have not addressed the issue of small companies and businesses. You are also defending a very small number of individuals’ right in Scotland to glorify the atrocities of the Provisional IRA at Scottish football matches, where there is no reason for it to occur anyway. You are also defending the Loyalist section for praising the UVF, UDA/UFF and LVF, and bigotry against Catholics. Why cannot you understand that many people in Scotland want to leave this pish firmly behind?

    The SNP narrowly voted to join NATO in the event of independence. The debate was widely praised. However, instead of reflecting and recognising this, you have generalised about the SNP being “imperialistic.” This really is crude and disingenuous in the extreme. Everything has to be clear cut with you, nothing in politics has any ambiguities or complex dimensions.

  43. muttley79 says:

    If anybody wonders why people go from being socialists to social democrats then this article, and the comments from the author, is proof positive of why it occurs.

  44. Michael McCourt says:

    I think a better word for your article should not be, “NAT TRAP” but “CLAP TRAP”. The Scottish people are in very little danger from National Socialism stemming from support of the SNP which is, I think, what you are trying to infer. The SNP and the Scottish people, HAVE NEVER and, WILL NEVER become anything other than the light in the dark for many of our people and our nation at this point in our history.
    Maybe you should remember who you are talking about, it wasn’t the RIC that has brought us to this place.
    It may be better if you tried supporting the “NAT`s” rather than, like the main stream media, trying to swat them for their own gain.
    I can see by your article that you think your organization is responsible for keeping alive the “socialist lite” movement, (and yes i did mean L.I.T.E.).
    Let me assure you that once we gain our Independence, then is the time to start dividing up the spoils and you never know, you may even be able to speak, in a “real” parliament as Socialist Heavyweight one day.

    Thank you…

  45. Jim Bennett says:

    So, there is a split between those who support independence for its own sake and those who see it as a vehicle to achieve radical social change. RIC, quite rightly, lies in the latter camp as do the Greens and others. The problem I see is that by the full frontal attacks on the SNP (misty eyed SNP etc) do, is potentially alienate a large chunk of radical opinion. Many, probably most, of those 50000 new SNP members will consider themselves of the left and have made a conscious decision to join the SNP. The language of Connor and his like will simply piss them off. He certainly pissed me off.

    A contributor wrote “We need land reform, council tax reform, a living wage, social housing” etc. Yes, we do. And the reality is that there is a monumental opportunity of getting that in the very near future. The SNP, whether Connor likes it or not, are likely to be the major game in town. Look at how Commonweal are seeking to influence their grassroots for a lesson in how to shift a party’s policy programme. Theirs is a master class in how to build a radical left consensus.

    Connor’s shouty, shouty approach telling the 50000 new members of the SNP that they are misty eyed idealists is just plain silly. It’s silly because that approach simply won’t work.

    Yes, the SNP should shift to an anti-Nato stance. Yes, they should develop an effective programme on land reform. Yes, they should build more social housing (not Council Housing as Connor wants). Yes, their whole policy base should fundamentally shift further left. That will happen through the SNPs membership base and quality influencing through the likes of the Greens and Commonweal.

    However, Connor, your attitude and approach will only influence the SNP left to write off the shouty, shouty sectarianism that dominates your type of thought and will eventually kill off the Radical Independence movement.

  46. David McGill says:

    Perhaps we should add ‘argue-tourism’ to the Visit Scotland list of reasons for coming here. ‘Fancy a good barney? Then Scotland’s the place for you.’ It could be a winner, because the arguments are endless, so no-one would ever get to leave.
    Joking apart, Peter Bell makes some very valid points.
    We should all try to ensure that simple things like spelling and grammar are as accurate as possible. Silly mistakes risk losing potential supporters and allow detractors to change the focus from the rationale to semantics. So let’s all brush up our spell-checks and then translate the results from American into English.
    I also agree with him when he suggests that ‘the hard left…(appears to)…prefer noble defeat to challenging victory’. Sometimes I think our national motto should be ‘We wuz robbed’ instead of ‘Nemo Me Impune Lacessit’.

