Event: The radical case for Scottish independence

Join us at the House of Commons, Thursday 26 June
23 June 2014


Event this Thursday, 26 June 2014  7pm-8:30 pm in Committee Room 14, House Of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

One of the most important events for Britain will be taking place in September: the Scots will be able to vote for independence. Yet public discussion in England has been set by political parties arguing that independence is a reactionary and retrogressive step. Red Pepper and openDemocracy are bringing Scottish independence campaigners to the heart of the establishment, Westminster parliament, to hear their case and determination to vote Yes.

Book your place for a discussion with:

Cat Boyd, Radical Independence Campaign

Pete Ramand, co-author of Yes: The Radical Case for Scottish Indpendence

Robin McAlpine, Jimmy Reid Foundation David Greig, playwright

Joyce McMillan, theatre critic

Neal Ascherson, writer

This is an opportunity to understand the importance for a whole section of the Scottish people of seizing the opportunity to establish a different state. The opposition sets a negative tone: you'll lose the pound, there will be no oil, you'll be pushed out of the EU, you will be defenceless... But what we in London have not had is any flavour of the passion and determination increasingly heard in the fervour of discussion now sweeping through Scotland.

The voices in the Yes campaign are wider and larger and more dynamic than just the SNP. Writers, dramatists, poets and artists as well as many ordinary folk are talking about their relationship to Scotland as it has developed and been expressed in the last 20 years.

A Scottish independence vote also has implications for England, and they could be liberating, opening up a dynamic to weaken the most reactionary centres of power - from the dominance of London itself, to the Treasury and the City, the monarchy and the media oligarchs.

All this is why Red Pepper and openDemocracy have organised a meeting with speakers from Scotland talking about their determination to vote Yes.

Please arrive from 6:30pm for a prompt 7pm start, and allow plenty of time to get through security at the House of Commons. Book your place.

The event is free, but please do make a donation via the ticket option above if possible, however small, so that we can cover the costs of organising this meeting including train travel from Scotland and overnight accommodation for the speakers


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Frankie 10 June 2014, 22.45

60 years old . Back in the day climbing our mountains up in drum ocher. Nightmare weather .bloody drench. Hot sweaty damp rotten. Navigated to our fourth summit , a trig point. Compass map mist ,got there. F…. The English and all thier lords written on the trig . I took a stone and rubbed it of. No place for hatred. Had a fag and could have killed for a coffee. All liquid gone due to conditions. At that point my mate and I heard voices coming out of mist map and compass in hand. Four Yorkshireman .some day for it lads would you care for coffee we’ve stacks left. Karma . It may mean nothing to those lads ,I had another fag . Yes for scotland is yes for those lads thier welcome in my house anyday.x.

Will Podmore 23 June 2014, 13.58

The separatists would surrender Scotland’s identity. The EU breaks up nation states, splitting the working class for ease of exploitation. Scotland would not be independent – it would be run by Brussels and Washington.
There can be no real plan for a separate Scotland. The so-called White Paper “Scotland’s Future” is in fact a vague SNP wishlist and series of wild assertions with no basis in practical reality, and no coherent ideas about how such a future could look.
The referendum gives a say about a potentially catastrophic breakaway of part of Britain only to those living in Scotland. The impact on England and Wales would be huge – there has been no debate about this. So we should all have a vote.
We know from past experience that the break-up of nations is dangerous and can lead to unpredictable consequences. Break-up can lead to the increasing assertion of narrow interests over common interests, and the loss of a sense of a collective future.
The SNP argues “We Scots didn’t vote for the Coalition”, but the truth is that this government was not elected at all. It was imposed on all of us. Only all of us, united, can fight for a decent future. To imagine that somehow Scotland alone can opt out of rule by finance capital is a fantasy.
We are one nation with common interests. Workers have forged the nation of Britain, its culture. All of it is our common legacy. Our common interests remain the same and are far more important than any regional differences.

