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The limits of solidarity

Posted on July 18, 2015 by

Since Germany decided to punish Greece for daring to try to exercise democracy and national sovereignty, there’s been something of an upsurge in commentators on the British left questioning whether the EU is really the progressive institution they’d assumed it to be, leaving their vote in 2017’s EU referendum potentially up for grabs.

(Unlike Scotland, of course, at least Greece didn’t have to ask permission to hold its plebiscite on austerity, even if it appears to have counted for nothing in the end.)


Coming hot on the heels of the European Parliament ignoring concerns over the highly secretive TTIP negotiations, the European dream is turning into a nightmare for many.

To be fair Owen Jones (linked above), he’s been questioning the assumption longer than most, although that made his stance on the Scottish independence referendum even more hypocritical – George Monbiot is at least being consistent.

The closest anyone came to providing the Lesser-Spotted Positive Case for the Union™ was probably when unionists on the left contended that Scotland should remain in the UK because of class solidarity with those elsewhere in the UK – “A worker in Glasgow has more in common with a worker in Manchester than a banker in Edinburgh”, was a common refrain.

It wasn’t a particularly convincing argument – several trade unions operate across the UK/Irish border, and being at opposite ends of Europe didn’t stop people protesting in Glasgow and Edinburgh in solidarity with the people of Greece recently – but at least it was a bit more sympathetic than threatening to bomb our airports or stop us using our own currency.

Owen Jones was certainly among those making such an argument. Despite recognising the huge flaws in the Project Fear approach – and his own parents’ sympathies to the independence cause – class solidarity across the UK mattered more to the likes of Jones than the possibility of one part of these islands managing to break free of the Thatcherism Max nightmare the UK was clearly heading towards. In fact, the pro-independence left was often accused by folk from the unionist left of selfishly abandoning their comrades in rUK to perpetual right-wing Tory governments.

It seems strange, therefore, to see the same kind of commentators suddenly suggesting that the British left should, in their words, “abandon” their fellow workers throughout the EU to perpetual right-wing European governments. (After all, when the majority of countries within the EU elect right-wing governments, it stands to reason that the EU as a whole will move towards the right.)

“Stay and fight the Tories!” was the rallying call to people in Scotland – but we’ve heard no such call to stay and fight the CDU, the VVD and the True Finns. You could suggest this apparent distinction between workers in Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiff and workers in Paris, Athens and Bratislava is simply British nationalism, or that it’s that other thing where you don’t like people whose passport has a different country written on it from yours – but “internationalism” it definitely isn’t.

The timing is absolutely impeccable, given that the Tories have this week published their Trade Union Bill, which seeks to erode the UK’s trade union laws further, despite already being amongst the weakest in Europe.

(Curiously, while the EU moves like lightning to defend banks from “rogue” left-wing governments who might default on their crippling, unpayable debts, it appears to offer no such comradely protection to workers.)

Combined with the planned savage cuts to tax credits – which Labour are still pondering whether to oppose – and the redefining of “living wage” to mean “a wage which isn’t even nearly enough to live on”, those pleas for Scots to stay for the sake of workers elsewhere in the UK are starting to look like the guilt-tripping demands for a suicide pact those of us in the Yes camp always said they were.

Convincing Scotland to stay in the UK has been good news for foxes. It’s less certain that workers in Linlithgow and Leuchars will be thanking their lucky stars that No voters decided to show solidarity with their compatriots in Lewisham, Lurgan and Llanfairpwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, and smash up Scotland’s life-raft just as the great ship GB was powering at full steam towards a Tory iceberg.

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62 to “The limits of solidarity”

  1. Brian Powell

    Well, that well known Labour ‘activist and guru’, Dunc Hothersall, told us repeatedly throughout the Referendum that if we get a Tory Government, then that is just democracy and we just accept it. Sometimes we get Tories, sometimes we get Labour, so no problem, as long as we have the Union then it’s worth whatever happens.

    Seems Owen Jones agrees with him; get out of the right-wing EU and stick with the right wing Tories, cos we would have the Union, and everything that happens its worth it because we’d have the Union..


  2. Croompenstein

    Of all the arguments the No side had that was one that pissed me off more than most because I’m sure workers in Manchester or Middlesbrough could not give a monkeys about workers in Motherwell. We, uniquely, have a chance to break out of the political union which is holding us back. The social union will endure but we have to get out of this trap.

  3. Osprey MacIntyre

    Thank you for writing this. As a committed European who spends much of his time in Poland with with Poles (and people of other EU nationalities), even I was starting to question my own commitment to the pro-EU cause.

    It’s a bureaucratic nightmare in dire need of reform and…I was going to say pruning but it’s probably more something involving explosives and sledgehammers. But at its core, I think the European Union is A Good Thing that can be made to work well. And I feel better about that after reading this article.

