A Vision of the New Scotland
The Scottish “independence” referendum is now a matter of hours away. Whilst independence is a total myth a yes vote is bound to have consequences. The Yes campaign, whether its nationalist leadership or its RIC flunkeys have done nothing to paint any meaningful picture of the future Scotland. Likewise, of the Westminster parties, who, like the SNP, are tied to bourgeois ideology and can only function within that analytical framework.
Speak to yes campaigners about what the future Scotland will look, and none will give you an honest answer. The campaign has been eerily Obama-esque replete with slogans and self-help mantras. No lessons have been learned from the heart of the empire, that “yes we can” is not only blind faith but a mechanism for acquiescence. Such mantras stifle the important questions. For instance, communists continually challenge the RIC nationalist foot soldiers and ask valid questions including “how can we have economic independence within the EU? Or how can we have independent defence policy when a member of Nato?” Invariably the unsatisfactory response is “we can deal with that after independence”. Lets reveal the lack of the logic: the statement amounts to the entirely vacuous “after we vote for independence we can think about getting independence”.
Indeed, challenge the nationalist vanguard on any issue: public ownership, oil revenues, the monarchy, currency. The response will always be “we can deal with that after a yes vote”. Without getting too much into the motives of a yes vote, we are typically told things like “we should have control of our own future/make our own decisions” etc. But if voting yes does not give us control over economic and foreign policy, then it clearly does not suffice to suit the nationalists apparent aims of “making our own decisions“. Clearly we will not make our own decisions, these will be made by Brussels and Washington, as is currently the case for the UK. The bulk of key decisions will be taken at the level they currently are, as removed from the Scottish populace as they always are and in the interests of the ruling class, as they always are.
So let us assume that a yes vote is delivered, as it very may well be, how are events likely to unfold? There are certain absolute certainties. The nationalist party will form the first government and produce the constitution of the new state. A party of the bourgeoisie will create a state and constitution of the bourgeoisie. From the very beginning the rights of property will be set in stone, meaning the freedom for international capital to plunder Scotland. Through the EU and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Scotland will be privatised, carved up and devoured by imperialism.
When these things do happen, we can then assume some certain consequences will follow. Firstly, we can expect the Trotskyist supporters of the nationalist movement to grow disillusioned, as all their imaginings of the land of milk & honey provided by an independent Scotland fade in the face of cold harsh reality. Of course they will never admit they were wrong. Therefore, they will need to find some bogeyman to blame, and in this one instance they will have to find someone other than Stalin! So we should expect roughly this to follow: The Trotskyist parties and groups will turn their ire on those they once blindly followed, anyone remember the ‘Libyan Revolution’? They will tell us their revolution has been hijacked. They will tell us the nationalists have failed the people.
But it must also be said, the nationalists will actually deliver generally what is expected; EU & Nato membership, the monarchy, a capitalist economy, low corporation tax etc. In delivering this, they will nonetheless be met with anger and a rising discontent from the consequences of these facts (economic plunder and subservience to imperialism).
In the early days prior to the handover of state power from Westminster to Holyrood, the nationalists will negotiate a currency. They plan to keep the British pound. That they will be allowed to do this remains to be seen. But let us assume the British government does allow this. The result will be Scotland’s currency controlled by the Bank of England, giving the British government immeasurable control over Scotland. The money supply, inflation, interest rates will all be outwith our sphere of control. The havoc this would reap could then see the Nationalists reach out to the Eurozone. We will already be an EU member and indeed, entering the Eurozone could yet be a condition of membership. So either way, the currency will be out of Scottish hands and at the whims of imperialism. Whoever has such power over Scotland will command a certain loyalty from the Edinburgh government. The Scottish people will be placed at the mercy of capital.
The Scottish government will be a puppet government. For instance, it may well get trident removed from Scotland, but in its place Nato’s nuclear arsenal will travel through our waters. We may well no longer serve in the British army, but we will still fight side-by-side under Nato command. We can explore for all the oil in the world, but the profits will still go to oil companies such as British Petroleum.
Not only the Trotskyites will need a scapegoat, even more so will the nationalist government. Having sold out the nation for their pieces of silver they will have to find scapegoats. This could go 2 ways and will depend a lot on the currency issue. A currency union (and to a lesser extent, retention of the monarchy) will make it difficult to blame the English, the automatic nationalist position. In this scenario, they will concentrate on domestic enemies. They will blame the section of the people who voted no, they will be the wreckers of the dream. But this will likely be done via attacking the new political parties of the new Scotland. Those who have not bought into the vision will be charged with holding the country back.
I believe the more likely scenario though will be to blame the English. The nationalists will blame the terms of settlement, that they were bullied into accepting a bad deal by big bad England. This will be facilitated by adopting the Euro and becoming a full member of the EU. For the nationalists this has to be the most effective strategy. Expect to see them shrewdly perform some magical misdirection. Just as the monopolies are gobbling up the economy, just as we are lowering corporation tax to attract them, the nationalists will point the people in the wrong direction. Instead of realising their misery is being brought by privatisation, lowered taxes and asset stripping, the people will be directed to turn their anger to England and our apparently unjust history seemingly shaping the present. We will be told we are suffering because England stole our oil etc. All the while we will be suffering for the very reasons the peoples of Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece have suffered. It is just not good to be a small country in the Piranha-ridden EU pond.
The process will inevitably see the nationalists, at some point between the currency furore and adopting the Euro, turn cap in hand to the IMF. Between the period of Bank of England and Eurozone dominance the economy will be sabotaged by capitalism, decay will set in and loans will taken out. The loans will further consolidate capitalism. As always conditions will stipulate that the market must remain “free”. The free market which brings decay and misery, will result in massive debts and loans which will be given on the condition that we use the free market to fix the broken economy caused by the free market. There will be a cycle of misery as observed in eastern Europe in the 1990’s.
The ability of the working class to fight back the onslaught will be massively reduced by the narrow political outlook fostered by the low quality debate throughout the referendum period. While the Trotskyite sects will blame the nationalists and the nationalists will blame England/Britain, a great bulk of the population will blame the nationalist government. But due to the narrow parameters of debate they will blame them for all the wrong reasons. The new failing state will be taken as evidence that we were “better together”, that British capitalism was better than Scottish capitalism, that British imperialism was better than Euro and yankee imperialism. In the rearguard of this camp will be the sways of British nationalists found at Ibrox Stadium or in the Orange Lodge. Sentiment for unionist restoration will be fairly prevalent. A great threat to the country could be found in the awakening of this backwards group as a political force. They will also find allies in the far-right remnants of BNP, UKIP and SDL supporters who will not simply disappear by means of voting yes. These groups will also continue blaming immigrants and minorities to continue that particular unsavoury cycle.
How these antagonisms and contradictions will further develop or be resolved is much more difficult to anticipate. But one thing likely is that communist and socialist parties, trade unions and solidarity groups would likely have to re-form as Scottish entities or undergo some form of reorganisation. Internal disputes and structural reorganisation will clearly weaken the ability of the forces for progress to respond. This in turn, can only strengthen all of the forces of reaction previously discussed. What next? Who knows.
© 2014 Comrade Joe