Independent Futures

David Jamieson and Jonathon Shafi raise some of the biggest, yet little discussed, challenges that lie ahead for the independence movement and confront the difficult realities that must be addressed if a successful strategy is to be developed.

The movement for Scottish independence which so drastically reorganised politics in this country was a social movement which emerged in the context of the crisis of the British state.

It was a movement some decades in the making, which drew on both the accumulated injustices of economic inequality and war and the strategic nous of a hardened leadership of Scottish nationalists.

This movement has found itself at a major impasse, with no agreed road forward. Why has this happened, and what are tactical and strategic realities we now face.

There’s been an atmosphere of suspicion whenever the concrete problems the independence movement faces are raised. This kind of discourse is not reducible to the independence movement, it effects all social movements which experience a set-back. As such, there is a responsibility on the movement to mature politically.

This is a question of leadership. For some this boils down to an immediate analysis of the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, but we think there are deeper issues.

Scottish nationalism was for most of its history a marginal force. The mass independence movement that burst onto the scene in 2014 is a very modern development. But that is not to say that it wasn’t made possible in part by a dedicated cadre of nationalist leaders and thinkers over a period of at least three decades leading up to the referendum.

Such ‘vanguards’ are developed in a political struggle that starts at the fringes. This is where movement leaders are steeled – in the heat of political combat aimed at forcing their way in to the mainstream. This is what breeds their tenacity, dynamism and willingness to take risks.

When Alex Salmond won the leadership of the SNP in he came with a strategy and a body of activists prepared to make the question of Scottish independence relevant to working class Scotland. Their plan was to break into Labour heartlands in the central belt. This was an era defining approach for the SNP.

They had a road map that took them through devolution, coming to power in the Scottish Parliament right up to the Edinburgh agreement. At the same time, Westminster was bleeding authority and legitimacy. But in particular, Tony Blair’s New Labour project intensified a severing of ties with their once entrenched Labour base in Scotland.

Scottish nationalism developed as a disciplined counter current against a backdrop of economic liberalisation, growing inequality, war, austerity and a profound democratic deficit that saw increasingly large sections of the UK public carved out of any influence over the political system.

In the years since the referendum, the core leadership of these last three decades has become fragmented and displaced. At the same time, instead of one relatively coherent path to a referendum, there are vying strategies across the movement.
The general election of 2017, in this context, has not been fully accounted for. It further removed Salmond, the historical driving force in the fight for independence. It un-moored him not only from elected office, but it also undermined his influence within the party operation.

Veteran SNP members will understand the gravity of this development.

Angus Robertson, who spearheaded the SNP’s Westminster intervention after 2015, also represented more than the loss of an MP. He was pivotal to party strategy in the years before and after 2014, and was, of course, deputy leader. He has now stood down from this position – a vacancy which big hitters in the SNP are not rushing to fill. This is in large part due to the lack of a strategy on the founding priniple of the SNP: independence.

They join a host of other old hands who are now out of position. The general election also saw Sturgeon lose the momentum on the question of another referendum. The nationalist road map is at a crossroads.

In addition, the new SNP, far from battling from the sidelines, now faces an altogether different problem – ten years of having been the Scottish Governement. Even amongst the most ardent SNP supporters there is not overwhelming confidence that there will be a pro-independence majority after the next Holyrood elections in 2021.

The roots of our present difficulties are manifold. The independence movement never absorbed September 2014 as a strategic defeat. Many assumed that the energy of 2014 would carry us quickly through to another referendum, and a successful one at that.

Instead of treating 2014 as a setback, it understood the vote as a tactical parlay, immediately moving its attention to the 2015 General Election, and to the wider constitutional crisis fomented by the hard won 45% vote.

A near future referendum was the subject of widespread speculation on both sides. What no one was willing to acknowledge early on – particualralry Scottish unionism – was that a second referendum depended on Westminster sanction.

This is one of the most curious items of the post referendum environment. Westminster’s position as the central instrument of British state power exercises an authoritarian pull on all of the subordinate and devolved institutions. It is a clear marker of the democratic deficit that was part of the motivation for the independence movement. And yet this particularly arrogant aspect of its power, its ability to accept or refuse Scottish Independence referenda, was never directly confronted by the SNP, who had no interest in admitting to its new restive base that it lacked the power to call another referendum. That said, the SNP is also able to use this to its advantage – with a the ability to leave a call for a new referendum as a permanent backdrop.

For reasons of immediate tactical advance, no one in official politics openly admitted the real nature of the British State. The SNP’s prestige as the party of independence carried the 2015 General Election, and held more or less until the 2016 Scottish Election.

But the crisis of the British state is multifaceted and not limited to the national question. It is dealing with a legacy of social and economic failure, often underwritten by a vicious campaign of scapegoating and demonisation. When the Brexit vote took place in June 2016, it confirmed how deep the crisis had become. The Prime Minister who gambled on Scotland in 2014 resigned and the British polity was thrown immediately into turmoil.

Nicola Sturgeon made a bold gamble of her own, she stated that another referendum was “highly likely” on the early morning scramble of the Brexit vote. It is worth bearing in mind that she had also said prior to this that an independence referendum would be called when there was sufficient polling evidence to assure victory.

The Scottish Parliament voted for another referendum, and its bluff was duly called, by the hapless new Tory PM – Theresa May. She ruled out another referendum. In the snap election months later, May lost her parliamentary majority and all credibility. But at the same time, the SNP was forced to distance itself from the call for another referendum after a tranche of MPs including key leading figures lost seats. The opponents of independence called for the SNP to ‘get on with the day job.’ This has now effectively been taken up.

But the basic impasse remains intact. May stated that she would grant no future referendum while Brexit negotiations were ongoing.

Brexit has plunged the British state into a fresh crisis just 2 years on from almost losing Scotland. This has been seen as a gateway not only a new referendum, but a new post-2014 frame for Scottish nationalism itself.

But from the start this issue was never clear cut. While it is true that 62% of Scots voted to remain, and that this weaponised the democratic deficit, hundreds of thousands of Yes voters also voted to leave the European Union. In addition, despite the quagmire the British state had got itself into, this did not lead to an upsurge of support for independence.

The present claim of those who see an inevitability to the crisis sprouting a new referendum, is that people have not yet felt the full effect of Brexit. They also claim that Brexit can secure a breakthrough in the EU supporting middle class and organisations like the CBI.

Here there are some problems that we need to untangle.

Under the pressure of the general election result – and a lack of movement in the polls – the SNP has presented its immediate objectives in the vein of keeping the UK in the EU, rather that taking Scotland out of the UK.

This strategy is based on the idea that the Scottish Government has to be seen to do all it can within the framework of the UK to defend Scotland’s interests, and to protect the democratic will of the people of Scotland in relation to the EU.

