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2007 - 2022

Undependence Day

CeTnMtVWwAECy0MToday Longannet closes and Unelectable Jeremy Corbyn opens up a 14% lead over Cameron in the @IpsosMORI leader ratings. At least one of the STV News’s upcoming new columnists must of choked on his corn flakes reading that. The world’s changing so rapidly that the case we made yesterday is not the case we should make tomorrow. A fossil fuel economy (of oil or coal) is as dead as the Scottish Labour Party. The media landscape is shifting and crumbling too, as the Digital Majority tweeted: “Those who smugly gloated and made Scotland’s peaceful revolution impossible, made the Digital Revolution inevitable.”

The ‘Still Yes’ platitudes may be comforting but they’re largely irrelevant. We lost and no amount of self-affirmation changes that. Equally “SNP 1 & 2” is re-stated like the Jesus Prayer but doesn’t lead us to anywhere in particular. A vast SNP bloc and opposition parties crumbling may feel good, but it doesn’t actually give you a route map or a strategy for winning indyref2. What’s required is (self) critical thinking and openness to new ideas and fresh approaches. Clinging to the wreckage and shrieking at enemies (perceived and real) isn’t going to cut it.

Deeper new economic thinking and social policy that is bolder and more innovative will be needed, and a complete rejection of the ‘don’t frighten the horses’ cautionary principle is required.

We need to break not just with the UK but break with the principles that the UK is based on.

The price of independence

Today a group calling itself Scotland in Union  declared that “the people of Scotland would be facing a bill of £10.4 billion this year if we had decided to become an independent country” arguing that the cost of “losing Barnett, higher interest payments, the impact of currency exchanges, new border controls, EU rebate, UK renewable subsidies, maintaining free higher education and the setting up new governmental departments” would be £10 billion in just one year.

Alastair Cameron, Director of Scotland in Union, believes the research shows that Alex Salmond glossed over more than just oil revenues when making their case for independence.  He said: “This new analysis of the financial costs of breaking away lays bare the challenges Scotland would have faced,and demonstrates Alex Salmond glossed over more than just oil revenues. We would all have paid a high price for his political obsession.” Their ‘Breakdown of the £10.4 billion’ includes (hilariously) Lost EU rebate’ put at – £525 million (better watch the space on that one) and ‘Loss of renewable subsidies’ put at – £510 million. The idea that the referendum was the political obsession of just one man is a recurring theme in unionist commentary. It is also, like much of the No campaigns focus before and since, almost entreaty backward looking.

Some of this is laughable but if we try and mimic the modes and structures of the UK we will lose the argument because we will frequently not measure up to the standards of the British state, its economy and its workings. It’s like the old conundrum: “How do you beat the Harlem Globetrotters at basketball?” You don’t. You don’t play the Harlem Globetrotters at basketball.

As we steer through the wall of cackling glee that is Unionist self-congratulations as they deliver us safely into the hands of Osborne and Cameron, we need to shift the focus onto new pathways and open-up to entirely new ways of working and acting.

The extraordinary figures that nearly 40% of the Yes movement were active in RIC and 30.8% were active in the National Collective  shows three things.

First, its an enormous blow for those shrill voices who denounce the radical left in Scotland as ‘jumping on the band-wagon’. They should read these studies and thank RIC and NC for transforming the campaign.

Secondly it proves the point (again and again) that cultural politics was the transformative political experience of the referendum. And will be again.

Thirdly it shows that the extraordinary energy of self-organisation was the key political tool of the movement. These groups came from nowhere and started with nothing. They were non-party aligned and were run on pure energy and creativity.

As Jonathan Shafi notes: “The movement itself was also distinctly left-wing in character as attested by the fact that most people involved were taking part because of the radical potential of independence in terms of class, austerity and democracy rather than nationalism. This is the impulse that drove the vote up to 45%.”

As the brutal realities of the Conservative Government You Didn’t Elect get exposed daily, this is the ground that independence should be fought on. This is the ground independence will be won on. Those arguing for dependence will have to restate their case over and over because each moment in the Union is a lived experience of a lie revealed.

We’re still waiting for the elusive positive case for the Union. As we experience the continuity of Project Fear it holds less and less grip on people’s imagination.



Comments (98)

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  1. Alex Grant says:

    Good analysis, except for many it will still be ‘the economy stupid’ that will decide if they vote Yes or No! Project Fear and its successors will peddle the ‘£10 Billion’ forever so we need a stronger economic argument to be presented

  2. Matilda says:

    Agreed. Most people I know who voted No did so because they felt the argument had not been made strongly enough on the economy or because they were doing alright out of the status quo.

  3. Gordie says:

    40% of the YES movement were ‘involved’ with RiC? 38% involved with National Collective? meaning RiC members or campaigners were 40% of the whole Independence movement? Sounds a bit suspect!

    Will check out the analysis if I can find it as it might be interesting.

    I would have thought the Independence movement was fundamentally about Independence rather than Socialism. It was Scottish Independence (nationalism) that gave socialism, social democracy and all the other interesting issues and groups that sprung up a voice during the referendum not the other way around?

    Will check out the analysis if I can find it as it might be interesting

    1. Iain Black says:

      Hi Gordie, We asked people if they’ve been involved, and this was left open so it could be that they were involved by attending just a couple of RIC canvasses or National Collective events. It doesn’t mean that these % of people were official members. Hope this helps


  4. katherine hamilton says:

    I really like your stuff, Mike, but this doesn’t bear scrutiny. 1.8 million voted Yes. (Roughly). 40% of that is 720000. That was RIC’s involved membership? Come on.

    1. Not my figures Katherine, worth reading the full report (linked to in the piece). But as David points out the figures are talking about the yes movement – activists/campaigners – not yes voters in total.

  5. David Nichol says:

    The figures (and the link) are talking about the yes movement – activists/campaigners – not yes voters in total.

    1. Gordie says:

      Still sounds like playing with words to me, I can’t see it being 40%, top notch though the group was during the contest

  6. Mark Crawford says:

    It is POSSIBLE that we might win independence in a second referendum, but this possibility in itself is a problem for us. Why? Because what made the referendum such an intoxicating and radicalising experience was precisely its IMPOSSIBILITY.

    Galvanising the political will in a complex, post-industrial, highly-networked society such as ours is not an easy task (this is the main argument put up against the concept of revolution even by some radical thinkers such as Franco Berardi). Nationalism has the virtue of being a simplification which overcomes this problem of complexity (this is where I dissent from Shafi and others who insist on repeating this ghastly refrain of “we’re internationalist, not nationalist”).

    But you need enthusiasm along with the simplification of nationalism and, in terms of political economy, what drives enthusiasm is impossibility. That’s why the SNP have misunderstood the dynamics of the situation with their idea that we should wait for opinion polls to reach 60% for Yes before proposing another referendum. They want to do the thing that Lenin warned revolutionaries against i.e. waiting for some objective sign that it’s OK to proceed with the revolution, some objective sign that the revolution is possible.

    If the conditions under which a second referendum is launched is a majority for Yes in the opinion polls (encouraging the SNP to double-down on their 2014 mistake of proposing independence as a modest, rather than radical, change), we’ll be looking at yet another referendum lost, as Project Fear II reverses that opinion poll majority.

