Independence, Politics, Scotland, Socialism

The Socialist Paradox?

Tonight I ventured onto the Vote No Borders Facebook page (not to be confused with the excellent No Borders, which actually does what it says on the tin). It was about as dire as I expected with ‘We hate Salmond!’, ‘How can we pay for things when the oil runs out!’ and ‘We’d be defenceless if England invaded!’ drowning out any reasonable discussion. You just have to feel sorry for the view some people have of their own country and how easily they become blind to the other, very real problems that are convincing so many people to vote yes to independence for some hope of solving them. Anyway, one comment that wasn’t just ignorant or hateful moved me enough to reply and I felt it worth sharing. After all, I don’t expect to get a very positive response from most fans of Vote No Borders, although I’m hopeful for the one person I addressed it to who wrote:

‘The whole labour and trade union movement has an age old slogan “Unity is Strength”. I’m no interested in the Status Quo or the Union Jack, I campaign for a Britain and Scotland where there is “a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people”, to borrow a phrase. Only the United British working class has the power to wrestle the stranglehold of Capital and big business in order to achieve that. So it “Naw” from me, but that’s only the beginning of a fight back against crisis-riddled Capitalism and an economy run for the rich few.’

[Covert socialist], if you want to shift the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people then clearly you do care about the status quo. I think anyone who believes in the principles of the labour and trade union movement can clearly see that the status quo is punishing the working class for the sake of the well off. After all, the parallels between Victorian Britain and Britain now are striking! Rock bottom wages, exploitative contracts, debt, food banks, distinctions between ‘deserving’ and ‘underserving’ poor; these are exactly the kinds of cruel and oppressive circumstances that the labour and trade union movement developed to stop!

When I first approached the question of independence my sentiment was similar to yours; I saw separation as a step backwards, because surely we are better united? But assessing the evidence during the past couple of years my verdict is that the political set up of the United Kingdom is completely at odds with democratic and socialist principles (the House of Lords tells us all we need to know about that). Clearly you recognise that the UK is not OK, but where do you foresee that ‘fight back’ coming from? From New Labour? After everything that party has done (illegal war, PFI, academy schools, censorship of NHS staff to name a few) and while Labour’s main concern is winning right wing votes from Conservatives and UKIP? Remember, even when Labour were in power a march of one million people was not enough to change the UK government’s actions.

I understand why your instinct is to vote no to independence; it was my instinct too, and it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with waving a Union Jack or shouting about the Queen. Yet I implore you to explore these websites to get an idea of the socialist arguments for independence:

Radical Independence
Common Weal
Labour for Indy

Yes, we can enact change for working people in Britain, but it’s not going to happen if we vote for the same parties of the same people to make the same decisions about our fates. Please consider the possibilities.

Not exactly what we’re talking about, but close enough.


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