The Calm Stroll to Independence 484

Scottish nationals have two supra-national citizenships. One is UK citizenship, the second is EU citizenship. In democratic referenda over the past two years, Scots have voted clearly to retain both citizenships.

Unfortunately it is not possible to respect both democratic decisions of the Scottish people, due to a vote by other nationalities. So where you have democratic decisions which cannot both be implemented, which does democracy demand should take precedence?

It is not a simple question. The vote to retain EU citizenship was more recent and carried a much larger majority than the earlier vote. In addition it was made crystal clear during the campaign that it may require the overturning of the earlier vote. So on these grounds I believe the most recent vote must, as an exercise in democracy, have precedence.

In these circumstances the announcement by the First Minister that she is initiating the procedure on a new referendum for Scottish independence from the UK, in order to retain Scottish membership of the EU, is a sensible step.

But I believe there is another step she should take. The democratic conflict of decisions brings about a conflict of interests between the institutions to which Scotland elects national representatives.

To resolve this requires a supplementing of current constitutional arrangements. The First Minister should therefore convene a National Convention consisting of all Scotland’s elected national representatives – its MEPs, MPs and MSPs united in a single democratic body merged on a one member one vote basis.

This body should draw up recommendations for the independence referendum, including on the future constitution, economy including currency, and international alliances of an independent Scotland, and should oversee negotiations with the EU. The next referendum could therefore present voters with a more definite prospectus for what the new Scotland will look like.

The world has changed radically. We must not be afraid to think outside the UK prescribed box in defining Scottish solutions.

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484 thoughts on “The Calm Stroll to Independence

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  • David Carroll

    Nice piece of work that. Nicely researched and well supported with evidence.

  • Alan

    The UK was key to the worst elements of TTIP. Now the British people must ensure we never see its like again. This article was first carried by Huffington Post.

    In the space of two years, trade – via the secretly negotiated EU-US deal TTIP – has gone from esoteric policy interest, to the heart of the biggest social movement in Europe for a generation, to an often misunderstood feature of a vitriolic referendum campaign.

    TTIP and its parallel EU-Canada deal CETA have caused outrage across Europe. TTIP in particular often grabbed headlines during EU referendum campaigning.

    And in a post-Brexit UK soon to be shorn of trade deals including its World Trade Organisation country commitments, trade will be front and centre of new policy-making for the foreseeable future.

    Many will now rejoice that for the UK TTIP is dead in the water. Indeed, Brexit may be the killer blow to the deal across Europe. But while the UK has escaped TTIP’s corporate clutches as an EU member state, if the deal does survive the big picture will be a little more complex.

    Key to understanding why TTIP may still have an impact on the UK is appreciating the extent to which the deal is intended to enable the EU and USA’s neoliberal agenda to be the template for world trade.

    Defeated in previous attempts to secure a pro-business but anti-people and planet deal, the EU and USA simply decided to sidestep multilateralism to impose their will on the rest of the world.

    As a secret meeting between the European Commission and Exxon Mobil revealed, the Commission has been shamelessly colluding with the world’s biggest corporations to assure them that through TTIP they can force countries outside the deal (“third countries”) to accept its terms: the eradication of social, health and environmental protections, the locked-in privatisation of public services, and a private justice system so corporations can sue governments for any policies hitting their profits.

    As the head of policy at the organisation which wrote the official report into TTIP told a House of Lords committee on TTIP: “They [third countries] obey those rules or they do not export [into Europe], just like Switzerland.” And now, the UK.

    As for CETA, the danger is still very much clear and present: the European Commission intends for the deal to be sealed and implemented ahead of a formalised Brexit and without any national parliament votes. Crucially, elements of the deal could apply to the UK even after Brexit.

    In the EU, the UK was the most neoliberal country in an avowedly neoliberal bloc.

    The UK government opposed any reforms being made to the toxic ISDS ‘corporate court’ mechanism in TTIP and CETA and buried research it commissioned showingnegative impacts of ISDS on the UK. It ensured UK MPs could not read the secret texts of the deal when it could have granted them access. It has led the charge – against the wishes of the Obama administration – for financial deregulation to be included in TTIP.

    It doesn’t stop there. The UK chose to include the NHS in TTIP when it could have excluded it, and the government then refused to release legal advice it received on threats to the NHS from the deal. And in spite of David Cameron’s “greenest ever government” claims, the UK teamed up with Canada, the US Trade Representative, BP and Shell to demolish rules that prevent high-polluting forms of oil from entering Europe – with profound implications for climate change and consequently the lives of millions in the global South.

    It is this neoliberal elevation of corporate profit above democracy, human rights and protection of the environment which the UK is now free to follow unilaterally in trade deals – unless the British people come together to stop.

    EU trade policy has been nothing short of devastating for Southern countries. In this regard, TTIP was little more than the same policies that have destroyed lives and livelihoods in the global South being turned onto Europe by its own leaders, with scant regard for any semblance of democratic process.

    Brexit has created the potential greater democratic control of trade deals. And we must ensure we use that to craft a trade policy that is geared to justice for the many rather than profits for the few.

    Mark Dearn is Senior Trade Campaigner at War on Want.