    Why are we not exploring the “other routes to independence” that Mr Salmond spoke about in the hours after the referendum result? Perhaps, some will say, to pursue alternative routes is impossible. But, then, would it not be the case that those other routes – through their very fact of being supposedly impossible – provide better vehicles for the re-emergence of that summer of enthusiasm that we all experienced back in 2014?

  7. FatCandy says:

    In my opinion, the referendum was lost from the outset as the Yes side allowed themselves to be drawn into pretty pointless arguments over things like the economy and the EU. Essentially things they had no control over. Instead of arguing over whose Pound the Pound was, the Yes campaign should have kept the argument focused on the constitutional question of who we think is better placed to govern us – Holyrood or Westminster.

    During the referendum I leaflet all manner of different materials for Yes, including stuff for RIC. The point is, though, that if the thinking is already that to win IndyRef2 we need to push future policy (of whatever persuasion) then it’s already a foregone conclusion and we will lose.

    Keep the argument on the constitutional question and highlight how Westminster treat us with continual derision and contempt. Once IndyRef2 is won, then we can discuss and decide policy.

  8. Alistair says:

    The radical route is foolish. Most people are in the centre so it must appeal to the centre. Anyway, I think this is all academic. It won’t be anything in Scotland that wins it. It will be events outside Scotland. EU membership is likely to be taken off the table in IndyRef2. Oil will be off the table (we’ll have closed the fiscal gap by then). Renewable subsidies are off the table.The only thing still on the table is the currency. Well the next crash is going to be soon and it’s going to be big. The City will be at the heart of it and no more bailouts are possible. When the UK economy collapses, Scotland will leave.

    1. muttley79 says:

      I think Alistair has a point here. Although I am left wing (well according to the Political Compass thingy I am), I just cannot see us winning independence by the Red Clydeside tactics and mentality. Sorry but it just is not going to happen. You have to tailor your arguments and appeals to different groups. Yes did well with younger and working class voters. It failed to gain enough support from the middle classes and older people. Of course we are not going to win over a fair number of people in these categories no matter what the circumstances; there is a sizable portion of the Scottish electorate who will refuse to support and vote for independence.

      We need to identify voters in these groups who are at least open to the idea of indepednence and try and reassure them. I cannot see them being swayed by radical arguments for independence, a lot of Yessers forget that Scotland is a small conservative nation. Before we go for a second referendum we need to know why we lost, improve substantially our economic case, including currency, and deal with issues such as pensions and the EU, much better. I know many independence activists found the independence referendum campaign experience thrilling and exciting, but sadly many people in Scotland had the opposite feelings and emotions to it. I think this is what the SNP are trying to do at the moment.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        You make some good points muttley79.

        However it will be very difficult for Sturgeon to appeal to right wing/centre ground voters when the campaign in 2014 was based around demonising this group and appealing to left wingers/special interest groups with the promise that an independent Scotland would always give them a government which would more attractive to them than any UK government.

        A less divisive and less left-wing leader of SNP might be able to do this. I honestly don’t believe that SNP supporters understand just how much Sturgeon is reviled by the wider public, as was Salmond before her.

        1. Doug Daniel says:

          Sorry Steven, but your claims of Sturgeon being reviled by the public don’t bear any resemblance to what SNP activists are hearing on the doorsteps. Yes, there are those who say they “hate that horrible woman” etc, but these people would hate whoever was the SNP leader. There are folk voting SNP purely because of Sturgeon, and there are folk who aren’t voting SNP, but still speak highly of her.

          And that’s without even going into her ridiculously good approval ratings…

          1. Steven Milne says:

            Might be an idea to speak to people other than SNP activists if you wish to understand both why people voted No and what they think of Sturgeon.

        2. muttley79 says:

          The SNP under both Salmond and Sturgeon have governed from the centre. Nicola Sturgeon is not a divisive leader to any significant degree. She is only seen as divisive to the most rabid unionists/British nationalists in Scotland, who loathe and hate the very idea of Scottish independence. She is simply not on the same wavelength as genuinely divisive leaders, such as Margaret Thatcher, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan etc. You are kidding yourself if you think Sturgeon is at the same level of divisiveness, or even close, as these individuals.

          1. Pogliaghi says:


            I think Steven is living a little bit on Planet Daily Mail. However, echo chambers are a thing. It’s a valid point that people beyond the centre-Left do not necessarily see Sturgeon as a unifying leader. But they don’t see her as left wing firebrand either, I mean, why would they. I think the independence movement need to think carefully about how to segment their message for different markets though, if they’re really going to win Indyref2. We are not going to change social values in 1,2, or 3 years. We are going to need to find a way to make RIC people speak to other RIC people, and galvanize and mobilize them, while a centrist message disseminates to the centre and galvanizes and mobilizes it. What Scottish democracy looks like afterwards is a different matter, but certainly, it’s basically a logical impossibility it’ll be to the right of Westminster.

    2. Alan says:

      I agree with Alistair. It has to come from the centre and it has to focus on the incompetence of Westminster government. Osborne and company are trashing the economy. There is low investment in infrastructure and growth. The economy is dependent on financialisation and personal debt. This is a trainwreck waiting to happen. What’s important is that the voters understand who is responsible and the Tories don’t get away with scapegoating when the inevitable happens. (Osborne is already working on excuses.) They are vulnerable and need to be attacked aggressively for their incompetence in running the economy. And this is an argument best made from the centre.

      The argument for independence isn’t that it will be all wonderful. It won’t be. It will be hard but in the long-term opportunities for revitalization will be great. Staying in the union on the other hand is to stay on margins and to suffer the whims of fools like Osborne and Cameron, as has been the case for decades now.

  9. Broadbield says:

    The fact that large numbers of Yes activists were also active in RIC and the NC doesn’t lead to your conclusions “First…[and] Secondly”. We still don’t know which factors lead people to vote Yes and what was “transformative”, if anything.

    However, as the report says, it does bode well for the next Referendum as there will be a large group of experienced campaigners ready to go (assuming they maintain their enthusiasm). But we don’t know whether more left wing or socialist policies will encourage more people to vote Yes and win the referendum.

    What would be useful would be some research to address the issues of why people voted “no” and why others voted “yes”, so that the next campaign can be grounded on evidence.

  10. Mike says:

    The battleground is not and never was political or politics it is and was a media war. We only lost because the pro union argument had the UK media juggernaut run over the entire process.

    We came close only because we won the online media battle and did the ground work but the broadcast and print media was too overwhelming. The generation breakdown of the voting patterns highlights this fact.

    The PC generations voted Yes while the TV & print readers voted No.

    Still far too many people listening to the BBC & taking in what they read in the tabloids.

    We will win the next indyref if and only if we neutralise or discredit the UK media circus.

    The No campaign didn’t even have to come up with a single positive thing to say about themselves all they had to do was keep the positive case for Independence out of the media and the negative case against it in repeatedly.

    We need more than the National we need a TV channel that will broadcast real news real facts and is willing to discredit bullshit when it sees it.

  11. Mike says:

    We are still being fed the same lies over and over via the media. There is no 7.6 or 10 or 15 billion deficit in the Scottish budget because Swinney has been balancing the books every year since the SNP took power. Even Labour handed back a 1.5 billion surplus to Westminster.