    Those who seek an independent Scotland don’t need to agree with every SNP policy and I for one don’t. To struggle for independence doesn’t make you a nationalist, simply a democrat. But what is surely beyond dispute is that the SNP have re-energised politics in Scotland, and for that they should be congratulated. No ifs, no buts. Competent governance, the referendum itself, record numbers of electors registered, a record turnout, and now a record membership level. These are the headlines, and remarkable they are too. They have shaken the old order to the core and set change in motion.
    For many of us though this is only the beginning of a longer journey towards independence. It was never likely to be a one-step operation, and maybe all the better for that. A lot of Scots need to be persuaded, and it looks as though upcoming events and the crass behaviour of the old-style politicos will help to remove the scales from their eyes. But only when we arrive at ‘independence station’ can we plan the onward journey to a fairer, socially-just, nuclear-free, NATO-free, Republic-if-you-wish Scotland. So keep the principles, dump the dogma, back a Yes Alliance, and engage in the new politics. They’re happening at a RIC meeting in a community hall near you.

  47. arthur thomson says:

    And I thought everybody in the indy movement agreed on everything! Call me naïve but I just love the passion and this time I am confident that the people will reject any attempt to divide and rule.

  48. David says:

    The left has always suffered from splintering. Just look at all of the different leftist groups that have sprung up, disappeared and split into factions over the years. It’s both a strength and a weakness, depending on how you view it. However, it’s also precisely what unionists love – division. We need to stick together with our sights on the end goal and vote tactically in order to get there. Lefties need to vote SNP for Westminster. A strong SNP is what will keep the Yes dream alive. Use list votes at Holyrood for the SSP etc., but we have to keep strong, keep together and keep independence-minded MPs at Westminster. I have to say, the independence campaign brought out of the woodwork some great previously unknown characters and campaigners. It also brought out a few left field folk who don’t seem to get it. It’s a democracy, so they’re entitled to their views, but we can’t let them become a distraction.

    1. Justin Fayre says:

      Oh for the Good Old Days and no I don’t mean the BBC (SPIT) Programme,
      I’m talking about King Arthur and the Round Table
      Well if Westminster can try and drag us back in history to Roman never mind Victorian Times, why shouldn’t we get involved as well

  49. Gòrdan MacGilleeathain MacIain says:

    The establishment will be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought that Independence supporters splintering into opposing factions! Wrong move! Independence must be first!

  50. Keira mclean says:

    Have enjoyed reading these comments, peter bell’s especially. A very poorly written article, but an interesting discussion. The ‘old tired’ way of doing politics doesn’t interest me. My political identity shifts, it changes, I can deconstruct it and re construct it without my principles of social justice and equality being compromised. To align oneself to only one dogma or political rhetoric limits the framework for thinking and thus solutions. We are all at such pains to validate our choices, experience, morals, values etc with our position as ‘good socialists’ or ‘internationalists’ or ‘anarchists’ or ‘Marxists’ or ‘feminists’ that we miss the point. I am all of these things and none of these things but to declare myself as one would alienate me from the myriad of other things that people are. Simply put, to declare for one side automatically puts you in opposition to the other. That’s the old way of doing things, it is the language of alienation. Think about that Connor.

  51. Steve Arnott says:

    Hmm. I’m going to come in with a qualified defence of my good friend and comrade, Conor Cheyne, and part of his argument. Qualified, because I think

    a) in retrospect he should have self edited a little more and avoided terms like ‘Nat Trap’. I’m not a member of the SNP either, nor do I agree with many of their policy positons, but I’ve been happy to work with the SNP on that great joint democratic project which we all believe in and suppport. Perhaps a lesson is there for passionate young writers that in putting forward your own arguments there is no need for, and little value in, sideswipes at opponents that detract from your core case

    and b) because a little inexperience and a lack of clarity appears to have created a deal of animus which we now have to cut across to get to the heart of the situation.

    Conor’s basic arguments seem two fold. Firstly, that there are issues other than independence which the RIC could and should be concentrating on. My own view on this is that it isn’t helpful to reduce independence/austerity, or democracy/class to false dichotomies in this instance. The struggle for a socially just and progressive society, and against austerity, are now firmly linked to the question of independence and, immediately, devo max. I don’t think Conor meant to suggest such a dichotomy, but there can be no arguing that it has come across that way to some readers.

    Secondly, Conor argues for a single left party, alliance, or organisation in Scotland to contest the 2016 Scottish Elections. He is clearly – from my reading at least – not calling for any splitting of the vote for the General Election in 2015. My own view is that a YES Alliance, involving all the pro-indy parties and the wider YES movement should stand on a united ticket in 2015, seeking a mandate for devo max which the Smith Commission cannot and will not deliver. That’s a position that has considerable support across the pro-indy parties, from prominent pro-indy individuals and within wider YES. I hope it happens.