    • Alan

      Alfred de Zayas, the U.N.’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, is assigned the task to apply the standards of international law to proposed treaties, to determine whether they’re in accord with international law. On Friday, June 24th, he issued his finding on three large proposed treaties regarding international trade among Atlantic countries: TTIP, TISA, and CETA. Earlier, on February 2nd, he had issued a similar finding on the proposed TPP treaty between Pacific countries, and his conclusion there was the same: that the proposed treaty violates international laws, and is inconsistent with democracy.

      His finding regarding the proposed Atlantic treaties condemned them by saying: “Trade deals prepared and negotiated in secret, excluding key stakeholders such as labour unions, consumer associations, health professionals and environmental experts and now parliaments, have zero democratic legitimacy.” This describes all of U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed treaties on trade: TPP, TTIP, and TISA, and it also includes CETA, which is the proposed treaty between the EU and Canada.

      He further damningly noted that, “Disfranchising the public from participating in this important debate is undemocratic and manifests a profound disregard to peoples’ voice.”

      The U.N.’s press release, on June 24th, from its Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), especially notes:

      An earlier consultation conducted by the European Commission in 2014 resulted in 97% of respondents from across Europe expressing opposition to the inclusion of asymmetrical investment protection in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the USA. “The same would apply to CETA, but no consultation was ever held,” he noted.

      “Asymmetrical investment protection” refers to the power that these proposed treaties grant to international corporations to sue (for alleged loss of their profits) nations that increase regulations to protect the safety of the public from toxic products, and from environmental harms, and that protect workers’ rights and other human rights that can also, in some circumstances, reduce corporate profits. “Asymmetrical” refers to the absence in the proposed treaty of any symmetrical power granted to a government to sue an international corporation that violates its laws to protect the public.

      De Zayas goes further than merely charging that these treaties are “asymmetrical”: he adds that, “In case of conflict between trade agreements and human rights treaties, it is the latter that prevail. States must not enter into agreements that delay, circumvent, hinder or make impossible the fulfillment of human rights treaty obligations.”

      In a statement to the Council of Europe, on April 19th, de Zayas had said: “Two ontologies seem to have been lost in the ideologically-driven corporate narrative. Firstly, the ontology of the State, its raison d’être to legislate in the public interest, including preventative measures to avert potential harm to the population. Secondly, the ontology of business, which is to take calculated risks for profit.” He meant there that these proposed treaties, which would enable the latter to override the former — enable international investors to override national sovereignty of democratic nations, and which would impose their own system of ‘arbitration’ that isn’t required to adhere to any nation’s laws and constitution — violate international law.

      The U.N. OHCHR’s June 24th press release concludes by saying:

      “Trade agreements should be ratified only after human rights, health and environmental impact assessments have been conducted, which has not been the case with regard to CETA and TTIP,” Mr. de Zayas said.

      “Ratification of CETA and TTIP would start a ‘race to the bottom’ in human rights terms, and would seriously compromise the regulatory space of states. This is contrary to the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, and would constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a democratic and equitable international order,” the UN Independent Expert concluded.

      The statements by the U.N.’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order are damning against these proposed treaties. As the U.N.’s appointed independent legal counsel regarding these treaties, he is saying that, regardless of whether they will become law in any particular country, they are in clear violation of international law.

      Eric Zuesse

      This is the deal that Craig and Nikki want Scotland to buy into. Good luck when Scotland ends up like Greece.

  • Alan

    The Conservative government misjudged the EU referendum as much as they did the general election back last May which is what ultimately caused Brexit to happen in the first place.

    A totally out of touch, arrogant British establishment demonised the poor, the unemployed, sick and disabled, attacked working rights, forced millions into insecure work, crushed the middle classes and lied to everyone in policy terms from taxes, to war, to the NHS and beyond. Osborne has sold state assets built up over the generations and privatised at a greater rate than by all chancellors combined since Thatcher to stem an expanding financial back hole that his policies were unable to fill.

    In the meantime, both political parties have been found to be harbouring the mega-rich in British tax havens for decades and then imposed austerity on those least able to cope. Politicians made everyone except themselves pay for debts racked up at the global casino.

    Thatcher, Blair and Cameron are one and the same. They came to make the richer richer and the poor poorer with a neoliberal ideology and its thuggery. The result is that 64 per cent of UK households now need state aid for daily survival. Uncontrolled house prices and rents are turfing out hundreds of thousands and now the cause of a new poverty class escalating towards an alarming Dickensian era.

    Such is the neoliberal arrogance and contempt that the political class have in Britain over almost everyone except members of their tiny clique, that they rolled the dice on Britain’s future and gave a protest vote to the millions of disenfranchised and disaffected.

    The result was not just about the valid concerns of immigration or refugees or about an unelected bunch of ex-banker bureaucrats in the EU construct – it was a combination of all these reasons and much more.

    The divide and rule model that the neoliberal ideology of our two party state have so successfully implemented in the past few years is heading towards its pinnacle of achievement. The young will blame the old for this referendum, the educated will blame the uneducated, the rich will blame the poor. Campaigns will attempt to reverse democratic principles, Scotland and Wales may conjure up a little known EU veto on Brexit – a rising class war and nationalism will be boosted. Hatred, racism and bigotry will become endemic. This is just what right-wing politicians want right now – it diverts our energy away from them.