But in doing so, the SNP are not making a focused argument for dismantling the British state all together. Unlike Catalonia, they are not backed by a mass movement of people willing to engage in extra-parliamentary civil disobedience that would provide the government with leverage to act more boldly. Again it is worth repeating that while of course Nicola Sturgeon is in a powerful position, the problems facing independence supporters cannot be reduced to her choice of very limited options.

These tactical questions are part of a strategic dilemma. That dilemma is the new framing of Scottish independence which is now enmeshed with the question of membership of the EU. It is said that working class Scotland is committed to independence and that therefore the British rupture with the EU represents an opportunity to hardwire Scottish independence into transnational corporate interests. This recasts independence as a continuity project, rather than one of rebellion and rupture. It integrates the idea of Scottish independence into the mainstream thinking of European capitalism.

But this in itself is an ailing social and economic order. Independence, if it is to gain sustained popular traction, must be transformative in its agenda. It must be the tip of the spear in a struggle that is playing itself out across the continent against austerity, privatisation and authoritarianism.

We also have to understand that the EU is far more interested in a longer term strategy which involves the re-entry of the UK as a whole into the EU, far more than it is motivated by welcoming an independent Scotland into its structures. This is particularly relevant, and yet under discussed given the situation in Catalonia, and the EU’s orientation on it.

In addition, the very same people that the SNP are building alliances with on the question of keeping the UK in the EU, will be inveterate opponents of independence should there be another referendum. This will further dilute the new case for independence.

This new framing also suffers from twin assumptions. The first is that there will be a ‘hard Brexit’. The second, that this automatically leads to a majority for independence. This mechanical reading profoundly misunderstands both the present conjuncture and political psychology. The British state and the majority of the Tory party are suing for soft Brexit, something the EU also has an obvious interest in.

Even in the event of hard Brexit, the middle class element Sturgeon is betting so highly on, would likely be driven in a more conservative direction. Stunned by their dislocation from one major institution, they would be unlikely to challenge yet another, creating even more profound instability. This is particularly true when there is no guaranteed, let alone uncomplicated, road back into EU for an independent Scotland.

The reason why there is such heated debate about the timing of a referendum and the context in which it is nested, is because there is no natural majority for independence. What drove the 2014 surge to Yes was the opportunity to end Tory rule and austerity. It was a movement fed up with the betrayals of New Labour, and it contained an anti-militarist component due to the popular opposition to both Trident and the Iraq War. 2014 became a lightning conductor for these issues. The movement proved that roughly half of the population opposed neoliberalism and war. The best kept secret of decades of stifling political conformity was out.

This is what broke the Labour heartlands for Yes. Since then, Labour itself has undergone its own poltical revolution.
Under the weight of the wider UK crisis another front has opened. Jeremy Corbyn’s relative success in the 2017 elections has solidified his position as the UK leader of the same political sentiments that rocked Scotland in 2014. Indeed, many of the activists that are part of this movement, looked on at the Scottish referendum and saw the openings created by a popular grassroots campaign. His ascendancy is the product of the anti-war movement, his opposition to corporate elites and of widespread disaffection with the status quo.

That said, the Corbyn phenomenon is not the same in Scotland. Here, much of the would-be Corbynite element was already mobilised for the independence referendum. But the strategic question posed to independence supporters is more than electoral. It is about what the existence of the Corbyn phenomenon does to the texture of the arguments in a future referendum.
In 2014 we were able to say that independence was ‘the only game in town’. Today Corbyn’s success has discredited the more doctrinaire pronouncements on the inability of the UK political sphere to become and arena of serious dissent.

In 2014 the prospects of confronting austerity at home and war abroad seemed remote in the extreme at a Westminster level. We do not say this to paper over the severe dysfunction of the British state, or massive institutional barriers faced by Corbyn. It is rather to note that a concrete political fact has developed at Westminster that complicates independence strategy in numerous ways. To cite just one example, in 2014 Yes has a massive hearing inside the trade union movement. Could we be sure of the same today? At the very least, the nature of the debate has altered.

The SNP claim they have already implemented Corbyn’s policies at a Scottish level. But the fundamental point is that every week Corbyn is taking on the vested interests in the media, the power of the bankers and neoliberal dogma. Conversely, these are some of the people the SNP is trying to court in its drive to normalise independence in the corporate world.

For a genuinely radical approach to independence, we must also be in the business of forging alliances with the burgeoning left in England. Again, for many these words will be viewed with disdain. But if we are seriously looking ahead to the balance of forces in a future referendum this approach is vital.

These existential questions are answered by some in the independence movement with the assertion that independence on its own merits, instantly overcomes all of these pressing problems. But this was not the argument made by the historic vanguard of Scottish nationalism, who pitched independence as a return to Scotland’s social democratic values. Even less was it the ethos of the 2014 movement, which understood independence as a rupture with the UK social order.

The animating force of UK politics is the decline of the British state. Scotland is only one of an increasing number of fronts in that escalating process. To be strategically serious about Scottish independence, we must learn to ride the tiger of British decline. This means forming alliances with social movements across the UK, linking fronts to accentuate the crisis and organise a progressive response. In short: unite the movements, divide the state.

At present the SNP is doing the opposite of this, pitting movements against each other in a bid to form alliances with portions of the establishment it wrongly believes it can use as leverage. This is the inevitable consequence of re-framing Scottish independence as a continuity project, and it only breeds complications and sets traps for the future. Underlying this is the sense that the SNP does not have a theory of the political crisis, and simply responds to events.

The defense of establishment institutions needs to be abandoned. Independence has to be re-framed as a popular movement, not a negotiation between elites. Independence is a deepening of the British crisis, and it should be embraced on those terms – it is not a lifeboat. T he crisis gripping the UK can be resolved in our favour if we position ourselves as active participants in its outcome. But that means facing up to difficult realities.

Comments (55)

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  1. Jim Bennett says:

    Good stuff.

    Minor middle aged grumpiness about proff reading though!

  2. Hugh Kerr says:

    Very clunky analysis by comrades who until fairly recently were ambivalent about independence and sympathetic to Brexit Lexit anyone ?)and whose most recent electoral foray RISE resembled more a dodo than a Phoenix!
    Independence wont happen without the SNP and the decision when to go for a second referendum is a tricky one but I trust Nicola’s judgement rather than Jonathan’s in the meantime the SNP government is doing not a bad job of protecting against the Tories!

    1. Charles Gallagher says:

      Hi Hugh, I mostly agree with you and especially two things, the SNP is the Lead Party as it’s the lead provider of finance. My own belief is that now there should only be one objective ‘INDEPENDENCE’ and that we need to sort out a couple of things Currency and Pensions (for those incommers who believe that they’ll lose their current UK Pension). I also believe that at this time we should drop EU Membership instead opting for EFTA as this would allow us a chance to set our own VAT especially on fuel, energy tariffs, bringing back Public Utilities into Public Ownership, assistance to get industry restarted and ‘Tampons’. Matters like how Socialist we should be, whether or not we want a Republic, rejoining the EU are all matters to be decided by the Scottish People once we have a functioning country.

