Forward Scotland

Jonathon Shafi explores the new political landscape and drivers behind the Scottish Governments ambitious Programme for Government announcements.

The ideas of the left are at a premium. That is the key message from the SNPs programme for government. As with everything, the devil is in the detail. And it is the detail that in the end makes a difference to people’s lives. But for the moment, we should as well as looking at the programme, add some political context to it.

Here there is much to say. We are living in an era of crisis: social; political; economic and environmental. The political terrain is volatile and open to shocks. The old rule book is now out the window because the crisis is not going away. The ruling class itself is divided and without a clear roadmap. Washington is in a mess, and Downing Street is the home to a political captive, rather than a Prime Minister. Scotland is not immune to it. Far from it. Indeed just 3 years ago we were at the centre of a mass movement of active opposition to the forces of the British State – as part of a wider backdrop of international resistance to austerity and dictatorship.

In 2012, when the referendum date was announced, there were several important features of the situation that led to the development of the mass movement for independence. These features were, as they are now, located in the global, the national and in the institutional. The 21stCentury has moved at incredible speed. We have seen revolutions, wars and economic crises – and much more. The announcement of the referendum came at a particular moment in world politics. This was at a time when the Egyptian revolution of 2011 represented a fundamental change in the world order. This came 8 years after the invasion of Iraq and the historic mobilisations against the war, and in the UK, against Blair’s Labour government. 2012, four years after the financial crisis of 2008, charged the political atmosphere with international opposition to austerity. Occupy Wall Street came at the same time as the movement of the squares in Spain, the mass demonstrations across Europe and the general strikes in Greece which would later form the foundations for Syriza to come to power.

In the UK, large trade union demonstrations opposed austerity, and the student rebellion laid siege to the Tory headquarters in Millbank. Demonstrations and occupations took place across the country in a wave of revolt that took place in the midst of similar movements emerging internationally. Questions, that were supposed to have been resolved according to neoliberal dogma, re-surfaced. Capitalism was being discussed not just in university debates, but in the pages of the Financial Times. Michael Moore related the stories of ordinary Americans suffering repossessions and unemployment in his popular film: ‘Capitalism – A Love Story.’ The bail out of the banks led to a wholesale questioning of our political establishment, the corporate and mainstream media, the legitimacy of our financial institutions and a growing sense that change was coming, and was needed. And all of this underlined the crisis of democracy. From Iraq to ‘we are all in it together’ austerity – decisions were being made against the peoples will, funnelled through the ideological lens of the ‘impartial’ media establishment.

Fast forward to 2017 and the situation continues to evolve. Trump, Brexit and Corbynism – each of them in their own right massive developments – and each rooted in the on going crisis. And in Scotland too, the political atmosphere and the forces involved and the political dynamics have changed dramatically. The 2014 Yes movement was not just a movement of opposition to the Tories, but also to New Labour. Westminster to working class Scotland represented a university of the political elite, locked into a pro-war, pro-austerity straight jacket. The Corbyn phenomenon changed this. While the mass movement that erupted around the Labour campaign in England didn’t manifest itself in the same way in Scotland for reasons I outline in here –namely the national question – it exposed a moderating SNP. The party fought the 2015 General Election campaign in aggressive fashion, mirroring the essential politics of the left-wing independence movement, then drew to the centre ground. Despite being granted absolute political hegemony, they failed to deliver radical land reform, didn’t replace the council tax, introduced standardised testing and were none to certain about definitively ruling out fracking taking place in Scotland.

In the aftermath of the 2017 General Election Jamie Maxwell wrote:

“The numbers are stark. At the 2014 independence referendum, 1.6 million Scots voted Yes on a record-breaking turnout of 84 per cent. The following year, at the 2015 UK election, the SNP soaked-up most of that base, winning 1.4 million votes. At the 2016 Scottish devolved election, the SNP vote dipped to just over one million. In June, it dipped again, to 980,000, on a massively reduced turnout of 66 per cent. This is obviously not a sustainable trajectory for the SNP. As participation in the Scottish political process falls, so too does the party’s authority. Sturgeon has triangulated her way through every major policy challenge, from tax and education to land reform and the environment. As a result, more and more (predominantly young and poor) Scots are withdrawing from the political sphere. Her refusal to deviate from an ideological centre ground that, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, simply no longer exists, has cost the SNP its insurgent status.”

