I have just come off a biweekly radio interview I do with Raglan Radio and we talked about the Independence Referendum of Scotland. Last week a poll showed for the first time that there was a majority of Scots who would vote yes.
Predictably this resulted in a flurry of activity from the English establishment in order to curb the enthusiasm of the Scottish people for independence from the UK. Good lord, what’s next? Wales also stepping out? The Scots wanting to ditch the Queen? Australia becoming a republic? New Zealand….. Canada……?
Here is George Monbiot’s take on it:
A yes vote in Scotland would unleash the most dangerous thing of all – hope
Of all the bad arguments urging the Scots to vote no – and there are plenty – perhaps the worst is the demand that Scotland should remain in the union to save England from itself. Responses to my column last week suggest this wretched apron-strings argument has some traction among people who claim to belong to the left.
Consider what it entails: it asks a nation of 5.3 million to forgo independence to exempt a nation of 54 million from having to fight its own battles. In return for this self-denial, the five million must remain yoked to the dismal politics of cowardice and triangulation that cause the problems from which we ask them to save us.
“A UK without Scotland would be much less likely to elect any government of a progressive hue,” former Labour minister Brian Wilson claimed in the Guardian last week. We must combine against the “forces of privilege and reaction” (as he lines up with the Conservatives, Ukip, the Lib Dems, the banks, the corporations, almost all the rightwing columnists in Britain, and every UK newspaper except the Sunday Herald) – in the cause of “solidarity”.
There’s another New Labour weasel word to add to its lexicon (other examples include reform, which now means privatisation; and partnership, which means selling out to big business). Once solidarity meant making common cause with the exploited, the underpaid, the excluded. Now, to these cyborgs in suits, it means keeping faith with the banks, the corporate press, cuts, a tollbooth economy and market fundamentalism.
Here, to Wilson and his fellow flinchers, is what solidarity meant while they were in office. It meant voting for the Iraq war, for Trident, for identity cards, for 3,500 new criminal offences, including the criminalisation of most forms of peaceful protest. It meant being drafted in as political mercenaries to impose on the English policies to which the Scots were not subject, such as university top-up fees and foundation hospitals. It meant supporting every destructive and unjust proposition advanced by their leaders: the brood parasites who hatched in the Labour nest then flicked its dearest principles over the edge. It’s no surprise that the more the Scots see of their former Labour ministers, the more inclined they are to vote for independence.