Alasdair 24 June 2014, 02.43

This comment is for Frankie:

Frankie, where exactly is this ‘one nation’ with ‘common interests’? We Scots have systematically been rejecting the values and policies of Westminster for too many years and then being subjected to either Tory or Labour(ed) governments which did not have our mandate. Unfortunately, your statement is ultimately saying that it’s impossible to believe that an independent Scottish government couldn’t be expected to serve a different agenda than the corporate finance industry, which apparently you also are opposed to. However, Frankie, that’s pessimistic- we do choose to try and create an alternative priority. We have been choosing an alternative for many years already but we can’t change much unless Scotland has more control over its own direction and that’s why to forsake the opportunity of independence would be a tragedy not just for Scotland but for everyone in the UK. We can all do better than the Westminster political elite and we Scots haven’t been as duped as south of the border. We have confidence in Holyrood and we have confidence (but not tinted glasses either) in the kinds of politically credible leaders which we have in the SNP, the Green party and the Socialist party.

The ‘collective future’ you speak of is just ever more bankruptcy for ordinary people as they struggle with low wages, insecure jobs, increasing inflation and absurd house prices and rents. And who’s created that mess but successive Westminster governments.

Westminster= The City Finance industry.

Voting no is voting to continue to be exploited by neo liberal economics and increasing gaping social inequality and the neglect of productive parts of our economy. It’s voting not to invest in education and our people. It’s voting not to choose to demand that when we consistently vote for left of centre egalitarian values, we get Thatcherite values.

Voting for yes to independence isn’t going to change society over night but it is a vote for hope for a different and more progressive future and I for one, know solidly whom I would trust and it’s YES for SCOTLAND and thereby YES for everyone else in the UK to see that there is an alternative and why shouldn’t we try and create that alternative.

Scotland will vote yes- it’s INEVITABLE. Hope always beats desperation.

Will Podmore 25 June 2014, 11.26

Capitalism has no mandate anywhere in Britain. Every worker in Britain suffers policies we never voted for. None of us voted for lower wages, deindustrialisation, or the destruction of the NHS.
It’s not the union that has devastated large parts of England, Scotland and Wales, brought slump after slump, and is cutting our wages. Capitalism, not the union, is the enemy.
The nationalists attack the wrong enemy – the union, ‘the English’, London, fellow-workers who back the union. No worker should waste time and energy charging up the nationalist cul-de-sac.

Unity is independence. Scotland in an independent united Britain will be stronger, better off and more independent than it would be as just the EU’s 29th dependency.

Only a united working class can save Britain. United we stand, divided we fall.

The referendum must be a vote of confidence in Britain as a united, independent country. Why vote to become smaller and weaker?

Iain P 25 June 2014, 15.11

I do not understand these comments where you say ‘look there are terrible things happening – centralisation of power, rampant capitalism, etc’ Then you suggest that the one nation that can actually do something about it, doesn’t. Why?

Vain self-interest seems to be the only answer. This ‘we’re all in it together’ mantra really cannot justify why you would want people who don’t need to consider the neo-liberal policies of Westminster doing exactly that as you have some idealistic view of what life should be like.

Back in the real world, the Tories are increasing austerity, the Labour party are rushing to join them, inequality grows by the day and the public services we cherish are under constant threat.

Scotland has the opportunity to democratically change the landscape – that is to be applauded.

Will Podmore 27 June 2014, 13.35

Iain P writes of ‘the one nation that can actually do something about it’, presumably meaning Scotland. Oh, so you completely write off all prospects of progress by the people of England and Wales then?
Then you accuse those who disagree with you of ‘vain self-interest’.
Don’t you think the SNP has neo-liberal policies? Its Fiscal Commission Working Group’s First Report, Macroeconomic Framework, said, “Wage and price flexibility can help facilitate changes in relative production costs and competitiveness.” That is, it aims to cut wages.
The SNP government has cut funding for further education, allowed the banks to cut their lending to new and small businesses, and allowed takeovers that have destroyed jobs and value.
So the SNP is increasing ‘austerity’ (let’s call it what it is – poverty), it is increasing inequality by the day and it is threatening the public services we cherish.
Putting power into the hands of the Scottish capitalists who back the SNP is not progressive and not democratic.