The Programme For Government is in part a reaction to this analysis. Simply put, without being seen to move to the left, the SNP would be left in the lurch.

Let’s look at the headlines:

– Scottish National Investment Bank
– Confirmation of a public sector rail bid
– End of the public sector pay cap
– Free sanitary products in schools and research into making them free for everyone
– Expansion of free personal care to under 65s
– Big investment in electric cars and new charging points – target of 2032 for all new sales to be electric or hybrid. Special task force to work out how to provide charging outside tenements.
– Big investments in manufacturing and R&D
– A South of Scotland Enterprise board
– Money for research into universal basic income
– Confirmation that the land reform commission will consider a land value tax
– Investment in carbon capture technology
– Presumption against jail sentences of under 12 months (community services / fines to be preferred)
– More money for action on homelessness
– A Local Democracy Bill
– A pardon for all people convicted of being gay, when it was a crime

On top of existing commitments such as:
– Expanding free childcare to primary school hours
– Expansion of apprenticeships to 30,000/year
– New manufacturing centres of excellence
– A means-tested funeral allowance so everyone gets a decent funeral
– Increase in Carer’s Allowance
– Best start grant, which is extra money for poorer families when children are born and start school

Again – a health warning: we need action not talks. Implementation not reviews. And we need to go much further than the SNP leadership will eve be prepared to go. But to leave the analysis at that would in itself reflect a sectarian shawlowness. The point is that there was a need, even at an aesthetic level, to put forward ideas associated with the left. Alex Rowley welcomed many of the policies, and made clear that some were already in the Labour programme. Indeed – it is because of the impact of Corbyn that the SNP must move to reinforce their left flank.

This is why politics in Scotland is complicated and multi-layered. There are real reasons why many on the left of different strands don’t automatically join Labour – as they would do living in England. The situation remains fluid. No Scottish seat is stable. We need to get Scottish politics back onto the field of ideas. This is what made the Yes movement flourish. But it’s going to take all of us who adhere to socialist principles –regardless of party – to engage in a robust debate about strategy, while engaging together in campaigns. Enough of the tawdry, intellectually vacuous social media skirmishes. We live in a changing world – and Scotland is part of it. We need to re-engage the best practices of the referendum process, and of the Labour movement: open debate, radical ideas and putting a challenge to power.

That power, in the end, is the power of capital. We are dealing with more than a corrupt establishment or a deviant political class – but with an outdated, failing economic system. That system exerts power over and above the political process. Despite the Scottish left being disaggregated, by maximising unity of purpose in extra parliamentary movements rooted in class politics there exists the potential to pull the situation leftwards. It’s about raising the political level – and developing arenas of debate that allow us to confront the big questions of the day. And its about understanding politics is about relations, not loyalty to a party badge.

Take the Scottish Investment Bank for example. Isn’t this kind of move – problematic details aside momentarily – the culmination of the threat Corbynism poses electorally, the internal lobbying of the SNP left and organisations like Common Weal? Is the policy on homelessness not there due to the relentless campaigning that has gone on around this issue in recent months, by social movements like Living Rent? Or might we look to the work carried out by womens groups that raised the question of access to sanitary products? No doubt the lack of radical land reform exposed a timidity that time and again would be raised by campaigners. Campaigners who now have to make sure the exploration of a Land Value Tax is more than words. Perhaps scrapping the public sector pay cap came in part because another show down with the Unions in the wake of the recent college lecturers strike would further relieve the SNP of electoral support. After the pressure around trasnport – to leave out a public sector bid for the railways would have been roundly criticised. Nothing is ever delivered from on high.

Many left-wing Scots are grappling with the development of Corbyn, the nature of the SNP, and the fate of Independence. But on all sides of these questions there is space to collectively organise and win left-wing demands. Ones that go beyond the social democratic elements of SNP programme, and that challenge the power of capital directly. It is the process of this action – the development of agency – that develops the capacities needed to raise deeper challenges to the system.

As Immanuel Wallerstein writes:

“…there is an internal debate among radical left militants about future tactics. Should they seek electoral power or should they seek to control the streets? The dilemma is that neither works well. If they come to state power, they find that they have to make innumerable “compromises” of their program in order to remain in power. If they seek power only in the streets, they find they cannot make the changes they want without power in the state, and are able to be held in check by state agencies using state force. Is it therefore hopeless to pursue a radical left program today? Not at all. We are living amidst the transition from a dying capitalist system and a new system yet to be chosen.”

