First lets put things into perspective here. The SNP appear to be running scared of holding another referendum anytime soon. What happened to their summer of building for indyref2. All they actually did was conduct an online poll as far as I can see and then no action. Apart of course from all the posturing over the EU question, where over 30% of their own supporters voted to leave. They have of course produced a draft bill on a second independence referendum and has been published by the Scottish government after the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, pledged to hold a new poll in the event of a hard Brexit in a direct challenge to Theresa May.
The only basis SiC and therefore their masters in the SNP have for calling for yet another referendum within the current electoral term is the EU question.The SNP’s only mandate for a second referendum within this parliamentary period is based on their commitment to call for one if there is a significant material change within the UK. That is what the referendum bill was published for. To hold a new poll in the event of “Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will”
With the SNP and the Greens holding a majority in Holyrood, both of whom are very pro EU they can in fact call for another referendum.
The question this time round will have to be “Do you want an in independent Scotland that remains a part of the EU”. If the referendum is called on the basis of the outcome of the EU referendum and this new bill, then any indy referendum has to be based on that premise and that wording. If it is not and they or anyone else, who tries to conflate the issue, will have no mandate whatsoever to call a referendum.
That is the SNP/Green position. That is the only road open for calling another referendum. It is the only reason they have for a referendum. That is a fact that cannot be denied or coloured in any other way by anyone on the yes side. This referendum will be called on the basis of EU membership and nothing else.
And then we have the ongoing opportunism and it is nothing but opportunism, from the “radical left” in the yes movement. Where a leading figure on the EU question states very clearly that they would vote for independence even if they were in Mordor.
Others of course will wheel out the tried and failed “let’s get independence first and we will sort out the EU next”.
Both of these views put by the “radical left” are very worrying. All sections of the radical left are now clearly stating that independence is more important than any issue facing the working class. Independence is now the only tool in their armoury. It has become the Holy Grail of the Radical Left in Scotland. It is the silver bullet that will destroy the British state and Capitalism. Independence transcends all “revolutionary” ideology as it is the only revolutionary thing to do in Scotland and therefore the UK.
On the one hand we have Solidarity who, to their credit, did in fact campaign to leave the EU. They are the “let’s get independence first and we will sort out the EU next”. Ex co-convener Tommy Sheridan actually used that exact phrase to me at his famous meeting in Kirkcaldy. This was his only counter to my questions on how he could achieve public ownership, Socialism etc, etc under the EU rules that make it impossible.
They will of course stick to this because Scottish independence to them is the most important thing in the world (there are still far too many of their members with cries of FREEDOM, we are just an English colony, we’re an oppressed Nation, all in a very nationalistic way, for my liking. Add in the fact that there are never any Red flags at their rallies only national ones, it scares me a wee bit). Then after independence some socialist Utopia is going to appear as if by magic. This naive form of politics completely ignores the realities of the true political situation in Scotland. The reality is, that it will be the SNP, supported by the Greens in power, with the Tory’s as opposition. Scotland will be entrenched and subsumed by EU rules and directives. Whilst Solidarity will be marginalised and left on their own as the SNP and RISE will ostracise and refuse to engage with them yet again. Even though they advocated voting for the SNP on two occasions. From the one time offer of “Lend them your vote” and then to the additional second time offer of “Vote SNP 1”.
Then we have RISE. One half of RISE is the SSP block (I use half, but think it probably more like 80%, as I don’t know the actual percentages of the RISE groupings) who campaigned to remain within the EU. This was all put across, as internationalism and working for reform and change within the EU. They can apparently reform the behemoth that is the EU from within but have no chance of ever reforming Westminster or UK politics. Even with a Corbyn rise in the Labour party and a new politics being engaged south of the border. With Scottish Labour, now doing what they should have done in the run up to 2014, actually pushing for a form of Radical Federalism. No Independence the magical incantation that cures all ills is the only way. Only in this case Independence but in the reform-able EU.