      Finally while as an SNP Member of the largest Party in Scotland I believe that the SNP should form a Campaign Council much like the Coalition Government of Churchill and Atlee between 1939/45 for good ideas are not the sole perogrative of the SNP.

    2. Your adherence to Party is legendary Hugh – a sweet old traditional approach – more blathers as usual

      1. Hugh Kerr says:

        Almost as legendary as your political judgement Mike RISE like a dodo not a Phoenix ! Also my participation in political parties has actually achieved a few things like European directives protecting workers rights, helping to abolish poindings and warrant sales in Scotland and my participation in the SNP is to help win independence now what has your political judgement achieved?!

  3. David Francis says:

    Yeah – the Scottish Indy Movement and SNP/SG should “form alliances” with the very same Corbyn and Corbynistas in England who have repeatedly slapped the SNP/SG in the face when they have tried to do EXACTLY that, previously.

    What utter and complete bollox.

    Corbyn is UNIONIST to his very core and will NEVER assist a Scottish Independence Party or Movement – as are the vast majority of groups associated with him.

    None will back an Independent Scotland – simply because the desperately need the fifty-odd Scottish WM Seats to have ANY chance of defeating UK Toryism.

    Independence – and the loss of those absolutely crucial Scottish WM Seats – is complete anathema to Labour and the British Left.

    Anyone who suggests different – is lying through their “radical” teeth.

    1. JPJ2 says:

      I could not agree more.

      Like it or not, a victory for Corbyn is at best not a victory for independence, and far more likely a defeat.

      1. David Francis says:

        Two things.

        1. Corbyn won’t last much longer politically, whichever way his electoral prospects go – his age will see to that.

        2. Look at the coterie of people who might take his place – and try to find an Indy supporter.
        There are none.

        I say again – Labour’s ONLY interest in Scotland are Scotland’s fifty-plus WM Seats.

        Those Seats disappear with Scottish Independence and so does Corbyn and British Labour’s interest in Scotland.

  4. Khosroes says:

    Sorry. This entire piece is a mish mash of discredited analysis and wishful thinking. When we see supposed left wing ‘tip of the spear’ spokespersons trying to undermine the SNP in favour of some socialist Corbynite fantasy, then it’s clear the comrades never supported Scottish Independence. They supported some dream of a socialist Scottish state, regardless of the Scottish polity.

  5. Paul Anderson says:

    One of the realities of the present situation is that many things that are dangers like a hard border in Ireland, like the power grab by means of the Brexit Bil and its implixations for NHS privatisation, like the inevitable loss of trade and jobs caused by Brexit; is that the lack of urgency in opposition may see these things as a fait accompli waiting for future governments to repeal them.
    Panic is not conducive to strategic thinking but when you are being pushed into a reactionary quagmire by an insanely delusional right wing Tory Government then a sense of immediacy might be deemed appropriate. The last time anything in Scotland excelled in that direction was when Brian Quail held a spontaneous demonstration in George square on the day we heard of the bombing of Yugoslavia by Nato.
    Yet it is perhaps because so much is happening that tackling individual assaults on progressive achievements and the already austerity bashed economy is not that easy.
    I think we need more reactions to the unfolding of these horrible assaults. The passive nature of leaderships as such and their externaliisation to other leaderships tends to miss the point about it is always been movement from below that activates leaders who must respond somehow to that movement.

  6. MBC says:

    If you ‘unite the movements’ you won’t divide the state. Sorry. That’s lunacy. If we succeed in ousting the Tories we won’t be granted independence by a grateful English Labour Party. What you don’t get is that they are every bit as imperious in their own British way as Rees-Mogg. We’ll end up captured and back where we were in the 1950s and 1960s where the hope of a new progressive British state, post empire, was of a British commonwealth, owned by the people, and the Scots bought into that in a big way. We were conned. England is a different country. Left or right it is imperious. Thatcher was elected in 1979 and the Tories dismantled all that Bevin promised, and shafted us. And squandered our oil to boot.

    We cannot ever again hitch the prospects of our social democracy and our future to an English Labour party and the fickleness of Perfidious Albion. We will have no clout on a UK basis, that is total delusion.How can 8% of the population ever have influence over the 92%, never mind even exercise autonomy? Do the maths.

    I grant that Corbyn has appeal. But, two things. Firstly, he is an Englishman with little understanding of Scotland. Ignorant, didn’t even know we’d abolished student fees. Secondly, he is only one man, and an old one at that. Behind him are a whole pile of English reactionaries ready to take over the helm once he’s gone. It’s a chimera.

    No, the greatest threat to our social democracy and to independence is that many will be conned by Corbyn’s promises. I don’t doubt his personal sincerity, despite his crass ignorance of Scotland. What I doubt is that he can ever deliver. Or that if he does, it will mean more autonomy for Scotland. It will mean less. When Labour nationalised Scotland’s resources along with the rest – all it resulted in was London control of Scotland’s resources. And guess what? We were always last in the queue for any jam. Wow. Who’d a thunk that, eh? Plus – they made us feel grateful. And, they had us by the short and curlies. Never again!

    The challenge is to see off Corbyn. because he is not the solution to our problems and never will be.

  7. Doug Daniel says:

    “To be strategically serious about Scottish independence, we must learn to ride the tiger of British decline. This means forming alliances with social movements across the UK, linking fronts to accentuate the crisis and organise a progressive response. In short: unite the movements, divide the state.”

    Which movements would those be? It sounds like a lovely idea, but I suspect one of the movements is Momentum/Corbynism/Whatever, and they have no interest in “dividing the state”. And even if they did, it’s not going to happen as long as Corbyn keeps coming up to Scotland to tell fibs about the SNP to working class voters.

  8. Stevie Anderson says:

    Unicorns and one last heave for you it is Hugh.

    I thought it was a really insightful piece and the central message –
    that 2014 was a challenge to the status quo while presently what is on offer via mainstream “Indy” is a preservation of the main elements of that old status quo
    – is a great insight with huge importance for folk who want to see a radical independence, or indeed any sort of independence other than a sourly unrealised one.

  9. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    I applaud the effort to widen the discussion about ‘the road to the future’. I agree with the gloomy analysis of the (forgive me) momentum towards independence: we need a stronger narrative that offers a vision of a future Scotland that can be an exemplar to other small and emerging nations, both in the EU and beyond.

    As a rural dweller, I want to see a thriving future rural and island Scotland as well as a strong central-belt located New Economy. I want to see real local democracy – the only way to bring this about.

    I strongly believe there is a powerful yearning for a more just society, with a strong moral basis, both at home and abroad (remember ‘an ethical foreign policy’?), that recognises and celebrates the individual citizen (not ‘subject’) in their various communities.

    All of this will also support better mental health and well-being, because it recognises people, it supports and celebrates what it means to be human in the 21st century.

  10. Neil Scott says:

    A good discussion piece. One that, from their lexit, Pro labour stance, takes on some of Allan Grogan’s recent points on leftungagged.org.