  4. Grouse Beater

    Rather than swallow the bait of ‘stay with us and support our cause’ – thus abandoning our own cause and our land again in favour of becoming a third-class citizen not second-class one as now – surely in the light of recent events might it not be far wiser to suggest they come and join us in Scotland and abandon the disaster that is Westminster elitist politics.

    However, the assumption made is they come to Scotland to create our new Scotland in constitution, vote and sovereignty.

  5. Desimond

    Owen Jones, i’ll hold my breath and count to 10 on that one.

    Hows Ineos doing these days?…remember Len McLuskey seemed impressed with the Scottish Govts attempts to help while Jola was very much awol unil a very sad wee attempt to wedge herself into proceedings.

    Too little too late, which will be the lament given to every “Deep deep dowm Im a socialist” crying into their drink in the next few years.

  6. Ken500

    Stay and be shafted. The English working class vote Tory. The Westminster Governments have always shafted Scotland. Lying cheating, illegally stealing resources. Using the Official Secrets Act to hide their crimes. Killing and starving vulnerable people in the UK and all over the world. Westminster Unionists rotten to the core lining their pockets, wasting and squandering public money. Outvoted 10 to 1.

    Thatcher, Blair and Brown shafted Scotland and illegally took everything that moved and planted Nuciear weapons at Faslane and rotting nukes at Rosyth totally against the majority wishes. Westminster Unionists Trdent/illegal wars, tax evasion and banking fraud. Tory bankers.

  7. Ken500

    Good social Laws come from the EU better than Westminster. Most the EU countries are more progressive. The Eurozone limits ratio of debt to capital. More stable. The rest of the UK has more debt. Osbourne has just increased the debt and increase the gap between the vulnerable and the wealthier. They can’t take it with them. The North/South divide. Disgusting.

    The Golfers are Scottish and English. Andy Murray is British?

  8. Socrates MacSporran

    This is off-topic, but, I feel, well-worth sharing.

    This morning I was in Cumnock’s Baird Institute Museum, doing some research. In walked, who else but Gordon BJ Mathieson, would-be next Deputy Leader of SLAB.

    His reason for being there was, apparently, the fact the museum is currently running an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of long-time Cumnock resident’s James Keir Hardie’s death.

    If old BJ spent 15-minutes inside the museum, that was stretching it. I would like to think, once he realised Keir Hardie had been a Socialist, BJ shat himself and had to get out, in case he became infected with Socialism, which would disqualify him from a leading role with SLAB.

  9. Ken500

    Ignorant, arrogant Guardian journalists and London Luvies on six figure salaries wouldn’t even pay £20 a week to stop people starving and help the NHS. Greedy hypocrites. Get lost.

    Save the world they couldn’t even save themselves.

  10. msean

    The thing about the workers in English cities being the same as in Scottish cities didn’t wash with me last year or now. The results of the general elections where the Tories keep getting returned for decades at a time must mean that of those workers in the south,a proportion of them must be voting Tory. That is how much we mean to them.

    They keep voting Tory and seem to forget about their Scottish friends when they no longer need them. The MPs they have sent to Westminster reflect this in their actions,and not just the Tory ones either.

  11. Al-Stuart

    Hi Douglas, thanks for your article.

    I love your quote…

    “A worker in Glasgow has more in common with a worker in Manchester than a banker in Edinburgh”

    Here, my friend is what the worker in Manchester thinks – in fact almost 90,000 of those in northern England….

    The only big problem with this, is that it will mean that George Osborne, who has his constituency in the north east of England – Tatton – may well end up polluting our country.

    Though given that the Tatton constituency (formerly Runcorn, Cheadle, Northwich and Knutsford) was held by the ex-barrister, ex-bankrupt, ex-Tory Mostyn Neil Hamilton, who was unceremonially booted out of office, perhaps the voters of Tatton may eventually come to their senses and boot out “George” Gideon Oliver Osborne as well. After all it was in Tatton that the famous Independent candidate Martin Bell was elected by a landslide, turfing out discredited Tory Neil Hamilton, with Bell achieving a majority of 11,077 votes – overturning a Conservative majority of over 22,000. We can but hope that some of our cousins in England rumble what the Tories are really up to.

    Maybe that would be straining The Limits of Solidarity a little too far!

  12. Joemcg

    Was there not a dog eat dog battle over jobs with devonport and rosyth? In the eighties with Tory MPs involved? Seem to recall it did not turn out well.

  13. HandandShrimp

    I have been ambivalent about the EU for some time. There are good things associated with EU membership and there is a positive in the EU working together rather than knocking lumps out of each other. However, it isn’t as progressive as it could be and quite possibly isn’t as progressive as it used to be. I was of the view that following a Yes vote if the EU started playing silly buggers we should simply say thanks but no thanks and like, Norway or Switzerland, stay out and do our own thing.

    I am of the view that getting out isn’t that easy and that at any hint that we were leaving the EU would have simply came up with some fudge that pulled us back into the fold…whether it be for the best or not. Despite many predictions of a Grexit for months if not years now, I see Greece is still in the Euro.

