An Independent Scotland Anyone?

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Spikymike
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Apr 12 2012 15:52
An Independent Scotland Anyone?

With a referendum comming up in the near future on Scottish Independence and a lot of leftist support in favour on a variety of rather tortuous grounds derived from a rag-bag of 'marxist-leninist' and populist theory perhaps it's time to have another look at this.

There is a useful starting point in the most recent contribution by a member of Glasgow Anarchists here:

http://glasgowanarchists.wordpress.com/

Harrison
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Apr 12 2012 16:53

I think it would be a positive development - Scottish nationalism would potentially fade away should they gain independence.

Spikymike
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Apr 12 2012 17:39

Any evidence for that from other idependence movement 'successes' Harrison?

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Steven.
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Apr 12 2012 17:54

Yeah, that's a good article above. It would be good if someone would post it up in our library with a crediting link.

Harrison wrote:
I think it would be a positive development - Scottish nationalism would potentially fade away should they gain independence.

yeah Harrison as Mike basically hints at this is not borne out in the real world following other national independence struggles.

And of course if things go tits up in an independent Scotland then there may be a resurgence in British nationalism.

The only consistent communist position is "who cares?". And that whatever flag they have the only thing that matters is workers' struggle.

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welshboy
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Apr 12 2012 19:11

My attitude, since moving to Scotland a decade or so ago, has always been "who cares" but I'll vote for independence because a) it will make the Daily Mail spontaneously combust and b) I would love to see the useless old pricks of the Orange Order become a paramilitary unit. That would be just too hilarious to pass up.

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And of course if things go tits up in an independent Scotland then there may be a resurgence in British nationalism.

Or push people closer to the position that it's the ruling class that are fucking us over and it doesn't matter which silly accent they have.

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Alasdair
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Apr 12 2012 20:35

The thing is, even if you don't think it's going to make any significant difference to the working class in Scotland, the answer to "who cares?" is most people in Scotland. I realise you don't necessarily mean it in that dismissive a fashion, but I think we have to engage with the debate to some extent, even if that's just to point out why/which things won't change.

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Alasdair
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Apr 12 2012 20:37

Also, I suspect (hope?) it might make things a bit clearer if Scotland was independent, in the sense that the SNP are very good at blaming everything bad on Westminster and acting as if they're protecting us from cuts and austerity. If they couldn't do that it might bring the class nature of the issues into better focus, as Welshboy kind of says.

RedHughs
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Apr 12 2012 20:55

I have heard the victory of theocracy discredited religion for many Iranians but I'm not sure if that result would have been enough of a reason to have supported it back in the day.

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welshboy
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Apr 12 2012 21:20
RedHughs wrote:
I have heard the victory of theocracy discredited religion for many Iranians but I'm not sure if that result would have been enough of a reason to have supported it back in the day.

Don't really think the two are comparable tbh. Worst outcome of Scots independence isn't likely to be a theocratic dictatorship.

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Chilli Sauce
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Apr 12 2012 22:12

The thing I've been a bit confused by with the Leftists pushing this is, if Britain loses Scotland aren't the Tories basically a shoe-in to win every national election?

Now, obviously, I don't give a shit, but I'd expect a more Machiavellian approach from those types...

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Alasdair
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Apr 12 2012 22:29

If Scotland leaves it'll be a blow against British Imperalism! So say the leftists round here anyway. Somewhat idiotically. http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/2012/04/against-devo-max/

(Also that's not really true Labour would have won in 97 and 01 and (I think) 05 even without Scotland, for example)

bastarx
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Apr 12 2012 23:51
welshboy wrote:
RedHughs wrote:
I have heard the victory of theocracy discredited religion for many Iranians but I'm not sure if that result would have been enough of a reason to have supported it back in the day.

Don't really think the two are comparable tbh. Worst outcome of Scots independence isn't likely to be a theocratic dictatorship.

The arguments are comparable and equally ridiculous.

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Alasdair
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Apr 13 2012 00:23

I didn't say it would discredit nationalism, or independence, I said it would stop the SNP claiming that cuts were nothing to do with them and all someone else's fault. Of course that on its own won't necessarily lead to any sudden realisation of communism, but it might make organising people a little bit easier. That's not really an argument that's very similar to saying we should support theocracy to discredit religion.