    We are told constantly that Scotland gets over 10k per person while England only gets 8k. Pure bullshit as the 10k figure can ONLY be derived by taking the So called TOTAL Scottish expenditure figure and dividing it by the population of Scotland which is not how you work out Scotlands Barnett derived expenditure figure.

    They’ve taken Scotlands 29billion reserved expenditure and attributed all to the Scottish spent in Scotland expenditure we get via Barnett.

    And they get away with it because the media rather than challenging this level of utter shite publish it as FACTUAL.

    That’s where the problem is. Its not the fact that we get Tory Governments because we’ve had that problem for over 300 years and it hasn’t motivated enough people to vote for Independence.

    We win the media war or we keep losing referendums. Its that simple.

  12. Tom says:

    “… must OF choked….”?! Come on.

  13. john young says:

    I agree with the first part of this argument,we should be pushing very hard for new policies for bright innovative thinkers,we should encourage our young to come up with and develop ideas that can be introduced into the work place,we have to somehow strive to encourage our young to stay at home,how it can be done I don,t know but we are losing our young hand over fist,one of the inmo best investments could be in wind/wave power,I believe that the Pentland Firth is one of the 3 best in the world for this type of clean re-newable energy,it seems to have been put on back burner,is it because that we are to poor to develop it? we always seem to suffer from lack of investment.

  14. Dave Coull says:

    If the vote in September 2014 had gone the other way, today Scotland would be an independent country. Vile arse-licking Westminster professional politicians and their brown-nosed professional hangers-on will try to crow about their success in maintaining subservience. They should be treated with the utter contempt they deserve. All they have gained is a little bit more time before the wheels fall off their sleazy, corrupt, Westminster gravy train. The issue of independence remains very much on the agenda. So, let’s discuss moving to independence.

    It’s a false dichotomy to present political debate on the timing of moves to independence as being between, on the one hand, allegedly “sensible” supporters of Home-Rule-Will-Do-For-Now, and, on the other hand, advocates of “UDI NOW” (who just might be dancing to a tune called by agents of the British State).

    Declaring independence without widespread support would certainly be a big mistake; but it’s a mistake also to have an ultra-gradualist approach which might mean no referendum on independence during the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament elected in 2016. In practice, that might mean no second referendum EVER.

    There are going to be plenty of “triggers” for another referendum. Indeed, it could be argued that Westminster taking us to war, when ninety seven percent of MPs from Scotland voted against this, could itself have been considered such a “trigger”. On the day after 97% of Scottish MPs voted NOT to bomb Syria, war planes took off from Scottish airfields bound for Syria. There will be plenty more such ‘triggers’. In the context also of worsening austerity, and increasing Tory Government attacks on our rights, extreme delay over independence could come to prove unacceptable to a great many people, including many SNP voters, and folk who had voted differently, and folk who don’t vote for any politician.

    It’s quite well known that a few (but definitely not all!) founder members of the Radical Independence Campaign are at present involved in trying to get RISE candidates elected in the Scottish Parliament election. What isn’t perhaps so widely known is that RISE is completely separate from RIC as such, which includes members or supporters of several different political parties, as well as folk who are not involved in any party, who nevertheless share an aspiration for independence of a distinctly radical and also internationalist kind.

    The next “national” RIC gathering, the AGM, is due to be in June. By which time the present party political focus on getting politicians elected will have receded. We’ll all know the outcome of the election. That RIC gathering in June can play a part in initiating a new round of campaigning to make sure the newly-elected politicians of all parties are reminded of the reasons why independence is going to have to be right at the top of the agenda for THIS parliament.

    There does need to be another independence referendum, and there needs to be one without delay. It is an illusion that “business-as-usual” is a possibility. In practice, the alternatives are either a democratic referendum, or ALL of the parliamentary parties getting left behind by events.

    We started the last referendum campaign with, according to many so-called “opinion polls”, around 30 percent support. The Yes result was officially announced as 45 percent. If you start from 30 and you add 15 (half of 30) to that, making 45, that is a 50 percent increase in support. Even if you are skeptical about those earlier “polls”. and think the real increase was less than 50 percent, there can be little doubt support for independence did increase significantly during the actual campaign.

    We will be starting the next referendum campaign with, according to some estimates, around 50 percent support. Maybe a bit higher by the time of the actual second referendum. An increase in support during the campaign (as we have already achieved once!) could deliver a really decisive result.

    BUT – what if the British Government should refuse to accept?

    This is not likely to happen. Oh, they will bluff and bluster, but, in the end, with international opinion against them, they will accept a democrac referendum. However; in the very unlikely event that they try to go against both democracy and international opinion, and seek to prevent, or sabotage, or ignore, a democratic vote for independence, then, in THAT situation, it would be a case of “when, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one country to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God, entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation”.

  15. yesindyref2 says:

    79 Devo Ref, Conservatives were against at a time when they still had a substantial vote in Scotland (31.4%). A problem was that Labour split and some others weren’t that active, and the SNP at first weren’t too keen because it wasn’t Indy. Result 51.4% YES.

    97 Devo Ref, Conservative against (down to 17.5%). Labour solid, LibDems solid, SNP solid after an early wobble. Result 74.6% YES.

    2014 Referendum had all the UK mainstream parties against it, just SNP, Greens and SSP for it. From 2010, Lab 42%, Con 16.7%, Lib 18.9% = total 77.6%, but YES = 45%.

    What happened? First the Lib vote had fallen away, but mainly the Labour vote was ripped to shreds, and yes, that was Common Weal, RIC and NC mainly, with the SNP building on the 2011 Holyrood percent of 44% Constituency vote, which included about 1/7th NO voters.

    That was what Indy Ref 1 was about, breaking the back of Labour and its stranglehold on Scotland. So Indy Ref 1 was mainly Leftiush policies.

    But as Muttley says, Indy Ref 2 won’t be won on the same basis, it has to include centre and right, the likes of Wealthy Nation to take a main role this time. And perhaps the SNP to sit a little to the left of centre.

    Unfortunately for many, Indy Ref 2 will not be passed by Westminster without an overall majority single party calling for it – i.e. the SNP. That’s the reason for SNP + SNP, not sheep baaaaaaing, but the need to actually get a referendum to vote in.

    Then on the first Independent Holyrood Election, let all hell break loose and may the best party win!

  16. TB says:

    “The extraordinary figures that nearly 40% of the Yes movement were active in RIC and 30.8% were active in the National Collective”

    Oh dear god. I’ve heard of wishful thinking but this is just ridiculous. Get a grip.

    “must of choked on his corn flakes reading that”

    I choked on my coffee when I read “must of”.

    1. It seems I’ve upset a lot of people by writing ‘must of’ instead of ‘must have’. This is indeed a dire and terrible error for which I feel much shame.

      I do like that the people who chastise me also reject a survey just because they don’t like what it tells us about our politics.

      We lost the referendum and most people on this page are just saying ‘let’s do it again exactly the same.’

      1. Awizgonny says:

        Well I actually agree with the premise that the Indy vote only rose when a substantial amount of the Left joined the Yes campaign.