    The EU is Hotel California…we just need to work on the room service. I don’t actually believe the UK will leave either or that Cameron will get any of his wish list. I am not even sure he thinks he will get his wish list.

  14. Sinky

    Apologies for going very O/T

    But despite BBC Weather chart billing Davis Cup as between England and France, the match score stands at Scotland 2 France 1.

  15. Derek Henry

    Beyond metaphor … comes total nonsense, German style

  16. VikkingsDottir

    Well, Owen. He looks like a Primary 7, but you would get more sense out of a P7 than you ever get out of Mr Jones. Still, he is right to question the validity of the EU.
    Why should anyone limit their own freedom to protect the freedoms of other people who are quite capable of standing up for themsleves? Other European countries can get out of the EU on their own legs.
    The thing about the EU is that is is patently not a Democracy. It masquerades as one to brainwash the citizens, but the decisions are made by technocrats like Junckers: he who just described the Greek referendum as ‘a circus’ and Barosso, the former Maoist who always looks well fed and clothed to me, and has just gone off into reitirement, unlike the Greek folk who are just being deprived of it. We would all be better off out of the EU, but I’m afraid we’re stuck in it: shackled by treaty, I mean.

  17. heedtracker

    “My fear otherwise is a repetition of the Scottish referendum: but this time, instead of the progressive SNP as the beneficiaries, with Ukip mopping up in working-class communities as big businesses issue chilling threats about the risks of voting the wrong way.”

    Awe damned by faint Graun paise. “Beneficiaries” now are they? Greek economics were no different from teamGB run by Crash and the Flipper and super City spivs. UK economy of scale saved them by the skin of their teeth and ofcourse, their too poor, small, stupid Scotland region of oil, whisky, rebels and moochers, might have just got them over the wire.

    The real creep out in all this is why the US isn’t acting. US Fed bank calmly saved the maniacs at RBS for example.

    Its US and UKOK war mongering that’s created a middle east and North Africa of failed states, endless civil war slaughtering millions of civilians, violent regimes like the Saudi dynasty and millions of refugees.

    All our imperial masters do, is bully Greek people, watch as the EU southern border collapses in front of them, and all because of maniac UKOK style Greek politicians borrowed beyond sanity, with all the usual super rich bankster spivs ready to throw money at them. All of it bank rolled by the sucker UKOK taxpayer who keeps on voting in red and blue tory boys.

    Hey ho. How bad can it get, it’s all far enough away from Mayfair, I’m alright jack, I’m British. Lets bettertogether bomb Syria again, see how that goes. RAF chaps love a good war.

  18. Derek Henry

    Joining the Euro would have been a disaster for us.

    It’s all about fiscal space and owning your own currency.

    Those that joined the Euro gave that up and it’s been a disaster for them.

    Prof Stephanie Kelton who now sits at the elbow of Bernie Sanders who is running for president explains it clearly


    Please god let Bernie be president

  19. JLT

    As many of us will admit, the EU is not perfect; far from it, but it is the best place for the UK to be, and it also guarantees in keeping the peace …especially in Western Europe.

    The EEC, EU, European Dream or whatever you wish to call it, came about in the aftermath of World War 2 and the atrocities that man could inflict on another. What WW2 proved that there was no place like Europe for sheer destruction, mass atrocities and the spilling of blood on such a scale that it could only be described as biblical. To avoid such a holocaust again, the EEC was designed to harmonise and better the relationships between France and Germany; two nations that had punched lumps out of each other since the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century. The idea of a ‘European Union’ was to capture something that had not been seen since the 4th Century – pretty much a united Europe …and more importantly, a peaceful one for those who lived within the Empires borders.

    This is what the modern day ‘European Dream’ is really about; a sort of recreation of the Roman Empire, but more Republic than Empire; more Democratic than Imperialist; more freedom to move and thus be part of something greater. Everyone in the EU equal, safe, protected, and the chance to better themselves through an array of options. Not only would the people live better, but economically and culturally, Europe could aspire to even greater heights in what she could do. After all, the greatest variety of ideas, philosophy, religious tolerance, art, music, culture and architecture are literally all concentrated in Western and Central Europe when compared against the rest of the planet.

    That is the dream.

    What we have at the moment, is a clash of cultures; not only between Europe and Britain, but also of trying to keep the ‘European Dream’ on track even if it means that some nations will suffer more than others through austerity. Germany of all nations, should have acknowledged the Greek suffering with greater compassion. After all, literally Germany’s debt was wiped out after World War 2 so that we wouldn’t have a second German Weimar Republic (the original failed between the wars and led to the rise of Nazism). Angela Merkel, whom I have a great admiration for, has stumbled badly in these last 2 weeks; not only did she insult the Greeks, but also refugees too. Where she and Germany go from here is anyone’s guess.