    Decades of failure by the political class reaching back to the late 1970’s has raised a clear and troublesome picture of political and corporate power where rising inequality is now simply the symptom of expanding corporate profits and those being left behind. Thatcher brought nothing but the Americanisation of Britain with its ‘individualism’ and unrestrained materialism- she did not believe there was such a thing as society. Blair brought us a deception that caused a mass migration from the Middle East and North Africa as a result of carpet bombing innocent families and then walked away with a swag bag of millions. Cameron, nothing more than a senior publics relations officer for white collar criminals such as bankers, hedgies and corporate thugs, slinks off into a tax haven sunset whistling with his hands in his pocket.

    David Cameron, hailed by Johnson and Gove as a great leader and Prime Minister on his so-called resignation, was voted in on just 26 per cent of the electorate in 2010 and required the help of the LibDems to get into power. He then wins a general election in 2015 with a margin of 15 seats whilst 28 seats are now being investigated by a dozen police forces for electoral fraud. Six months later he was sacked by his own party – hardly anything but a condemnation of his ability to achieve anything except failure.

    Corbin, having been voted in on the basis of real change for the disenfranchised played a disastrous game in this referendum, proving he is as useless as the rest of them. His party will literally fall apart though mass resignations designed to inflict max-damage. The result? He will now be stabbed in the back by all and asunder and has turned out to be as electable as my cat.

    And whilst all this may appear to be a damning judgment on the Establishment that exists in modern day Britain, this is playing into directly into the hands of the more extreme right-wing contingent of the Tory party.

    After the political fallout over the next few weeks and months, a general election fostered by a euphoric Tory party will unite behind Brexiteers from within their ranks is very likely. The Tories will win again only this time by a much bigger margin and make no mistake, it will be a real right-wing element at the reigns. Suddenly, the characters at the helm will be the likes of Johnson, Gove, Hunt and Iain Duncan Smith.

    The NHS will go, everything that is left will be sold off to the highest bidder in an unprecedented privatisation drive. Workers rights and protections will be cast aside in favour of corporate profit. Austerity will be intensified on those who dared to challenge the Establishment.

    But first, we have tomorrow, Monday 27th June and the following days and weeks of retribution by the financial gangsters and bandits that menacingly roam our streets in the City of London. Banks and corporations will threaten to leave the UK, financial and stock markets around the world will pull assets out of Britain in a vindictive chorus of “I told you so” and we’ll see the immediate cratering of our economy. They won’t stop until the people of Britain capitulate and either demand another referendum or vote in the Tories in a landslide out of abject fear. The latter will happen anyway – all this before the year is out.

    Soon too, you will hear the evangelists of ‘unity’, none of which will work as our society becomes more and more divided.

    What you are witnessing is anarchy by the rich and powerful and now the gloves are off. Get ready to be bludgeoned like never before until you are on your knees begging for their neoliberal mercy.

    If Britain is to have any chance at all, it must stand tall in the face of a wave of economic and social aggression. Citizens need to demand a new economic model that centres around manufacturing, clean energy and new technologies. But it must not accept anything less than real financial regulation and a drastic reduction in the spiralling inequality that is so dividing our country.

    Britain’s rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer – all that in just 8 years. Overall, about 20 per cent of the population are doing much better and 80 per cent are doing much worse. This was the real reason for ‘Brexit’.

    What people want is a secure job that pays a fair wage, afford a decent home and raise a family, all of which has been economised, off-shored, commodified or used to enslave those being trapped and left behind.

    If the European Union starts to crack and fall apart it won’t be because Britain’s vote to leave caused it. Ultimately it will be because it’s not supported by its own citizens. When the EU project fails and it will one day, Britain will have had a head start in repairing its damaged economy and prospects. Hopefully, along the way our divisions will bind us in a common cause where we can regain a sense of social justice and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Being rid of a self-centred neoliberal model is the first step, if we have the balls for the battle ahead.

  • Alan

    Ah well, on the best plans of mice and men:

    The Scottish Mail on Sunday can reveal that the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, has already ruled there is no option but the whole of the UK exiting following Thursday’s shock Leave vote.

    Miss Sturgeon had hoped to hold a referendum during the next two years while Brexit negotiations take place – and had wanted Scotland to simply and seamlessly remain in the EU if there was a Yes vote.

    But the new ruling by Brussels dashes her hopes, by confirming that an independent Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership.

  • Alan

    David Cameron has resigned, and the Leave vote in the EU referendum has hurled the Tory party, and the British and European establishments, into a profound crisis.

    Cameron’s desperate referendum gamble has failed, his party is split in half.

    The pound and share prices are falling and the “masters of the universe” have felt the sting of rejection.

    Despite Remain having the support of the Tories, Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, the Greens, Sinn Fein, practically every bosses’ and international finance body, thousands of “top executives” and the leaders of dozens of states including the US, more than half of those voting backed Leave.

    It is time for everyone on the left and all anti-racists, however they voted, to unite and fight against austerity, the destruction of public services, the attacks on refugees, Islamophobia and the fascists who created the conditions for the murder of Jo Cox.

    The politicians, the rich and the powerful who are so used to getting their own way have suffered a massive reverse.


    Just as in so many other parts of the world, there is a revolt going on against the people at the top of society. It can be dragged left or right. It is our job to shape it.

