by Ken Ferguson • The pitiless outrage which bombed 22 people to death in Manchester and maimed many more ignites an outrage and revulsion which is beyond words and has, rightly, been universally condemned.
We can only imagine the almost unfathomable emotions and feelings of victims’ families and survivors. However, as a paper, the Voice—which has consistently criticised the military interventions by the UK from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria—must also welcome the opening of a serious discussion on the part that these actions have played in creating the world we are in today.
In that context, Jeremy Corbyn’s speech linking the rise of terrorism to the militarised foreign policy of Britain deserves both to be taken seriously and play a part in any serious consideration of how to form a sane international policy.
But that was not the response of the smug elites who populate the corridors of power in a Westminster fantasy world in which the UK is still a “big player punching above its weight” on the world stage.
Not for them serious debate but rather a festival of name-calling, false outrage shading in some cases into downright lies.
Entirely predictably the Tories were first out of the traps with a North Korean style campaign aimed at portraying Corbyn—and by extension anybody agreeing with him—as dangerously unpatriotic, consorting cheerfully with terrorists and dictators.
Sundry reactionaries and military groupies were wheeled out to beat the war drums, and the most off the scale example came in a tweet from Tory central office warning that Corbyn was “siding with Britain’s enemies”.
As we go to press, we are promised that the Tory’s reptilian spin doctor Lynton Crosby plans a campaign—McCarthy style—personalised against Corbyn.
However if the Tories were shameless, the struggling Lib Dems were only a few steps behind in their willingness to cash in with the party which won plaudits when its then leader the late Charlie Kennedy opposed the Iraq War now playing the same tune as their former coalition partners.
In contrast Nicola Sturgeon at least agreed that the impact of UK foreign policy had to be a subject for discussion. The truth is that the UK is a state steeped in militarism and war in which billions can be found for nuclear terror weapons which would, if used, incinerate millions of innocent people while food banks mushroom, social care is under massive pressure and economic uncertainty stalks the land.
This ingrained delusion of Britain as great power in now in hyperdrive with Brexit and despite some narrowing in the polls still look likely to prove a winner in June.
Despite some gains from an overhyped Tory revival Scottish politics will continue to take a contrasting path and this will pose great challenges first of all in defending working people from the renewed attacks and equally importantly dealing with the realities of minority rule.
Like the SSP, the Voice sees independence as the most viable and democratic answer to ending the democratic deficit which has continually seen policies imposed on Scotland which are not supported with any popular mandate from Scots voters.
The danger that the limited autonomy of Holyrood will face increasing pressure both financial and constitutional from a Westminster government driven by union jack populism can only heighten such tensions.
However in a politics dominated by a stand off between pro and anti independence forces the fight to deal with the both the consequences of austerity and the huge economic and social problems confronting working people must also be addressed.
Whatever else the election campaign has told us it is now clear that the type of socialist policies supported by the SSP and other pro-independence socialists such as public ownership, decent pay and workers rights far from being “looney left” actually enjoy widespread public support.
If austerity is to be defeated then that reality needs to be translated into policy decisions that recognise the reality of class injustice and takes active steps to change it.
Thus the regime of economic coercion which sanctions people for trivial matters and literally faces them with starvation only staved off by food banks is a cruel obscenity which should have no place in a modern welfare state based on human need.
The arrogant power of firms such as INEOS which is moving to break trade unions at its massive Grangemouth site, gobbling up assets in the North Sea while pressing for permission to frack in Scotland cannot go unchallenged.
Public ownership needs to stop being a debating point and become the answer to breaking the power of PFI profiteers, in our schools and hospitals. providing coherent bus and train services and ensuring a health and social care system which put people before profit.
Whoever is running the Westminster government after the June poll the current Scottish government needs to be pressed to implement the kind of radical policies that can not only meet the real needs of people but also build support for the message that, with independence, another Scotland is possible.