|Posted by talfanzine on June 8, 2011 at 3:47 PM|
The fight for Independence heats up
The elections to the Scottish Parliament on 5th May 2011 proved to be truly historic and were of great joy to many at this fanzine who have long defended the Scottish people's right to run their own affairs and to quote John Maclean "bring the British empire crashing to its knees". We're not there yet but who can deny the significance of these results?
All three Unionist leaders in Scotland have now resigned throwing their parties into periods of soul-searching and navel-gazing. Early signs are that they have learned nothing. Labour, especially, ran a negative campaign against the SNP wheeling in their so-called "big-hitters" from London to tell the recalcitrant Scots that the world would end on May 6th. The people of Scotland and particularly the working class are heartily sick of being patronised by London politicians telling us we're the only country in the world too stupid and too small to govern ourselves. So who is to conduct Labour's review? Not Henry McLeish who sees the winds of change and called for a much more independent Labour party in Scotland, but no the same tired methods of wheeling in Jim Murphy from London to get the jocks in line. Truly, this party have been dumped by the working class and rightfully so.
A parliament designed by Labour's Donald Dewar to prevent an SNP majority has fallen inside 12 years to that very party. 69 seats and a working majority of 4. Whole swathes of Labour heartlands in the Central Belt have switched over to the SNP. LibDem votes in the north came to Alex Salmond as well due to the treacherous Coalition deal done last year in Westminster.
So what of the left? Well the Trotskyist left, split in two, were annihilated by both the BNP and Arthur Scargill's SLP. However classes not parties make revolutions and the vast majority of the working class rejected the ultra-leftists for the broad church that is the SNP. Republican Socialists have been vindicated in calling for an SNP vote as a tactic in which to break the imperialist UK state.
So what next? Alex Salmond has wisely parked the referendum til at least 2014. No doubt he will continue to govern in a populist social-democratic manner like before and try to carry the majority with him. Republican Socialists however should not simply just sit back and tail the SNP. The opening shots for the Union have already been fired with attempts to persuade Cameron to amend the Scotland Bill (a small increase in powers for the devolved government) by forcing an early referendum on the Scots, in the hope that the people will reject Independence. Such a move would possibly get the desired result for the unionists but surely such a move would be seen for what it is and reap a whirlwind of anger later on? The Orange Order have already been out banging the drum for the Union. The Irish community should organise an Irish community for Independence in response and Irish republicans must surely not stand back from this anti-Union movement either. Celtic fans in particular should ignore attempts by the unionist tabloids to patronise them with former Lisbon Lions being wheeled out to bang the same unionist drum! And readers of this fanzine will need no reminding of the roles likely to be played byarch-unionists like Lord Reid and Brian Wilson.
For the next 3 years or so, the SNP will haggle with London over more fiscal autonomy and look at a multi-option referendum. This presents a danger for Alex Salmond though. If, though I doubt it, London does concede powers of Corporation Tax etc. then pursuing the failed Celtic Tiger model tried by Ireland risks losing him large sections of the working class that he has just won over. He must govern as before, to the left of Labour. That's why they were elected. The next five years will be the most crucial inthe SNP's history and possibly in Scotland's 304-year Union with England.
The task for the republican left and communists who have long correctly taken a stageist approach to this question is now to build a United Front and be at the forefront of the Yes campaign. We must remain independent of the main nationalist party. Our goals don't stop with fiscal autonomy or a free state under the Crown. Those are but bus stops along the road to the Socialist Republic.
Suas an Poblachd Shoisealach na h-Alba!