Independence Day 198


I have lived my entire life under governments dominated by either the Labour or the Tory Party. When I was young, there were genuine differences between them – over public ownership of transport, utilities and strategic industries, over the rights of workers in their workplace, over Britain’s attitude to its Imperial legacy.

However in the course of my lifetime the political agenda shifted fundamentally to the right, as the Labour Party under a series of opportunist leaderships shifted its ground to the agenda favoured by the corporate media. So even our drinking water had to be privatised, the maintenance grants that had enabled me to go to university were abolished as the very principle of free education was abandoned, the NHS was increasingly given over to private provision and PFI introduced the opportunity for bankers and financiers to take the large majority of the total taxpayers’ money allocated to any public investment project. Council housing was sold off and not replaced. Foreign policy became entirely subservient to the United States and a neo-con model of continued armed attacks on poorer countries abroad.

What is worse, the scope for expressing policies that lay outside the increasingly convergent views represented by the main stream media and the Tory and Labour Party narrowed, to the point where dissent disappeared. The opposition to the Iraq War of the majority of people was reflected in less than 2% of total UK TV coverage of that war. The fact that consistently a substantial majority of British people want to see railways renationalised never has any corporate media reflection.

Both “main” parties supported giving over £60,000 per British household to bail out the bankers, which is why we are in this debt mess. Both parties support the fact that 99% of the bankers have maintained the same ultra-opulent lifestyles and income, with no price paid for their failure. The corporate media gave no voice at all to the policy alternatives around allowing bad banks to go bust. It would have been 8% as expensive for the taxpayers just to give to the public and companies the amount they lost in UK bank deposits with failed banks.

When Nicola Sturgeon spoke in the televised TV debates, it was the first time in a decade that I had heard opposition to Trident missiles – a view held by over 40% of the population – even mentioned on television. It had become that bad.

And that Nicola Sturgeon moment was an indication that something really has changed. The electorate have twigged that the Red Tory and Blue Tory parties offer no real choice at all. Whether you want the same Thatcherite cuts spread out over a slightly longer timescale is not a choice.

The political system has quite rightly fallen into disrepute. A pretend choice and charade of democracy is not going to fool the entire population. It is not just that Labour and Tory cannot get over 35% of people who vote. It is also that so many people don’t bother to vote through disillusion. They are not apathetic, they justifiably don’t see how it helps them whose nose is in the trough. Combined with the appalling FPTP system, you end up with a circumstance where Tony Blair’s “triumph” of 2005 was won with 22.5% of eligible voters. The system is bust. The legitimacy of government already does not exist – what is newly in doubt is the ability of illegitimate government to foist itself upon the people.

This is the first election of my lifetime where there is a chance really to give the rotten structure a substantial kick. Any human construct, including the SNP, is imperfect, but that Trident moment on TV represented the truth that the SNP is a real danger to the comfortable untouchability of the neo-con UK state. I urge everyone to vote SNP in Scotland as the surest way to start to force change. Many of the SNP candidates whom I know personally – Mhairi Black, Phil Boswell, Chris Law, Michelle Thomson, Tommy Sheppard – are definitely going to bring fresh air to parliament.

In Wales, vote Plaid Cymru. In England, I think Green is the way to go in general, and I wish all the best to Rupert Read in Cambridge. But if you have a good Independent candidate, consider giving them a vote. Citizen participation against the parties deserves encouragement. There are good people in all parties, and there are some sitting MPs – Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Flynn, John Hemmings, David Ward – who I would vote for; they transcend the moral stunting of party politics. Despite profound differences on Scotland, I do urge people in Bradford to vote for George Galloway, who has done so much to oppose neo-conservative wars, and been an obstacle to the cynical exploitation of Islamic communities for machine politics by the Labour Party.

But above all, today will be remembered as a day when Scotland took a giant stride towards achieving national independence. A vote for the SNP is a vote for Scottish independence and for the break-up of the UK state. It matters not what attempts are made to obfuscate that fact, opinion poll after opinion poll post September 2014 has consistently shown no statistically significant gap between the level of support for the SNP and the level of support for Scottish Independence.