    But many, if not most, of those who have spoken out in favour of such a YES Alliance, including SNP deputy leadership candidates, seem to have as their default assumption that all indy parties – SNP, Greens, Socialists would stand under their own banners in 2016. The reasoning behind this is very straightforward, and I agree with it: in 2015 elections are first past the post and we need to maximise our impact by appealing to the 1.6 milion who voted YES and also that layer of NO voters who feel betrayed that what was pushed and sold as devo max/home rule/federalism prior to the vote has now effectrively been abandoned.

    In 2016, however, with the Scottish elections having a pr element under which smaller parties can be elected, it makes more sense for all of the indy parties to stand with their own distinctive voices and visions.

    Conor’s essential meme here – that the explicit left should organise and stand under one banner in 2016 – is a welcome one. I suspect the SNP will form the government again in 2016, but I think it would be good for Scottish democracy for pro-independence socialists and Greens to have a presence and voice in the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

    Again, it should be noted that these two ideas: a united YES Alliance in 2015, and a new united left formation for 2016 do not necessarily stand in logical opposition to one another. We could have both.

    If Conor’s article helps achieve some clarity over these issues then I feel it has been a useful excercise.

    Sweeter grammar and method can develop with time.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Stevie Arnott!!! God, it seems just yesterday we were doing the miners strike and now you’re the font of sage advice and wisdom to the younger generation…We’ll no doubt be issued with zimmers the next time we see each other!

    2. Steve Arnott says:

      Just to correct myself after re-reading Conor’s article

      ‘RIC has achieved so very much but it cannot stop now. It can become something that Scotland hasn’t seen before in a long time. A left-wing movement that can influence decisions and bring politics back to the people.’

      I had read that as talking explicitly about the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016, after conversations with Conor in which he has indicated support for a single left alliance for 2016, but i now see that he has not explicitly called for that in this article, and that, in fact this a slightly vaguer proposition.

      The RIC can and should continue as a broad movement, but it could facilitate in helping bring left parties together for 2016 as all of the explicitly socialist indy parties were signatories to the initial RIC Declaration (as Conor has helpfuly pointed out.)

      The last thing socialist supporters of indy need is ‘another’ socialist party spltting the vote. Unity, not division, is the order of the day – even if it can have different organisational forms in 2015 and 2016.

      Maybe Conor can clarify his own thinking on this?

  52. Steve Arnott says:

    So you areTHAT Jim Bennet! Zimmers indeed, old son…

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Of course, the funny thing is that I was more of a left sectarian then than Connor is now!

  53. Davy says:

    RIC did some great work in Referendum campaign. I’m curious about the role of the International Socialist Group ( a split from SWP ) in initiating RIC , and if the ISG are formally affiliated to RIC ?

  54. alistairliv says:

    The Radical Independence Campaign began with a ‘Statement’ in April 2012, followed by an organising meeting in June and a conference in November.

    To get an idea of the thinking behind RIC, read James Foley’s interview with Neil Davidson from May 2012. Neil Davidson is a former SWP member who has written Marxist histories of Scotland [The Origins of Scottish Nationhood, Discovering the Scottish Revolution and Neoliberal Scotland] James Foley is co-author of Yes- The Radical Case for Scottish Independence]

    1. Davy says:

      Thanks for link Alistair. I believe ISG played a significant role at beginning of RIC. There are a few organisations affiliated to RIC , but I’m not sure ISG is formally affiliated….. Which if not , I’m curious why not ?

  55. alistairliv says:

    Davy- Jonthan Shafi, James Foley and Cat Boyd are leading figures in both ISG and RIC so formal affiliation is probably unnecessary. The ISG have continued to play a significant role in RIC.

    For a very lengthy ‘background’ which includes the ISG split from the SWP in 2011- involving about 30 student members of the SWP in Scotland and Chris Bambery –

    “In 2011, the SWP then experienced the loss of another super-loyal Central Committee member and long time party organiser, Chris Bambery. He helped to form the new ISG, along with over 30 mainly student members, recently recruited by the SWP”

    – see this article from 2012.

  56. Davy says:

    Thanks for link Alistair , although it does confirm some of my suspicions of ISG. I appreciate RIC has been a great success , and credit to ISG for its role in initiating RIC.
    Maybe the ISG can change their long opportunist trotskyite practices that they emerged from………. ??
    I suspect they may have already decided to dissolve ISG into a new post RIC organisation/party – which they hope to maintain a significant influence over.
    Here is a post expressing some concerns over RIC

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