The Future is Independent 157

Trident, Austerity and Dentures. Those are the key components of the Labour brand in Scotland. The unionists demographic is overwhelmingly old. Independence had a majority in every age group except the over 55s.

Unionism is not a factor of age in the sense that once people reach 55 they turn into Unionists. People over 55 were the only Unionist age group, because they are also the only age group which predominantly does not use social media, buys deadtree newspapers and watches the regular BBC news bulletins. They are also influenced by residual memories of Empire and Second World War (old Tories). They remember the days when banks were viewed as respectable institutions, when the Labour Party helped the poor rather than supported the rich, and when public figures were widely believed not to lie.

There are very few replacement adults coming along with those kind of beliefs. Unionism is dying out. That is why Jack Straw has launched an initiative to try to outlaw future secession (at the same time contradicting his own position on Kosovan independence against the will of Serbia). Straw as one of the architects of the Iraq War has a strong track record of causing violence that kills many people. His idea of blocking the constitutional road to independence would cause violence beyond doubt.

The high energy community campaign for independence needs no encouragement from me to keep going. There seems general agreement that the May 2015 UK general election provides an immediate campaigning focus. I agree with that, and will address it, but it is also important that we are not corralled purely into the institutional agenda when our great virtue is that we are unconfined and extra-institutional. So I suggest a second vital focus, and that is Trident. Opposition to Trident unites everybody. Let us launch a great movement of protest aimed at Trident, including demonstration and direct action, and let us invite those in the rest of the UK who also oppose Trident to join us in that campaign. This should be a priority.

On the Westminster elections, there seems immediate consensus we should have a single pro-independence candidate per constituency. I strongly support that. There will be difficulties on how to achieve it, and I hope these can be worked through quickly. Tommy Sheridan has suggested that everybody should support the existing SNP candidates, which is very self-denying of him. I see virtue in this. But the Yes campaign was very much wider than the SNP, and I think the momentum could much better be maintained if we start with a clean sheet and local Yes groups choose their candidates through an open selection protest – in which the SNP candidates are welcome to participate, as are Greens and SSP and Solidarity and individuals, and the people will decide.

This is not institutionally neat – there is no clear membership of Yes groups. It requires self-abnegation on the part of existing party candidates. It removes the power of men in suits to screen candidates for acceptability. But those are good things.

I described the independence movement as having a revolutionary spirit. We should nurture that, not try to hammer it into the shape of a regular political party. In the long term there are some very good ideas on a new kind of participative project from the Common Weal. In the short term we need to keep the spirit moving, and go with the flow,

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157 thoughts on “The Future is Independent

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  • Kempe

    ” If you’re in a hurry, you can skip over the history and motive parts. ”

    If you’re in even more of a hurry simply scroll down to the bottom and acquaint yourself with the two conspiracy nut-jobs who authored the piece.

  • Tony M

    Any proposals made by the unlelected Lord Smith of Kelvin (who is bloody hell is he), his commission of New Labour Party dregs and businessmen (Weirs of Cathcart included) from amongst those who signed the infamous Scotsman newpaper letter – really just a rubberstamp committee for the contorted dictates of Cameron and Osborne’s financial sector puppet-masters – must be put to a referendum, even if they’re sure to be rejected massively, the people must be consulted. Such a referendum, the case for which is persuasive, is essential for any such changes being imposed by any unelected ultra-establishment body, it by definition cannot be welcomed democratically elected government of Scotland, or reflect in any way the will of Scotland’s people. A certain alternative option, of full independence for Scotland, must be included as one of the choices. Any attempt to simply impose some watered-down devo-nano, offloading costs and liabilities onto the Scottish Government, whilst cutting the share of our own contribution to the UK exchequer returned as pocket-money, which far exceeds, and has for many years exceeded, not just since oil, but as far back as records can be traced, to around 1912, that returned to us, would be an outrage, but an outrage they would quite happily attempt to perpetrate. A referendum on Smith Commission prescriptions is essential. This could be but won’t be the beginning of a proper and desirous consultative democracy, it won’t be and never can be as the proper functioning of such active and inclusive democracy is dependent on a free and fair press and media. Exploration of the issues is impossible whilst the unionist controlled the press and particularly the disgraced and lacking in all credibility and trust BBC, is devolved and reformed.

  • Tony M

    until the unionist controlled press and particularly the disgraced and lacking in all credibility and trust BBC, is devolved and reformed.

  • Leslie

    Tony M

    Oh dear, You poor creature. Yes lost – analyse the Yes campaign to see why instead of inventing phantoms. Yes had 2 years – an unprecedented time to make their case. They had control of the Scottish Government. And yet they blew it! And they did so because they dare not look independence in the eye. They looked anywhere but for independence. Independence was the last thing they wanted to present to the electorate. They presented Sameness and Continuity. They presented Devo Max when the question was independence. The Yes campaign will be written up in years to come as an example of how not to fight a campaign. To paraphrase, as any 8 year old child knows – you’re supposed to answer the question that is set …and not another. And your unseemly squealing gives me hope. So long as Yes cannot look squarely at reality, they will ever meet it. Stay with your phantoms.

  • kathy


    Are you seriously suggesting that the UK wants rid of trident, wars, neo-con policies and the continuation of the welfare state? Your post makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Leslie


    My post make s sense – but not to you. The idea that the failed Yes Campaign might analyse the reasons for its failure seems eminently sensible to me. As does the idea that they should stop blaming the pensioners and ‘the media’ – implying that the electorate is stupid.

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