    The right will try to use the Leave vote to deepen racism. This is a danger, but it is far from inevitable.

    It is a lie that the millions of workers who voted Leave are all racists. The mainstream Leave campaign was headed by racists and horrible right wing forces, but a large part of the Leave vote was very different.

    One poll taken just before the vote showed that the majority of Leave voters thought that immigration had a good impact or no impact or the areas where they lived. And a fifth thought immigration was positive for Britain as a whole.

    Another poll found that a third of Labour voters at the 2015 general election, and a third of Green voters were going to back Leave.

    There are deep pools of bitterness and frustration everywhere across Britain.

    The Leave vote was for many a rejection of the undemocratic, corporate-controlled EU and the political elites in Britain. This revolt against the rich and powerful must be built on.


    It is a tragedy that Labour did not back Leave. If it had done so it would have transformed the debate to be far more about democracy, breaking from austerity and resisting corporate control than about racism.

    Instead, by campaigning alongside the Tories for Remain, some Labour MPs have cut themselves off from substantial sections of workers.

    During the campaign several leading figures in the Labour Party from Tom Watson and Ed Balls to John McDonnell and Len McCluskey called into question the existing right of EU citizens to come to Britain.

    Jeremy Corbyn didn’t do this. He should now call openly for actions against austerity and racism, and demand that the trade union leaders do the same. This is the best chance of forcing the general election that he says Labour is ready for.

    Socialist Worker campaigned for an anti-racist, anti-austerity and socialist Leave vote. We are pleased that Leave has won. We know that the #Lexit Left Leave campaign we were part of had only a marginal effect.

    But we were able to make sure there was an anti-capitalist Leave voice that did not pander to racism.


    We recognise that a substantial section of those who voted Remain did so because they felt it was the best way to push back the racism of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

    Others were persuaded that the EU stands for workers’ rights and that a Leave vote would strengthen vile right-wing forces.

    We didn’t agree, but it’s crucial that everyone on the left unites to bring down the Tories and to fight racism.

    We must come together in the battles against racism, Islamophobia and in support of refugees, build for the march on the Tory conference in Birmingham on 2 October, back the teachers’ strikes in England and all the other strikes, defend the NHS, combat environmental degradation and fracking and much more.

    We must not let the Tories recover, and have to fight to make sure this crisis ends with the right shattered and the anti-racist left stronger.

    At a time of crisis it is actions we need, not just statements. The more strikes and protests and occupations there are, the better will be the outcome of this Leave vote.

    We say Tories out, austerity out, migrants in, general election now!
    Join the protest at Downing Street, London, 6pm tonight, ⋅ Tories Out! Call a General Election ⋅ No to Austerity ⋅ Migrants Welcome Here Called by Lexit—the Left Leave Campaign
    Was the Leave vote about racism?

    The official Remain and Leave campaigns and the right wing media ramped up racism against migrants and dragged the debate to the right. But the majority of working class people are not racists.

    Working class areas voted for Leave in large numbers, but the idea that Leave was a racist vote by the “white working class” just doesn’t add up.

    The three towns outside of London where the “White British” population is a minority produced large Leave votes.

    In Luton 45 percent of the population is “White British”—it voted Leave by 56.5 percent on a 66.2 percent turnout.

    Similarly in Slough 34.52 percent of the population is “White British”—people there also voted Leave by 54 percent on a 62.1 percent turnout.

    Meanwhile in Leicester 45 percent of population are “White British”, and 48.9 percent voted for Leave on a 65 percent turnout.

    People in London backed Remain more strongly, but Leave still had strong support among working class people in the capital.


    In Newham 47 percent of people voted Leave. The east London borough is one of the poorest and most multicultural boroughs in London, with only 17 percent of the population being “White British”.

    Further out in Barking and Dagenham people voted for Leave by 62.4 percent. Again only some 49.46 percent of the population is “White British”.

    That’s not to deny that racism is a real problem in society or that immigration has been the key issue for some people, particularly Leave supporters.

    But polling shows a contradictory picture. When asked in the abstract some 42 percent of people said immigration had a negative impact on Britain.

    But some 51 percent of the total and 47 percent of Remain supporters said immigration had no impact on them personally. Those saying immigration had no impact on them personally was even higher among Leave supporters, at 52 percent.

    This resilience is significant considering not a day passes without a politician or a newspaper making some racist statement and demonising migrants.

    Many working class people have voted to give the establishment a kicking, while many also accept some reactionary ideas around immigration.

    But that’s partly because no one has put an anti-racist argument on immigration to them.

    We must unite against austerity and racism and fight together, not abandon working class voters to the racists.
    Build on defianceagainst the elite

    Leading Labour MP Diane Abbott said the vote was not a rejection of immigration but “foremost a roar of a defiance against the Westminster elite”.

    That roar has echoed around Europe.

    In Greece the EU’s austerity has hammered workers. Socialist Stelios Michaelidis told Socialist Worker, “I’ve just been campaigning in my local town hall, hospital and tax office. Everybody is celebrating the British referendum result.”

    Labour left group Momentum issued a statement saying, “Much of this vote reflected anger in communities which have experienced many years of industrial decline with the subsequent loss of secure employment.

    “Many such working class communities have been utterly neglected for years by those in power.”