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Comments (17)

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  1. manandboy says:

    Oh really? Scottish politics in these times is about the right to self-determination having been a British Colony for 300 years. Right and left is a side show. Go start again.

  2. Crubag says:

    A curious piece, in that is like Peter Arnott’s article seems to be a farewell to independence, and an acceptance of Brexit – there is clearly a change in the tide occurring.

    On the particular points, the programme for government doesn’t strike me as particularly left-wing – it still sees capitalism as the way forward, and some specific details, like circumventing local authorities to give funding directly to headmasters, could come from a Tory manifesto.

    The National Investment Bank sounds not unlike the £500 business investment fund announced this time last year, and a new enterprise board is in the mould of Scottish Enterprise, and again business-centric.

    Land reform is more interesting, as EU membership limited options on restricting ownership. Brexit might put more options back on the table, but there will still be the (very high) cost of buying out owners and the issues of equity – rural communities prioritised over urban?

    Similarly Land Value Tax – at the moment farmers don’t pay rates. Will they start, or will the burden fall on the highest rated properties, i.e. people living in urban areas?

    But for me a radical post-indy (for the next decade or so) push would be on bringing local government closer to the people.

    1. Doghouse Reilly says:

      Not sure I can see why bringing local government closer to the people has to wait for independence.

      It seems to me that creating strong, democratic and independently funded local government with a clear local mandate and purpose would be a clear statement of intent and principle.

      It should have been first on the list in 1999.

      1. Crubag says:

        That’s what I mean. The 50% of government that is national will have to wait until another indy campaign which I now don’t think will happen on Nichola’s watch (another 5 to 10 years).

        But local government, with maximim devo, and a commitment not to tamper with boundaries once they are brought closer to the people, is what is needed. More organic basically.

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          Reilly, Crubag, y’all are naifs.

          Governments do not exist to surrender, shed, devolve power.

          State v. local is a ‘cage match’ everywhere. Surely you don’t expect (hope?) SNP and LA will comradely join to fairly & equitably & sensibly divide up authorityresponsibilityfunding to the level who can ‘do it better.’ (whatever that means)

          rgds,

          ejc

          1. Doghouse Rielly says:

            Now now, No need to be rude!

            You may be right about the nature of politics and politicians. I’m not sure I ever met one that didn’t claim they could do so much more if the only had more powers.

            But we’re still living with a pre devolution geography of public services and it’s not working.

            With or without independence that has to change and that change should be driven by democratic rather than financial or administrative concerns.

            It may be a big ask of the SNP or any other political party for that matter but it’s not an unreasonable one.

  3. Jimmy Haddow says:

    Corbynism is only one side of the multi-equation of why there has been a partial collapse in the fortunes of the SNP and their Government and the sharp reverse of their electoral support. I believe at the base, is the disbelieve of the thousand who joined and support the SNP are now profoundly disappointed because they talked the talk, but did not walk the walk. They told the Scottish people, and a significant section, of the English working class, that they were “anti-austerity” and would take on the Tories in Westminster and in Scotland; however, the unmatched opposite was the case. By implementing all the Tory austerity proposals on an unprecedented magnitude in Scotland the SNP leadership have become exposed in the eyes of a large portion of the working class and young people.

    However, the problem with the structure of the argument in this essay is the implication that the SNP is some Left-based social democratic organisation and it needs to re-orientate itself back to the left. Yes, the SNP did grow immediately, and in the subsequent 12/24 months, after the 2014 independence referendum. But that was because of the political failure of the Blairite Scottish Labour Party and its “Better together” campaign and more significantly due to the reason that the Indy-Left refused to come together in a coalition of radical and Left forces immediately after the Referendum to make a new working class party in Scotland, as put forward by the Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition and the Socialist Party Scotland.

    The SNP, from its inception until today, has never been a Left, or working class, party; it is historically based on the Scottish middle class and totally supportive of capitalism and has not adopted left or a reformist platform like the Labour Party in the post-war period, let alone a socialist platform. SNP policies have been orientated to big business and the banking sector and has generally opposed tax rises for the rich, and big business and advocated major tax cuts for corporations in an independent capitalist Scotland; and of course, they support steadfastly the incorporation of an independent capitalist Scotland into the neo-liberal bosses club called the EU.