    But this miss-titled piece, to me, fails on a number of points, not least the EU. They start with their own premise – their own way forward, not shared by the vast majority of the Scottish electorate, that the UK and Scotland should somehow choose a “lexit” and totally ignore the fact that the majority of Scotland voted to remain. I think this is more of a document that explains their own hibrid of Trotskyist married with Bennism’s way forward. The heralding of a new vehicle for 2020? Or one of a few future pieces that will crowbar Rise and thise associated into Leonard’s Scottish Labour?

    It’s nice to see Jonathan and David catching up with what some people are already doing regarding making links with movements outside Scotland.

    But, the discussions should be had. Great to see this and Grogans views out there this weekend.

  11. Geacher says:

    “But that means facing up to difficult realities.” As a committed unionist, I am of the opinion that this is not something that the average separatist does very well. For example, look at Scotland’s deficit….over the last 5 years it is in excess of £70b, yet that fact is airbrushed out of sight by the twin mechanisms of “GERS is just an estimate” and “GERS tell us nothing about the finances of an iScotland”…. both statements are true and both are completely irrelevant. Scotland’s deficit over the last 5 years is in excess of £70b, and an iScotland would face similar eye-watering levels of debt upon independence. The assumption that the GERS estimates are £billions out and that an iScotland would automatically be rich, rich, rich are both equally daft.
    The difficult reality that in my opinion that the independence movement MUST accept is that under Sturgeon and Mundell, the movement is going backwards, and you either need to replace her as leader (with who?) or have a major change of policy. Her speech last March on the steps of Bute House was a huge mistake ….. only the most rapid of nationalists failed to realise that it is in Scotland’s best interests that brexit is a success, and we all need to unite together in this. May’s snap election caught Elsie by surprise and the SNP lost 21 seats and 480,000 votes. A disaster, and under Sturgeon’s watch, yet she escapes blame free. Even this setback was painted in many quarters as somehow all 480,000 voters lost just did not both and “we still have the majority.” Again, irrelevant and Sturgeon STILL ploughs the same “Tory bad”, “hauled out of Europe against our will,” totally unaware that EVERY argument that she uses against brexit can be equally used against independence. Keep digging Mrs Mundell.
    The harsh reality is that Sturgeon is not up to the job…you need Wee Eck back, and quick.

    1. mogabee says:

      Nicola Sturgeon is NOT married to a Mundell. A silly mistake.

  12. Geacher says:

    Above :”….quarters as somehow all 480,000 voters lost just did not both” should read “…quarters as somehow all 480,000 votes lost were SNP voters that just did not vote”
    Apologies.

  13. Del says:

    Is independence a relatively recent movement? What about the abortive vote for an assembly in 78/79? What about the kids evicted from the Royal High on Calton Hill way back in 1968? To make room for what eventually became Holyrood instead. Independence has been a long time building, irrespective of the standing over time of thatsnpee.

  14. Stephanie Taylor says:

    For me, the YES movement was a genuinely grassroots phenomenon, much of it spontaneous, with no real coordination, but all with the same focus, Independence. Many are currently re-grouping, organising marches, demos and events. Each & every one of us who cares about Scotland must get involved at whatever level we can. We must foster unity and do our best to avoid divisive rhetoric in pursuit of securing our independence. People may not agree with SNP strategy, but they’re our only chance of realising our goal. I’m sure very few who voted to leave the EU voted to give back control of Scotland to WM Tories & could live with the EU having 15% ‘control’ (mainly in trade, regulatory protections etc.) as opposed to living under 90% WM Tory dominance. Jeremy Corbyn didn’t win the election and remains either behind in the polls or just drawing even, in spite of the country being in the grip of the most shambolic and dangerous Tory Gvt in living memory. His ‘principles’ don’t really extend to Scotland. He caved into union pressure to sanction renewal of Trident very quickly and quietly. The majority of the jobs the union wish to safeguard being in England. He lies about the SNP government record and does not give honest credit where it’s due. There are countless illustrations of how Jeremy’s supposed ‘radicalism’ stops at the Scottish border and it would suit independence supporting journalists better to focus on these contradictions and tell tale signs of his perfidy, than to be lauding him as some sort of messianic phenomenon. In our drive for Independence we really must “keep it real”. We just need to stick to the facts. We’re in dangerous times. Our lives are about to change beyond any recognition. Independence is literally going to be the difference between a life worth living and a slow, hard, limited existence. We need any writers and thinkers in the movement to inspire and educate, not to confuse with meaningless rumination about what kind of independent society we should aim for and your article did not provide the slightest hint of ‘how to get there’.

    1. geacher says:

      “The majority of the jobs the union wish to safeguard being in England.”
      Really? For example? Are you saying that WM has no regard for jobs outwith England?
      “He lies about the SNP government record”
      He does? Example please? Just one?

  15. David Allan says:

    “I just can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land~ Cap in Hand” . The words of the song by Charlie and Craig the Reid brothers.

    This is the core reasoning behind the Indy campaign it’s message has been lost since 2014. Making our own decisions to better utilise our countries many resources and escape the Union that has seen the South of England thrive and Scotland and the rest of UK wither.

    Focus needs to return to the simple issues of the impact of decades of under-investment by any UK Gov’t of either persuasion. The signs of pre-devolution years of decay and mediocre decision making are all around us focus on pointing these signs out and how they / we can start to resolve them is the way forward.

    The population will follow. What we urgently need is effective vocal leadership of a movement absent of any individual other than Nicola who can focus on developing the case for Independence to a much wider audience.

    A widely respected figure or Spokesperson/s for the wider movement needs to emerge from Scottish Society who can articulate the case and outline the benefits to doubting Scots. The movement needs a non-political Leader.

    Indeed leaving the day job to Nicola.

    Achieving Independence is beyond the ability of a Political Party alone. WE are all floundering around at the moment and no case for an Independent Scotland is being made by anyone.

  16. Lochside says:

    Like Doug Daniels noted, this phrase jumped out at me in the whole article:’This means forming alliances with social movements across the UK, linking fronts to accentuate the crisis and organise a progressive response. In short: unite the movements, divide the state.” Classic Social Workers Party pseudo Marxist rhetoric from the ’80s. The same people vending that party’s organ, that I tried vainly to persuade that getting Labour’s ‘feeble fifty’ to revoke the Act of Union by going for Independence, as the supposedly autonomous organisation they claimed to be would ‘divide the (UK) state quicker than Tony Benn could light his ubiquitous pipe.

    I attended the first two RIC conferences. Because I had been drawn into active politics for the first time by their plea for canvassing working class areas in the lead up to the INDYREF. I wanted and still want radical change in Scotland, starting with Independence from England and the RUK. Unfortunately, the Left in Scotland has been universally Britnat in nature, always deferring to its English masters. It never got that class can be transitional, nationality hardly ever. The national interest of England has always been to the detriment of Scotland: the evidence is there in abundance.