    It called on Labour to “clearly demonstrate how it will improve lives through policies that will increase wages, tackle the housing crisis, and give people a greater say at work and in their communities.”

    Failure to do so would boost “the populist right, who blame immigrants, not the powerful for the problems in our country”.

    Union leaders have vowed to defend workers’ rights. They must be held to their word.

    TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the first priority now is to protect jobs and defend the living standards of working people.”

    Stock markets have already plunged and politicians claim this has to mean cuts.

    But O’Grady added, “Working people must not pay the price for the decision to leave the EU.”

    Right wing Leave campaigners claimed the money saved on the EU would be spent on the NHS. They never meant it and are trying to back out of it.

    But Dave Prentis, general secretary of the biggest NHS union Unison, said, “We will be working in the coming weeks and months to hold the Leave campaigners to the promises they’ve made—that there will be more money for the NHS, and that our rights at work will remain intact.”

  • Alan

    The Imperialist Nature of the EU.

    By drawing from theories of imperialism and power, this paper examines the agential and structural forms of the EU’s power projection in the world with a particular focus on the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries. As evident in the areas of trade, agriculture, energy and security, the EU operates within a hierarchical, centre-periphery relationship with these countries and projects forms of power such as coercion, mobilization of bias, manipulation, exploitation but also attraction, features that are all associated with imperialism. This
    has broader implications on how we understand the EU as a polity as well as how power is embedded in the concept of imperialism

    So always remember, if you voted out, the people calling you a “closet racist” are in fact “closet imperialists”

    • Alan

      Not Imperialist? The EU Just Started a Bit Late.

      The European Union’s leaders don’t often use the word “empire” in connection with their vast project, at least not in public.

      There’s good reason for this, of course. It’s a term 21st-century Europe would much rather forget in its quest to do business with now-powerful countries once humiliated or exploited in the name of, well, empire.

      Militarism, colonialism and racism are all bound up with it, and, even if they weren’t, the word would still be redolent of the past.

      The E.U. would rather see itself as the future, thanks very much, a liberal blueprint for co-operation, peace and letting even the darkest bygones be bygones.

      However, an objective observer might still wonder; the union has many of the trappings of empire, whether it admits to them or not.

      It is supranational, obviously, with its own executive and legislature. It asserts the primacy of its law over the national laws of member states, makes trade deals and is steadily groping for a distinct and powerful diplomatic service. It also mints currency, even if not all members have to use it.

      This list goes on. If the E.U. isn’t quite an empire, it can certainly look a lot like one. (cont)

      So Craig should have entitled this piece ““The Calm Stroll to Imperialism”.

      • Alan

        The European Union (EU) is an imperialist alliance – on the economic, political and military level. It is dominated by the rich, imperialist countries (in particular Western European countries like Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Austria etc.). It also encompasses poorer, semi-colonial countries (like Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, and the countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, etc.). These semi-colonial countries make up more than half of the EU-27 member states and inhabit 119 million people, almost a quarter of the EU population. The EU is first and foremost dominated by the imperialist powers Germany and France, amongst which Germany is the primus inter pares. Furthermore, the EU is an expression of the fact that the productive forces are reaching beyond the boundaries of nation states and the capitalists – if they do not want loose in global competition – can ensure a profit-making production only in the international arena.

        2. The purpose of the European Union is to defend and expand the power of the – in the global context relatively weak – imperialist states of Europe against the United States, Japan, as well as against China and Russia. It also serves the goals of the European capitalists to create a larger European market for the monopolies and to increase the exploitation of the semi-colonies. Therefore it is a thoroughly reactionary alliance that serves the interests of monopoly capital.

        The EU worsens the situation of people living in their semi-colonial peoples. It affects their national independence and thus a number of bourgeois democratic rights and increases their economic exploitation. The EU is therefore a “double-imperialist” alliance: on the one hand, it serves to exploit the semi-colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America and on the other hand it serves the exploitation and oppression of the semi-colonies which are part of the EU. For the semi-colonial countries, an EU accession is therefore a step towards colonization; it limits their national independence and subordinates them increasingly more and direct under the imperialist monopolies! (cont)

        • Alan

          NATO and the EU: Inter-state imperialist alliances, inter-imperialist rivalry, expansionism, the threat to peace and the dangers of aggression and war.

          In March 1946, Winston Churchill, in a speech delivered at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA called for the creation of an Anglo-American Alliance to fight “Eastern Communism”. The US President, Harry S. Truman, was present with Churchill on the platform. Churchill declared that “the West” should be prepared to wage such a fight for centuries to come. This was not mere rhetoric. In a rabid and paranoid anti-communist diatribe against “Soviet Russia and its communist international organisation”, which arose from a pathological hostility towards socialism and intoxication with a morbid fascination for what he regarded as US military superiority at the time, Churchill engaged in a dangerous and deliberate provocation designed to strengthen imperialism and lay the foundations for the creation of a new imperialist inter-state alliance.

          A year later, in March 1947, Truman propounded what subsequently came to be known as the “Truman Doctrine”, in a speech to the US Congress requesting the appropriation of $400 million worth of aid to Greece and Turkey. The US, under the false pretext of safeguarding its “national security” arrogantly assumed the responsibility of “defending” Europe from the so-called “communist danger”.