    Nonetheless what is sorely missing, and intellectually misguided, from this survey of present day Scotland is a scrutiny of the leadership election in Scottish Labour and the Left and Right battle that may will have an impact in future relations of where Scotland is going? While in the epoch of the pro-capitalist Blairism/Brownism Labour Party between 1995 and 2015 the SNP had, to certain extent, effectively, positioned themselves to the left of Blairist politics in Scotland and have made a certain electoral gain as a result. Nonetheless, all the SNP have put forward is a fairer brand of capitalism in a sea of neo-liberal globalisation, but when Jeremy Corbyn came along in 2015 he outclassed the SNP to their left in his call for limited nationalisation, tax increases for corporations and support for workers in struggle. There is no doubt that Scottish labour’s election recovery was due to a small Corbyn bounce despite Jeremy having the wrong policy on Scottish Independence, and so on.

    If Richard Leonard wins the Scottish Labour leadership it will strengthen left of the SNP Corbynism in Scotland and the dynamic will change towards Labour, which is something the essay does not consider. However, for Leonard to win means that the Left in the Scottish Labour Party need to come out with a socialist programme and campaign to turn Scottish Labour into a fighting, left and anti-austerity party. For that to be achieved the Scottish Labour Left and Richard Leonard need to campaign on the democratisation of the Scottish Labour by giving full rights to party members and the trade unions to be able to fight the austerity programme imposed from London, and Holyrood; and for party members to deselect MPs, MSP, and Councillors who fail to fight cuts and refuse to defend left policies; and support the opening up of Scottish Labour for affiliation and membership rights for all left and socialist forces, if they want to join, and anti-austerity groups, along with expelled party members from the past. Of course Scottish Labour and the Scottish Labour Left need to change its view on their absolute opposition to the democratic right of independence, because they will have a hard job convincing the majority of Yes working class voters to support Labour. Nevertheless, if I was a Scottish Labour member – I am not because I was expelled from Labour in 1993 for advocating non-payment of the Poll Tax and being jailed in Canterbury Prison for it – I would vote for Richard Leonard.

    1. Doghouse Rielly says:

      Sounds to me like you don’t know me Leonard all that well. I suppose, to his credit, he has stuck with the Labour Party unlike many other opportunists but any one that has forged a career in the smoke filled rooms through the Blair/Brown years then under McLeish, McConnell, Alexander, Grey, Lamont, Murphy and Dugdale as his party implodes should be treated with a good deal of caution.

      It takes a particular kind of bland to achieve that.

  4. florian albert says:

    Jonathon Shafi refers to the ‘new political landscape’ and points out that many Scots are ‘withdrawing from the political sphere.’

    However, the evidence of June’s General Election is unmistakeably of a shift to the right.
    It is not merely that the SNP lost so many seats to the Tories. There was a very significant increase in the Tory vote; Aberdeen South, up 7,700; East Renfrewshire, up 9,000 and Banff and Buchan, up 6,800.
    This despite the Tories running a distinctly lacklustre campaign – despite post-election claims.

    It seems improbable that these figures indicate voters who want Nicola Sturgeon to tack left.

    There is the real possibility that the SNP and SLAB will compete for a pool of leftist voters which is much smaller than they believe.

  5. George Gunn says:

    Brexit has changed everything – in England. In Scotland it has focused our minds even more on the need for an independent country in which we can fashion a just society for all our people. It is pointless criticising the SNP for what they are not. They have a different history to the Labour Party and in Scotland the Labour Party, despite Corbyn, burned its credibility boats in 2014. The people of Scotland are not fools. What the SNP are is the only political means the Scottish people have of gaining independence from the corrupt and corrupting British State. The policy of the Conservative Party (and those who pay for it) on Brexit is to have no policy. Everyday that becomes more apparent. The resulting chaos will only benefit the financial oligarchs who have engineered the whole sorry scenario. The interests of the Tory elite are not to the public good. They are the very opposite. Whatever the failing arithmetic of the polls show the SNP still has a democratic mandate and the result of the EU referendum in Scotland is part of that.

    1. Crubag says:

      It’s changed everything in Scotland too. The margins in 2014 were narrow, so 38% of Scots voting Leave in 2016 (including an estimated third of SNP voters), followed by a majority vote in Scotland for pro-Brexit parties in 2017 has completely re-set the SNP electoral calculus.

