Scotland is buzzing. You can feel the evangelical surge in favour of ‘independence’, and I share the ambition of most of those who will vote YES on Thursday: a fairer society, governments that we elect locally, etc etc. But a YES vote is bound to disappoint, it can’t make good. Don’t forget that the SNP’s origins are in Scottish Toryism, and the present party is wide open for business with some very unpleasant people. The Rupert Murdochs and Donald Trumps of the world will have their way with us, and ‘self-government’ won’t amount to very much. For example, my prediction is that Murdoch will make an offer to run a broadcasting service that’s ‘impossible to refuse’. Then we’ll have a Scottish Fox News. Then we’ll wish we hadn’t buggered it up with the BBC.
Anyway, here is a letter I posted to The Herald, which may or may not see the light of day tomorrow or Tuesday
Trade unions were formed in the 19th century for protection from the worst effects of capitalism. Capitalism has evolved into corporatism, and unions have to change shape also. Corporatism is amorphous, worldwide and elusive; nationalism is irrelevant in counter-acting its worst effects.
There are problems with both the United Kingdom and the European Union, but they are unions. Now would be precisely the wrong time to leave either. While England, Wales and Northern Ireland re-format, an ‘independent’ Scotland would be easy meat for the corporate world. The signs are all there. If we go ‘independent’, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Just as the broad right in British politics is about to splinter, for the first time in a century, the British broad left must seize its opportunity. In Scotland the left’s energy has diverted into a mis-directed nationalism, and certainly the Labour Party has the major task of re-connecting with this energy. The Scottish left has much to show and share with our British friends as real local government and accountability, by and for the people, is restored.
To depict English and Welsh Labour MPs as ‘our imperial masters’, as the yes campaign did the other day in Glasgow, is ridiculous, offensive, and damagingly divisive of the left effort. Exciting responsibilities lie ahead for Scotland within UK when our southern friends and neighbours learn that we are going to play our part in re-formatting our home islands. This is a nascent form of modern left-leaning unionism.
There was no space to go on to say that a NO vote really is the best of both worlds: if Scotland is not well served within the emerging UK over the next ten or fifteen years, we will have another IndyRef. That’s a healthy tension within a secure framework. We have a very robust identity that doesn’t need to be so isolated and exposed in a big bad world.