          In March 1948, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Britain entered the Brussels Treaty as the basis of an agreement for a military alliance. The French Prime Minister, René Plevin, openly raised the concept of a European army and included this in his proposal in 1950 for a “European Defence Community” (EDC) which sought the creation of a European Army “tied to political institutions of a united Europe”. The Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy signed the EDC Treaty in 1952. In April 1949 members of that military alliance (but not West Germany) and the US, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Italy and fascist Portugal concluded a North Atlantic Treaty to create the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In 1952 it was joined by Greece and Turkey and in October 1954 the members of NATO signed the Paris Agreements which admitted West Germany into this alliance. By this hostile and aggressive device Europe was divided and Western Europe committed to an implacable hostility towards socialism and the socialist states. This apparatus, which of course had nothing to do with defence or the preservation of peace, was designed to create unilateral military advantage for the imperialist powers and to transform the balance of forces in their favour. (cont)

          It is vital to arrive at a proper understanding of imperialism, to fully comprehend its characteristics. One mustn’t allow Imperialists to twist the truth to suit their own agenda. When you see folk with the same agenda as Toxic Tony, they are usually tarred with the same brush.

  • Alan

    Is the European Union a force to stop wars?

    The European Union’s (EU) supporters often say its greatest success is stopping wars. In a Remain campaign speech last week David Cameron said, “The first purpose of the European Union—to secure peace—has been achieved”.

    It’s an argument that taps into the trauma of two world wars fought between European states. No one wants to relive that slaughter and devastation.

    But the claim the EU has avoided conflict disregards all the evidence.

    In particular it means forgetting the millions of people murdered by EU powers since 1945 outside Europe’s borders.

    French forces killed around 700,000 people as they tried to hold on to Algeria in north Africa.

    The French killed over half a million in Vietnam.

    Portugal’s colonial wars in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea killed tens of thousands of Africans and partly triggered Portugal’s revolution in 1974.

    Britain waged vicious wars in Malaya, Kenya, Yemen and elsewhere in the 1950s and 60s and joined an invasion of Egypt in 1956.

    Tensions between European states have never gone away, even though the direct competition for colonies has waned.

    Today’s border crisis has seen ambassadors recalled—and more fences go up on European national borders than existed when the Berlin Wall fell.

    At the same time as signing the Maastricht Treaty that created the EU, European states were stirring up rival factions in the wars that tore the former Yugoslavia apart.

    Germany egged on Croatian nationalists.

    Crucially the US and its allies—including most EU states—seized their moment to gain influence at Russia’s expense.

    European integration is about subsuming rivalries between states into rivalries between bigger power blocs.

    The Cold War between the US and Soviet Russia was setting in.

    The US unified European states in a drive against its Russian rivals.


    The US funded integration at the same time as sending the CIA to repress Communists and other radicals.

    The EU was one pillar of this. The other was the Nato military alliance.

    Through Nato European states supported the Vietnam War and more recently sent troops to Afghanistan.

    Militarism is still a driving force of EU expansion. Former Eastern Bloc countries that joined in the 2000s had to join Nato at the same time.

    Nato ships now patrol the EU’s border off Greece.

    The rivalry between the EU and Russia over Ukraine is fuelling a low-level war that has already killed thousands.

    Prospective EU members have to sign “security” agreements on military cooperation.

    The arms race between the Cold War power blocs repeatedly brought the world to the brink of destruction.

    Today Britain’s establishment insists on being “part of Europe” for the same reason it insists on renewing Trident nuclear weapons.

    They can no longer be a major imperialist power on their own, so they want to be part of something that can be.

    The drive to war is an intrinsic part of capitalism.

    No arrangement between states, however close, can stop this.

    To stop wars means uprooting the system that makes them—and leaving the EU will weaken the warmongers.

    This shows that if you voted out, you are one of the world’s peace-makers, and it is the toxic imperialists calling you names that have the guilt of the slain on their shoulders.

  • Alan

    Scotland and the British Empire

    The British Empire was never wholly English, of course, or even predominantly so. Scotland had its own colonial enterprises before the Act of Union (1707), and afterwards arguably contributed more to their joint imperial project than its southern neighbour. Of course you don’t find the Scots celebrating this much now, as imperialism is no longer generally considered to have been A Good Thing and the idea that they were colonial victims seems a better card to play for a people striving (some of them) for national independence. Today’s academic Scottish historians, however, know that ‘it is far too simplistic to consider the British Celtic fringe (and Scotland in particular) as somehow in a quasi-colonial relationship with the central and dominant English power.

    ‘Victimhood’ and even ‘collaboration’ are ‘inaccurate and inadequate’ to describe it. As imperialists – whether you want to see them as benefactors or oppressors – the Scots always (as the editors of this volume put it, though acknowledging the cliche) ‘punched above their weight’.

    They also punched subtly differently from the English; and it is the distinctive contribution made by Scotland to the Empire that this book seeks to disentangle. It is not always easy. Scots seem to have hugely dominated certain colonial occupations: for example, Indian (but not African) administration, medicine, education, missionary work, surveying, conservation, engineering and certain financial activities. That at least is the impression given by contemporary hearsay; but it has not yet been backed up by any quantitative analysis and could just be the result of Scots abroad being louder in their nationalism than the English. (Probably not; but it needs to be checked.) Quite apart from this, Scottishness was never a pure, unsullied quality; even the famed ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ was part of a much broader European one; and the long union with England was bound to have produced a certain amount of cultural hybridity. Still, there were exceptional Scottish factors, whose influence it is perfectly possible to trace in the Empire; most of them emanating from Scotland’s distinctive social, religious and – especially – educational structures; but not, incidentally, from her equally distinctive legal system, which lost out to English common law when it came to the colonies.