        Now can you PLEASE change “of” to “have”. Makes your website look like a Yoon FB page updated after one too many on a Friday night.

      2. Wul says:

        I read “must of..” and liked it.

        A nice wee twist, that’s the way some of us speak. Whether you meant it or not, really who cares?

  17. Steven Milne says:

    5 ideas to convert NO voters

    1 Stop claiming that Scotland has been exploited/subjugated by “Westminster”

    2 Stop making the assumption that an independent Scotland would always have a left wing government

    3 Be open and honest about the economic risks of separation, particularly in the short term

    4 Zero tolerance of abusive behaviour by cyber Nats

    5 Stop saying that people voted NO because they were frightened or stupid

    1. Wul says:

      Re: Idea No. 5.
      What adjectives would you use Steven to describe a person who voted “No” because they believed that they would lose their state pension in an independent Scotland?

      Even though they’d payed their NI to HMRC (not Scot. Gov.) all their working lives.
      Even though Brits living in Spain (an independent country) get their full pension.
      Even though their own government told them they would still get their full pension.

      I get your point Steven, but it’s not easy seeing your country being lost thanks to folk like that.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        With all due respect Wullie, your apparent belief that people voted No because they thought they would lose their pension sums up the mis-comprehensions of many independence supporters.

        People voted No because they recognised there were significant economic risks associated with independence which the Yes campaign simply glossed over.

        Oil at $40 per barrel significantly increases these risks.

        1. Mark Crawford says:

          The interesting question is: should independence supporters aim to persuade those who voted No in order to “win the argument”?

          Those who today still identify themselves as “the 45%” often do so in the hope of incrementally increasing that number to the 60% or 65% that they want to see in opinion polls before holding a second referendum. They believe that, in the end, they can win the argument. To think like this is to have misunderstood what happened during the referendum. If this idea constitutes the core of the current SNP leadership’s strategy for independence, then this is because they are liberal, all too liberal.

          What supporters of independence need to do now is to review our assumptions about what we are entitled to aim for and through what process we are legitimately entitled to pursue it. The unionists have engineered the trickiest of snares to entrap us in. Having reduced the question of independence to the narrow question of political freedom, all they have to do is to continue to address the social base of older and affluent voters (destined, perhaps, to remain just over that magical threshold of 50%) for whom political freedom matters very little. Why risk the comfortable life your private pension provides for something as abstract as political freedom? Why risk your nicely paid job and the big house and the fast car for something as abstract as political freedom?

          Of course, as we travel down the socio-economic scale, surveying the more precarious classes, the less abstract political freedom becomes. For those earning the least and working the hardest, political freedom becomes a concrete vehicle for liberation.

          The typically affluent (sometimes older) No-voter who has no positive political project as such, just a willingness to exercise political power (democratically, of course, through the ballot box) in the service of his appetite for personal consumption, lives on the extraction of economic value from the typically precarious (sometimes younger) Yes-voter who seeks, alongside other Yes-voters, to exercise political power in service of her expanded freedom. This latter subject, having found herself grappling with the contradictions of history, has the absolute right to resolve those contradictions in ways which are incompatible with remaining in the Union, referendum or no referendum. Absolutely no arguments need be “won”.

          1. Steven Milne says:

            Mark – the point you are making comes across as very arrogant. You demonise your opponents as having a “nicely paid job and the big house and the fast car” which they have earned by “extraction of economic value from the typical Yes voter who seeks to exercise political power in service of freedom”.

            This is the politics of resentment which has no appeal outside left wing circles.

            Left wingers cannot grasp that ordinary people do not, generally speaking, resent people richer than themselves and what they want is not “freedom” but simply to be allowed to get on with their lives with minimal state intervention and to work hard to provide for their families.

            It is this failure to understand human nature which explains why socialist theories lead to disaster when put into practice.

        2. Mark Crawford says:

          Steven, you say I come across as “arrogant” – just out of interest, do I come across as more or less arrogant than the independence supporters who blithely assume that they will eventually be able to persuade No voters that they were wrong in order to reach the 60% support in the polls that they believe is rightfully theirs?

          Based on what you’ve posted on this thread yourself, I would have thought you might appreciate my point that people who voted No did so for valid reasons within their frame of reference – reasons which, I claim, will resist any argument (and which, therefore, make the task of trying to achieve independence through another referendum a complete folly).

          You also come out with the tired old line about “the politics of resentment”. Well, let’s be clear about what people can be rightfully resentful of. I think people SHOULD be resentful of having to work harder than others and should, therefore, seek to act in concert with their fellow workers to gain their freedom. Of course, the same people may be envious of the material possessions and wealth of rich people, but that has nothing to do with a radical critique of the system – quite the opposite, that materialist envy is one of the things which drives the system. When people come out with the “politics of resentment” line, they are mistaking the former (desire for political freedom) for the latter (consumerist envy).

          As for the idea that people want to “work hard to provide for their family” – when I speak to ordinary people about automation and the opportunity it provides to create a post-work, post-capitalist society, they get very enthusiastic. I’m finding that this is what they want the left to explore.

          1. Steven Milne says:


            I appreciate your candour.

            I think that any independence supporter who thinks that they can grow the 45% to 60% is delusional. This could only happen in the event of some seismic political/economic/environmental shock. Brecht wouldnt even come close.

            Although it may not be your personal preference would you recognise that most people would choose “consumer goods” over “political freedom” any day of the week ?

        3. Mark Crawford says:

          That’s precisely my point, though, Steven. Of course, if you have access to an abundance of consumer goods in conjunction with good quality work, political freedom is an abstract concept that doesn’t mean much to you. But as you travel down the socio-economic scale and speak to the people who have stressful and precarious working lives, with less access to consumer goods, political freedom becomes a much more concrete question (this is precisely why the referendum caused all the excitement that it did).

          Of course, we live under a form of libidinal capitalism which never misses an opportunity to invest commodities with an erotic charge (just look at all the randomly sexualised messages in advertising), so of course people are drawn to consumer goods. But we’ve known since Nietzsche and Freud that people harbour antagonistic desires and ideas within themselves – and that’s where I think you are over-simplifying by saying “people are like X”. My position is that people are like X sometimes, like Y on other occasions and even dare to be Z in their most random daydreams. The art of politics is to bring some understanding to and work with all these contradictions.

          1. Steven Milne says:


            Take your point that I may have over simplified the motivations of people.

            I think that the fundamental problem facing the left is facing up to the fact that the vast majority of people are, to a greater or lesser extent, partly motivated by a desire to improve their material wellbeing.

            No figure from the left in my lifetime has been able to reach out beyond their own natural constituency in the way Thatcher did. Blair managed it for a while before being demonised by his own side post Iraq.

            Btw, enjoying having an intelligent exchange with someone who holds very different views to my own.

        4. Mike says:

          People voted no either because they were deceived or they allowed themselves to be deceived. There was NO case FOR the union. Not 1 single positive idea promoted during the entire campaign because there is no positive case not 1 single positive idea to promote.

          Look at where we are now as a direct consequence of the No vote. Do you honestly think an Independent Scotland would be worse off than we are now? Really?

          The austerity is ideologically imposed not necessary. Independence is all about making your own choices and taking your own direction. When you cant do that then it will never end well.