    As for the UK leaving the EU. Well, if it happens, then the UK will probably be punished for leaving. Not only will the financial markets wobble, but so will all the currencies. Europes response to the UK will be that of strict import and export duties on everything. And who will the UK trade with if there is a big falling out? If not the EU, then who? The States will just ignore us. EFTA is too small. China and India will use Britain’s sudden poor trade position to bully better deals for themselves. And South America will renegotiate severe terms over the Falklands so they can push the last ‘imperial power’ out of South America.

    The EU is not perfect, but it remains Europe’s best hope of social unity, equality, shared cultures, defence and economic stability. Anything else means looming storm clouds on the horizon …and could potentially destabilise Western Europe after the greatest 70 years of peace since the 5th Century.

  20. captmaxspacecat

    Who else thinks we have given the english left enough time for them to get there shit together.Seriously how long do we have to wait?

  21. Tackety Beets

    Aye Joemcg
    Devonport were handed a contract following very dubious matters.
    I have referred to it in the distant past.

    Not researched all from memory .
    Short version
    Devonport were given the contract , much to the amazement of all @ Rosyth .
    Rosyth had all the skills , facilities etc to complete the job.

    Devonport began to get going with the work then went back to the Gvt for £10m to fund a deep water bay ( Rosyth already had this)
    Devonport got the money then proceeded to try to persuade Rosyth staff to go down to work in Devonport.
    No doubt folk on here like Robert P can provide more accurate info but anyone will get the jist from my post .
    Scotland has been given the short straw all my sorry a&sed life .

    You may recall a proposal for a huge carbon capture plant about Peterhead was proposed to Blair in the 90’s . The Oil Cos involved wanted some cash injection from the Gvt as CC is a green policy.
    I think the idea was to set up a Gas/Petro & Elec Generating Plant and all the Pollution /Carbon would be pumped into the seabed as the crude Oil got pushed out .
    I can’t recal the figures but there would be 500 good jobs too .
    Blair wisnae interested, what invest money away up there !

    Like many on here I could go on probably for ever.
    Do not dare mention Tony Effin BENT to me after his capers over the Oil in the 70s !
    Sorry Miss Black nothing but respect for you.

    They were barstewards in the 60s and they are barstewards now !
    Ach well a feel better now , cheers !

  22. Derek Henry

    There’s a new Fascist in town to work side by side with TTIP and the EU.


    According to the treaty’s Annex on Financial Services, we now know that TiSA would effectively strip signatory governments of all remaining ability to regulate the financial industry in the interest of depositors, small-time investors, or the public at large.

    1. TiSA will restrict the ability of governments to limit systemic financial risks.

    2. TiSA will force governments to “predict” all regulations that could at some point fall foul of TiSA.

    3. TiSA will indefinitely bar new financial regulations that do not conform to deregulatory rules.

    4. TiSA will prohibit national governments from using capital controls to prevent or mitigate financial crises.

    5. TiSA will require acceptance of financial products not yet invented.

    6. TiSA will provide opportunities for financial firms to delay financial regulations

    Wikileaks – How the Biggest Banks Are Conspiring to Rip Up Financial Regulations around the World

    Wikileaks page for the TiSA:

    TiSA pdf, on Wikileaks:

    Analysis of the TiSA, on Wikileaks:

  23. Mark

    Great article, Doug.

    The thing that makes me laugh about Jones is that, in his most recent book The Establishment (which though flawed, is a great read), he addresses how weighted the system we live under is, and puts forward many ideas which we saw in different guises as central arguments to a Yes vote.

    Truth be told, I don’t think Jones really knows what he wants.

  24. james feeney

    This makes one think, what with the news publishing the story and pictures on the front pages, thought provoking.

  25. Joemcg

    Tackety-yeah I thought so. Kind of blows that worker solidarity BT pish out of the water eh?

  26. Democracy Reborn

    Good article, Doug.

    I suspect an Indy No-voting leftist who is currently questioning the ‘solidarity’ of the EU would say that it’s too much of a capitalist, bureaucratic cartel. Whereas the the UK Union is a shining example of multi-nation workers’ solidarity.

    Trouble is, if you’re a Scot aged, say 45, you’ve been living under right-wing Tory governments for 23 years of your life. Go figure. But that’s a price well worth paying for the comrades, because their riposte is that Scotland would be ‘impoverished’ if it were independent. That’s just the ‘reality’. I sometimes wonder if they truly believe that, or it’s just a veneer for their own (self-denied) British nationalism.

  27. donald anderson

    Tell the boy professional career “revolutionary” that his parents should kick hi backside and make him read this

    and this.

  28. john king

    Joemcg @4.11
    “Was there not a dog eat dog battle over jobs with devonport and rosyth? In the eighties with Tory MPs involved? Seem to recall it did not turn out well.”

    There ye go Joe

  29. call me dave

    On balance I’m voting to stay within the EU when the vote comes.

    Get the SG election done and dusted.

    The sad thing about Black’s speech, among many happy things, is that it shows you can be passionate, sincere and inspiring, but also utterly mistaken.