    There is no chapter here on law, therefore; but there are on Scottish migration (by Angela McCarthy), trade and finance (T.M. Devine, Philipp Rössner and John MacKenzie), the East India Company (Andrew Mackillop), the Scottish intellectual diaspora (Cairns Craig), environmentalism (MacKenzie again), Scottish regiments (Devine again), missionaries (Esther Breitenbach), literature (Angela Smith) and various issues to do with Scottish national identity and its relationship to the Empire more generally (Richard Finlay, and touched on in the introduction).

    Finlay argues that, as well as being disproportionately important to Scotland while it was a going concern, the Empire lingered longer in the Scottish consciousness afterwards than it did south of the border. There seems to have been more support for the 1956 Suez campaign there than there was in England, for example. Finlay suggests this may have had something to do with local pride in the regiments, which had always played such a disproportionate part in the forcible maintenance of the Empire, as witnessed by the ‘Save the Argylls’ campaign in the 1960s.

    Scotland and the British Empire is the latest in the series of ‘Companion’ volumes to the Oxford History of the British Empire (1998-99): the ‘Companions’ being intended to fill perceived lacunae. Scotland was undoubtedly one of these; there is no discrete chapter on it in any of the original five volumes, though of course references to Scotland are scattered throughout. What this excellent volume does is not only fill a gap, but also provide a fresh perspective both on Scottish and on imperial history. They seem to have been more tightly interwoven than used to be thought. Both Scots and English should take note.

    I guess that explains why Scotland is so keen to continue with the EU imperial project. Oh yes, and “Scotland and the British Empire” might also be worthy reading material.

    • Alan

      SCOTTISH NATIONALISTS increasingly paint the Union between Scotland and England as a colonial relationship. Independence for Scotland is equated – somewhat insensitively, as we shall see – with the freedoms won by former colonies of European empires.

      In the past few decades, nationalist intellectuals have also detected a Scottish inferiority complex of cringing self-abasement within the Union, and have rather pointedly aligned this with the cultural experiences of colonised peoples. This is a new departure.

      For, once upon a time, the acknowledged reticence of Scots was attributed – by ­­inter-war nationalist intellectuals no less – to a dour patriarchal Calvinism inculcated by harsh dominies all too quick to use the tawse on the outspoken and self-confident, as well as on the indolent and the badly behaved.

      More recently, however, the Union has replaced Puritanism as the prime cause of Scotland’s ills.

      Nor is the identification of Scotland as a downtrodden colony any longer confined to the margins of political debate. Rather, it seems to have become an axiom of popular nationalism. Thus the repeated references of Yes campaigners to the countries of the Commonwealth and outside who have achieved “independence” from England their former colonial master.

      The phenomenon is sufficiently widespread to have attracted the notice of outside observers. The distinguished historian Linda Colley – English-born but based at Princeton University in the USA – recently expressed her surprise at the number of Scots who believe Scotland’s relationship with England to be a colonial one.

      One might call this the Renton interpretation of history – who can forget his diatribe against English colonialism and Scottish self-abasement in Trainspotting? But what in Irvine Welsh’s novel appeared as an amusing and deliciously shocking slice of absurd theatre has now gone mainstream.

      Even the avowedly non-nationalist figure Kenneth Roy, founder of the Scottish Review, writes in his recent history of modern Scotland that the post-war nation “reverted to the place ascribed for it in the Union as an unthreatening backwater distinguished by the poor education, poor health and poor housing of its people”.

      Roy adds for good measure that Scots schoolchildren were deliberately denied by the education system a grounding in Scottish history: “In denying children an adequate knowledge of their own culture and identity, it asserted the relative insignificance of Scotland.”

      Scots, it is now too widely believed for comfort, are a colonised nation, ruled over by a dominant caste of English colonisers. Or “Westminster” in the language of Yes. This is not only largely nonsensical as history, but offensive and insulting to many non-white, non-European peoples who did, in fact, find themselves oppressed or even dispossessed by the “British” Empire.

      Scots were complicit in empire, and it is insulting to the real victims of empire to assume otherwise. What else are we to make of the golf course built for Scots traders at their slave trading post on Bance Island at the mouth of the Sierra Leone River in the 18th century? Who was doing the exploitation here? Or the Scots planters in the West Indies – one, alas, named Kidd – who dressed their slaves in tartan? Or, indeed, of the fact that the Jamaican mother of Diane Abbott MP was a McClymont by birth?

      After all, one of the main causes of the Union of 1707 was, ironically, the failure of Scotland’s attempt to establish its own colony at Darien in Panama in the late 1690s. The Darien disaster was a massive drain on Scottish capital, and accusations that English trading and foreign policy interests had conspired to thwart the venture stirred up Anglophobia in Scotland. However, the point is that Scottish criticism of English imperialism was focused on the larger power’s unwillingness to let the junior kingdom achieve its own colonial ambitions. As a result many early 18th-century Scots came to the conclusion, however reluctantly, that the only route to a Scottish colonial empire was within a formal Anglo-Scottish union.