Then we have the ISG/RS21 group within Rise. They took no formal stance either way on the EU and most probably, voted leave, remain or just plain abstained in equal numbers. This lack of clarity from the new political left party, was all blamed on the way both official campaigns ran. How can you choose between both of these horrible campaigns? They are in fact correct that both the official campaigns were horrible and based on fear, racism and lies.
They could have of course joined the Left Exit campaign that was running throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK and had widespread support. This put across the positive working class perspective on why we should leave the EU. That class perspective needed to be pushed by all on the left, if for nothing else but to counter the racist and pro business rubbish of the official campaigns.
What we have now is the radical left groups scrambling around and clutching at straws. They are currently trying to convince anyone that will listen that indyref2 is not about the SNP or the EU. That the SNP should not be using the EU as one of their arguments. They are working overtime on a strategy to counter the argument of EU membership being tied into the indy question. How they can honestly make that assumption is unbelievable to me. The same tack was tried and failed with the SNP “white paper” in 2014. We all knew that the white paper was all that was on offer, no matter how much the left cried foul.
But of course we have the “I would vote for Scottish independence even if we were in Mordor”. Again Independence is the only goal, the only aim. Who cares if the working class lose out when an independent Scotland is subjected to the EU rules on debt and deficit reduction and are forced to endure even more austerity. Who cares if our public services are then put under the EU threat of privatisation. Who cares that public ownership is not allowed within EU rules.
“Independence will smash the British State. We can then vote for who we like. Labour can become relevant again. We will then take on the EU issue. We will become a more socialist country. The SNP will lose their hold on power, because their supporters will all turn into socialists (and vote for RISE and Solidarity presumably). We will sort out what Independence looks like after we have it, let’s just get it first.” (I can go on and on with these quotes from those Independence seekers, but you get the gist)
This is the problem. We have people in Scotland whose only aim is Independence at all costs. It doesn’t matter to them about the realities of what will transpire. It only matters that Scotland gains its independence. Whether it is in the EU and subject to austerity or not. Tied to pound or not. Tied into NATO or not. No, independence is the one and only cure for all the ills of the Scottish and therefore the UK working class.
But lets look at the reality;
The facts are. The Yes movement, whether the radical left chooses to believe it or not, is overwhelmingly run by the SNP and Green members and supporters. They will continue to dominate as they portray themselves, and were even portrayed by some of the radical left, as the working class alternative to the “Red Tory’s”.
The radical indy left from all camps in Scotland will have no real say on any policy or direction of an independent Scotland. It will be the SNP and the Greens that dictate policy, with the Tory’s providing the opposition. The SNP will dictate the terms of the referendum and thereby dictate that Scotland remains within the EU. Why? because the SNP and the Greens are so intrinsically tied in to the EU construct.
How they can try and justify saying that the EU question does not have a bearing on another referendum is shear unadulterated opportunism in every sense. As for the “let’s get independence first then sort out the EU” brigade. Really? That is the only answer to the EU question you have.
If you choose to ignore the ramifications of an independent Scotland within the EU then you are playing with fire. We will be in the EU there is no question as the SNP hold the balance power and will be supported by the Greens.
We will be subject to the Stability and Growth Pact. SGP requires each Member State, to implement a fiscal policy aiming for the country to stay within the limits on government deficit (3% of GDP) and debt (60% of GDP); and in case of having a debt level above 60% it should each year decline with a satisfactory pace towards a level below. This is where all Austerity stems from in the EU. This is what has destroyed Greece.
“Countries that fail to respect the SGP’s preventive or corrective rules may ultimately face sanctions.
For Member States sharing the euro currency, this could take the form of warnings and ultimately financial sanctions including fines of up to:
- 0.2 % of GDP, if they fail to abide by either the preventive or the corrective rules, or
- 0.5 % of GDP, if they repeatedly fail to abide by the corrective rules. In addition, all Member States (except the United Kingdom), could see a suspension of commitments or payments from the EU’s Structural and investment funds (e.g. the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund).”
No amount of postulating and snake oil can cover up this fact. No amount of “revolutionary” grass root, bottom up postulating can prevent the SNP from dragging Scotland out of the UK and into the arms of the waiting EU.