          Take a good look at Norway. Its not perfect but its where an Independent Scotland could have been had it voted for Independence in the 70s. Compare that to where we are now.

          Christ its a no brainer yet people will continue to allow themselves to be deceived out of FEAR.

          We are an International joke. Scotland the what?


          1. Steven Milne says:

            So long as there are people like Mike who believe that No voters are stupid then there is zero chance of independence.

            Do you not understand that most people who voted No were not fundamentally opposed to independence per se but we’re turned off by the economic illiteracy, aggression, resentment and intolerance displayed by the most vocal elements of the Yes campaign.

            I post on boards such as these to try to communicate with and understand the psyche of those with differing views. I have realised that most on the left prefer to exist within an echo chamber and sneer at those with a different view rather than try to engage in a dialogue.

        5. Mark Crawford says:

          Steven, I definitely agree with you that it’s refreshing to have an honest disagreement without falling back onto the boring petty stuff in which you don’t really develop anything.

          I absolutely agree with you about the left having a problem explaining how they will increase prosperity for a lot of people who are “in the middle”. What’s happening now, however, is that people have sensed there is a real threat to their prosperity from automation which capitalism can’t solve.

          There are people I have known for years with whom I would have conversations about socialism and they remained resolutely indifferent and uninterested. But recently I’ve started speaking to those same people about something that’s been called by others “fully-automated luxury communism” (i.e. using full-speed automation and a universal basic income to reduce people’s working hours, increasing leisure time rather than creating redundancy). And here are the preliminary results: they love it. They get it immediately. They accept that organisations such as Deloitte are probably right when they say that a third of all jobs are vulnerable to automation in the next decade or so. They see very clearly what Brad Delong has called the “peak human” problem. And so the very people who for years would show no interest whatsoever in the idea of even modest forms of socialism are now willing to sign up to something that aims to create a post-work communist society.

          I plan to roll this out through door-to-door canvassing with some of my friends, so look out for us – the communists are coming!

          1. Steven Milne says:

            The market economy has a track record of adapting to changes. We have seen the transition from an agrarian economy to industrial to post industrial. I have faith that it will be able to meet the current challenges of globalisation, automation and, arguably, environmental impact. However nothing is guaranteed and a pragmatic approach is required to deal with problems as they arise. History has taught us that the most seismic events are rarely foreseen.

            Automation is an interesting concept. I think that perhaps home sapiens have an intrinsic need to be kept busy even if their material needs can be met without going out to work and this leads to the development of new products and services which our forefathers would regard as frivolous or pointless.

          2. Frank says:

            Canvassing? Oh please come to my door.

            I’m just trying to picture the scene….eh darling, there’s someone at the door who wants to talk about post-work communist society….he said something about Freud and Nietzsche…..and automation and post industrialism…seriously, when they answer the door what’s your opening line?

          3. Mark Crawford says:

            The opening line is: “Hi there. Sorry to bother you. We’re speaking to people about the future of work and what that means for people in Scotland. Global business consultancy Deloitte estimate that one in three jobs will be automated out of existence over the next few years. I have with me a list of 500 jobs drawn up by researchers at the University of Oxford, from the most likely to be automated to the least likely. Would you be interested in knowing where your own job role comes on the list?”

            I do not anticipate many discussions getting round to the topic of Nietzsche and Freud, but better to be prepared than not.

        6. Wul says:

          Steven, I actually spoke to these people face to face. That’s what they told me.

          One of them is a neighbour of mine. He told me he was frightened of losing his state pension and also his company pension (multi national, blue chip company). I asked him if he moved to Ireland would he still expect to get his pension and he said “yes, of course”. However he could not be dissuaded that his former employer would still be duty bound to pay his pension if we got independence. We would somehow be in a different world where all previous entitlements were reset.

          It’s daft and very frustrating.

          Maybe you’re right, some folk just felt worried and looked for an easy peg to hang their doubt on. We all like a simple narrative.

  18. Wul says:

    “We’re still waiting for the elusive positive case for the Union”

    Yeah, we’re still waiting to hear exactly why Scotland would be uniquely unable to function as an independent country too.

    Why is that?

    1. Steven Milne says:

      The positive case for the union

      1 A 300 year history of stability in which a small island has punched well above its weight on the world stage

      2 Best performing economy in Western Europe since 2008 financial crisis

      3 Cultural benefits of having a Scottish identity as well as a British identity shared with our friends in England, Northern Ireland and Wales

      I don’t think many people are suggesting that “Scotland would be uniquely unable to function as an independent country” but a majority strongly believe that would be much Better Together as part of the UK rather than as a separate nation.

      1. John Page says:

        Not sure about ‘punching above its weight’…….exterminating indigenous peoples, concentration camps in South Africa….nuclear weapons
        Gies peace

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Punching above our weight = Industrial Revolution + Enlightenment + leading fight against Nazism + Beatles/Stones/Bowie/Led Zep/Sex Pistols + inventing football, rugby,golf & tennis + Dickens/Burns/Orwell/Greene/Grassic Gibbon etc etc

          1. Mike says:

            The Industrial revolution was a poster boy for child labour low wage exploitation bordering on slave labour. The Tory elite where the only ones to profit from the industrial revolution.

            Nothing in that list can be attributable to being Governed from Westminster as opposed to being Governed from anywhere else in the world.

            What a moronic post.

            What is wrong with you people? a life of self deceit and denial.

      2. Broadbield says:

        “best performing economy”? Depends on how you measure. Productivity? Wage levels? Exports? All lower. Indebtedness, inequality -higher. And so on. It’s a little more complicated than Osborne soundbites.

      3. Mike says:

        1 A 300 year history of warmongering, massive poverty, class division, uneven wealth distribution, child labour exploitation, patronage privilege for the few.

        2. 5.5 trillion debt does not make the UK the best performing economy by anybodies standards. Your measurement is flawed and basically a bare faced lie as its not measured on a basis of per head of population nor takes account of the entire debt value.

        3. The No campaign tells us that the UK can exist without Scotland making Scotland nothing but a region. You deny our very National existence if you didn’t you would be forced to acknowledge that there is no UK without Scotland and that the UK of GB is nothing more than a Parliamentary Union between Nation states. Which would destroy the entire Project Fear assertions regarding the pound our EU membership our entitlement to assets including the BoE and the Gold reserves to name but a few.
        You cant have it both ways. If you claim the UK goes on without Scotland you relegate Scotland from Nation status to regional status and the Scottish identity with it.

        Like I said there isnt and never will be a positive case for the union. You’ve just proved that by trying and failing to come up with one.

        1. Steven Milne says:


          If you do not agree that Industrial Revolution and Enlightenment and fight against Nazism are achievements to be proud of then I can only conclude that you are a misanthrope and malcontent.

          1. John Page says:

            Maybe you have been watching too many film reruns on BBC.
            I presume you agree that the Soviets made a contribution to crushing Nazism…….does that mean you think their system should have been allowed to continue because of that historical achievement?
            What current benefits are we getting from this Union that we couldn’t get as an outward and forward looking independent north European nation?
            John Page

          2. Mike says:

            You’re trying to unjustifiably attribute these events with Scotland being governed from Westminster when there is no link between them at all.

