Think big and vote Yes!

Fox Sillars meeting2-CM

JIM SILLARS: speaking at another packed meeting on the case for socialist independence in Leith last month

by Colin Fox, SSP co-spokesperson With six weeks to go until the referendum the Yes side still has it all to do. The opinion polls suggest the gap between the two sides has narrowed recently but we remain 10 per cent behind. Scotland clearly faces two possible results on 18 September each with widely differing consequences. One is positive and encouraging the other negative and ominous.

A Yes victory sees Scotland economically wealthier, socially fairer and politically more democratic. It guarantees we cannot end up with another Tory Government we did not vote for. There will be no more David Cameron’s if we vote Yes on 18 September and no more Bedroom Tax, no more Poll Tax we did not want either, no more scapegoating claimants and immigrants for a crisis caused by the bankers in the City of London and beyond, no more Trident missiles threatening the world with nuclear annihilation, no more laddies from the schemes of Scotland will be sent off to die in illegal wars for the British Empire. Those days will finally be over with independence.

Our democratic wishes will no longer be denied us with a Yes victory in September. We will avoid the planned Westminster austerity, further drastic cuts in vital public services and renewed attacks on working class people, on our standard of living and our quality of life. We can then begin to construct a written constitution with the world’s newest independent nation employing the latest forms of participatory democracy and inclusive engagement. That constitution will reflect our left of centre social democratic and socialist values and it will utterly reject the neoliberal warmongering philosophy at the heart of Westminster, the City of London and the British state. That is the message the Scottish Socialist Party has been conveying to the people of Scotland over the past two years.

Moreover a Yes vote will have been won by the biggest grassroots political movement in post war Scotland. This movement, with groups from Shetland to Dumfries, has breathed new life into Scottish politics and given a timely boost to the working class, to left wing ideas generally and to the socialist movement. A No vote on the other hand will usher in a much less attractive reality. Not only is it likely to lead to the election of yet another Tory Government we do not want, it will mean further attacks on the living standards of working people, further privatisation of the NHS and further austerity.

Ed Miliband and the Tories have both made it clear they intend to impose more cuts on our public services if they win the 2015 Westminster election. You have been warned! British capitalism is massively indebted. Years of accumulated trade deficits and the cost of bailing out the banks has led to unprecedented levels of indebtedness and Government borrowing running into £trillions. Both Labour and the Tories intend to make working class people pay for a crisis caused by the bankers in the City of London. That is the neoliberal philosophy of the No side. And if a No vote happens it will also be a defeat for the biggest grassroots political movement seen in Scotland in a generation. It will indicate our progressive positive message has been rejected and it will undoubtedly be a setback for the independence movement. So the stakes in September are certainly high.

But whatever the result, the need for an intellectually credible, programmatically sound and vigorous left wing movement in Scotland has never been clearer. The Scottish Socialist Party faces that challenge with relish. We look forward to developing new ideas and fresh strategies for the battles ahead with the intellectual rigour and political enthusiasm necessary to make headway. We are proud to be at the forefront of the socialist movement in Scotland as working class people grapple with a host of challenges in confronting neoliberal economic attacks and warmongering. The SSP today is unrecognisable from the party that entered the referendum campaign back in 2012.

We have grown in influence and credibility through our outstanding and much admired work in the Yes campaign.And we are again fully engaged in all the discussions affecting the case for an independent socialist Scotland. The 2016 Holyrood elections are on the horizon now and they are the most important ones the socialist movement in this country has faced. Winning seats in those elections for outstanding socialist advocates is vital whatever outcome is delivered by the people of Scotland on 18 September. As Jim Sillars put it last week at an SSP meeting he spoke at in Leith Academy, we must ‘Think big and vote Yes!’

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