      Hence there will be no indy2 before Brexit completes. Not to say more shouldn’t be done now on the thinking and planning to build needed institutions for the future. (The SNP/Scottish Government might not be the right group to take this forward, though.)

      As a Leave voter, I think that’s probably the right call. A quick referendum pre-Brexit, with Scottish independence bundled with aspirant EU membership is a coherent offer, but it’s not clear it commands a majority, and it would be made in a much more uncertain context than 2014, with the prospects of the rEU imposing a hard border on Ireland (and therefore Scotland and rUK).

      It’s also not clear the rEU states would entertain Scotland in a holding position inside the EU while we build the needed institutions, especially when they have issues like Catalonia, where they want to make it hard for new nation-states to start up, and when they’ve already priced in the loss of the UK as a whole.

  6. w.b.robertson says:

    I am a Leaver. There is no hope of a successful new Yes movement vote until the SNP drops its pro-EC campaign. There is evidence to suggest a majority of Scots might easily be persuaded to be free from Westminster. But, in any future Indy Scotland, they do not want to see Mrs May and her Tory cronies replaced by Mrs Merkel and her continental clique. (Mind you, I detect hopeful signs that Nicola is on manoeuvres to gradually ease the party off its EC love affair).

  7. Picti says:

    Hey all, my thought’s if a few days late to the party…

    TL/DR version: Movement politics is the way forward. 🙂

    Definitley agree about the ideas of the left being at a premium, and

    I’m assuming y’all saw Peter McColl’s post on how this is us moving

    beyond the flacid “end of history ” nonsence. He had many good points

    I won’t go over them again here.

    You can read it here:

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10102321362673001&id=61012871

    Sorry if the link doesn’t work directly, you’ll have to cut and paste, it’s late.

    Anyway, the article,

    We are definitely in a moment of crisis.
    “We’re all in it together” and the idea of austerity has been discredited widely in the commentariat.

    (though I’m not sure if the person in the street has bought into that completely, that idea of balanced books is a difficult one to shift, however bollox it might be.)

    I think you should probably have added in that Brexit was also a vote against the neo-liberal managerialism that the mainstream represented.

    If you are faced with a shit situation, and someone hands you a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    On standardised national testing, they haven’t quite introduced it, and what they have is very watered down from what was first mooted.

    You don’t mention Univeral Basic Income in your list of headlines?

    I’m not sure how much of a headline it was, but I’m under the impression it was there? (I could be wrong, I may not be reading as much as I used to) UBI could be a game changer if done right.

    Completely agree we need action not words.

    Also on the front of moving politics from managerialsim into the world of ideas.
    This is necessary.
    And yes, even though the “left” in Scotland is disparate, we can pull together behind movements like Living Rent and Better than Zero. They are the standard bearers.

    This, “politics is about relations, not loyalty to a party badge.” I am all over. This is what we need.

    On the details of the program, yes, on Land value tax we will have to wait and see what they do and this is, obviously linked to how radical they ever intend to be when it comes to real Land reform. Not sure I can add anything there other than they should get on with it.

    Railways, well really, it’s kind of embarrassing that they haven’t done this already.

    On your two huge quote’s. Yeah, the figures are stark. The reason we got so close in 2014 was because RIC and other grass roots campaigns gave people the idea that another Scotland was possible. (Still our most persuasive slogan if you ask me. We gave folk permission to dream.)

    Corbyn gives folk in Englad permission to dream. Those dreams, though they may not be anywhere near radical enough for you or I, still represent a break with the crap status quo we’ve had since, oh, 1979?

    I may not be the best political pundit, but your last quote hits on one of the fault lines that has existed in “the Left” in various ways since the first international. That between action on the street in single issue or rather grassroots campaigning, and the idea of engaging with bourgeois democracy.
    And you’re right to put this quote in, we need both. However, not everyone has the skill set for both camps. I know I don’t!

    We also need to stop the tendency for one part of this two pronged approach to feel that it has to coordinate the other. Campaigning groups will be fine. We don’t need vanguards anymore, if we ever did.

    Anyway, I digress, as I always do.
    Posted in a spirit of solidarity.
    Peace.
    P.

  8. Picti says:

    Definitley agree about the ideas of the left being at a premium,w e are definitly in a moment of crisis.