            The industrial revolution was a shameful episode one of many within the UK of GB. It was nothing but exploitation and poverty creating against the many for the benefit of the few.

        2. Doubting Thomas says:

          It seems 55% of the country prefer to part of the Union.
          Even as of yesterday polls were still showing a majority in favour of remaining within.
          Neither the General Election for the UK nor the elections to the Scottish Assembly confer any democratic mandate to change the will of the people in this respect.
          Time to move on.

      4. Coul Porter says:

        1. He who continually punches above his weight will eventually get clobbered – unless he cheats.

        2. The ‘best performing economy’ is largely predicated on the supremacy imperative afforded to London. There is an over reliance upon the financial sector. Comparatively little has been done to counter the effects of de-industrialisation in the regions, a former governor of the Bank Of England even suggesting that a degree of unemployment in the North was acceptable as long as the South was prospering.
        Compare the £billions used to protect London against finance sector failure with the £millions used to assist Aberdeen against the oil price downturn.

        3. Globally, Britain is conflated with England. Nothing overly exertive has been done by the centralist institutions to counter that premise.
        I am Scottish by birth and British/English by default. I have nothing against England, (or Ireland or Wales) much in the same way as I have nothing against the Swedes or the Danes.
        My late father was a WWII vet – unusually, enlisted as a squaddie and left with a War Office letter permitting him to use his attained title (which he never used).
        He spoke of the ‘Send Jock’ syndrome (quoting his superiors) – when his men complained about the number of ‘dirty missions’ which they were assigned. Whilst I am in awe of the exploits of his generation, I have no time for post-imperial sentimentalism. Neither had he.

  19. punklin says:

    We didn’t lose – we just haven’t won yet. (Oh and btw in Glasgow we did win!)

    But it’s gonna mean a lot of hard work.

  20. David says:

    ‘Loss of renewable subsidies’ put at – £510 million

    Bargain, no idea how they worked this one out, any takers?


    suggested £530m for wind alone, way, way back in 2013 when Scotland had just 1/3 of the UK’s installed renewables, they were £1.8bn in 2011/12 and their forecast 2020 bill was aiming for £7.6bn.

    Skip to 2020 and according to ClimateXChange “By 2020 roughly two thirds of Great Britain’s renewable energy capacity will be situated in Scotland”

    But those renewables subsidies we’ll owe 2/3s of have jumped from £7.6bn up to £9.1bn, hence some scrappage, which the SNP still fight?


    Are we on the same page?

  21. Doubting Thomas says:

    Forget Indyref2……… it will not happen anytime soon.
    Wee Nicola in one foul swoop just alienated large parts of the centre left, the centre and all of the right of centre by the worst announcement on taxation possible.
    A large part of the core support of the SNP will be feeling put upon as well.
    If independence is ever to happen it needs to be on the basis that people reap the benefits of education and hard work.
    The constant reference to progressive taxation and redistribution of wealth is a complete turn off to the people who have worked hard and made sacrifices to achieve a better standard of living for their families.
    The idea that increasing tax paid by this demographic to bolster welfare schemes which in the West of Scotland in particular are used and abused is abhorrent.
    This decision does put one particular group under pressure in that the middle class RC band who jumped on mass from Labour to the SNP thinking that a mini Oirland was being created and whose anti Unionist venom could be salved by this will now face paying more taxes under an SNP regime which is unable to deliver their republican utopia.
    They have gained no benefit and are now being asked to pay more.
    The jump over was easy and there is no reason to think the jump back will be any different.
    Wee Nicola will need to be careful.

    1. Wul says:

      “…people who have worked hard and made sacrifices to achieve a better standard of living for their families.”

      People who have prioritised hard cash over their human relationships and the needs of their fellow men.

  22. Doubting Thomas says:

    Just a further wee thought……given wee Nicola’s massive jump to the left should the party now be called the Scottish National Socialist Party?
    Certainly the abuse of local government democratic mandate suggests connotations of similarity in their centrist policies.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      You have hit the nail on the head.

      YES campaign was a marriage of convenience between genuine Scots Nationalists, extreme socialists, Irish republicans and conspiracy theorists who are united only by a shared hatred of “Tories” and “Westminster”.

      Such an unholy alliance could never put forward a positive and coherent agenda. They are driven by negativity.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        “an unholy alliance could never put forward a positive and coherent agenda. They are driven by negativity.”

        An apt description of the No campaign. The May Holyrood election will be like Custer’s Last Stand for ‘betta togetha’, with even fewer Tory, SLAB, and Libdem MSPs returned – hence the rapidly diminishing ‘scottish’ unionist branch parties are now fighting amongst themselves like cats in a sack, merely to become ‘the Opposition’. Meanwhile the Yes campaign motors on, perhaps not in name, but in confidence, using the SNP as its ‘constituency’ anchor, for now, but with even more vibrant and fresh Yes options aplenty on the List.

      2. Mike says:

        Our “Unholy alliance” encompasses the broad spectrum of Scottish society exclusive of those who vote UKIP BNP NF and members of the Orange Lodge and SDL.

        Yours however embraces the concepts ideology and functions of UKIP the BNP the NF the Orange Lodge the SDL the EDL Ulster Unionism as a “Better Together” UKOK slogan informs us.

        Talk about throwing stones through your own windows.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          I see the glue which holds the unholy alliance together as a collection of fundamentally negative views such as

          “Westminster is exploiting Scotland”

          “the people who voted No are either greedy or cowardly or stupid”

          I have given details of what I believe are the benefits of the Union but in any situation the onus is on the side proposing a fundamental change to put forward the case for making that change. The case put forward by Yes in 2014 appeared to be founded on negativity, anger and resentment.

          1. Mike says:

            You’ve done nothing but provide willful ignorance self deceit and delusion. You don’t believe a single word you post like most of the Yoon trolls.

            You refuse to accept all reality because all reality is against your point of view.

            You attempted to discredit the Yes campaign by claiming it consisted of the worthless type of idiotic moron you only get within UKIP the BNP the NF the Orange Lodge the EDL the SDL Combat 18. All Yoons to a man and woman.

            That’s projection. pathetic as well as moronic.

    2. Awizgonny says:

      @ Doubting Thomas

      “Just another wee thought”…

      All your thoughts are wee. Pish, in fact.

      Not surprising, though, coming as they do from a paid-up member of the Conservative Unionist National Tory Society.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        Keep it up Awizgonny

        Comments like yours simply reinforce the view that a large number of supporters of Scottish independence are pig ignorant, aggressive louts.

        1. Awizgonny says:

          And yet you yourself say that someone has “hit the nail on the head” by suggesting the SNP be called the Scottish National Socialist Party. Same old Nazi smears. Hypocritical much?

          When I see that kind of shite I’ll call it out.

          1. Doubting Thomas says:

            You don’t know what or who I support.
            Same old story from people like you if you cannot win the debate call the other names.
            What a childish outlook.
            And it says why the majority of people in this country voted the way they did.
            Political pygmies and their cybernat supporters are good at shouting as long as someone else is paying.
            Time to man up and realise that it is better to stay quiet and let people think you are a fool than to open one’s gub and prove it for them.

          2. Awizgonny says:

            Seeing I don’t seem to be allowed to reply to the comment by Doubting Thomas below, I’ll reply here.