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Alasdair
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Apr 13 2012 00:26

And it was just an observation on one possible result, I'm not going to go out and canvas for independence on that basis.

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welshboy
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Apr 13 2012 06:09
Peter wrote:
welshboy wrote:
RedHughs wrote:
I have heard the victory of theocracy discredited religion for many Iranians but I'm not sure if that result would have been enough of a reason to have supported it back in the day.

Don't really think the two are comparable tbh. Worst outcome of Scots independence isn't likely to be a theocratic dictatorship.

The arguments are comparable and equally ridiculous.

Not at all. The only 'argument' is that there is as much potential for independence to push people into a having a more class based analysis for their continuing to be fucked over as their is for a resurgence of British nationalism when things don't magically improve after independence.
The argument to support theocracy in order to discredit religion is the same as the argument that we have to let things get so much worse in order for people to be angered, or desperate enough to rebel. There is nothing in the idea of Scottish independence that would worsen things for the working class here. It will, after the fanfare has died down, be business as usual.
Also, I don't think anyone here is 'supporting' the drive for independence. Merely looking at the opportunities that may arise from a commie perspective. And the lulz that would ensue with Brit Nats having a break down. grin

Chilli Sauce wrote:
The thing I've been a bit confused by with the Leftists pushing this is, if Britain loses Scotland aren't the Tories basically a shoe-in to win every national election?

Now, obviously, I don't give a shit, but I'd expect a more Machiavellian approach from those types...

I think that the answer from these folk is generally either one of two things. That a) it will significantly reduce the power of Westminster and in doing so make it easier for other areas to work for independence and b) that the people who live in Scotland have never voted in a Tory government so why should they suffer under one.

ajjohnstone
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Apr 13 2012 07:59

An independent Shetland anyone?

http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2012/01/independence-for-shetland.html

The Scottish branches SPGB blog has posted a number of articles on the independence movement, including the above tongue-in-cheek one. Use the search facility on the blog for the full list of them.

Quote:
"Scotland is governed not simply via the institutions of formal governance (meaning the political institutions of Scotland), and not simply via the traditionally understood “Scottish elite”, meaning either the various elite groups in the Scottish village or the Scottish capitalist class. Scotland is also run by political and economic decision-makers only some of whom are based in Scotland. Other centres of decision making are obviously London and Brussels, the Headquarters of the WTO/IMF/World Bank and the board rooms of the transnational corporations, including those which have no interest or base in Scotland."
http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/27829/

From here

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Steven.
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Apr 13 2012 09:26
Alasdair wrote:
I didn't say it would discredit nationalism, or independence, I said it would stop the SNP claiming that cuts were nothing to do with them and all someone else's fault. Of course that on its own won't necessarily lead to any sudden realisation of communism, but it might make organising people a little bit easier. That's not really an argument that's very similar to saying we should support theocracy to discredit religion.

that's a bit optimistic. Of course they will still be blamed on someone else. Like the previous government, or the EU, or the global economy, or the IMF, or immigrants, etc.

TBH with immigrants they probably would become more targets for scapegoating without Westminster to blame for things.

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Steven.
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Apr 13 2012 09:34

Another thing which pro-independence "socialist" and even "anarchists" never seem to consider is that quite a lot of large employers have national pay and conditions agreements.

Workers in Scotland are in general slightly more militant than England (in my sector, local government yes votes for strike action are consistently higher in Scotland than England). Breaking up these agreements will divide workers further, and will mean that workers in England will lose the leverage of strikes or potential strikes in Scotland.

I have only seen pro-independence lefties talk about the impact this will have in Scotland, ignoring the impact it will have in the rest of the UK. Which is ironic for people who claim to be "internationalist".

Not that I'm saying that they should remain part of the UK of course, just that what matters is the level of workers' organisation and militancy regardless of nationality of the government.

And really I don't see Scottish independence as a believable prospect in the slightest, it seems to just be a nationalist leftist pipedream.

gypsy
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Apr 13 2012 09:49

I know that Scotland has the (Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) whilst England has the TUC. I also know that in education the EIS is the biggest teachers union in Scotland who represent most Scottish and have quite abit of bargaining power. So they are allready quite divided to England on the work front.