  30. john king

    Tackety Beets says
    “Devonport began to get going with the work then went back to the Gvt for £10m to fund a deep water bay ( Rosyth already had this)”

    It wasnt 10 million
    It was 100 million!

  31. john king

    Check out WHO the defence secretary was.
    you could not make it up!

  32. Tackety Beets

    Cheers JK , I was just about to post a thank you for the link.

    Yer a STAR !

    Now listen what’s a 0 between friends ! Lol

    Actually I miss typed !
    As I said all from memory , jeepers was it way back in ’93.

  33. Lochside

    Beware British ‘Socialists’ pleading solidarity.Of course Class identity is important in the struggle with the Neo-Liberal forces of this modern world, as they continue imposing draconian conditions on working people.

    However, national identity, particularly in a predominantly working class country like Scotland, is the determinant when the Imperial pretensions of England are considered both historically and in the present day.

    The Scottish working class, who still exist, despite market led political brain-washing trying to convince us that we are all ‘consumers’ and beyond petty ‘class’ distinctions, though cognisant of this are simultaneously aware that England’s imperial designs on keeping us as its last colony is more real than any ephemeral ‘class solidarity’ across the UK.

    Where was this phenomenon when our factories, shipbuilding, steel and coal industries were being closed down and shifted south? ….nowhere.

    Our history has been of asset stripping of people and resources…all by our neighbour in the south. Ably abetted by lackeys in SLAB and their ‘betters’ in the indigenous aristocracy and big business who have union jacks tattooed on their scabrous hides.

    The ‘British’ left have been and always will be Unionist judas goats leading genuine socialists into yet another blind alley of Westminster/City of London domination. The Scottish Left groupings for Independence are the only legitimate cohort for real hope of socialist reality in this country. We can only achieve those objectives by utilising the basic Scottish beliefs of equality and fairness in society which exist here and now, but are being suffocated by the corrupt British State.

    We should no longer hang about waiting for the left to re-emerge in England. It never really existed in any strength apart from very short periods and it faces decades in the wilderness as the Neo Libs strengthen their grip around the necks of the poor.

    Let the Brit/Eng Left try to con English workers into railing against the EU….but don’t allow our people to buy into yet another Unionist black flag attempt to divide and conquer. Scotland as an independent nation may well be better out of the bosses’ cartel known as the EU, but that decision must wait until we get rid of the British shackles first.

    We have 60 years of rejecting right wing Anglo Saxon domination. The English working class have embraced it. Let them do as they will. We must go on our own journey.

  34. Dr Jim

    Freedom first!

    Then we’ll talk

    We’ll have our own to speak for us for the deals that are good for us

    UK? And whit?

  35. Tinto Chiel

    The sanctimonious twaddle re solidarity from Brit Lefties is something most of us have had to endure. It flew in the face of the reality of serial job closures in Branch Office Scotland Region whenever there was a choice to be made between North and South.

    I’m disappointed with the EU at the moment but wull and JLT have reminded me of the overall benefits, including Human Rights legislation. For now it’s grit the teeth and stay in, methinks.

    Enjoyed the chat about John Paul Jones on an earlier thread. I have always enjoyed his response to the British navy when asked to surrender. He replied, “I have not yet begun to fight.” A good motto for us all here for all the battles ahead.


  36. Effijy

    Own, Here is where Scotland finds itself, we have been climbing a mountain with two partners, who would present themselves as friends?

    We are roped together and one acting like a fool, and who has been taking crazy risks with our well being, slips and falls over the edge, the other party was climbing too close to the edge, and they fall over. With only Scotland holding on for the greater good of all. One party appears to be dead, the other if filling it’s pockets with rock samples, even though you cannot hold their weight.
    Do you think we should just hold on until all 3 are smashed on the rocks far below, or do you cut you losses and reach the top?

    Do you have a knife I can borrow Own?

    Your own nations actions have put us all in this position, so
    the consequences are yours! Farewell.

  37. Effijy

    My first election was 1970 with Ted Heath’s Tory Government winning. In the years up to 2020, I will have endured 32 Blue Tory Years, and 13 Red Tory New Labour Years.
    New Labour did nothing to amend the barrage of Anti-trade union laws, as they too were in tune with their Westminster based Bros.

    Labour is in its death throws and there is no quality within their ranks that would make anyone put them into government in 2020, so I fear another 5 years of Tory Austerity awaits the UK, with Boris Johnston taking his turn to fill his pockets from working class cash.

    There we have it Own, Scotland has stuck by the rest of the UK in hope of a left of centre fair and just society, but come 2025, Scotland and I will have had various unpalatable flavours of Right Wing Tory governments in 50 of the previous 55 years.

    That is a life time of waiting and praying but as England moves further and further to the right, it’s time to cut off the dead weight that is pulling us under. Goodbye!