            “Time to man up and realise that it is better to stay quiet and let people think you are a fool than to open one’s gub and prove it for them.”

            You mean like you did by smearing members of a party with the same old Nazi brush, and then whinge on about name-calling when you got the response you deserved (and were no doubt trolling for)? It’s you who should have kept your gub shut.

            Time to man up and take what you’re quite happy to deal.

  23. Alf Baird says:

    “The price of independence”

    Representing as it does a perverse falsehood, ‘Union’ (i.e. colonisation/subsumption) has always had its ‘price’ and still does; Independence however is priceless.

  24. john young says:

    Steve WHY? should a country not govern itself? regardless of all/any arguments financial/political et.al every country that I know of wants their independance,standing on your own 2 feet gets you respect and gives you confidence,if we are “as most of the English people are concerned” beggars/pariahs why fight tooth and nail to keep us.

    1. Broadbield says:

      My position exactly. Scotland is a nation and should govern itself. But we are also internationalist and would want to work with other like-minded truly democratic others.

      The Unionists have never answered your second point – why do they fight and lie tooth and nail to keep us if we are subsidy junkies?

      1. Doubting Thomas says:

        Here was me thinking that the Scottish electorate returned a NO vote by 55% to 45%.
        Don’t know about fighting tooth and nail but the people seemed to be able to make their minds up even in the face of all the lies…..especially the economic porkies that have been proven to be so wide ranging in the pro independence camp.
        The problem at the moment is that the SNP are ignoring the democratic mandate of local authorities promoting centrist government as being superior when we know that they are every bit as much the same political pygmies.
        Cooncil tax for example…..”don’t put it up or you will be penalised”….then what do they do?

    2. Steven Milne says:

      There is no intrinsic reason why Scotland should not be independent.

      The United Kingdom is a fairly unique constitutional arrangement and a majority of Scots want to remain part of it for both economic and cultural reasons.

      If I felt that Scotland was being financially exploited by the other parts of the UK or that our distinctive identity was being suppressed then I would favour independence.

      Having lived in both England and Northern Ireland, my own experience is that, leaving aside banter about football etc, it is only a tiny minority of our fellow Britons who have any feelings of ill will towards Scotland.

      1. Wul says:

        We are ALL (England, Wales, Ireland & Scotland) being exploited on a massive scale and have been for generations by a wealthy ruling elite. They have stolen whole countries’ worth of wealth from our populations.
        Why can’t you understand; this isn’t about England, it’s about an opportunity to be a different kind of country. A golden opportunity, a big risk, a shot in the dark. I’m up for it, you aren’t.

        You can’t possibly prove that we are “Better Together”, just as I can’t prove that an Independent Scotland would be better. However, I can see the road that London rule has us on, and its a nasty, unkind, unfair, brutal, xenophobic, militaristic and un-human one. I want a different road and I’m sick of my vote being irrelevant.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          I do not remotely agree with the view that we are being exploited by a wealthy ruling elite.

          Free market capitalism raises living standards for everyone.

          What is your vision of a different kind of country and how does it differ from the utopian socialist dream which Eastern Europe and China have now rejected after decades of economic stagnation and state brutality?

          1. Mark Crawford says:

            Steven, the difference between the sort of utopian post-capitalist economy Scotland could have and the dystopia of China and the former Soviet Block is to do with what you and I briefly discussed elsewhere in this thread: the need for work.

            In the Cold War, it would have been impossible for any country to radically reduce the number of hours in the standard working week, which meant forcing people into work through either the threat of destitution and death (capitalism) or the threat of a labour camp (socialism).

            But if automation allows us to reduce the amount of waged labour needed across society in a dramatic way, then the situation changes, because it means, for instance, that people can legitimately choose between more work (and higher earnings) or more leisure time (time which, in today’s age, is becoming inherently more productive by including activities such as writing open source software, making YouTube videos etc).

            So moving towards a post-work society is a legitimate political choice we can make, but to discuss it seriously we need the sort of radical political awakening that took place during the referendum.

          2. ScottieDog says:

            Steve ,
            But we are not in a country which practices free market capitalism. The government financially underwrites the criminal practice of the city of London . The fact that there has been so little regulation since GFC makes it very obvious who the UK govt serves. The practice of asset purchase by the Bank Of England in 2012 served only to increase the wealth of the already wealthy – why do think the stock exchange is buoyant whilst the rest of the economy tanks. This is big govt in spades – right in front of our eyes but not in the interest of the majority.

          3. Wul says:


            My vision differs a great deal from “the utopian socialist dream in China”. Why do you assume that I’m a communist? Weird.
            My vision is for a capitalist, market economy not that different to the model we (supposedly) have just now.
            There would not be a licence for the very rich to avoid/evade tax.
            There would be laws to discourage land-banking (which stifles enterprise)
            We would invest very, very heavily in good transport links, health & elderly care (if people feel secure about their old age, they don’t need to hoard cash & capital)
            There would be a citizen income (to create more jobs and encourage volunteering, entrepreneurism & art)
            We would invest massively in re-newable energy & build our own equipment & machinery.
            We would do away with legal loopholes which reward & encourage unearned income and privilege.

            Its just a change which says ‘this country exists for its people, you can make money here, but you need to pay for what you take”.

  25. Matt says:

    We need to drop this “Project Fear” obsession as well. It allows people to form the lazy the assumption that people only voted no because they were reduced to quivering wrecks by the mainstream media. This implies that Yes voters are either A. Smarter than No voters or B. Braver than No voters, when of course neither is true. The longer we console ourselves with that myth the less time spend addressing our own weaknesses, mainly the lack of a solid economic case.

    I was speaking to a solid No voter last week and he said that if Salmond had just levelled with people that Indy would have been a tough ride to begin and that in some areas we might be worse off, but overall and it would be worth it in the long term, he may have listened. What turned him off was the constant counter arguments against any concern and the Yes side’s insistance that absolutely everything would be not just OK but also better. He found that dishonest and it could be something to address next time round.

    1. barakabe says:

      Regarding the representation of the average no voter as being “turned off with the constant counter arguments against any concern and the Yes side’s insistance that absolutely everything would be not just OK but also better. He found that dishonest and it could be something to address next time round.”- I think this is intrinsically dishonest: most no voters explicitly knew they were voting for the Neo-Liberal orthodoxy of financialized capitalism. The average no voter ought to be honest about that. Many people I know who voted no seem to me to be more conformist in makeup, psychologically favouring established authority, present power structures & believed that what exists is superior to what is possible. They believe whether consciously or unconsciously, maybe due to thirty plus years of Monetarist ideology, that such a system inevitably creates prosperity. Massive levels of social apartheid & economic inequality suggest otherwise. What many Yes voters wanted was a more socially just Social Democratic system of governance that distributed wealth more efficiently. What after all is prosperity? Is it having “nicely paid job and the big house and the fast car” & yet living in an increasingly unsafe society riddled with social injustice & terminally inefficient economy due to a mediocre educated workforce, congested transport routes & decaying infrastructure? Or is it living comfortably in a safer cleaner environment with superior transport links that connects a well-educated workforce across a super-modern social infrastructure? Neo-liberalism & small government do not provide a long term vision for creating an efficiently connected hypermodern economy. The neo-liberal orthodoxy are committed to austerity. Austerity is an ideology, an ideology based on low taxation & the starvation of public services & social infrastructure. How then can it be compatible with a n economically efficient modern social democratic society? It is not. Most yes supporters wanted Scotland to be more like other well-balanced Northern European societies like Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Holland, or indeed a more balanced & resilient economy like Germany’s. Voting for independence was the best remedy for this, the only one. And it still is.