This is a great historical trend which the SNP are surfing rather than controlling. The fundamental answer to the political malaise which I described at the start of this article is the break-up of the UK as the sovereign political institution. A vote for the SNP today is part of an inexorable progress towards that break-up. You would be nuts to be a convinced unionist and to vote SNP, and whatever the propaganda the truth is that almost all SNP votes are nationalist votes, and I for one am claiming every SNP vote as a vote for Independence. The utter panic of the entire Westminster political and corporate media establishment is in itself sufficient evidence that this really counts (I loved the description Scotterdammerung). Freedom is a great thing – get out there and vote for it.

This is the one day that we are all independent, in that whoever we choose today controls us tomorrow. I have lived my life under a rotten system which has got more rotten, more corrupt, more intellectually narrow, and more divided between rich and poor. Today is a great chance to shake that system. Get out there now and shake it!


198 thoughts on “Independence Day

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  • Jon

    Ha ha, “bad bunks to go bust”. I think I will call them bunks from now on – very apt indeed!

  • Katie

    “In England, I think Green is the way to go in general, and I wish all the best to Rupert Read in Cambridge.”

    Is this the same transphobic, segregationalist Rupert Read who suggested that trans women should not use the same washrooms as other women and claimed that being trans* is a choice. If so, he and his supporters can go feck themselves! You describe yourself as a human rights activist Craig. Do I really need to remind you that trans rights are human rights?

  • TonyF

    Good piece, Craig.
    I wish I could vote SNP but we live in a cosy smug Tory constituency down south, with a typical idle smug nodding Etonian twit in a safe seat.
    The only big local issue is HS2, and the only party opposing the folly of HS2 is UKIP. However UKIP is in favour of Trident.
    We need proportional representation asap.

  • Phil

    “This is the one day that we are all independent, in that whoever we choose today controls us tomorrow.”

    How depressing.

    You might peronally know some of these people you are voting to control you but most of them will become troughers. They will be shaped by the road they are taking.

  • Luke

    I know I’m making myself sound naiive here, but I hadn’t realised until very recently that the UK is only in such crippling debt because Brown chose to bail out bad banks. I had been under the impression that the deficit was there because of overspending on public services – a factoid I’d gotten from the London media. I bought this whole “Britain must live within its means” rhetoric whilst being fully aware of the higher living standards in countries such as Austria, Denmark and Finland (cognitive dissonance, I know…). Now I know the truth I hate the Labour Party more than ever.

  • Phil

    Remembr. Don’t listen to someone who told you to vote Clegg before.

    Every vote sustains the system., Don’t vote today people!

  • Abe Rene

    The Greens have some good policies, like an expansion of social housing and nationalisation of the railways. No Y-cubes, however, and they want to get rid of the country’s nuclear deterrent against countries who have atomic weapons. The Labour candidate has been active enough as an MP and (according to his election video) was against the Iraq war. But I’m not impressed by Milliband’s stone tablet, and suspect it will backfire. The Conservative candidate has been active in the area trying to help certain people with problems – a good strategy for winning over voters. However I am wary of the Tories getting a majority.

    Therefore, after due reflection, I will go and vote for the Lib Dems, and hope that Scotland’s electorate will reject independence again.

    Now it’s wait and see what happens.

  • craig Post author

    Katie

    Really? Doesn’t sound like Rupert to me. I don’t share any of those opinions, and I am genuinely surprised if Rupert does. When did he say that?

  • Jon

    Katie, didn’t know that, and it would likely put me off voting for him if it is true (not in his constituency though). However I’m certain that this view is not reflected by the Greens as a whole – aren’t they the party most likely to support trans rights?

    On Galloway, his Wikipedia entry has an interesting entry about his refusing to debate an Israeli national on the basis of Galloway’s view not to recognise the state of Israel. Now, I support BDS in general, but I think he went too far. I also think he made an error on Scottish independence – yes, the working class should not be divided, but that needs to be balanced against the potential Left gains from an independent Scotland (and I don’t just mean via the SNP).

    Tomorrow will be interesting. I am hoping for a slim Labour win as the least worst option, but can’t quite bring myself to vote for their war machine. I might have a bacon sandwich in solidarity later, though.

  • Luke

    AIUI, Mr Read did issue an apology for his previous comments and has insisted that he fully supports LGBT rights.

  • Katie

    “Katie
    Really? Doesn’t sound like Rupert to me. I don’t share any of those opinions, and I am genuinely surprised if Rupert does. When did he say that?”