Eric Dodd 4 July 2014, 14.54

Will Podmore : You’re being incredibly selective ! The FCWG published it’s 226 page ‘First Report – Macroeconomic Framework’ in Feb 2013.
The Commission – Professor Sir James Mirlees, Nobel Laureate, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, Professor Frances Ruane, and Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett – was asked in mid-2012 to go away and use their huge experience and knowledge to produce a series of economic proposals that would benefit BOTH countries, and could be implemented on day one of Scottish independence.
The Commission wrote a lot more that the couple of things you’ve mentioned – including the alternatives should Westminster attempt to destroy the Scottish economy out of spite (and seriously damage the rUK economy in the process). If you actually read that and the other three Commission reports you’ll know that.

That report was largely ignored by the MSM and it’s effectively been suppressed (like YesScotland) ever since , and this has allowed unionist politicians and commentators to label the proposals ‘Salmond’s plans’ – and abuse and personalisation always follows.
It’s never stopped, and those politicians and ‘talking heads’ are effectively calling four of the planet’s most highly regarded and experienced economists ‘delusional’, ‘economically illiterate’, and that their proposals were ‘written on the back of a cigarette packet’ !!

But apart from that, the independence campaign is much more than the SNP.
That’s why the media and unionists have peddled the lie that ‘it’s all about Salmond and the SNP’ – they don’t want people (and you it seems) to find out about the 850,000 (and rising) member Yes Scotland, the hundred-plus affiliated organisations, the many hundreds of local ‘YesScotland’ groups all run, organised, and funded by ordinary people who have never been involved in ANY kind of campaign before.

My own group is typical. A small town of around 7,000 in rural Scotland, but we have almost 100 very active Yes Scotland campaigners – and only 7 of them are SNP.
I know there are a few Greens, but the others ? I have no idea because it’s never been discussed !

The Advisory Board of Yes Scotland has only one SNP member (Nicola Sturgeon), and the joint leaders are Denis Canavan (not SNP) and Blair Jenkins (non-political).
Yet we repeatedly hear Salmond being referred to as ‘the leader of Yes Scotland’ by unionist politicians, journalists, and presenters.

True, there’s much in the WP that most agree with, but we (not you) know that it’s the SNP’s ‘vision’, and that a Yes vote will result in a new and genuine Scottish ‘Labour Party’, a new Liberal Party, and many more new faces taking their seats in the first independent Scottish parliament in 2016.
We’ll probably see folk like Robin McAlpine (Reid Foundation and Common Weal Project), Alan Grogan and Willie MacDonald (Labour For Independence), a few from Radical Independence, Business For Scotland, and other groups.
There’ll be more Greens, and a ‘conservative party’ that will put Scotland and it’s people first rather than a Westminster elite.
The Parliament will be genuinely representative.

It’s already VERY different : Last time I checked only ONE from 23 SNP ‘Ministers’ went to a private school, with the rest attending schools like Tynecastle High and Forrester (both comprehensives). Labour is much the same.

It will be different, progressive, broadly left of centre, and the people will be sovereign.

Hopefully people in England (and like an estimated 100,000 members of Yes Scotland, 6 SNP MSP’s, one SNP MP, and at least 12 of my local group – I’m English) will realise that there is a working, functioning, and pragmatic alternative to what we have at Westminster – but that it will mean new parties and a media that is genuinely honest and unbiased.
There IS an genuine alternative to UKIP and the three right wing parties at Westminster.
It just hasn’t been born yet.

Will Podmore 7 July 2014, 12.32

Eric, thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful comments. I did indeed ‘select’ the Fiscal Commission Working Group’s comment, “Wage and price flexibility can help facilitate changes in relative production costs and competitiveness.”
Why did I choose this statement? Because it reveals that they recommend wage flexibility, which, as we all know, means lower wages. It also shows their basic commitment to a neoliberal programme.
I would never stoop to calling four of the planet’s most highly regarded and experienced economists ‘delusional’ or ‘economically illiterate’, or say that their proposals were ‘written on the back of a cigarette packet’.
I am quite aware that many outside the SNP support the break-up of Britain, e.g. the Scottish Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party of Scotland, the Green Party
and many independent activists.
All your energy would be far better spent in fighting capitalism, which is run by and for the finance capitalists of London, Frankfurt and Edinburgh. The referendum in Scotland is an attempt to turn the growing desire in Britain to be an independent nation into its opposite, for Britain to be partitioned instead, which would be bad for all of us. Splitting the British working class aids only the capitalist class.

Comments are now closed on this article.

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