    Yet Scottish based socialist nirvana seeking trots and strivers for working class unity always seek the assistance, and ultimate subserviance, to the English leaders. Whether Trade Unions or politicians. I worked in England and found the working class in both south and north to be conservative, with a small ‘c’ and completely uninterested in ‘British’ solidarity of any nature. Particularl Union leaders.

    More concerning for me is why the ‘Corbyn effect’ has any resonance in Scotland? It is a mirage, a PR stunt created around an elderly armchair kensington fabian fraud. He backs austerity and supported it through the Commons; he leads a party that supports Trident renewal; he does not support independence for Scotland, like the good little Englander that he really is; he supports us crashuing out of the EU to be handed over to the tender mercies of the tory elite and their international capitalist backers, with most worrying the USA is at the front of the scurvy crew.

    Yet the authors of this article; Kevin McKenna; Common Space’s Angela Haggerty; and Cat Boyd all are pitching simultaneously for Indy minded socialists to back Corbyn and co to lead us forward?
    Sorry, but we’ve been there for the past 90 odd years since we could all vote. Labour are a false flag to divide the working class of Scotland in favour of English national and capitalist objectives. They are now and always have been

    1. Lochside you write that “the Left in Scotland has been universally Britnat in nature” but just after saying that you attended the first two RIC conferences attracted to the campaigns for voter registration on working class areas? I’m not sure how your claim sits with the reality that RIC and the Scottish left held huge conferences, inspired thousands of people and fought for a Yes vote?

  17. Lochside says:

    Hi Editor, there is no contradiction. I support socialist policies and because of disallusionment with Labour’s lying two faced approach over the past generation, I had stopped supporting them and had switched to voting SNP. However, I saw the RIC as a possible ‘new dawn’ of opportunity for truly radical Scottish based and focused policies to be implemented. I was enthused at first. I supported RIC at the beginning because of the clear committment, as I saw it, to socialist ideas and IndyScotland. I campaigned in the schemes and know that I helped to influence people, who had not previously voted, to come out and vote ‘Yes’, and to engage in the political process.

    But gradually the recurring Britnat allegiances of the aforementioned authors of this piece have surfaced with the ‘Rise’ false flag and with the Corbyn chimera. Hence my disallusionment with RIC and its ‘leaders’. I still want the working class of Scotland to unite behind an independence movement which can get us to a situation where many policies that can actually change our lives can be implemented in and by Scottish people. However, I view the RIC now as a cul de sac that leads to the old story of absorption into faux socialist Britnat bullshit. Check the numbers attending their next conference and contrast and compare the numbers with the past conferences.I think you will find that many others have come to the same conclusions that I have.

    1. JamesE says:

      Frank,
      There many people around like youself who have withdrawn to cover. Regarding “the old story of absorption into faux socialist Britnat bullshit”
      The preferred use of the US word “defense” instead of “defence” may be a clue to tbis

  18. Frank says:

    This article is a theoretical muddle and the authors appear to be trying to do contradictory things at once, – namely support Corbyn and left unionism whilst at the same time as supporting Scottish independence. You can’t do both and the radical left needs to work out which side its on. The line about ‘unite the movements divide the state’ – which is a line straight out of the socialist worker, is also a mess; By movements I’m presuming they mean Corbyn’s supporters in Momentum and the Yes Campaign, yet both these ‘movements’ are divided on the national question; It’s time to get off the fence comrades…

  19. alex wilson says:

    When Scots people see Michael Russell does things like this, no wonder grass roots Scots start to turn away from Indy, the SNP ignore these things and assume the people are a wee bit ignorant of politics and wont remember him

    Russell attracted criticism regarding the negative depictions of Scottish towns and cities included in his 1998 travel book In Waiting: Travels In The Shadow Of Edwin Muir. In his book, Russell said of Glasgow: “Pull over and stop the car (if you dare) and walk into the closes smelling of urine and rubbish, cluttered with dirt and debris. It is not uncommon to have to step over a comatose body, with or without a needle by its side.” The Scottish capital was also described in a less than positive light: “The flag on Edinburgh Castle is an awful mutant tablecloth and the National Trust for Scotland is arrogant and elitist.”
    In November 2009, Russell was engaged in a controversy when his most senior aide was forced to resign after being exposed by the News of the World as the author of an online political blog with controversial content.] However, there was never any evidence that Russell had any direct connection with the political blog.
    In January 2011 Russell was referred to the parliamentary standards watchdog over allegations that he tried to influence school closures for his own electoral benefit. “The MSP was reported to Holyrood’s standards watchdog after a leaked email revealed he quizzed SNP councillors about their support for the axing of local schools. The message, sent from Mr Russell’s parliamentary account, concerned proposed closures in the area where he is due to seek election in May. He now represents the South of Scotland but will stand as a candidate in Argyll & Bute.”] Kilmodan Primary, the school nearest to Russell’s home was later amongst those saved from closure as well as Toward Primary where his wife Cathleen was headteacher (Cathleen had also been headteacher at Kilmodan). In January 2011 Mrs Russell transferred to Sandbank Primary School, which was safe from closure.
    Russell was also accused of interfering in school closure decisions taken by councils.[35] “The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), the body which represents council leaders, has now written to Mr Russell accusing him of failing to act in a “consistent, pragmatic and limited way”.” Russell was further accused of “bullying” in his dealings with Shetland Islands Council where the council was asked to postpone cost-cutting school closures. “Mr Russell was last night accused of “bullying” councils into agreeing to his moratorium. A senior local government source said: ‘Russell is acting like a school bully on this and bullying councils into backing this delay.'”

    1. Charles Gallagher says:

      Alex, the truth hurts sometimes!!!

  20. Alf Baird says:

    Demographics (i.e. ongoing replenishment of the non-Scot British cultural vote within Scotland) suggests any indyref2 that is again based upon an open franchise, primarily residency, will most probably also be lost; the FM knows this, and the Tories will seek to delay any indyref for longer just to make absolutely sure.

    But Holyrood now has a taste of real power with its Continuity Bill, much as we have never seen the Tories squirm quite so slithery. Constitutionally, as co-founder signatory to the UK Union, Scotland can legally end the said union in the same way through a simple majority decision of its representatives – and Holyrood could bring forward a ‘Withdrawal from UK Union (Scotland) Bill’ to finalise matters, as far as Scotland is concerned.

  21. Laura McKeon says:

    In 2018, “the prospects of confronting austerity at home and war abroad at a Westminster level” are no less remote than they were in 2014. How are you not disappointed in a former co-convenor of CND and Stop the War voting to preserve trident and abstaining on war in Syria? Labour may have ‘undergone its own political revolution’ but north of the border, it’s business as usual. We have no more reason to trust that Corbyn can save the welfare state or dismantle imperialism than we do that he will be able to protect post-Brexit Britain from vicious corporations, trade agreements, etc.