    He said it in January 2013, Craig:

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/01/22/green-party-candidate-accused-of-transphobia/

    He also went on to clearly voice his support for various TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) such as Germaine Greer, Janice Raymond, Julie Burchill and Julie Bindel etc. Wonder if he’d still be allowed to be a member (let alone represent!) any of the mainstream political parties (let alone the Greens) if he’d suggested that Black and Jewish people should use different toilet facilities?

  • Mary

    Marvellous words Craig. I’m a generation older than you and I feel exactly the same about what has been lost. We will not be reading anything like your piece in the corporate media.

    ‘The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.’

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • nevermind

    Excellent resume and advice, if you want to kick those puppets on a string, vote Green or SNP/

    Apparently some 4 million have already voted the lazy, possibly fraudulent way, via the postal vote.
    I’m beginning to think that our security services have a vote rigging department, just as they have a ‘no law can touch me’ switch for the establishment criminals, serial sex abusers, such as Lord Janner, alledgedly.

  • Clydebuilt

    Great piece Craig……

    Aye it ‘s Election Day in Scotland…….Kye Adams has just told us that she is not allowed to talk about politics…….but that’s not going to stop the station talking about V.E. Day…….Already we’ve heard a transcript of news from that day….plus the radio speech made by the King…….Later on Kaye’s got a phone in lined up for us. She want’s our memories of V.E. day………….. Aye they can’t talk about politics but can try and influence listeners to vote for a Unionist party by evoking memories of Britains greatest Day.

  • ash

    Hi Craig…even if the whole elctorate went out and voted for green party and snp and plaid…it wouldn’t make a difference. The whole election is rigged. We need a revolution with you as prime minister

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig,

    I know you will probably find this hard to believe, but since 7:00 am I have said almost exactly the same as you have written here in a series of text messages to my daughter. Well she did ask. I don’t think I have spoken politics to her since the last General Election when I spent 2 hours trying to convince both my kids to vote. They defeated every argument I came up with. This time she is voting, but I am not, though I said I would vote SNP if I lived in Scotland.

    Tony

  • Clydebuilt

    Craig. Aye it ‘s Election Day in Scotland…….Kye Adams has just told us that she is not allowed to talk about politics…….but that’s not going to stop the station talking about V.E. Day…….Already we’ve heard a transcript of news from that day….plus the radio speech made by the King…….Later on Kaye’s got a phone in lined up for us. She want’s our memories of V.E. day………….. Aye they can’t talk about politics but can try and influence listeners to vote for a Unionist party by evoking memories of Britains greatest Day.

  • Dave Hansell

    This piece was going well until you got to Bradford.

    That particular MP has his critics, and some criticism has been posted on this thread. However, that criticism is coming from entirely the wrong direction on the political spectrum. It would be prudent to be wary of this particular individual because I have sufficient reason to believe he is not what he seems.

  • eveningperson

    But, sadly, Alex Salmond was and Nicola Sturgeon is in thrall to Rupert Murdoch and much the same billionaires as every other politician. And Trident is a tax levied on the UK by the US in return for favours rendered. So after independence expect business as usual in two countries rather than one.

    The SNP is riding a trend but it will abandon the trend as soon as it has achieved its objectives. And the politicians are going to do what they can to stop the trend after this election.

  • eveningperson

    And, after independence, Scotland will be pretty close to a one-party state, like so many post-independence countries. Just perfect for the neo-liberal/neo-conservative big money interests, just as eastern Europe was after the fall of communism.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Dave Hansell: agree.

    “…there is nothing more terrible than energetic ignorance.”

    Goethe, quoted by TH Huxley in “Hasisadra’s Adventure” (1891)

  • John Goss

    Nicely written post with much common sense. Left Unity has been advising people to seek out those anti-austerity candidates, including Labour candidates, and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) has put out a list of all such candidates. It also gives supporters of John McDonnell’s left platform. It is the nearest thing I can do for democracy. I only wish someone on the left was standing in my constituency.

    http://cpgb.org.uk/may2015candidates.html

  • seylidz

    Voting for any individual in this general election of what ever political party they represent will not change the fundamental reason Britains working class have ground down to the existence of a life of poverty.The class struggle has been ongoing for the last two hundred years and the basic situation is still the same,until the understanding that Capitalism is the root cause and needs to be eradicated no government whether national, labour,or liberal will be able to run the system for the benefit of majority of the populace.Profit is the driving force and cannot be controlled by goverments they think they have the power but Capitol is the always the winner.

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