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Independence for Scotland must end minority rule

It is hardly surprising that Scots hate rule from Westminster – they are not alone. Millions of workers all across the UK have come to hate the ConDems Coalition for imposing the full burden of the economic crisis on their backs.

Whatever question is on the ballot paper for Scotland’s proposed referendum, there will be none that will bring about independence from cuts, closures, poverty, capitalism and the banks.

It will simply give people in Scotland the chance to swap rule of the 1% based at Westminster for the 1% based in Edinburgh. Or rather, continuing rule by the global corporations that rule everywhere, supported by their cohorts in the Scottish banks, the oil industry and the landowning, shareholding, political elite.

We will be asked to vote out the sham UK democracy and replace it with a sham Scottish democracy that will provide self-determination for an elite only.

The reality is that as a small economy, Scotland’s fate would be decided by global events and the decisions of the major capitalist states. This is the experience of Greece, Hungary, Iceland and Ireland among others.

It has been the experience of devolution, which has been unable to insulate Scots from the ravages of the global financial and economic crisis. One in three children in half of all local authority areas live in poverty, one in two in Glasgow. Unemployment is once again higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, and youth unemployment stands at 25%.

Further Education colleges face unprecedented cuts and an unwanted and badly-planned restructuring. The infrastructure of both Edinburgh and Glasgow is crumbling. Both cities’ councils are riven by scandals, waste and a ruthless determination to ignore the views of the people.

It is just crude nationalism to talk about being “free from England”. Who do we want to be free from? The tenacious battlers who continue to occupy at St Paul’s? The electricians striking across the UK to prevent the destruction of their wages and working conditions? The disabled people and their supporters fighting cruel cuts in benefits? Do Strathclyde Police have a kid glove where the Metropolitan Police have an iron fist?

There is not one England any more than there is one Scotland.

From Labour we get a kind of greater British nationalism, a support for the union that has more to do with the big fat prize of Westminster government jobs than any principles. It certainly has nothing to do with defending the unity of the British working class and trade unions.

Labour can only win at Westminster with Scottish votes, and Ed Miliband makes clear they would use those votes to continue with cuts and attacks on living standards. It is no wonder that Scots have come to detest Labour almost as much as they detest the Tories, and the SNP under Alex Salmond has benefited from that.

Cameron’s “defence of the union” is equally self, or rather power-seeking. Ditching Scotland might ensure a permanent Tory majority in England. That’s why they want just one question – independence, yes or no – on the referendum ballot paper.

And as a result, Cameron sets out to deny Scots the right to vote for a greater degree of devolution, even although polls suggest that is what they would prefer and even though people in Wales had a referendum on this in March 2011.

If it comes to a referendum, A World to Win will support the right of the Scottish people to self-determination but will campaign for real liberation from the likes of Salmond, the banks, landowners and the Scottish ruling elites.

What we need is to form People’s Assemblies all over Scotland now, to create the basis for a truly profound shift in decision-making, authority and ownership – directly to the people. We can’t vote for a revolutionary form of independence, that combines self-determination with an end to minority capitalist rule. They won’t put that question on the ballot paper. So we will have to put it on the agenda ourselves.

Penny Cole
12 January 2012

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