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Yea or Nay, Scots won’t get real independence

union-flag-melts-away-from-scotland-e1388694836550If the Yes vote wins next Thursday (which I personally doubt), the immediate result – apart from the SNP euphoria – will be tough and hard bargaining between the Bank of England, Whitehall and the EU as to how the new powers are to be carved out. The spirit of liberality about quasi-home rule sprinkled around in the last desperate week of campaigning by a panicky Westminster establishment will be dissipated as the cold light of a very uncertain dawn emerges.

The currency union which would be first choice for the SNP is unlikely – the Westminster government isn’t bluffing about this – or if it was granted at all, it will probably be associated with tough debt conditions and deficit restrictions which would be incompatible with the kind of welfare economics that Salmond is pledged to deliver.

Nor will an independent Scotland commend itself to an aggrieved rest of the UK if it carries through its aggressive intention to set its corporation tax 3% below the British rate to draw capital away from the remainder of the UK. That then would lessen funding for public services and pension provision, again part of the oasis that Salmond offers.

Nor is the SNP menu so very different from the toxic Westminster mix that it affects to despise so much. Their rejection of a 50% rate of income tax even for those paid more than £3,000 a week and their opposition to a tax on bankers’ bonuses and a mansion tax on houses valued at over £2 million cast a deja vu light on what would inform an independent SNP administration. The expectation of a last-minute backing for Salmond from Murdoch’s Sun only serves to confirm this impression further.

But the politics of fear is now being flaunted mercilessly in the final run-up. The abandonment of their Scottish headquarters by the 5 main Scottish banks, the loss of many of the 35,000 jobs involved, the capital flight already under way, the risk to pensions, the greater difficulty of getting mortgages, and the stiff conditions laid down by Carney for a currency union – free movement of capital, a banking union and joint arrangements for fiscal and monetary policy – all highlight warnings of a messy and problematic transition if the Yes vote prevails.

The financial and economic leverage still left in London, combined with the uncertainty of North Sea oil revenues and the risky volatility of its future pricing, leaves ultimate power markedly in Whitehall, whence it could be used to impose the very austerity on a weakened government in Edinburgh which is the reverse of what Salmond is claiming.

7 Comments

  1. Richard Symonds says:

    … And the future of the SNP if independence will be of an increasingly sclerotic and conservative party, opposed to any real change in society, in hock to big capital.

  2. swatantra says:

    Labour are probably more worried about their 50 or so cannon fodder than the real question of restoring pride to a country so long in the shadow of the English.

  3. David Ellis says:

    We need to put some meant on the independence bones. Scottish workers must say what they want out of it after all they are making up most of the foot soldiers of the Yes campaign. A programme for revolutionary transformation must be put forward unflinchingly to include: a regime of full employment by sharing the productive work, every school and college leaver and unemployed worker to be bought into the local workforce on the minimum of a trade union living wage; socialisation of utilities, retailers, major corporations; worker-elected managers to replace fat cat executives imposed by absentee shareholders and political patronage; an end to austerity and privatisation.

  4. James Martin says:

    Oh my David, so Stalinism isn’t dead then? Mind you, at least when the Stalinists came out with the ‘socialism in one country’ line that country was pretty large (the ‘socialist sixth of the world’ and all that), but socialism in one teeny-weeny country like Scotland? I don’t think even Uncle Joe himself would have gone that far!

  5. David Ellis says:

    I have no truck with Stalinism and there can be no Scottish road to socialism but there most certainly can and must be a Scottish road to the dictatorship of the proletariat. A phase that every nation will need to go through.

  6. David Ellis says:

    If the vote is Yes, and let us keep everything crossed that it is, the struggle for what an independent Scotland will be will only just be beginning. The working people of Scotland will need to assert their interests in the form of a programme that transitions power from the elites to them and which builds towards socialism in Scotland, Europe and the world.

    The first thing you can say this vote is is a rejection of Westminster austerity and the Locust Coalition. An independent Scotland must defend all necessary and desirable public services and this must be paid for by a system of fair taxation.

    Second, the demand must be put for a regime of full-employment by sharing the productive work. Every school and university leaver and unemployed worker who cannot find their own job must be bought into the local workforce and be paid the minimum of a trade union living wage.

    Third: We want workplace democracy whereby fat cat executives that treat Scottish industry as a personal pig’s trough imposed by political patronage and absentee corporate shareholders must be replaced by managers and leaders elected by committees of all grades of workers in all workplaces.

    Fourth: All privatisations to be reversed and socialisation of the means of production extended into other areas including retail. Education and health to be free at the point of delivery.

    Five: let the bankrupt financial industry go bankrupt. Take its staff, deposits and estates into administration to form a new People’s Bank of Scotland that has a monopoly of credit so that private financiers can never rip Scotland off again. This bank to lend at base rate to small business and facilitate social investment in accordance with a democratic and sustainable plan.

    Six: Scotland to champion the renegotiation of the founding treaties of the EU in accordance with socialist principles to replace the neo-liberal ones that are currently tearing it apart. Principles such as EU-wide full-employment and EU-wide Living Wage.

    Go for it Scotland.

  7. David Ellis says:

    As you can see James my programme has zero in common with Stalinism. There can be no Scottish road to socialism. There can and will be however a scottish road to the dictatorship of the proletariat which is a stage every nation will probably need to go through.

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