  38. cirsium

    @JLT, 4.44pm
    The EU is not perfect, but it remains Europe’s best hope of social unity, equality, shared cultures, defence and economic stability. Anything else means looming storm clouds on the horizon

    JLT wake up! The storm clouds are already on the horizon and they are there, in part, because the EU project has gone off the rails. As Mr Barroso described, it has become a “non-imperial empire”. Like all empires, it has become too big, riven with corruption and there are too many power-hungry incompetents in charge. Like all empires, it will end. Given the suffering experienced by the ordinary people of Greece, this cannot happen too soon.

    A sampling of current problems
    Greece’s brutal creditors have demolished the eurozone project

  39. Robert Louis

    Congratulations, Douglas, I do believe this is the first article I have read related to Scottish independence, containing Llanfairpwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch. 🙂

    It’s also a very good article, btw.

    I find it odd, that people such as Owen Jones, that ‘doyen’ of the London lefties, is now bemoaning the harsh reality which the YES campaign predicted. It was, when thinking rationally, most unlikely that Miliband would ever become prime minister, but then, Labour (nor Owen for that matter) don’t do rational thinking – or so it seems.

    I struggle with the notion, that there are still those on the left (such as Owen Jones) who somehow believe that Labour can be made a socialist party again, if only they keep on supporting them.

    I really do think, that by the time 2016 comes around, people will be literally begging for Scottish independence, just to get away from these utterly evil, uncaring, Tory barstewards in London. As things stand, with these heartless Tories in control for the next five years (but likely ten) you would have to be quite mad to vote no to independence now.

  40. john king

    Robert Louis says
    “you would have to be quite mad to vote no to independence now.”

    And you know what Robert, there will STILL be people who will STILL vote against independence.

    The only faith I have,
    is in the endless stupidity of some people.

  41. galamcennalath

    In the GE more than 50% of English voters voted for extreme right wing parties (Tory+UKIP). Add to this the rump of LibDems who are still right of centre. And finally London Labour trying to out-Tory the Tories. English Left? What’s that? Greens perhaps.

    Contrast that with Scotland where more than 50% voted for centre-left pro-Indy parties (SNP + Greens).

    Two populations with such disparate political views and visions for their futures should not be in Union.

  42. Gillian_Ruglonian

    Great article, thanks Doug.
    (I always widely share ‘guest articles’ from wings as it shows reluctant readers that there’s much more here than just Stu’s voice).

    This point is probably the most annoying to me in the whole indi debate.
    Why would anyone outside Scotland not have solidarity with us wanting to create a new system and a better state for the working classes?
    I have come to the conclusion that it’s jealousy, unfortunately.
    I see no rationale for ‘the left’ not to wish us well and seek to create a similar movement for change in their own area.

    With specific regard to the EU question, I am simply thinking about what scenario is best for the Scottish independence movement.
    We will be voting purely on a question of UK membership, so I’d rather not give more power over Scotland to westminster, plus I’d rather see an independent Scotland negotiate from the status of continuing member so I won’t be rushing to leave.

    This grates with my views on the authoritarian way the Greek people and government are being treated, and the ttip issue which is undoubtedly about forging ahead with an economic union to the detriment of the original vision of a social union.

    I think that dealing with conflicting opinions is a healthy position for our movement as we progress, as long as we don’t get sidetracked or allow ourselves to be divided (the judean peoples front cliches? no thanks!).

  43. Tackety Beets

    I have posted before , I have never voted Labour .
    In the 60’s I would have been called a Tartan Tory ie Indy First but probably living in a bubble as most around me were self employed trades , grocers , tenant fairmers etc but the 50& 60s Tory party was perhalps quite different ( I was also young and perhalps naive > nae internet)

    Anyway there are 2 point following the intro :

    I came on here many moons ago , kinda from the Right and you have made me appreciate what it can be like looking from the left . For that I will be for ever grateful to Rev and you all.

    The other thing we need to be mindful of is the other Right leaning ” I’m all right jack ” No voters out there who will never be changed . If the average wage is £27k and Myself and most I know are all sub £16k , then I fear they may be a fair % of the 55% who are the ” I’m all right Jack” brigade .
    On the +ve side to reach 60% it is just 8% to convert . I believe !

  44. HandandShrimp

    Congratulations, Douglas, I do believe this is the first article I have read related to Scottish independence, containing Llanfairpwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch.

    Easy for you to say :/

    I’ll get me coat

  45. Tackety Beets

    Aye JK , I remembered that Rip Off Rifkind was involved .

    Never liked him.

    I always thought Ian Lang was by far a ” more sensible chap” seams like he could be open to a suggestion he gave in too easily .

    What a shower !

  46. Clootie

    I have gone from committed European supporter via reluctant European supporter to don’t know. I am,to my great surprise, considering voting against membership.

    The language and behaviour of officials regarding the treatment of Greece has caused me great concern.

    Have the neo-liberals taken control of the EC?
    Has the true voice of the people of Europe been lost to a small unelected right wing clique?