    I agree that there is a fundamental need to hasten the decline of the British state. That’s why I want to see trident removed. It’s why I can accept Brexit as a positive event from a pan-European perspective, though I seriously hope Scotland finds a way to remain. It’s why I want a strong devolved government. What I don’t want is chaos to usher in a new political era; a decline in our NHS, welfare, etc, or maybe another war in Northern Ireland.

    Questioning an independent Scotland’s ability to re-enter the EU is better-together nonsense. It’s incredible how often you parrot the same arguments as the unionists, much as the far-left mirrored the positions of the right in the discussions leading up to the Brexit vote.

    It’s preposterous to suggest that Catalonia’s current government in exile had a better long-term independence strategy than the SNP. I’m glad Nicola sturgeon is not holed-up in Brussels with a bunch of fascists making make-believe pronouncements. You can have your heroic ethic of defeat. I would rather have a government capable of achieving something.

    I don’t think it’s true that the independence movement is not organising and connecting with social movements, or that they are failing to engage with people across the border. When you talk about the ‘burgeoning left’ that we are failing to interact with, I think you mean Corbyn and labour, who will never be in favour of Scottish independence.

    Stop dismissing a desire to stay in the EU as middle class, Many voters are genuinely concerned about the effects of Brexit, for example those who may be forced to leave the country. Not everyone agrees with Corbyn’s view that free movement only benefits capitalists, for example, people whose families are at risk of being torn apart.

    Being in favour of Brexit is not THE anti-capitalist position. And neither is supporting Corbyn. The vote on EU membership was not a referendum on capitalism. You may see leaving the EU as a road to socialism, but others don’t see it that way and, in Scotland, you are actually in the minority.
    It’s a fair point that not all yes voters voted remain (some of them didn’t bother voting at all!) but not all socialists voted to leave. Corbyn would do well to pay a bit more attention to them.

  22. David Jamieson says:

    Thanks to all for the feedback on the article, much of it positive.

    A quick note on some of the criticisms – they rely far to much on a map of the political world only a few years old and yet already totally out of date.

    This is not an article simply calling on Yes voters to back Labour, nor for that matter calling on Labour voters to back the SNP. The political picture in the UK and Scotland is dynamic and fast moving. The world of party politics is narrow, stale and un-strategic. I urge people not to get caught in the trap of boiling indy strategy down into SNP vs Labour. This frame no longer fits.

    What has prompted my and Jonathon Shafi’s call for a broader understanding of the dynamics at play and a capacity to take far reaching tactical action across the Islands and beyond is simply this understanding. There is no longer a clear road to a second independence referendum.

    Carry out this deductive exercise.
    It’s March 2018.
    The SNP has a mandate to request a referendum from the UK Government. That is all.

    Such a request was made and dismissed by May in 2016.

    She said then she would not grant another referendum while Brexit was underway. But she didn’t promise there would be one after Brexit either.

    May is now in an even more precarious political position with Brexit, constant internal instability and under pressure from Corbyn. She is less likely than ever to permit another referendum.

    If May continues to refuse another referendum, and all indications suggest she will, that takes us into the 2021 Scottish elections.

    At this point a new mandate for an independence referendum will have to be established.

    But a pro-independence majority in 2021 looks remote. With the best will in the world, the SNP will be campaigning for an incredible 4th term in office. That takes a considerable toll on public support. Especially if many understand that May has taken a referendum off the table.

    That is why a broader analysis of all the moving parts is now necessary – the ‘Scotland only’ path to independence may be closed. But the decomposition of the British state is a live process. Things will get more, not less complicated from here. So a rethink is necessary.

    1. David Allan says:

      The case for Independence needs to be made to Scottish Labour supporters it’s through the addition of their support and realisation of the futility of Westminster under a Labour Government ever bringing about the change we share a desire for.

      The “Scottish branch” leadership need to appreciate not all tradition Slab voters are unionists. And these Labour supporters who support Independence need to make their opinions known. And persuade others that Corbyn is another false hope.

      The road to Independence needs a Scottish Labour dimension.

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      What defeatist nonsense. I thought the article was poor, but this follow-up comment is just dire.

      Actually, no Section 30 request has been made, and certainly not in 2016 (I thought you were a journalist? You should know these things.) A letter was sent in March 2017 asking to begin talks, but this was of course overtaken by events. May has not yet been put in the position of having to formally reject a Section 30 request.

      And of course, all she ever said was “now is not the time”. Combine that with Ruth Davidson’s “three tests for IndyRef2”, and all you have are arguments about timescale – the actual question of whether there should be another independence referendum has effectively been conceded already. It’s fairly significant that even the main proponents of the union accept the constitutional question has not yet been properly answered.

      If a formal request is made and May formally refuses it, then we’re in new territory. Do you seriously think the Scottish Government is going to go “oh well, fair enough”? Or could there perhaps be back-up plans? And what if May is not the one to be in a position to do the rejecting? I’d love to see PM Rees-Mogg or PM Johnson telling Scotland to go back in its box.

      As for the pro-independence majority in 2021 looking remote, it would be foolish to predict the 2021 Scottish Election in 2018. There are all manner of hands to be dealt and played yet. And even if the SNP loses more seats, why would you instantly assume that those voters are going to switch to the unionist parties? It’s far more likely that the Greens (and hey, maybe even RISE! Well, maybe not…) benefit and the pro-independence majority remains, but in a different guise. What about a 2021 campaign fought on the basis of “they’ve refused us a referendum, so a vote for us is a vote for independence?” There are all sorts of possibilities.

      Mind you, if you think you can back English Labour without any positive knock-on effect for Scottish Labour – thereby increasing the chances of them preventing a pro-independence majority in 2021 – then you go ahead. It’s a funny way of supporting independence, though.

      Supporters of Scottish independence need to focus on the job at hand. That means trying to increase support for Scottish independence, not deferring to social movements down south. Things are going to happen this year. Those who are serious about independence will get stuck in. Those who just saw it as a passing interest are welcome to stick their lot in with other movements. But if they do, they needn’t continue trying to call themselves independence supporters.

      (And you’ve still not outlined who these other social movements are. Surely you don’t just mean Momentum/Labour?)

      1. I don’t see how its a case of ‘deference’ to social movements down south?!

        It’s about solidarity (?)

        “The political picture in the UK and Scotland is dynamic and fast moving. The world of party politics is narrow, stale and un-strategic. I urge people not to get caught in the trap of boiling indy strategy down into SNP vs Labour. This frame no longer fits.”

        1. Jack Collatin says:

          I have emerged momentarily from my darkened room. See what happens when I leave you lot to bicker among yourselves.
          WE are not waiting until after a hypothetical SGE in 2021, guys.
          By October 2018 we may well be facing a UK GE as May decides on a NO Deal outcome.

          ‘Over by October’ is my new catchphrase. The UK will be over by October when the Brexit Deal is unveiled. Our very own October Revolution.