      1. “Believed what exists is superior to what is possible” – is nicely put. In that sense we suffered (and suffer) the legacy of Thstchers TINA syndrome, which is There is No Alternative. Even in the face of objective failure: melting ice caps, war, violence, dislocation, inequality, there is no alternative so no need to resist or even think for yourself. It leads to a blind and faithful passivity

        1. Steven Milne says:

          I am not hearing any alternatives being put forward which are not based on traditional socialism.

          I believe in the free market of ideas so would be delighted to hear of new alternatives.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Steven, this really depends on what exactly you mean by ‘free market’ and in particular the extent of state regulation and national economic planning/management involved.

            In most counrties the public sector actively seeks to prevent the excessive interception of economic rents, whilst in the UK the state has done the opposite and actively promotes such interception. Hence the ‘free market’ in the UK is rather more ‘free-er’ (i.e. self-regulated, un-managed, un-planned etc) than in most other countries, which is probably only a good thing if you happen to be a wealthy investor in offshore private equity funds. However this ‘model’ itself is not especially sustainable in the long run – not least because a lack of adequate investment in provision of new assets/infrastructures coupled with ever higher prices over time (due to exploitation of monopolies, absence of proper state regulation etc) implies that eventually demand (and revenues/surpluses) will decline at some point. This unplanned, deregulated nature of the ‘free market’ here is at the root of the UK’s continuing long term economic decline, crumbling infrastructure, lack of international competitiveness, falling export trade, and widening wealth gap. There is a different and far more common form of ‘free market’ model available which is more sustainable, and which most other states adopt, but fundamentlly it requires the state to acknowledge that unrestricted markets fail and that the state has a role to protect the ‘public good’.

          2. Wul says:

            Here’s an example; if Google, Facebook, Amazon, Vodaphone or other PLC makes millions from the activities of UK citizens (who are educated & kept healthy and secure by state spending), then that company pays tax on its UK profits to the UK state.

            Is that Socialism?

      2. Matt says:

        I certainly hope you’re wrong Barakabe, because if No voters were only voting for “financialized capitalism” then it doesn’t matter what is put on the table by the Yes campaign the next time around, the same voters will vote No regardless.
        I would like to think that there are a significant number of No voters who are not against the concept of independence persay, but were against Alex Salmond’s vision of how that would look like. We have to believe that, when offering an ammended deal this time around.

  26. JohnEdgar says:

    It might be the economy, stupid, but which economy? Focus for a moment on the UK-Westminster driven, macroeconomic and fiscally determined economy. The UK, aka England’s economy and political landscape is not stable. The oil crash affects the Treasury too and add ” punching above our weight” and you have hubris leading to chaos. The current UK budget has a black hole; the current account deficit and falling pound ate hitting fiscal revenues.
    The English parties in Scotland have hit rock bottom, one MP each and the LibDem MP is a self-confessed liar. The seismic shift after the 2015 election puts the anti- Westminster forces in the ascendancy. Cameron and Osborne are busted flushes within their party and Brexit/ Engxit may well finish them. Corby is despised by the majority of his MP’s and is hapless. In short, the majority English body politic in the UK aka England is in crisis as is the growing crisis in English identity as witnessed by EVEL.
    The UKOK wallahs might realise that UKOK becomes UKKO! Cameron fled the Commons a fay earlier to “think” things over after the budget chaos. Think what, one must ask? The EU referendum is only a suggestion like Osborne’s budget? Call it off?! End the Union with Scotland and have Tory majorities in England for ever? You could not make it up.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      They are a confused bunch, unable to come to terms with the collapsing rump that is left of their long lost empire. Salmond’s 56 ‘roaring lions’ should rise and leave the chamber every time Mundell gets up to splutter his nonsense. That would be the one way for Scotland to demonstrate rejection of Tory ideology, rather than struggle to make pointless Scots speeches heard above the baying Oxbridge and Eton mob (on both sides). Parliaments are political theatre and we should use their theatre to up the ante. The 56 should practice walking out as much as possible, given they will need to do it for good soon enough. Scotland means nothing to them, so we should show them what their parliament means to Scotland – nothing.

      1. JohnEdgar says:


  27. Doubting Thomas says:

    That awizgonny sounds like a right free dumber.

  28. w.b.robertson says:

    Forget the sand dancing. Another much more simple route to winning increased votes for REF2 would be for the new Scottish Parliament to embark on a programme that simply screams “good honest government”. That goes on to produce impressive society changing results. As the corrupt Westminster machine continues to flounder and new recessions loom, the punters would be impressed – on both sides of the border.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “good honest government”

      Best of luck with that.

      Some might argue that all so-called ‘competent’ SNP governance does is strengthen devolution/status quo. A more rapid way to independence would probably be for the majority SNP to stand aside and let Ruth and Kez form a minority coalition government. The £30bn budget would still go to the same departments, more or less – so very little would actually change in reality. But the Holyrood Political Theatre might be a little more entertaining.

  29. ScottieDog says:

    I see there are a number of papers and studies out comparing the deficit in Scotland with the UK and also against other EU nations. Of course the main criticism here is that Scotland isn’t sovereign so how can you effectively compare.

    The irony in these comparisons and the constant fixation with the govt deficit is actually what has brought the UK to the point of fracture, not the prowess of Alex salmond or Nicola sturgeon.

    The event of monetarism and it’s adoption by labour and the Tories is the single biggest reason for us being where we are now. This is why all these great post war assets have been stripped away and the population subjected to austerity. it seems the mainstream still believes we are still in Bretton woods in the land of fixed interest rates and in denial that we live in a fiat economy.

    The simple fact is, a sovereign currency issuing government can’t default on debts denominated in its own currency. This is why the idea that the UK govt is just like a household is claptrap. This blind belief is what’s killing the UK.

    Sectoral accounting shows us that attempts to achieve govt surpluses tend to result in private debt bubbles and financial crises shortly after, yet still the govt plough on attempting to reduce the deficit whilst our total private debt soars past £5 Trillion and well on the way to another recession .

    The big lesson for Yes2 is that as a currency user in a currency union you are very much constrained by whatever pact you agree to with the UK. We are effectively like a household and we do have to play deficit tennis with better together. What a bore that debate will be.

    So YES, a more sensible (no not radical) approach needs to be taken if there is another referendum. A country is only truly sovereign if it is the issuer of its own sovereign currency. The inflation argument and the markets ‘won’t lend to us’ etc is a discussion for another day. Just think though, the ratings agencies downgraded Japan to JUNK due to its large deficit spending, whilst giving Enron a clean bill of health – go figure.

  30. Blair paterson says:

    Just like to say I do not agree with one word you say Steve just keep voting no

  31. Peter Clive says:

    I wrote this piece – “The National Anthem” – for “Undependence” Day …


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