As a Scotch living in England, I am not too bothered whether Scotland goes independent. We will still be living under the rules of capitalism so not much will change for the working class up there. Same shit.

Harrison
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Apr 13 2012 21:59
Spikymike wrote:
Any evidence for that from other idependence movement 'successes' Harrison?

Just to clarify, I don't support national liberation, this is what i was getting at:

welshboy wrote:
Or push people closer to the position that it's the ruling class that are fucking us over and it doesn't matter which silly accent they have.
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GBF23
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Apr 13 2012 22:16

http://youtu.be/sfPMkHIFvhk

17mins 50 secs

stoneybridge cooncil declares independance

doug
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Apr 14 2012 12:13
Quote:
It would be good if someone would post it up in our library with a crediting link.

I've added it to the library.

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plasmatelly
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Apr 14 2012 13:27

I'll bet 5 Scottish Poonds it won't improve the average conditions of the ordinary worker one iota.
And yes - it'll be a tory England for quite some time imo.
War dooomed!

jolasmo
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Apr 14 2012 16:34

So, my take on this is that it actually has little to nothing to do with popular feeling, and everything to do with political maneuvering on the part of Cameron, Salmond and their respective backers.

Firstly, it's important to look at the political landscape here. The majority of Scots currently oppose independence. The margins aren't massive, it's possible the SNP could swing it in their favor, but still, Scottish people are actually more pro-Union than the rest of the UK. The current dominance of the SNP in the Scottish parliament has less to do with a groundswell of public support for nationalism and more to do with their social-democratic policies and general hatred for Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems. This has come to a head because the latter, who used to do well in Scotland, have now given up their slice of the protest vote to the Scot Nats by getting into bed with the Tories, who have always been deeply unpopular north of the border.

So from the SNP's point of view, they are now in a position where as far as Scotland is concerned they have almost unassailable political dominance in a 32 seat lead in Holyrood plus, after this May, increased power in local government as well. So any move towards greater independence will result in a general increase in the SNP's power and influence, as well as being a propaganda victory for the party.

South of the Border, Cameron faces a catch-22 where he heads a party that is ideologically pro-union, but for which the break up of the union would actually mean a significant boost in its power and influence. Scotland generally votes Labour, and almost never votes Tory, and if Scottish voters can be cut out of the equation his part will be a shoe-in in every election in the foreseeable future. Of the 59 Scottish MPs, 41 are Labour, and only 1 is Conservative.

So what can Cameron do? Well, given that the current outcome seems likely to favour continuing the union, his best option seems to be to hand more powers to the Scottish government ("devo-max") in exchange for continued union, if the referendum fails. In doing so, he can also force the resolution of the West Lothian question (the fact that Scottish MPs still get to vote on devolved matters that actually don't effect Scotland), which along with increasing devolved powers will effectively render Scottish MPs politically impotent. His party would then have a massive advantage in the House of Commons, on issues from the NHS to the budget, which would be virtually unassailable. And this, it seems, is precisely what he is planning on doing:

Cameron wrote:
…Let me say something else about devolution. That doesn’t have to be the end of the road. When the referendum on independence is over, I am open to looking at how the devolved settlement can be improved further. And yes, that means considering what further powers could be devolved. But that must be a question for after the referendum, when Scotland has made its choice about the fundamental question of independence.

This has caused a not inconsiderable uproar in the Scottish branch of the party. But it represents a favourable compromise for both parties: Cameron gets to keep Scotland British, which is an ideological win for his party, while also keeping Westminster Tory, which is an actual win for him; while Salmond gets more power and gets to preserve the regime of preferential government spending on Scotland that has allowed him to play social democrat in a time of austerity, which would certainly no longer be an option in a fully independent Scotland.

And that's what would happen if we held the referendum tomorrow. But even if there was a significant swing in favour of independence, and Salmond and co. "won" the referendum, it would still work out pretty well for both sides. So really whoever "wins', they both win.

~J.