          At the JMC today Mundell’s lies at yesterday’s Scottish Questions were exposed. WM is determined to hold on to the infamous 25 powers, which include, surprise, surprise, Agriculture, Fish, and the Environment.
          The powers have well and truly been ‘grabbed.’ And we’ve not even put the clocks forward yet.
          Tusk in Dublin today:- Ireland first.

          Brexit is brought to a crunching grinding halt because WM has already welched on its December commitments.
          All this is panning out pretty much as we have anticipated and discussed online for the past 18 months.

          Yet it appears to have an element of surprise for some commentators (not) as each day reveals yet another festering sore in England’s Body Politic.

          For at least half the population of Scotland, there is no question of sitting idly by while England drags us out of Europe next April.

          That’s a big No No; so when we read your argument that we ally with Corbyn and the mythical Far Left in England, go on to win a Pro Self Determination majority in 2021, and PM Corbyn agrees to a second Indyref, many of us may admire your alternative view of life, the universe, and everything, but equally we remain resolutely, though you may argue obdurately, here in the real world of 300 years of Scotland being ignored, exploited, and betrayed by English Governments of all hues and beliefs.

          Are you really postulating that we just give up, go away, let Boris and May get on with it, and wait for yet another Brit Constitutional Convention post 2021?
          You are touting fridges to Eskimos to keep their food warm?

          You advocate the tired old politics of the 1960’s, the Them and Us.
          The ‘Us’ Down Thee have no interest in Scotland, know relatively little about us, and as Corbyn has demonstrated in his speeches on his whistle stop two hour tours North, the New Left would not back or campaign for Scottish Independence, ever.
          I spotted the word ‘solidarity’ out of the corner of my eye while I was speed reading earlier. Are we back to the Days of Gdansk, the Polish shipyards and Lech Walesa?

          Scotland deserves better than that.

      2. David Jamieson says:

        If I am wrong and there are better immediate chances of a referendum in the next few years (I am singularly unconvinced by the case you make above) internationalists who understand that Scotland is part of UK wide and European dynamics will be in a better position to relate to that situation. Just as we were in the Indyref. ABC arguments about international solidarity should not have to be so actively defended in this movement.

        1. David Allan says:

          The call should be to have Scottish Labour voters back Independence (not back the SNP). Labour supporters backing Corbyn isn’t going to benefit their ideals. Nor help the Independence cause.

          More focus on a strategy thats promotes Scottish Independence and why it is necessary rather than focus on bringing down or undermining Westminster.

          1. Charles Gallagher says:

            David I’m sure in the 2014 you remember in the ‘YES’ team we had Labour for Indy, Lib/Dems for Indy even the odd Tory and it worked, so need to reinvent the ‘Wheel’.

        2. Doug Daniel says:

          “If I am wrong and there are better immediate chances of a referendum in the next few years (I am singularly unconvinced by the case you make above) internationalists who understand that Scotland is part of UK wide and European dynamics will be in a better position to relate to that situation. Just as we were in the Indyref.

          That’ll be the self-same “internationalists” who claimed Scottish independence made international solidarity between the people on these isles impossible, and therefore campaigned against it rigorously? The ones who now enable the xenophobic rhetoric against workers from Krakow, Bucharest and Sofia, but in softer language so they can feign innocence? Those internationalists?

          “ABC arguments about international solidarity should not have to be so actively defended in this movement.”

          And arguments about a generally left-leaning country not having right-wing Tory governments it didn’t vote for continually foisted upon it shouldn’t have to be so actively defended in the movements you speak of, and yet defend them we must. Incidentally, you’ve still not told us who these movements are, which suggests it was either simply a nice-sounding line with no actual substance behind it, or folk are correct and the “movements” are in fact just Momentum/Corbyn’s Labour party (which wholeheartedly backs Richard Leonard’s attacks on the SNP etc).

          1. Why is it so difficult to think in terms of social movements and solidarity Doug?

          2. jack collatin says:

            What you said, Doug.
            My fault for mentioning Gdansk.
            Time and tide wait for no man (sic).
            WE go now, and the internationalists can approve or disapprove as they will.
            And so to bed.

      3. Charles Gallagher says:

        Very well put and yes who are these people and do you mean ‘Momentum’?

  23. Ottomanboi says:

    The problem with the SNP is that it is essentially a product of the British system. The mindset is politically neither radical nor experimental and its desire to dominate the National Movement is constricting, unhealthy, intellectually and culturally stultifying.
    Compared to continental European national liberation parties it seems all too ready to cozy up to the antique mechanisms, allegedly democratic, hallowed by the status quo. Compared to Catalan nationalism the Scottish variety is risk averse, unwilling to provoke crisis or use crisis, the current Brexit one springs to mind, in pursuit of its supposed goal.
    Independentists looking at Catalunya and its mass movement can only wish we had a gramme of such Latin brio and panache.
    Scottish nationalism really is armchair politics, frankly geriatric.

  24. w.b.robertson says:

    The SNP has muddied the water (and got itself on a hook) by hitching itself to “indy in Europe”, instead of keeping the campaign simple… i.e. independence from Westminster. Thousand of Yes supporter do not want to replace Westminster with Brussels and you don`t win power by antagonising your supporters. Alas Mr Small, like the party, is also on the same hook.

  25. Jack Collatin says:

    I’m a patient man. I read this co-authored Corbyn eulogy all the way through.
    You lost me completely towards the end.
    “For a genuinely radical approach to independence, we must also be in the business of forging alliances with the burgeoning left in England. Again, for many these words will be viewed with disdain. But if we are seriously looking ahead to the balance of forces in a future referendum this approach is vital.”

    ‘Genuinely radical’?
    It is ‘vital’ that I forge an alliance with Corbyn’s Commies?
    This article could have been written in 1963. It is long in length, short on substance.
    Do the authors really expect Joe and Josie Mac Public to embrace Marxism and join the the New Militants gathering under the Momentum Banner and march on the Bastille, kill the capitalists and landlords, and declare Scotland as the New Democratic Socialist Republic of North Briton?
    I despair.

    1. This is hysterical (in both senses).

      Most of what the Labour Party is proposing is mild social democratic policy that’s more mainstream than Marxist. Most of the ideas about public ownership or control of public utilities is just thought of as normal in most of Europe. It’s Britain that is the weir exception.

      I think Jack you must have swallowed the Daily Mail by mistake for breakfast?