  47. maxx macc

    Why would any country which is desperate to rediscover its independence, want to be tied to the proto-United States of Europe? (well, that is what they are in the process of building)

  48. john king

    I wonder what Malcolm Rifkind thinks now that EVEL will mean that he could never have been the Secretary for Defence had that policy been enacted in his day?

  49. Simon Curran

    I said at the time that the biggest favour socialists in Scotland could do for progressive politics in the British isles was to vote Yes, to show the duped voters of England that there was an alternative, that there was actually a better way to run a country and live our lives. A prosperous, progressive modern state as its nearest neighbour, showing an alternative to the prevailing neoliberalism, would have been a tremendous filip to those who want a more just, compassionate society south of the border. Sad that Scots voters blew it this time, an independent Scotland would have been a massive demonstration that the status quo can change and that ordinary people can reject business as normal.

  50. JLT

    cirsium says:

    @JLT wake up! The storm clouds are already on the horizon and they are there, in part, because the EU project has gone off the rails.

    Read it again. I never said it was perfect, but lets be honest, the EU is still the best solution for Europe.

    But I warn you now. If the ‘European Dream’ was to collapse, then you can forget about independence. If it descended to a case of Western European nations competing against each other as they did for a century leading up to WW2, then Scotland really would suffer in a trade war. Simply put, we really would need the UK as our major trading partner. And as a smaller nation without EU regulation for trade, England would eat us alive.

    As I stated, Cirsium, it’s not perfect. Personally, once Greece finally either defaults and quits the Euro, or somehow survives through the next couple of years of sever austerity, I believe the EU will have a hard look at itself, and take a step back. Rather than trying to plough forward, I believe the EU will pause for a long period; allow stability to return throughout Europe, and then look to take the dream forward again.

    Simply put …there is no other way. To plough on headlong in a pan-German-economic dominated Europe will see the end of the EU.

  51. Ken500

    Ian Lang was Thatcher’s henchman, sworn to secrecy when Thatcher created an offshore ‘territory regio’, she offshored Oil revenues. The documents were released last year with ‘this must be kept secret’ written by Thatcher on the documents. One of her Minister resigned. Thatcher kept it secret, to illegally steal Scotland Oil revenues and use them to build Canary Wharf, Tilbury Docks (26 miles) a civil war with the miners, unemployment at 3million and interest rates at 15%. Thatcher established London as tax haven. Thatcher demutualised the Building Societies, owned by their members and sold them to the Banks. The Banks used the Mortgage books for casino banking. Thatcher cancelled a pipe Wasting the equivalent of £Billions Gas. Thatcher took the equivalent of £20Billion of Oil revenues a year.

    There is still a gas CC scheme going ahead at Peterhead, but Westminster refused permission for a coal CC at Longannet, Fife. Coal is half the cost of imported gas. There is Oil on the West coast as well but it hasn’t been developed because of Faslane. The Oil sector is taxed at 55% by Osborne, even though people are losing their jobs.

  52. wull

    Whatever we may dislike about the EU, we have to vote to stay in it in Cameron’s referendum. We would be fools not to. The reason is simple: so that Scotland will be in the best possible bargaining position on the day she becomes independent.

    It will be much easier to negotiate with the powers that be in Brussels from WITHIN the EU than from outside it.

    For instance, if we can claim to be an ongoing member state, and are recognised as such, we will be able to retain whatever currency we want. If, to the contrary, we have to ask to join as a new member, the EU will be able to impose the euro on us, as a condition of entry.

    That would be a hard one to swallow: most Scots don’t want it.

    Even if we do become independent as an ongoing member state, there will still be negotiations, of course. Both the Yes movement and the SNP were very clear and up-front about that during the Indyref campaign.

    The benefit of negotiating from within will be this: if the EU plays hardball with us, and tries to impose unfair conditions, we can always walk away. In fact, we could even simultaneously put out feelers to EFTA, and see which membership – whether of EFTA or of the EU – would be the better option for Scotland.

    After the negotiations are completed, it is likely that there would be a referendum in Scotland to decide whether we stay in the EU, or not. That would be the right time to make a reasoned decision, not beforehand.

    With the negotiations complete, and everything on the table, out in the open, the Scottish electorate would know exactly what it is voting about. With full knowledge of what is being offered, the people of Scotland will be in a position to assess rationally the various conditions and implications, including all the possible advantages and disadvantages of retaining EU membership.

    This will not be the case with Cameron’s referendum. In 2017, the EU will be offering something (nothing much probably!) to the UK, not to us as such. The offer will not be in any way Scotland-specific. It will only become such when Scotland negotiates with the EU in her own right, as an independent nation again. Hopefully, that will not be too long in coming.

    Post-independence will be the only ‘right time’ to decide the matter. It would be crazy to decide it in advance. It is impossible to make a rational choice at the moment. How could we, when we still do not have a clue what the EU will offer an independent Scotland?

