Socialist Worker

Independence demonstration can deepen Scottish resistance to Tories

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2685

scot

Protesting against the new government in Glasgow on Friday (Pic: Andrew McGowan)


A demonstration for Scottish independence in Glasgow on 11 January is set to be huge.

The protest will be one of the first mass responses to Boris Johnson’s new government.

It follows the Scottish National Party (SNP)’s big win at the general election.

The party, led by Nicola Sturgeon, now has 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats, up 13 from last time.

The Tories have six and Labour is reduced again to just one.

The SNP put on its left face during the campaign. It stressed opposition to austerity and insisted, “A vote for the SNP is a vote to block Boris Johnson from No 10.”

Mission

That mission has failed. But there is a very clear mandate to deliver a new independence referendum. Sturgeon will request one. After the election she said, “This is not about asking Boris Johnson or any other Westminster politician for permission.

“It is an assertion of the democratic right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future.”

But Johnson’s response will be a complete refusal. He said during the election campaign that if Sturgeon asked for another referendum he will “mark that letter ‘return to sender’ and be done with it”. 

Asked on Sky News if the Conservative government could ever grant another referendum, cabinet office minister Michael Gove replied, “No. We are not going to have an independence referendum in Scotland.”

Only a social explosion can overcome the Tories’ undemocratic manoeuvres.

But the SNP has never sanctioned the sort of action needed. Instead it remains imprisoned within the highly limited framework handed down from Westminster. The mass demonstrations held by All Under One Banner have been the key force in maintaining an active feeling around independence.

It’s time to take to the streets again and to turn votes into change.

But resistance to the Tories can’t just be about independence. It also has to be about defence of the NHS, against any more cuts and for action on climate change.

Serious opposition to Johnson by the SNP and Scottish Labour would mean halting all cooperation with the Tory government.

That means refusing to implement any more attacks on services and using every means to make Trident missiles inoperable.

Many Labour voters would support such measures.

Disaster

Labour under Richard Leonard has been a disaster.

He now says, “We have to look at what we said about the whole constitutional question in Scotland.”

It might have been an idea to do that before the election.

Some senior Labour figures, such as shadow health secretary Monica Lennon, have said the Scottish parliament should decide if and when there will be another independence referendum.

Defeated Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Ged Killen said the SNP has a mandate for a vote on leaving the UK.

Labour won’t make any headway while it is marooned in deep unionism that denies people choice about the future of Scotland.

The battle for independence must be used to step up agitation against austerity, climate chaos, racism—and for socialism.

March for Independence—#Indyref2020, Saturday 11 January, assemble Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, 11am to leave 11.30am. Called by All Under One Banner

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