Socialist Worker

The campaign for independence needs a mass movement separate from the SNP

by Bob Fotheringham
Issue No. 2555

A majority want nuclear weapons scrapped to fund looking after people and our services

A majority want nuclear weapons scrapped to fund looking after people and our services (Pic: Duncan Brown)

It’s easy to forget that one of the reasons Theresa May called the snap election was to stop a second independence referendum.

The Tories have the wind in their sails from successfully rebranding as the defenders of the union. They are buoyed by opinion polls and electoral gains in the last 12 months.

But the Tory revival is grossly exaggerated.

Nevertheless, with the unionist vote apparently consolidating behind them we need to ensure that the focus of the All Under One Banner independence march on 3 June is to end Tory rule.

Around 100 people met in Glasgow last Saturday to organise the march.

Coaches are booked from all over Scotland. Last year’s demo had around 10,000 people—this one is expected to be bigger. It’s an ideal chance to make independence a central issue just before 8 June. 

But opposition to austerity and racism, scrapping Trident, war and welcoming refugees and immigrants to Scotland have to be central to the independence campaign.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has refused to support the march but thousands of SNP members will. While the party has positively opposed war and racism, its record in opposing austerity has been far from successful.

Scotland has some of the biggest levels of poverty and inequality in Britain.

If a campaign for a second referendum is to be successful and lead to the ending of austerity and racism then it needs a mass movement, separate from the SNP, to be built.

The All Under One Banner march is a valuable start.

March for independence, Sat 3 June, assemble 10.30am, Kelvingrove Park for march to Glasgow Green


Blocking a second referendum does Labour no favours in Scotland

Labours disastrous former leader, Blairite Jim Murphy, symbolises why so many voters ditched the party

Labour's disastrous former Scottish leader, Blairite Jim Murphy, symbolises why so many voters ditched the party. Here he is campaigning against independence (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has vowed that only Labour can beat the Tories at Westminster and defeat the Scottish National Party (SNP).

On both counts she’s probably right.

But the words “Labour opposes a second Scottish independence referendum” will corrode the class-based enthusiasm there is in Scotland for Jeremy Corbyn’s left wing manifesto.

It's foolish because independence is seen as a route out of austerity by many Scots and denies Holyrood's democratic majority for a second referendum.

And it lets the SNP off the hook. It has risen to dominance off the back of its claim to be “anti-austerity” while driving through cuts. It cannot hide behind blaming Westminster forever.

The college lecturers’ strikes show how vulnerable the SNP is when unions challenge it industrially and politically.

Scottish lecturers get their bosses telt
Scottish lecturers get their bosses telt
  Read More

The SNP can take credit for maintaining some (Labour) social policies and mitigating the impact of some Tory cuts. Yet claims that it somehow inspired Corbyn's manifesto are ludicrous.

Socialist Worker must have missed the SNP renationalising Scotrail!

Labour's manifesto is well to the left of the SNP but without a shift on independence it won’t give it the boost that it could. And those in Labour cheering recent Tory advances—supposedly against the SNP and independence, but actually mostly at their own expense—sow the seeds of further demise.

Labour lost 40 seats in the last general election but Dugdale’s claim that her party “lost out” in 2015 “because people who wanted to stop the nationalists voted for different parties” is not credible.

The SNP's 2015 landslide was a protest vote, fuelled by a bitter desire to punish Labour's pact with the Tory British state that bullied and frightened voters in the 2014 independence referendum.

But now we’re seeing Project Fear II with the orchestrated campaign against Corbyn.

The SNP is a pro business nationalist party that’s cultivated left credentials but it has some decent left wingers—just like Labour does. Socialists have to focus on the struggle and urge people to vote for the most left wing candidate in their constituency.

On 9 June we’ll still need to build forces to fight racism and austerity—and mobilise for independence.

Raymie Kiernan

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