    In fact, we don’t even know what the EU will look like at that future moment in time, when Scotland definitively ceases to be part of the UK and becomes once more an independent nation.

    Maybe, by then, the EU will have been transformed by some thoroughgoing reforms. Or maybe not. Who knows? Nothing stands still, so the EU is likely to be a somewhat different institution from what it is now. Whether the changes will be great or small, and whether they will be for the better or the worse, we can’t possibly predict.

    Let’s not second-guess the issues that will be there at that time. ‘Second-guessers’ usually get it wrong. Let’s just wait and see. We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it, not before.

    If Scotland votes against EU membership in 2017 she will have ruled something out without even knowing what it was. What the EU is, both in itself and for us in 2017, is not what it will be in future. And the ‘future point’ that is of most interest to us will be that moment when a majority of those living in Scotland will at last have voted for independence. Let’s judge the EU membershio issue then – not now.

    We should remember: if we leave now, we will have virtually no chance of getting back in. Not on reasonable terms, at least. But if we stay now, our chances of negotiating the best possible terms will be much higher.

    And if, even then, we still don’t like what the EU is offering us, there will be nothing to hinder us from leaving it.

    So the conclusion is simple: vote in favour of EU membership in Cameron’s referendum in 2017, for Scotland’s sake. In order to give Scotland as many options as possible the day she becomes independent. There is no advantage in closing any of them down too early. Keep the options open, to give Scotland the maximum possible room for manoeuver. She will need all that she can get.

    We should not allow Cameron to force us into a premature decision that we might later regret. The EU is far from perfect. But those who want to see Scotland independent should vote to stay in it … at least for now.

  53. Rock

    We can decide our own relationship with the EU after independence when we live in a real democracy.

    And to get independence sooner rather than later, we should vote massively to stay in the EU while a majority in South Britain votes to get out.

    If the Scottish vote results in an overall tiny majority to stay in the EU, it will be sweet revenge for the likes of UKIP and the rest of the eurosceptic unionists having kept us in the union.

    If No wins by a tiny overall majority, we will have our next independence referendum in May 2018.

  54. Effijy

    john king says:
    18 July, 2015 at 8:30 pm
    I wonder what Malcolm Rifkind thinks now that EVEL will mean that he could never have been the Secretary for Defence.

    For a £5,000.00 fee old Malky would write you a letter with his thoughts on the matter!

    It is his agreed fee for one A4 sheet, a fee from a Grade A Sh*t.

  55. Terry

    The sheer numbers are against us so what’s the point of staying in the UK in solidarity with the English, welsh, irish working class? The only option is to lead by example and at the same time attempt to leave. Nicola, the SNP, Wings, the 56 etc etc. are doing this. And I think it’s working. It’s just a hunch but I reckon corbyns leadership campaign wouldn’t have been the surprise hit it Is without us up in Scotland. Scotland is giving the rUK left confidence

    We are attempting to plough our own furrow cos there is no other choice. And if rUK have the sense to move to the left heh ho a Scandinavian like British archipelago could result? Now wouldn’t that be a happy ever after? No room in that idyll for Cameron and co. They can naff off to a tax haven?

  56. Sunniva

    The EU is a corrupt, undemocratic bankers club. We would be better off out of it like Norway and Iceland and be part of EFTA. We would have next to no influence. Over 450 MEPs voted against the Longue report’s recommendations on TTIP as against around 250 who voted to accept the report’s recommendations to put some checks on TTIP. The EU has been captured by corporate interests, as Chomsky has warned.

  57. Derick fae Yell

    As a result of the effective coup forced on Greece by the EU I cannot in good conscience vote to stay in. Nor will I campaign for that.

    And this confirms no to a currency union with rumpUK

  58. michael diamond

    Grouse beater, i think we have enough of them joining us, as they seem unable or dont want to abandon the disaster that is westminster.

  59. michael diamond

    Lochside 5.42pm. Great post!

  60. Sunniva

    Agreed, Derick. I’ll be voting No too, not for right wing reasons but from left wing reasons. If we join EFTA as Norway does we will be obliged to sign up to all the social chapter stuff which we agree with anyway, plus the freedom of movement and jobs, which we also agree with (Norway is full of Latvians and Poles, etc.) but we won’t be obliged to join the cursed euro or ever come under the cosh of the likes of Schauble, Disselbloem or Juncker. F**** them, they have treated Greece like s****. Free, quite, and entire! We should establish our own £Scots, have our own central bank, which we will control. If you have a central bank you can print your own money and never run out of money regardless of how indebted yoy might be.

  61. Fred

    @ Lochside, spot on!

  62. Iain More

    To those who use glib and spurious quotes about workers in Glasgow having more in common with workers in Manchester than an Edinburgh banker, well to them I say I have more in common with Filipino fisherman than I do with a Perthshire farmer or indeed a Belgium brewery worker but that doesn’t mean I want to be ruled from Manila or Brussels any more than I want be ruled from London.

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