So what is this EU that some can’t seem to find an answer to one way or the other. What is this thing that we will be asked to vote for? We want independence so we can remain within the beneficial social construct of the EU.
The EU’s origins stem from The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and was an international organisation serving to unify European countries after World War II. It then became and the European Economic Community (EEC). The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force on 1 November 1993.
The EU is a in fact a construct of NATO. One of the three main strands that NATO stated in its founding, was the creation of a united European body. The EU is intrinsically link with NATO, hence the drive eastwards towards the Russian border.
“It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.”
The EU’s main mantra and raison d’être is, for the free movement of goods, labour, services and capital. Which happens to be the raison d’être of Neo-Liberal Capitalism, defended and expanded by NATO.
This is the sole purpose of the EU, it is for the ultimate liberalisation of all finance and corporate power. It is in fact Anarcho-Capitalism. Where the free market is given complete free reign and has no regulation and where Government and public services are reduced to cash cows for trans national corporations.
Case in point. I worked as Operations Manager for a company in Northern Ireland and when I started was a family owned business. Within 2 years it was bought by an American corporation. Within a year this corporation was taken over by an even bigger corporation. Who at the time bought a few more companies in Scotland. These Scottish companies were closed and all the machinery and work was relocated to Hungary. I left this company and 2 years later I was contacted to see if I wanted to go and work in Hungary for a year, as they had closed the company in Northern Ireland and yes, you guessed it, moved all the work to Hungary. This is the free movement of services and capital in action.
This free movement is to allow corporations to move their services (that’s jobs and industry to me and you) and capital to a country where the wages and taxes fit their corporate outlook. (That’s lower wages, less tax and less regulation to you and me)
The free movement of capital is where companies like Starbucks, Google, Vodaphone, Facebook and Amazon can have headquarters and pay tax anywhere it is most favourable for them. Where spivs in the city can move money all over the continents to maximise investor profit and enhance their bonuses.
The free movement of labour is the opposite of the free movement of services. Where a service is moved to a country with lower overheads (lower wages, taxes and regulations). The free movement of labour is designed to move cheaper labour to countries with higher wages, higher taxes and greater regulation. This is designed to force down the wages, terms and conditions and force deregulation within these countries. It also restricts the free movement to only EU nationals and puts up barriers to anyone from the rest of the world. (Fortress Europe anyone)
The whole process drives a race to the bottom for all working class communities across the whole EU. (Anyone remember Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.)
As socialists we must want Nationalised industry, transport, energy and banking. If the EU is such a wonderful social construct why were the railways privatised? Why were the Northern Ferries privatised? Why was Calmac put up for privatisation? Why won’t we nationalise the steel industry, or Grangemouth or even North Sea Oil. Why no national banks, why no energy regulation or better still nationalisation.
Well according to our Government it is because under Article 106, the EU prohibits public monopolies exercising exclusive rights where this violates EU competition rules. Of course Germany, France and to an extent Holland can and do flout their own rules on this, that is why they have transport, some industry, some Energy in reality nationalised. They of course are the leading economies. Whereas in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece etc, they are forced to privatise and open their public services to the free market. (Irish water is a good case in point here.)
It is Neo-Liberal free market ideology that states that nationalised industry cannot be allowed in a free market economy. It is nothing to do with efficiency or cost. It is purely to do with the fact that the free market cannot allow nationalised industries or services. There is no dividend for their investors after all.
You only need to look at Greece, for the true face of the EU. What is the price the Greek working class have to pay, to remain a part of that great socially just institution of the EU.
In Greece the culling of their public services with the forced privatisation of public industry, transport and services. Crippling debts and even more austerity. What was their crime? Electing a social democratic government, that’s all. Not electing a socialist government, no. SYRIZA is nowhere even close to a socialist government, they are a social democratic construct only. Imagine the fate that will befall a truly socialist government.
Is the EU really something that an independent Scotland could survive in?
Is independence at all costs worth this?