by Ken Ferguson
· Yet again, the bitter fruits of the supposed caring British union are visited on Scotland in the form of Tory minority rule, rejected overwhelmingly by Scottish voters.
Sadly this is an old, old story, most dramatically illustrated by 18 years of Thatcher/Major rule which closed swathes of industry, imposed the poll tax and year in and out arrogantly opposed the creation of the Holyrood parliament.
All without—through those long, bitter years—ever winning a mandate from Scots voters.
Faced with another reprise of this old imperial song, opponents of the Johnson gang need only two words: never again.
Of course, while that proposition will command wide support, there also needs to be clarity on the need for action which both defends and advances the needs of people and planet and wins not just a referendum on it but actual independence to break Tory rule.
Amidst all the sound and fury about what the Johnson government plans, how the Labour crisis is to be resolved and what is the purpose of the Lib Dems activists and voters would be well advised to recall the reality outside the Westminster bubble.
What is to be done?
While the venal and sycophantic press fawned over Johnson and his brilliance in Madrid the COP 25 climate talks stalled amidst obstruction by the big polluters as the clock ticked down remorselessly to disaster in less than ten years.
For millions, the housing waiting lists still stretch for years, workers are under the anti-union cosh and tens of thousands face an Xmas of poverty and food banks.
This is the context in which the absolutely correct demand for powers to hold an Indyref2 must be set.
Voice readers, like the rest of Scotland, know perfectly well that the supposed “battle” for a Section 30 “permission” to allow the Scots the right to determine the indy question has much of the pantomime season about it completes with good fairies and villains (in this case in front of you) and a known outcome.
What then is to be done? At the height of the decades-long struggle to win the Scottish Parliament, all parties apart from the Tories endorsed the Claim of Right which asserts that, unlike England, power lies not with parliament but the people.
Challenged on this at the time on what the response should be when the government said No, the reply came “We are the people and we say Yes!”
The case for independence as an essential step to a decisive break with increasingly fevered fantasies of a British imperial rebirth and moving to a just Scotland prioritising people and planet is widely accepted and must now be the heart of our politics.
Thus, in the urgent work of dealing with the climate crisis, steps such as introducing free public transport can both make a major step in this work and help illustrate what an independent Scotland could be like.
Similarly, in the urgent case of poverty, hunger, insecure work and poverty pay, the essential campaigns on such matters must be linked to independence as the indispensable tool to not only win such change but secure them against future attacks.
Inscribed on countless Labour movement banner are the words “Unity is Strength,” and it is past time that this became the watchword of the progressive independence movement.
What this must mean is that the broad, progressive consensus from anti-Trident campaigners, trade unionists, refugee rights supporters, housing activists and anti-poverty workers need to see the roadblock which Westminster rule is and back independence.
And it is in this context that the slogan “Get Independence Done” is both an urgent demand and a pointed riposte to Johnson and his Scottish Tory rump.
In reality, this involves clarity on the tasks facing the independence movement and understanding that they must focus not just on Section 30 and winning the right to stage a referendum but setting in hand to vital work of building a Yes majority.
We need a broader-based movement
Of course, the SNP government and MPs have a key role to play in this process but, as we face the obdurate opposition of a Right wing Tory government, we will need a much broader-based movement rather than just relying on the work of a single party.
So, what we will need will include climate activists who recognise the need for a break with Britain to break with its failed carbon-based economics, peace activists wanting to dump Trident, and a range of civil rights, unions, poverty campaigners, tenants, activists and so forth, all linking with the need to win independence.
For those on Left who invested in the Corbyn project, the Voice recognises that this was seen as a viable progressive route to change.
However among the many things we learned on 12 December is not that socialist ideas are dead but that the British Road to Socialism, far from a motorway to change, is in fact a permanent diversion.
The British State, it should now be clear, is in every respect an enemy to all that the progressive Left stands for, and a decisive break with it is now essential.