      Nevertheless, by the 1750s and for two centuries thereafter enthusiastic participation in the British Empire was a defining aspect of Scottish identity.

      The nationalist version of Scottish history is cartoonish and drawn in primary colours. It leaves little room for shading, nuance or the tangled complexities of the past as it really was. The emotional resonance produced by history displaces a desire to understand or explain.

      It comes as a shock, therefore, when nationalists discover that unionism – something they despise as a kind of false consciousness supposedly imposed upon Scots by the English – was framed long before the Union of Parliaments in 1707, moreover almost a century before the Union of the Crowns in 1603. And that it was devised by Scots as a means of ensuring Scotland’s interests were not overwhelmed by its larger neighbour.

      Unionism was first formulated as a set of ideas by the Catholic philosopher John Mair, of Haddington, around 1520. It was Mair’s central idea that union was the opposite not of independent Scottish nationhood, but of an English empire over the territory of Great Britain. How was tiny Scotland to control her much larger neighbour who inhabited the same island except by means of an agreement, a union which would allow both English and Scottish institutions, laws, cultures and identities to flourish within the same island under a common monarchy?

      The alternative was cross-border warfare, and the fear of an inevitable victory – in the end, and notwithstanding the occasional Bannockburn – for the larger power. In other words, the casual antithesis we encounter of unionism and nationalism is misconceived.

      Traditionally, union was seen by Mair and the early Scots unionist tradition as a means of taming English imperial ambitions, of binding an overmighty neighbour within a set of negotiated constraints. In this sense, Flodden not Bannockburn was the decisive cross-border battle.

      Unionists today are just as concerned as nationalists to protect Scottish institutions, Scottish identity and Scottish prosperity but the former believe Scottish autonomy is best secured within the civilised and polite setting of a Union state which we have built together over 300-plus years. The alternative today is a return to a less intimate, less friendly relationship: between an independent England and an independent Scotland, a situation moreover that would have been willed – however narrow the majority – by Scots themselves. Obviously this outcome would not mark a return to the warfare of the Middle Ages; but after any divorce – as we know – there’s a bit of unhappiness and anger followed by paths diverging. Both sides increasingly pursue their own interests without reference to those of their former partner.

      If Alex Salmond really does believe that post-referendum negotiations to break up the UK would be seamless and friendly, and that Scots and English would remain best friends and neighbours he is deluding himself.

      As Professor Anthony King – a Canadian academic based in England – has recently noted, England is a democracy too; and the people of England would feel rejected and hurt if Scotland chose to leave. Quite understandably English voters would insist on placing English interests first. Consequently, English politicians would have no choice but to reflect this posture at the negotiating table.

      John Mair and the Scottish architects of the Union would be in no doubt about who would have the better of these negotiations. After all, Union was designed by Scots – and for Scotland – as the means by which our nation could maximise its autonomy while sharing across this island with a much larger neighbour.

      • Colin Kidd is professor of history at the University of St Andrews; Gregg McClymont is Labour MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

      And as it was then, so it continues today with Scotland strongly in favour of E.U. Imperialism.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Alan, I think your points would be better made if you offered a succinct synopsis of your sources and maybe a SHORT quotation and linked to them rather than serially c&p’ing acres of the material. The blog’s layout is not conducive to reading comments which resemble a Times editorial circa 1890. God only knows what it looks like on a handheld device.

      Just saying.

  • James

    I am AMAZED at the “RUSH” forward !

    So the next leader is…….?
    ….Who DARES pick up the title of “THE PM THAT COLLAPSED THE UK”

    That is “telling”.

    No “leader” in sight.

    Come on Boris !
    I see “Dave” beat you to the punch….and resigned.
    That was a great strategic move.

    Is Boris going to be he one that “falls on his sword” by “leading” the UK into the “dark lands” ?
    Come on ? Project Fear was a myth !

    The “pip squeak” Farage won’t.
    We need “a name”.

    Ah…. you read the outcome !
    Dave…the loon…has just made sure YOU will NEVER wear the throne

    So which MP is going to “oversee” the departure of The Union ?

  • Clothcap

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    It’s not complicated. Stay part of the EU that is teetering on the brink or stay part of Britain that has just got a new set of sails.

    Another referendum has to be called.

    Can we Brits vote in that one as the Scots were allowed to vote in this one? /sarc.

    Outside the box says the EU could make a special case in allowing Scotland to take a limitless time out from the treaties’ clauses that conflict with a foot in 2 boats. Britain can match the deal. Maybe the Brits can be charitable enough to cover some of the EU’s expenses wrt Scotland.

    Thanks Craig for all the effort and skill you put into your articles.

    • michael norton

      FRANCE built two (small) aircraft carriers for Russia, hen decided, they no longer were friends, so they would not let the Russians have those two aircraft carriers.

      Scotland is very keen on being a different country from the United Kingdom, Scotland are currently building two ( large) aircraft carriers for the United Kingdom.
      an Independent Scotland decide as we are no longer friends, that Scotland will keep the pair of aircraft carriers.

      That is a possibility but bear in mind, FRANCE had to give back all the aircraft carrier money to Russia.

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