      1. Jack Collatin says:

        That’s a first. I’m a Daily Mail reader. (Don’t encourage him PLEASE. Mrs C.)
        It’s the word ‘most’, dear Ed.
        You’ll get no argument from me on public ownership of essentials like transport, health, Education, Water, Fuel, and so on.
        But Corbyn and McDonnell are old style Militants from the Bad Old Derek Hatton Days.
        I consider myself a reasonable man, and invite constructive criticism from all who wish to argue the toss with me.
        But a Daily Mail Reader?
        Lovin’it. I’ll be boasting about this on Saturday night when I’m out with the Clydebank Rat Pack.
        I might even sing ‘Ain’t that a Kick in The Head’ at the Karaoke.
        I haven’t a hysterical bone in my body these days.
        More’s the pity.
        Corbyn is my age, and dithers along mouthing ‘for the many, not the few’, while he expects Scotland to be led kicking and screaming into Free Trade Hell despite voting Remain.
        I love shiny faced young zealots demanding control of the means of production.
        Warms my old revolutionary soul.
        I repeat the piece was long on length, short on substance.
        It seems to be a Bella theme: we should team up with our Socialist English
        comrades who will back our campaign for Self Determination Up Here?
        Aye, richt.
        I will now retire to my darkened Sanctum Sanctorum and sit on the floor against the wall sucking my knees until it all passes.
        See that Nicola Sturgeon? It’s about time she got on with the Day Job and let Momentum do all the Social Democrat Big Stuff.

  26. Laura McKeon says:

    What are you basing your contention on, that the independence movement in Scotland has barricaded itself off from the political realities of the world and thus failing to forge links with the left in England? People have not swung back to labour in this country. To me, that does not signify a lack of strategic thinking or political ignorance. You act as if Scotland is already run as a separate country, it’s not. People who work for charities, human rights organisations, political campaigns, etc are entirely aware of what is going on in the rest of Britain, they are worried about it, and they have been organising. They just haven’t been convinced that Brexit is workable, or that Corbyn can offer a government that will deliver for people in Scotland. The fact that you are looking at what’s happening in the world now and that it has convinced you of the untouchable power of May to direct the futures of UK nations, that the EU would gang up on an independent Scotland, that our case for independence is weaker than ever… blows my mind. At some point, you are going to need to state your ‘internationalist’ case for kicking people out of the country.

    1. Jack Collatin says:

      You’ll be accused of ‘hysteria’, on perhaps two levels even, Laura.
      Tomorrow Barnier will reiterate the EU 27 four red lines.
      If the rUK (‘cos we are deffo out of this Union now) does not recognise a Customs Union, a Single Market within the EU, freedom to work, travel and settle anywhere in the EU bloc for all EU citizens, and the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and all that entails, then England and Wales will be No Deal out of the EU at the end of March 2019.

      These are givens in the sane world outside of Merrie England.

      Corbyn and Starmer, and a small band of Left Labour mutter about ‘a’ customs union, as opposed to ‘the’ customs union, while disregarding what’s happening out there in the Real World. The EU27 are not for budging.
      180 New Labour MPs ain’t backing Corbyn, or any form of Brexit. They are Remainers. They are New Labour new conservatives.
      ‘Britain’ is not the Great Colonial Power of 1880; it is ‘England’, a small lump of rock at the bottom of Scotland, up to its eyes in debt and dying from Establishment managed corruption and Tax Evasion.
      I have relatives, friends and ex colleagues Down There. I worked on and off over 3 decades all over England.
      I actually care what happens to them, even the ‘take back control’ nuts.
      Like many, I don’t believe that we should stick with a Union through thick and thin, and disregard the harm that it will do to my children, their children, my relatives, friends and neighbours.

      The Union is dead. We must strike out on our own. Only then as a mature nation in Northern Europe can we offer our support to our neighbour England, who according to all reports will be severely damaged by the EU version of Separatism.
      For information, dear Ed, I lived through the Upper Clyde battle, the miners’ strikes, I cheered my older brother as he marched in the Apprentice strike.
      I have contributed part of my wages to support strikers, and am outraged at the thought of some limp wrist Lib Dem MP suggesting that we erect a statue to the Anti Christ herself, Thatcher.

      This woman began the sell off of the ‘Family Jewels’ as Harold Mac Millan called it, and you didn’t get more Tory than Old Supermac.

      Blair and Brown, and their puppet master Mandelson destroyed the Labour Movement in Scotland, slowly surely, inexorably.

      I note another article in BC asking who bosses Scotland and Tom Harris’ face is looking out at the casual reader. Now there’s a man for the main chance.

      The Feckless Forty One, dubbed ‘fuckin’ useless’ by their own Shadow Cabinet, presided over the Rape of Scotland, and made a pretty penny doing it.

      Yet we are still hanging on in there.

      The SNP soldier on, and to be honest, when self Determination is achieved and bedded in, I’d imagine that Fergus Ewing and Nicola Sturgeon will go their very different political ways, as will many of their colleagues.
      But until then, we must stand firm.
      The Union is dead.
      Something Wicked This Way Comes.

      Laura, you are correct:-
      ” Scotland is already run as a separate country, it’s not. People who work for charities, human rights organisations, political campaigns, etc are entirely aware of what is going on in the rest of Britain, they are worried about it, and they have been organising. They just haven’t been convinced that Brexit is workable, or that Corbyn can offer a government that will deliver for people in Scotland.”

      We are that close to getting rid of WM, the House of Lords, Privilege, Establishment Rule.
      We really don’t need to break into factions at this time.
      Back to sucking my knees in a huddle on the floor,

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Right on the money all round Jack. I put the fundamental difference down to culture; they have theirs, we (still) have ours, culture including the way we speak and the way we think. However, in another decade or so our ongoing (British) assimilation will probably be irreversible (like much of Wales), in part due to accelerating demographic change, and constant propaganda of course. Its now or never. I expect we will see another constitutional Bill forthcoming from Holyrood, one that will really annoy McIntosh and his Tory better-together pals. The indy-movement is finally witnessing its democratically elected parliamentary majorities being used and about time too. Dubious referenda (dependent on Westminster) are for the birds.

        1. Charles Gallagher says:

          Spot on Jack & Alf.

  27. Steve Cairns says:

    “It integrates the idea of Scottish independence into the mainstream thinking of European capitalism.” Undoubtedly this is what smarts.

    What the stirring spear-tip rhetoric fails to acknowledge is that the rag tag revolutionary rainbow army reached it’s zenith and failed to win. Being mainstream instead of alternative; Government instead of opposition, sheepdog instead of wolf…. Is the price you must pay for governing in a democracy. Average will win the day in the end.

    Let go the glory and the hubris. Let Corbyn have the mantle of gallant contender, The great Saint, the Slayer of capitalism… He’s earned the right and I sincerely hope he succeeds, as will many in the yes movement.

    Until he does, having the support and confidence of the institutions of European diplomacy, Global Capital and the mainstream hum-drum majority of former no-voters, Is exactly what Sturgeon, and Scotland, wants, and needs.

    I have seen the enemy. He’d abandoned his banners and left the poverty behind him. Not forgotten, but not for him. She was driving. A 6 year old car over a brand new bridge. Kids in the back. All looking bored, wondering if given their backing, maybe Scotland could make more of the roads this smooth.

    A measured, professional and competent voice of reasonable managerialism. A government seeking only to protect and serve it’s people by harnessing the energy of global markets. Tempering excesses through close cooperation with a transnational regional regulation. A New Scotland. Like the old one, just a wee bit better. For everyone.

    The mainstream thinking of European Democracy.

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