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welshboy
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Apr 14 2012 16:50

Other polls show the opposite.
http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/3433-new-poll-shows-independence-argument-winning-the-day.html

http://ansionnachfionn.com/2012/01/30/latest-poll-51-favour-scottish-independence/

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/298664/Poll-Now-51-back-independence

I still think that the lulz is the strongest argument in favour grin

jolasmo
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Apr 15 2012 04:06

Aye fair enough, I guess that just shows how reliable opinion polls are. It ain't over till it's over in politics, and it could still go either way. My point was more that whichever way the referendum goes it'll basically be a boon to the currently dominant factions in the political scene both sides of the border.

~J.

benxx
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Apr 18 2012 02:52

The Scottish Identity, entwined with the Declaration of Arbroath and the statement "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.", is what fuels the SNPs, and your average Scots, self righteousness.

I am more likely of the impression that Scotland, as a nation of people, will end up being more right wing after independence. In a post-independent Scotland the above statement will be used to try and paint Scotland as a just nation of people, no matter what the people or parliament do, much like in the US where their Declaration of Independence is used to strum up national pride no matter what negative actions their people or government may do.

It was noticeable after the formation of the Scottish Parliament alone that corporatisation starting sneaking into Scotland more rapidly.

The Scottish Parliament merely allowed corporate lobbyists to hit closer to home more rapidly than before and Independence will speed that up even more.

The only reason we are seeing left policies from the SNP now is to please the crowd. Post- independence it is inevitable we will see a different face as capitalism inevitably carries on to enforce it's toxic behaviour.

This I feel would not necessarily help drum up more resistance.

Ultra-nationalists, who see themselves as just no matter what, will support the state and it's actions.

Comparable is the difference between having a Labour government and a Tory government. Both enforcing the same capitalist policies but under the Tory government there has been much more mobilisation. The left, in particular the trade unions, comparably just bend over and take it when Labour is in power.

Even if this greater mobilisation is misguided, i.e. having ed miliband speak at an anti-cuts rally as if Labour would be better, it's still more mobilisation of people and more spreading of class consciousness.

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BanjoRed91
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Apr 18 2012 03:23
benxx wrote:
The Scottish Identity, entwined with the Declaration of Arbroath and the statement "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.", is what fuels the SNPs, and your average Scots, self righteousness.

I am more likely of the impression that Scotland, as a nation of people, will end up being more right wing after independence. In a post-independent Scotland the above statement will be used to try and paint Scotland as a just nation of people, no matter what the people or parliament do, much like in the US where their Declaration of Independence is used to strum up national pride no matter what negative actions their people or government may do.

It was noticeable after the formation of the Scottish Parliament alone that corporatisation starting sneaking into Scotland more rapidly.

The Scottish Parliament merely allowed corporate lobbyists to hit closer to home more rapidly than before and Independence will speed that up even more.

The only reason we are seeing left policies from the SNP now is to please the crowd. Post- independence it is inevitable we will see a different face as capitalism inevitably carries on to enforce it's toxic behaviour.

Here in the U.S. I've heard about Alex Salmond's incentives for Donald Trump's new seaside golf course which was made without the consent of an entire community which has subsequently acted to stop construction, there's a documentary that has been made about it:

http://www.youvebeentrumped.com/youvebeentrumped.com/THE_MOVIE.html

Makes one think that independence won't matter if this same corporatist shit occurs

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CamelBlip
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Apr 18 2012 18:10

Placing anti-capitalist tendencies aside for a moment, the independence of Scotland would significantly weaken the administrative reach of the British government we see today and is counter-centralist fundamentally. It could therefore hold a range of benefits for the Scottish, who generally seem to want independence.

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Steven.
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Apr 18 2012 19:00
CamelBlip wrote:
Placing anti-capitalist tendencies aside for a moment, the independence of Scotland would significantly weaken the administrative reach of the British government we see today and is counter-centralist fundamentally.

But of course it would simultaneously strengthen "the administrative reach" of the Scottish government. So what is the net result here?

Quote:
It could therefore hold a range of benefits for the Scottish

such as?

Quote:
who generally seem to want independence.

on what are you basing this statement?

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GBF23
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Apr 18 2012 19:36

Given that the Scotish socialist movement has never recovered from the Tommy Sheridan debacle,the labour campaign will be misrun from London and the Condems are a joke, Salmond is pretty much the only show in town in terms of party politics up here. If the choice is independence or Cameron et al in westminister for the next 10years then yes the scots will vote for the SNP.
where that takes us I have no idea.