The 16-week official campaign for the Scottish independence referendum is set to begin on Friday of this week.
The campaign against independence believed that a No vote was assured. But the Yes campaign has gained ground. Recent polls suggest the referendum on 18 September could be close run.
Perhaps most significantly up to a third of voters have yet to decide.
Tommy Sheridan, a leading Yes campaigner, has been touring Scotland putting a socialist case for independence.
“The choice is between the progressive vote for a potentially new and socially just Scotland and the reactionary vote to stay with the warmongering United Kingdom,” he told Socialist Worker.
The official campaign may be just starting, but the referendum has dominated politics in Scotland for some time.
The Yes Scotland campaign is dominated by the Scottish National Party (SNP) but also supported by the Greens and many socialists.
Socialist Worker supports a Yes vote. The break up of the imperialist British state would be a positive thing. We are not for the unity of the state but for the unity of the working class.
With all the main Westminster parties united under the unionist Better Together campaign, it shouldn’t be difficult for socialists to pick a side.
“Project Fear” has attempted to frighten Scots into voting No. Ex-Labour minister Lord Robertson even warned of the “cataclysmic” consequences of a Yes vote arguing that “the forces of darkness would simply love it”.
On the other hand socialists in Scotland are stepping up their efforts to win people to another vision of what a future independent Scotland could look like. And that it can only be achieved through struggle before and after the referendum.
Every week there are mass meetings of hundreds of people all across Scotland coming together to hear the arguments. Days of mass canvassing by independence supporters are now commonplace.
Tommy was keen to contrast the independence campaign to Ukip, which offers no alternative to working class people. “We’re not a xenophobic independence supporting campaign,” he said.
“We should be offering the hand of friendship to anyone that wants to live and work here, not the fist of fury. Scotland is an immigrant country.”
Independence would lead to weapons headache
The SNP’s commitment to scrap nuclear weapons if it leads an independent Scottish government is a headache for Britain’s rulers.
The Westminster government would struggle to find replacement bases by the time Scotland became independent. The enormous cost of setting them up could make the whole base transfer project unaffordable.
Last week Chatham House think tank—a haven for ex-diplomats and spooks—worried that the British state might lose its place among the elite club of nuclear powers.
It said that losing bases, “would profoundly change the composition and functioning of the Security Council.”
That’s a good reason to vote Yes.