Scotland’s Yes campaign shows how Farage can be beaten

Cover77The new issue of Socialist Resistance is out next week and this is the editorial.

For a moment it looked like there was a real possibility that a radical, mass campaign would cause the breakup of the British state. Millions of Scottish people had decided that they’d had enough of neo-liberalism, Tories and nuclear weapons. In the face of an opposition which ranged from the Orange Order, the Windsor family and Gordon Brown, 45% of Scotland’s electorate declared that they wanted a different sort of country.

Cameron is wrong when he says the issue of Scottish independence is off the political agenda and in this issue we examine in detail what led to the referendum result and what its consequences are. It’s a safe bet that very quickly the question will be raised again. New generations of young Scottish people have been radicalised in the most profound way and the variants of Thatcherism that they are being offered by the Westminster parties have no attraction for them.

The speed of the Tory reaction was a testament to the quality of the training the British élite receives at Eton and Cambridge. Their class instincts kicked in as soon as the result was known. They immediately shifted the debate onto UKIP’s terrain with direct appeals to English nationalism. In this issue we also look at the democratic deficit in English politics and suggest some ways it can be addressed which make no concessions at all to English patriotism.

The Labour Party saved the union, even as many of its voters rejected its unionist message. Miliband learned very quickly that the Tories don’t do gratitude. All the campaign rhetoric about listening to the people of Scotland was instantly forgotten. Labour was humiliated and Nigel Farage’s moment in the sun had arrived. Since the morning of the referendum result much of the mainstream media has been acting as Ukip’s publicity department. The BBC in particular is compelled to let us know of his every utterance and public appearance.

SubsWe have a lot to say about Farage’s ultra-Thatcherite party. It’s in a de facto alliance with the most right wing Tories who are prepared to hand Labour the election, split the Conservatives and create a hard right Frankenstein’s monster in its place. However, not even seats which were once considered as Labour heartlands are now safe from the most successful hard right organisation Britain has seen in its political history.

Not every lesson from the Scottish referendum campaign can be directly exported. As Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood says in her interview with us, she will try to apply many of them in Wales. There is a national dimension to politics in Scotland and Wales which is very different from England. The question of which state you live in was an amazing mobilising force in Scotland. People in England are slowly getting used to the idea that the British state and England are not synonymous.

What we saw in Scotland was that a huge progressive and radical movement was built around a programme that was the very opposite of everything that Farage stands for. It was united in its opposition to racism; it opposed nuclear weapons; it had a strong ecological message and it rejected the neo-liberal common sense of its unionist opponents.

Again, this is something we examine closely because at a time when it looks like the entire political class and its journalists are being dragged along in slipstream of Farage’s tank, Scotland’s 45% showed us a completely different direction and a wholly new strategy.




  1. Sorry, You have a statistical / grammatical error – you say “Millions of Scottish people had decided that they’d had enough” but Millions plural is wrong when only 1.6 million voted YES. The only result that can legitimately use the plural of Million would be if there were more than 2 million votes, like, erm, the Scots that voted NO…

  2. ‘Miliband learned very quickly that the Tories don’t do gratitude.’

    Working class Scots learned Miliband is a Tory and with any luck will make Labour MP’s as rare in Scotland as those from the other Tory party.

  3. All this truly dire article shows is just how completely sections of the radical Left have been bewitched by the siren appeal of divisive petty Left nationalism, and the excitement of chasing parasitically behind the SNP’s entirely bogus Scottish nationalist Yes Vote Independence bandwagon.

    The demise of Labour in Scotland will lead to what? A massive upsurge in electoral support for some new genuinely radical Left socialist party ? A massive upsurge in workplace militancy and community activism against the multi- faced global , Scottish and UK, capitalist Austerity Offensive ? Get real comrades. The delusion of the entire aim of a “social democratic , prosperous, independent capitalist Scotland” is a trap for the Left and working class alike. The demise of Labour will serve it right for its neoliberal bankruptcy, but will actually simply leave a totally dominant, entirely pro capitalist , Austerity enforcing, SNP in charge of Scotland – with the Left nationalists wingeing along in its wake, pleading for “pro-working class policies” which will never appear – as the SNP plays confrontational games with “the Westminster Elite” so that the falling living standards that Scottish workers share alike with their English and Welsh brethren can be blamed on “English domination” and the “Westminster Elite”, rather than the actual overarching culprit, globalised capitalism.

    The current rampant Left nationalist opportunism of major sections of the Left is as tragic as the fall of most of the Left under the domination of Stalinism in the 1930’s, and just as destructive for the development of a truly internationalist radical Left socialist party capable of uniting the working class of all the national components of the UK in a real struggle against cap[italism.

    • It is 2014 and Ed Miliband orders the leader of Scottish labour to keep quite about the bedroom tax.

      Swap Poll for bedroom and you have Ed Miliband’s and the Labour party’s contempt for the working class.

  4. Maybe we should all just be good little unionists then and bark to command, this is still a free country and just because a large portion of Scots believe we should have control over our own country doesn’t make us divissive, the SNP are only interested in what is good for this country and it’s people or should we all just be good little slaves and keep our mouths shut I think not, UKIP are just racists at least nationalists dont discriminate.

  5. While the focus of mobilisation in favour of Scottish independence included a radical rhetoric which did mobilise millions the tragedy of it is that if the independence campaign had been successful the result would have been austerity as the SNP would have betrayed their promises. That’s what pro capitalist parties do and will always do. Independence for a capitalist state means austerity unless workers overthrow the capitalist state and replace it with a workers state. That’s the lesson of history.

  6. There likely would have been a split in the SNP, don’t you think? With people like Jim Sillars opposing austerity. Seeing how strong the pro-independence left is now (see the sold out RIC convention) compared to say a year ago, how much stronger would it have been after a Yes vote?

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