    “We’re all in it together” and the idea of austerity has been discredited widely in the commentariat.

    (though I’m not sure if the person in the street has bought into that completely, that idea of balanced books is a difficult one to shift, however bollox it might be.)

    I think you should probably have added in that Brexit was also a vote against the neo-liberal managerialsim that the mainstream represented.

    If you are faced with a shit situation, and someone hands you a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    On standardised national testing, they haven’t quite introduced it, and what they have is very watered down from what was first mooted.

    You don’t mention Univeral Basic Income in your list of headlines?

    I’m not sure how much of a headline it was, but I’m under the impression it was there? (I could be wrong, I may not be reading as much as I used to) UBI could be a game changer if done right.

    Completely agree we need action not words.

    Also on the front of moving politics from manegerialsim into the world of ideas.
    This is necessary.
    And yes, even though the “left” in Scotland is disparate, we can pull together behind movements like Living Rent and Better than Zero. They are the standard bearers! 🙂

    This, “politics is about relations, not loyalty to a party badge.” I am all over! 🙂

    On the details of the program, yes, on Land value tax we will have to wait and see what they do and this is, obviously linked to how radical they ever intend to be when it comes to real Land reform. Not sure I can add anything there other than they should get on with it!!

    Railways, well really, it’s kind of embarrassing that they haven’t done this already.

    On your two huge quote’s. Yeah, the figures are stark. The reason we got so close in 2014 was because RIC and other grass roots campaigns gave people the idea that another Scotland was possible. (Still our most persuasive slogan if you ask me. We gave folk permission to dream.)

    Corbyn gives folk in Englad permission to dream. Those dreams, though they may not be anywhere near radical enough for you or I, still represent a break with the crap status quo we’ve had since, oh, 1979?

    I may not be the best political pundit, but your last quote hits on one of the fault lines that has existed in “the Left” in various ways since the first international. That between action on the street in single issue or rather grassroots campaigning, and the idea of engaging with bourgeois democracy.
    And you’re right to put this quote in, we need both. However, not everyone has the skill set for both camps. I know I don’t! 🙂

    We also need to stop the tendency for one part of this two pronged approach to feel that it has to coordinate the other. Campaigning groups will be fine. We don’t need vanguards anymore, if we ever did.

    Anyway, I digress, as i always do,
    Written in solidarity,
    D.

  9. Peter A Bell says:

    Or it could just be that the recently announced programme for government (PfG) is simply the continuation of what the SNP administration has been doing for the past ten years. The self-regarding left, so ably represented by Jonathon Shafi, is torn between taking credit for everything that is in the PfG and following its natural inclination to attack whoever currently exercises the effective political power to which righteous radicals are so pathologically averse.

    Jonathon looks at Jamie Maxwell’s ‘analysis’ of the 2017 UK general election results in Scotland and says, it must mean something. So let’s assume it means what I want it to mean. Whereas the rational observer sees yet another in an unbroken string of SNP election wins stretching back into the mists of political irrelevance, Jonathon sees a stark warning that the SNP should follow, not the course determined by the party membership; and not the manifesto upon which the party was elected to govern, but the narrow policy agenda of whatever leftist clique is currently in fashion.

    What is most striking about the utterances of Mr Shafi and his ilk is the woeful naivety of it all. Behind the revolutionary rhetoric and the student union idealism, there’s an abysmal failure to realise that democratic politics is an evolutionary process. However glorious your vision may be; however worthy the end goal, there is a path to be followed. There are no shortcuts. Each step along the way must both build on what went before and provide the foundation for what comes after.

    It’s all well and good having forces urging the government on. But it’s all utterly meaningless unless we have a government that is both willing to be urged and, crucially, capable of using the effective political power granted it by the electorate to construct and follow the path upon which it is being urged.

    We’ve pretty much always had people taking about a better, fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland. Now, we have a party and a government that is actually doing something about it. It would be a tragedy if that was put in jeopardy by a bunch of kiddies playing fantasy politics.

  10. Doghouse Rielly says:

    I think it’s in the nature of any truly progressive political or social movement to operate as a vanguard at least within it’s sphere of activism.

    What we need is a movement that combines activism with electoral politics without compromising either. The core of that balancing act is integrity.

    That would be a vanguard of a different sort.

    All power to the imagination.

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