Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Why as an English socialist I’m supporting Scottish independence

It may sound odd and not my right to have a view on this and I accept those who will say it’s nothing to do with me but... I couldn’t help commenting and giving my opinion on the huge debate that is nearing its conclusion and the day of reckoning arrives for the actual vote if Scotland is to stay as part of the UK or will it choose independence. I look at the question as a socialist through the eyes of whose interest will benefit from independence if any. Of course there is not socialism or anything near it on the ballot paper come Thursday but you are not voting on if you like the SNP or Alex sallmond either. I think there is a big argument to be made that Scotland does not control its own destiny and has little in the way of powers to control its own direction and economic policies they are mostly decided and voted on in London at Westminster. I am a strong believer in the right to self determination as a socialist I believe it is down to the Scottish people and them alone to decide how they run their society. Indeed it’s even excited me living down south the debate up in Scotland of how can we run society better what could we do differently and make things fairer. All this has ignited a burning desire for change in many who believe in a hope over fear campaign is what will win out come Thursday. The negative campaign of the official NO campaign and its scaremongering tactics has backfired hugely on them as only recently a poll showed for the first time the Yes campaign was slightly in the lead. Now I’m not saying that independence will or won’t happen simply stating why I would support independence if I had a vote. If anything it could spark thought down here in England to begin to think how we can change things for the better. "After Thursday, Britain will never be the same again," the Observer newspaper accurately declared four days before the Scottish referendum. The referendum is on a knife edge, but whichever side wins, Britain's ruling elite will have suffered a battering which will leave it permanently damaged. If the Yes campaign wins it will be an enormous blow to the power and prestige of British capitalism. But regardless of the outcome, the independence campaign demonstrates graphically the power of working class people - the majority - to win victories even when the whole of the establishment is straining every nerve to try and inflict a defeat on you. In the week before the referendum - from the moment it became clear that the Yes vote had a chance of winning - 'Project Fear' has become 'Project Terror'. An avalanche of threats from major banks and corporations has rained down on the people of Scotland, promising hell-fire and damnation if they vote for independence. Virtually the whole of the capitalist media and establishment have been united in their desperate attempts to prevent a Yes vote. At the same time, for millions of Scots the referendum has become a means to express their anger at austerity and the capitalist politicians. Growing numbers of workers in England and Wales have also begun to urge the Scots on to vote Yes. They hear Cameron saying it would "break his heart" and grasp what a blow it would be to the same capitalist politicians who are implementing savage austerity in England and Wales. Now I’m no nationalist and neither are my family who my dad’s mum’s brothers family who were always solid labour voters are now backing independence with the SNP. These sorts of changes you simply can’t ignore. The Scottish referendum answers decisively the myth that working class people and young people are 'apathetic' and not interested in politics. Wit the vote being granted to 16 year olds the young have been as much of this debate as anyone else and why not its their futures too which are being discussed. I don’t expect to wake up on Friday morning if Scotland has voted for independence for socialism to be declared it can only be one step towards that idea but to dish out a blow to the British state which has gone through wars invasions and all sorts of awful things in its history then I am all for that. To see David Cameron’s face if Scotland leaves the union on his watch will be a picture to behold. 97 % of people who are entitled to vote in Scotland have registered with the turnout on Thursday set to be in the 80s of % there is a groundswell of feeling of change is on its way. The hatred of the capitalist politicians has reached new highs in Scotland. The most recent YouGov polls show that Cameron's trust rating is minus 46% in Scotland. So hated are the Tories in Scotland (with only one MP) that the leader of the Scottish Tories publicly pleaded with Scottish voters to vote No - by promising that it is safe to do because the Tories won't win the general election! Cameron came close to do the same thing, saying that his government "would not be around for ever". Prime Minister David Cameron survives the fall-out from a defeat on the referendum. The loss of prestige for a British Imperialism – who once held one quarter of the globe – would be disastrous. From the US to Europe – and in particular in Catalonia – the outcome of a Yes majority would introduce a new period of instability and challenge to capitalist elite There has been huge anger, including among journalists and employees, at the BBC’s scandalous partisan role in acting as an uncritical mouthpiece for Project Fear. Any pretence at impartiality and balance has gone as the corporation has acted in the interests of British capitalism in its time of need. Both the Scotsman newspaper as well as the FT has formally come out for a No vote this week. Only one paper, the Sunday edition of the Herald, is backing yes, thus far. Even former ‘lefts’ like George Galloway have become advocates of Project Terror. Galloway, incredibly, claimed on the BBC’s Question Time that Britain had now “escaped from austerity”. He’s certainly not living on the same planet as working class people including in his own constituency of Bradford West, who face savage attacks on their wages and benefits by the Con-Dems – which Labour have promised to continue. The “economic Armageddon”, “flight of capital” and “corporate exodus” line of attack – as opposed to the pleas from the discredited Cameron and Miliband – has shown some signs of having an effect. There may have been some movement in the polls away from Yes in the last couple of days. The blackmail, intimidation and scaremongering can, if it goes unanswered, raise doubts in the minds of some who have been thinking about voting yes. Indeed, polls regularly show that most people think that an independent Scotland will be worse off economically. For example, the YouGov poll on Thursday reported that 48% thought that Scotland would be worse off compared to 37% who believed it would be better off under independence. When asked if they personally would be better or worse off, 42% said worse off and only 21% better off. This reflects the impact of Project Fear on the one hand, and the lack of belief that the SNP’s policy of continuing with pro-business policies, and the austerity that goes with it, can offer any way out for the working class. Only Scotland can decide the outcome on Thursday no matter what the media down south try and whip up I wish Scotland luck and solidarity and hope they make the right choice for themselves at the end of the day. I will be watching with interest from down south.

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