Socialist Worker

Unison union backs Scottish referendum

by Bob Fotheringham
Issue No. 2690

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The decision to back an independence referendum follows big marches (Pic: Andrew McGowan)


The Unison union’s Scottish Council has voted to support a second independence referendum at a time chosen by the Scottish Parliament. This means that the issue will now be debated at the STUC annual congress in April.

The latest YouGov poll on Scottish Independence showed a majority of Scots now in favour, with 51 percent for Yes and 49 percent against. A Panelbase survey put support for independence at 52 percent.

It’s not surprising that after the Tory election victory there is increasing support in Scotland for a break from Britain.

The Scottish Parliament also voted last week to ask the British government for the powers to hold a second referendum. First minister Nicola Sturgeon immediately dampened expectations, however, by calling supporters to be patient and build the case for independence.

Sturgeon’s strategy seems to be about winning further backing for the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the 2021 elections to the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP leader’s statement generated anger amongst many supporters, with some now saying they are going to leave the party. This is symbolic of an increasing frustration at the lack of progress towards Indyref2, due to the SNP’s limited constitutional approach.

Scottish Labour’s decline continues. In the aftermath of the election there was some indication of increasing support from some Labour leaders for the right of Scots to determine their own future.

But much of that has evaporated.

Catalonia

Meanwhile statements by the candidates to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader have worsened the party’s position in Scotland. Lisa Nandy has said Scotland “should look to Catalonia” for ways to deal with “divisive nationalism”.

Emily Thornberry declared that “I hate the SNP” and they are “Tories wrapped in nationalist clothing”. Thornberry later apologised, but the damage had already been done.

In any case her apology was more about her use of language rather than any understanding of the factors driving support for Independence.

In a boost for anti-racists, All Under One Banner, responsible for building huge marches in favour of independence, declared its backing for the 21 March demonstration in Glasgow against racism.

AUOB has also decided to make its Glasgow demonstration in May about tackling climate change as well as Independence.

All Under One Banner national assembly, Saturday 15 February, 12.30pm, Adelaide Place Baptist Church, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow  G2 4HZ. Details here

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