Socialist Worker

Crush the Tories with indyref2

by Bob Fotheringham
Issue No. 2686

Big numbers gathered in Glasgow to defy Boris Johnson in the wake of his election victory. The same spirit is needed for the independence fight

Big numbers gathered in Glasgow to defy Boris Johnson in the wake of his election victory. The same spirit is needed for the independence fight (Pic: Andrew McGowan)


Huge numbers of people were expected to march in Glasgow this Saturday demanding another ­referendum on Scottish independence.

The issue has the capacity to be a major problem for Boris Johnson.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) took 45 ­percent of the vote in Scotland and 48 of the 59 seats at last month’s general election.

For many people the issue of independence has been fused with outrage at the Tories and the thirst for an alternative to war, austerity and climate inaction.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy is to argue that the SNP now has a democratic mandate to call for a second vote.

Instead of seeking to ­mobilise a movement on the streets to challenge Tory intransigence, Sturgeon hopes to use the British courts as a way of forcing Johnson’s government to agree.

However, newly-elected SNP MP and former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has written, “The likelihood of a referendum in the short-term is slim. Indeed, more likely, nil.”

He also argued for the broadest possible unity on the left in Scotland to oppose Johnson and the new Tory government.

MacAskill said there should be marches and hinted at civil disobedience of the sort seen against the poll tax in the 1980s.

Support for Scottish independence cannot be divorced from opposition to the Tories and the left should demand a second referendum.

However, it is also important that socialists in Scotland should not be constrained by a strategy that depends ultimately on the agreement by a Tory government to indyref2.

Disaster

For the Scottish Labour Party the result of election was an even bigger disaster than for the party in the rest of Britain.

They secured only one seat and took a paltry 19 percent of the vote.

In the wake of this, former MP Paul Sweeney and MSPs Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay have argued that for Labour in Scotland to win back support they need to promote a new referendum.

The election result has led to up to 200 members of the Labour Party signing an open letter under the title “Scottish Labour for Radical Democracy”.

It calls for “radical ­self-determination” and an “escalating strategy of noncooperation and civil disobedience against the government, pursued at all possible levels”. The ­message that Labour needs to support another vote on independence was further reinforced by the secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, Grahame Smith.

However, this does not mean that Labour members in Scotland necessarily support independence.

Some say there has to be a referendum but make clear they would vote to remain part of the British state.

Others want more decision-making powers for Scotland that fall short of separation.

Bob Thomson, former chair of Scottish Labour, told Socialist Worker, “In 2014 I was active in Labour for Independence, but this was because there was not a third question on devo-max which I argued for.

“My position is that I would support a confederal Britain with all matters devolved to individual nations unless expressly agreed and any major issues having to be agreed unanimously by all nations.” Neil Mackay one of the main organisers of the All Under One Banner (AUOB) movement in Scotland said, “It is good that people in the Labour Party in Scotland are calling for indyref2. The more the better.

“But this is not enough, they need to go all the way and form a new party in Scotland.

“It would be great to see Labour Supporters for Independence on an AUOB demo with their banners.

“The past is gone. What happens now is more important.”

Mackay argues that the SNP need to deliver, saying, “We need to hold them to account. I am well up for civil disobedience”.

There needs to be ­concrete action to oppose the Tories, demand the SNP stop implementing austerity and support the ­democratic right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future.

March for Independence—#Indyref2020, Saturday 11 January, 11am. Assemble Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow G3 6BY. Called by All Under One Banner

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